Favorite Songs and Albums of 2015 & A Look Ahead to 2016
2015 was a phenomenal year for music.
There are so many amazing albums that I was excited to get my hands on, and a few surprises along the way as well. I got to experience amazing shows and events, met many of my favorite musicians and had many “pinch me” moments. (Of course, there were a few albums that utterly disappointed, but let’s focus on the good.)
Favorite Songs of 2015
Here’s a playlist of my Top 100 songs of 2015. These were the songs I couldn’t stop listening to and really made an impact on me in 2015. A few I had on repeat for hours and hours, much to the dismay of everyone around me. #SorryNotSorry.
By far, my favorite newcomer in 2015 was Gavin James. I saw him four times in 2015 (I swear I’m not stalking him), and he’s just amazing. His song “Bitter Pill” is hands down one of my faves of 2015, if not all time. It gets me every single time. Whether he’s opening for Kodaline, Tori Kelly, or headlining at The Troubadour, he’s amazing. He’s also such a great dude. I’m stoked for him and his much deserved breakout year in 2015, Can’t wait to hear his full length album next year (US release).
I was captivated by Aussie Jarryd James. His songs, especially, “Do You Remember” and “Give Me Something” were top notch. He was amazing at The Troubadour and looking forward to his album next year. Conrad Sewell, Grace, Kygo, Lukas Graham were also notable hitmakers from over seas (who didn’t release an album this year). Super excited for them, especially Lukas Graham, they’re special for sure! As is Conrad Sewell… so good! As were Years and Years… but I’ll get to them later (spoiler alert: I’m a MASSIVE fan).
Alessia Cara is another breakout star of 2015. She’s unique, and has a distinct voice, literally and figuratively. The young Daya is also one to lookout for. Since I met her in early 2015, she’s come a long way and 2016 is looking bright for her. Hayley Steinfeld also switched gears from acting to singing with her hit, “Love Myself” which made my list.
Extra kudos to the following songs which I was OBSESSED with…. (that weren’t on albums): “Better Love” by Foxes (and Dan Smith from Bastille) is such an amazing Brit-Pop song. LOVE it. “Runnin’” by Naughty Boy ft. Beyonce & Arrow Benjamin is a classic. All the feels on that one!
There are so many many more to mention… but you can experience them all for yourself here:
(Note: I limited it to max 2 songs per artists, as I could have easily added albums… but this is about songs. Taylor Swift isn’t on Spotify, so I couldn’t add her, but “Style” would for sure be on there. There were also a few amazing songs from the UK that weren’t on Spotify, including “Hangin’” by Bastille, but most are on here.)
Favorite Albums of 2015
So many amazing albums were released in 2015! These are the ones that I had in my cd player (yes, I still buy physical cds) or playlists. There were too many, but I had to limit it the 25… and decided to make it even more difficult and make a Top 10, based on which ones I had on repeat most often, and I’m saying it, this year, there was on album that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED more than all other (and it wasn’t Adele). Shocker! I know!
My favorite album of 2015 is….. drumroll….
Communion by Years and Years!
I LOVE everything about this album. It’s diverse, eclectic and just damn good pop. And not boy-band pop, but actual sophisticated pop. The album opener, “Foundation” is dark, and really captivating. “Shine,” “King,” “Gold,” “Desire” and “Worship” are dance-pop anthems that we’ll be listening to for… years and years! “Real” is a fantastic song with some edge, and the groovy “Take Shelter” is superb. “Eyes Shut” is a vulnerable ballad with an emotional delivery that juxtaposed with “Ties,” the seductive, sexually charged song that follows, exemplifying the diversity of the album. I’ve had tickets to see these guys in LA twice, and both times I’ve been massively ill. Not in 2016, I will make it out to one of their shows.
And the rest of my Top 10 Albums from 2015
25 — Adele
Of course 25 by Adele would be in my to 10. She’s been one of my faves since I saw her at her LA debut at Hotel Cafe in 2008, before 19 was released. It’s sold more than 5 million copies in 2015, and by 2015, I mean the last two months. It’s amazing what she’s accomplished and continues to accomplish. You’re probably one of the 5 million people who have the album, so I won’t go on about it, but my favorite songs on the album are “Remedy,” (hello, it’s a Ryan Tedder track), and “River Lea.” But basically, the whole album is epic, you know this though.
White Light — The Corrs
The Corrs! They came back with their sixth studio album, White Light. It was another surprise album of 2015! It’s been years since they released an album as a band, and I LOVE it. It’s exactly what you’d expect from them. The harmonies are on-point and it sounds like an album from The Corrs. I was a bit worried when I heard they were releasing a new album, but man, they are amazingness. And might I add, they don’t look a day older! Timeless for sure.
Wilder Mind — Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons switched it up a bit with their album Wilder Mind, and at first, I really really missed the banjo. But putting that aside, there are some of the best songs of the year on this album. Admittedly, I haven’t made it too far into the album as the first four songs are ace and I keep going back to them. “Tompkins Square Park” and “Believe” are just amazing… ah!!! Seeing them live twice this year was a highlight for sure!
Choas And The Calm — James Bay
I was blown away by James Bay in 2014 when I saw him open for Hozier, and his album, Chaos and the Calm, is excellent from start to finish. “Let It Go” is one of the best songs of all time, as is “Scars.” I saw him twice this year, and was such a fanboy, no shame about it. I actually built the courage to chat with him at an event and he’s has no idea how cool he actually is. He oozes coolness.
Dopamine — BØRNS
Dopamine by BØRNS has been in my car since it was released. This album is pop-rock goodness. It’s dreamy, ethereal and otherworldly, but not in a way that is annoying. “Electric Love” is the breakout hit on the album, but there are many solid tracks including “Past Lives,” “Overnight Sensation,” “10,000 Emerald Pools”, and my favorite “The Emotion.” What’s amazing is that he/they are amazing live and the music/vibe really translates.
Wishes — Rhodes
One of my breakout artists of 2015 is Rhodes. He’s an English singer-songwriter who released an incredible debut album, Wishes, this year. I first learned of him from his duet with Birdy, “Let It All Go.” I was blown away by his album and songwriting. It’s definitely on the chill side, but I dig it. A lot. Every song is my favorite, but I absolutely love “Close Your Eyes,” “Raise Your Love,” and my absolute favorite “Run.” He also has a rad cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” which is worth having a listen.
Blue Neighbourhood — Troye Sivan
I was a massive fan of “Happy Little Pill” by Troye Sivan in 2014, and his debut album, Blue Neighbourhood is a pop slam dunk. The lead single, “Wild” is just pop-goodness, actually the entire album is. “Youth” is another standout track, and I’m a massive fan of Broods, so their collab with Troye, “Ease” was always a winner. I could listen to “Bite” non-stop. I love this album and can’t wait to see how he evolves and to see his career take off.
Beauty Behind The Madness — The Weeknd
The Weeknd has had a phenomenal 2015, and his album Beauty Behind The Madness is top shelf. It’s not what I regularly listen to, but man, the songs are good. I saw him at Life is Beautiful in 2014, and he stole the show. Did the same at Coachella. From the lighter songs like “I Can’t Feel My Face,” and “Earned It” to the darker “Often” The Weeknd’s album is all killer, no filler. The album’s opener, “Real Life” is a hit, as is his collaboration with Ed Sheeran, “Dark Times.” Yes, Ed Sheeran is on the album, and it makes sense and works.
That’s The Spirit — Bring Me The Horizon
That’s The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon is heavy punk rock, and I absolutely LOVE it. It’s melodic and makes me want to get involved in the mosh pit, which I did when I saw them in LA. Their earlier discography is a bit too heavy for me, but this album is the perfect balance of punk and electro/pop. It’s anthemic, epic and I want to sing along at the top of my lungs (which I did at the El Rey). You need to play it loud, especially “Throne,” “Doomed,” “Happy Song,” and “True Friends.” Seriously never thought a punk rock album would make my Top 10 in 2015, but I effin love this album!
Here are the other albums that made my top 25 (in no particular order):
Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly — I mean, this girl can SANG! I’ve been following her for years on YouTube and her debut album lived up to the hype, and more importantly, it’s a great representation of her talent and spirit. If you get to see her live, you have to do it!
Pentatonix by Pentatonix — Seriously, if you’ve never seen them perform, you’re missing out. They’re Aca-amazing! We all knew they could sing and perform, and with this album, they not only proved that they can create original songs, but they stayed true to their identity and kept it all a cappella. What’s amazing is that when you listen to the album, you might not even realize there are no instruments. And I believe they are the first a cappella artists to top the Billboard 200… and they were up against Demi Lovato! Amazing. And they’re all super cool and amazing with fans.
Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES — another synth-pop album that does not disappoint! Just about every song on the album can be a single! I’m a massive fan of “High Enough To Carry You Over” is my favorite track on the album, and where the title of the album comes from.
Caracal by Disclosure — from the lead single, “Omen” featuring Sam Smith, expectations were high for this album, and they delivered. “Magnets” with Lorde is a standout track, as is “Nocturnal” with The Weeknd.
Vikings by New Politics — Seriously, these guys are so much fun. I was a massive fan of their first two albums, and their live shows are always bonkers. This album has many great songs to dance, rock out too, but it’s the softer songs with Søren on lead vocals that cements the album. Take a listen to “15 Dreams” and “Stardust.” Oh yeah, look out for “Bitch, I’m Gold”…. ha!
We The Generation by Rudimental — One of my favorite UK musicians. On their second album, they continued discovering amazing vocalists such as Will Heard, Anne-Marie and Foy Vance. The lead single, featuring Ed Sheeran, “Lay It All On Me” is a great introduction to the guys. I FINALLY saw them play a proper set this year at The Fonda and had the time of my life! Amazing!
Beneath The Skin by Of Monsters and Men — These guys! I’m just a massive fan and this album is just perfection. It really speaks to the listener, and I could listen to the album on repeat for days, maybe even years. There is so much lyrical depth in the songs and it’s oozes out of the production, vocals and instrumentation. Love! Love! Love!
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence and the Machine — I wasn’t sure what to expect from Florence and the Machine on this one, but I love it. It’s quite different from their previous albums, a bit more somber and at times very vulnerable. I love “St. Jude” and how her voice soars on “Various Storms & Saints.”
Time by Mikky Ekko — Just a masterpiece! There isn’t a song on this album that I don’t love to bits. There’s a little bit of everything on it. Love “Smile,” “Burning Doves,” “Riot” and the title track, “Time.” I NEED to see him live sometime.
Know-It-All by Alessia Cara — This girl! “Here” is a very special song. As soon as I heard it, as an introvert, I immediately identified by the lyrics. When I stepped back and heard her voice and style, I was hooked. Mesmerized. The album is solid, and there are a few more gems on it, including “Overdose,” “I’m Yours,” and “Seventeen.” She’s the real deal for sure.
Blurryface by twenty one pilots — This is an interesting one for me. I LOVE their earlier stuff, and as much as I like this album, there are a few songs that fall short in depth and message. But, having said that, it’s still a fantastic album. “Heavydirtysoul” is an epic opener, “Stressed Out,” “Fairly Local,” “The Judge,” and “Ride” are top notch. “Hometown” is an interesting one… I love the direction and it’s absolutely not what I’d expect from them, but it’s brilliant. These guys are rad.
Delirium by Ellie Goulding — Since before her debut album, I’ve been a massive fan of Ellie. There are so many amazing bangers on this! I will say I prefer her singer-songwriter-y songs, especially from her debut album, but Delirium is lives up to the expectations.
When The Morning Comes by A Great Big World — ok, this album you guys… I’m a massive fan of their voices and of Chad and Ian as people. But this album, it’s so good. “Hold Each Other” was one of the songs I had on repeat all year. And then I heard “End of the World”… wow, that’s one of my favorite songs. Chad sounds amazing on it. “Oasis” and “Kaleidoscope” are also killer songs. One of my faves of the year for sure!
When It’s Dark Out by G-Eazy — so hip hop isn’t my thing necessarily, but this album is fantastic. I’m drawn to the lyrics and the stories in the songs. It’s a great balance between bravado and depth. “Everything Will Be Ok” is ace, as is “Don’t Let Me Go” with Grace.
To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar — Again, hip hop is not my go-to, but this album transcends. It’s genius and any ranking of albums from 2015 would be insufficient without it. I mean, 11 GRAMMY nominations, that’s legit.
A Look Ahead To 2016
With massive albums in the works, 2016 is shaping up to be another excellent year for music. Of course, there will be surprises along the way, and I’m looking forward to what’s in store.
I’m eagerly anxious to hear album number 2 from Bastille. They’re one of my fave bands of all time, and I’m excited to hear what they’re working on. Love “Better Love” for Foxes and their new song, “Hangin’”.
Ryan Tedder can do no wrong in pop, so I’m anxious to hear OneRepublic’s fourth album, which he’s been teasing on social. It looks like Ed Sheeran is also planning an album for late 2016.. fingers crossed!
Of course I can’t wait to hear This Is Acting by Sia. She’ has already given us three killer tunes, including the epic “Alive” and “Bird Set Free.” I’m also looking forward to the US release of Jarryd James and Gavin James’ albums.
Rihanna, Kanye, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé also have albums they’ve been working on, we’ll see when those surprise albums drop.
I’m also stoked to hear what the following artists have been working on: Emeli Sandé, Panic! At The Disco, Thrice, Foxes, The 1975, Naughty Boy, Jack Garratt, James Blake, Frank Ocean, Fenech-Soler, HAIM, Dua Lipa, Grace, Zara Larson, Charlie Puth, Coasts, Kaya Stewart, Lukas Graham… and so many more!
What are you looking forward to hearing? What were your favorites from 2015?
Let me know via Twitter.
Originally published at www.itsamiro.com on December 31, 2015.