Top 10 Singles of 2015

2015 is nearly over, and we’ve had quite a year.

Taylor Swift finally got her way with Apple; vinyl saw a comeback in a streaming dominated era, and some excellent records were released.

When compiling a top ten, I always find it best to set commercial success aside. This list is not meant to be a mere reflection of the iTunes charts, and I wouldn’t want it to be — some great-sounding singles had a very meager commercial showing. This list is based off a mix of replay value, vocal performance, and just overall greatness.

Without further ado, I present to you my top 10 singles of 2015. This list is in countdown format because, well, everyone loves a good countdown.

Note: this list comprises singles released in 2015 regardless of their album release, i.e. singles from 2014 albums were still eligible.

10. “Wildest Dreams” / Taylor Swift

Wildest Dreams is bold and whimsical, proving that Taylor is an artist that can embrace change and spin her version of Lana’s characteristic style. While it is not her best work on 1989, it remains the finest single after Blank Space and by far her most lustful.

9. “Dreams” / Beck

I don't know what kind of dreams Beck has, but if they’re anything like this song, he’s having a pretty good time. This time, Beck ditched his folk background to deliver some groove. Dreams is catchy, trendy and funky goodness. Brilliant.

8. “Don’t Wanna Fight” / Alabama Shakes

The most successful single off Sound & Color is also my favorite. Not to undervalue the album, however — it is a piece of art spanning multiple genres. Don’t Wanna Fight stands as its cornerstone, a passionate soul track that evokes a lot more than merely the desire for no violence.

7. “Here” / Alessia Cara

Sans albums, Alessia’s Four Pink Walls EP is the best record I’ve heard all year. I don’t find Here to be her best — I’m Yours is simply too catchy to ignore — but as far as singles go, she has done remarkably well with an anti-pop song. This one is all about people who secretly hate parties and those who brag about being the it girl.

Because let’s face it, we’ve all had those feelings.

6. “Love Me Like You Do” / Ellie Goulding

A gem by the one and only Ellie Goulding: grandiose, powerful and seductive. Now if only the movie were half as decent as its soundtrack.

5. “Fight Song” / Rachel Platten

I must admit I slept on this song until she sang it at Taylor’s 1989 World Tour back in June. It quickly became one of my favorites, due to Rachel’s strong vocal performance coupled with its empowering message. If you want something motivational, Fight Song is what you should put on (although I’d still side with Eye of the Tiger for nostalgia).

4. “Can’t Feel My Face” / The Weeknd

Evoking the very best of Michael Jackson, this track just makes you move. There is a lot more beneath the surface, as the lyrics carry strong connotations related to the inability to cope with substance abuse.

This is a song many consider the best of the year (also nominated for two Grammy awards), and I wouldn’t be tempted to disagree.

3. “Lonely Town” / Brandon Flowers

A big fan of The Killers myself, I was excited to listen to Flowers’ solo project. The album is quite solid, with this single as (one of) the standout track(s). It sounds unapologetically “Killers”, and that’s something I’m always willing to hear. Lonely Town oozes nostalgia, from the 80s-infused music video to the melody and duality of the lyrics. Superb stuff.

2. “Run Away With Me” / Carly Rae Jepsen (Runner-up)

Commercial success. Once on her side, now her nemesis. Sounds ironic for an artist that had the best selling single of 2012 and the century by a female artist (worldwide sales). This reminds of a quote from Ted that remains painfully true:

No matter how big a splash you make in this world, […] eventually, nobody gives a shit.

Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest work has been criminally underrated and undervalued. Move along folks, there are no Grammy nominations or platinum albums to see here.

However, if you’re like me and gave Carly a chance after her Call Me Maybe (2012) era, you were amply rewarded with this brilliant single.

Run Away With Me is everything one could ask for in a pop song: it’s the epic sax intro that immediately heightens this record to a different realm; the lush, exuberant vocals that showcase passion, and my god, that masterpiece of a chorus line: “Baby, take me to the feeling!”. Jepsen desires you to feel what she feels, an explosion of emotions culminating with the eagerness to simply drop everything and make out under the street lights.

This single is a pop masterclass; unfortunately, it seems like many didn’t bother to attend. Regardless, it became the immediate frontrunner for song of the year in what seemed like a lock for Jepsen. I even had it at the top of my list all summer! Alas, it was narrowly beaten by a late release, but make no mistake: this is the pop song of the year.

The video is pretty neat, too.

1. “Hello” / Adele (Song of the Year)

“Hello. It’s me.”

What a comeback. This lead single had tremendous commercial success, was top of the charts in about every country that ever existed, and virtually broke every streaming record in existence.

But that’s not the reason it tops my chart. Hello is simply a tremendous showcase of her (proven) talent. And that’s all we longed for — flawless vocals and piano in a heart-wrenching package. Adele delivers in every category.

If this doesn’t win Best Vocal Performance at the 2017 Grammys, then I don’t know what will.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully, you’ll have some more (great) music to listen to (if you didn’t already know all these songs).

My list of the top 10 albums of 2015 will be out after Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!

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