It's that time of year. It's time to round up all of our favorite music from 2015. And we're not sure if you noticed this yet, but 2015 was an exceptional year for music. After last year which felt like a bit of a let down minus a few high profile records, this year saw the release of one great album after another and a surge of supremely talented breakthrough acts. We're going to be running a host of superlatives for the year, and we knew we should start with the ten best singles of the year. After a lot of stressful voting from our staff, we put together a list that we're pretty sure you'll love.
#10 - "Trying" by Bully
Speaking of those breakthrough acts, few shook up the rock scene more than Nashville's Bully. Alicia Bognanno is a force of nature with a banshee's wail, spinning deeply personal tales in the sort of intimate details that few of her peers could hope to match.
#9 - "Your Type" by Carly Rae Jepsen
Trying to narrow down just one single from one of our favorite records of the year was no easy feat. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion
is the best top 40 pop album in years. But the shimmering 80s tinged production of "Your Type" put it over the edge.
#8 - "Lonely Town" by Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers hasn't sounded this good since Hot Fuss
. The Killers frontman released his second solo record, The Desired Effect
, this year, and it's retro synth pop sounds remind us that Brandon Flowers is one of the best pop-rock songwriters of his generation.
#7 - "What Do You Mean" by Justin Bieber
2015 was the year where a lot of people who would have never thought it possible wake up one day saying, "Oh, wait...do I like Justin Bieber now?" And with "What Do You Mean," it was way more difficult to answer that question in the negative.
#6 - "Flesh Without Blood" by Grimes
To say that expectations were high for Art Angels
might be the understatement of the year. Grimes' fans have been waiting for a follow-up to Visions
since early 2012, and with the lead single, "Flesh Without Blood," Grimes came roaring back as deliriously weird as ever.
#5 - "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar
K-Dot took the hip-hop throne like nobody since Kanye West this year, and To Pimp A Butterfly
is overflowing with perfect tracks that could make this list. We could honestly fill up most of this list with just singles from that album, but we're restraining ourselves. And "Alright" was one of the most politically motivated and angry tracks on an album overflowing with righteous and deserved political rage.
#4 - "Hello" by Adele
What else can we say about a song that we wrote not one
, not two
, but three posts
about (the last of which being a nearly 3000 word feature essay)? Adele conquered the charts again with "Hello," and few artists make it seem so easy.
#3 - "Let It Happen" by Tame Impala
When "Let It Happen" first burst on the scene (in its nearly 7 minute glory), a lot of Tame Impala fans weren't sure what to make of the new track. Had the band traded in their psychedelic guitar rock for spaced out dance music? The answer is: yeah, kind of. But with a new sound this good, it was hard to begrudge the band that decision in the slightest.
#2 - "King" by Years & Years
Years & Years were another one of the fantastic breakthrough acts to appear in 2015, and when their debut album hit #1 on the UK charts, it wasn't difficult to guess why. Their smash hit single, "King," had done the same, and considering we haven't been able to get it out of our head for months, it's clear the Brits have great taste.
#1 - "Pretty Pimpin'" by Kurt Vile
The former member of The War On Drugs (it still boggles our minds when we think about Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel being in the same band) has slowly been establishing himself as a modern god of hazed out guitar rock, but "Pretty Pimpin'" is the purest distillation of his sound yet...trading equally in folk, psychedelia, and bang your head guitar rock. His lyricism has never been tighter. His melodies have never hit harder. And yeah, we feel pretty comfortable saying that the best track of the year was "Pretty Pimpin'" indeed.