I don’t think we’ve done this yet.
As is the tradition, I’m sure many of us have been busily compiling our “best of” end of year playlists to trade with our friends and foist upon our enemies. Here’s a link to mine, and a few words on some of the more beloved tracks.
1. “What’s Normal Anyway” – Miguel
“Too opinionated for the pacifists, too out of touch to be in style, too broke for the rich kids”. Word.
2. “My Baby Don’t Understand Me” – Natalie Prass
The first time I’ve heard one of Matthew E White’s gorgeous productions truly mesh with a song and a vocal. Everything in perfect harmony.
3. “White Out” – No Spill Blood
Ferocious album opener from the excellently monikered Dubliners. The sound of a gang of cavemen playing metal on a busy Heathrow runway.
4. “Feeling Good Tonight (UNKLE Reconstruction)” – Therr Maitz
With thanks to Poppy for the intro.
5. “Hurache Lights” – Hot Chip
The year’s number one rump-mover, bar none. Drew many an “ooh – what’s this” in the car and kitchen.
6. “Belly of the Beat” – Grimes
Could really have picked any of half a dozen off her superb new album, but this is narrowly the standout right now. It’s going to be fascinating to see what she does next.
7. “Holding On” – Julio Bashmore
8. “Prisoner 1&2” – Lupe Fiasco
Probably my most played tune of the year, and a record that did for me all the things the Kendrick record promised but failed to deliver. Contains several of the most pleasing hip hop lyrics of this, or any other, year, from “sick, sick, sick eyes from the nose pressure/police zip ties on the protesters” to “trying to find dinosaurs in the bi-buuuuul.” The chorus also marksthe return of the sort of reckless acronym-wielding not seen since prime Wu (“Love is/Looking Over Various Errands/Hate is/Habitually Accelerating Terror”).
9. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
Channels the spirit of Wacko Jacko to excellent effect. No idea if he can dance.
10. “Midas” – Maribou State
11. “Hunter” – Du Blonde
12. “Chateau Lobby #4” – Father John Misty
Written by J.Tillman for his new wife, the lyric is absolutely lovely:”First time you let me stay the night, despite your own rules/you took off early to go cheat your way through film school/you left a note in your perfect script: “stay as long as you want”/I haven’t left your bed since”, “People are boring/but you’re something else I can’t explain/you take my last name”. It sums up modern relationships and that first terrifying flush of romance so beautifully, and when the horns come in at the end you’re ready to marry him yourself. The FJM album had comfortably the best lyrics of anything I heard this year, and a metric ton of caustic wit, but this one also had a bit of heart.
13. “Sagres” – The Tallest Man on Earth
14. “Divine” – Laura Marling
15. “Should Have Known Better” – Sufjan Stevens
Amply covered elsewhere on this site, if there is one single moment of music I will remember from 2015 it’s “My brother had a daughter/the beauty that she brings/illumination”. Transcendent.
16. “Are The Children Happy?” – Cathal Smyth
17. “Shine A Different Way” – Patty Griffin
18. “Once I Was Loved” – Melody Gardot
The most delicately, tragically beautiful song of the entire year.
19. “Come Back” – Deafheaven
A track that simply belongs next to “Once I Was Loved” on any playlist.
Anyone else care to chip in the best things they’ve heard all year?