To say 2015 was a busy year in music would be an understatement. We had surprise albums from big names artists, strong debuts, and even albums that DIDN’T drop (we’re looking at you, Frank Ocean). But for the most part, 2015 was a solid year in music, particularly hip hop, which was, granted, slated to be the best in years. And with all this good music, it was hard for me to decide which songs were my personal favorites. Here’s what I muddled together; my 10 favorite songs of 2015 (in no particular order).
Young Thug – Halftime (Barter 6)
First we have a song from arguably one of the most polarizing rap figures in recent memory. However, Thugga Thugga shows us in this song off his label debut why he’s also one of the best. Thug puts everything we’ve come to love him (or loathe, depending on your taste) for on this track. Quirky beats, courtesy of Kip Wilson and Wheezy, direct and comical lyrics, and a flow so good you can’t help but bop your head in unison.
Death Cab For Cutie – No Room In Frame (Kintsugi)
Death Cab has been one of the most consistent rock bands this millennium, thanks to their introspective lyrics and frontman Ben Gibbard’s amazing voice. The first song off their first album in 4 years has Gibbard mulling over a relationship that just won’t work out. But the highlight of this track is the work of guitarist and producer Chris Walla, who delivers chilling string work along with equally chilling production. Walla, who departed after Kintsugi, will surely be missed. But knowing DCFC, they’ll bounce back.
A$AP Rocky ft Juicy J and UGK – Wavybone (AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP)
Rocky’s much-anticipated sophomore album was laden with trippy production, credited to his love for psychedelics, and this song was no different. Wavybone, titled after a nickname of his best friend and A$AP Mob co-founder, the late A$AP Yams, has Rocky and friends spitting the usual braggadocio rap, however the lyrics are fresh, the UGK cameo was a nice surprise, and Juicy J delivered one of the best features of his career.
Wolf Alice – Moaning Lisa Smile (My Love Is Cool)
Indie Pop rookie of the year’s debut was filled with great songs, but Moaning Lisa Smile was my favorite. Good riffs combined with frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s ear-splitting hooks make a great combination. And apparently the Grammy’s think so, given the song’s recent nomination for Best Rock Performance.
All Time Low – Something’s Gotta Give (Future Hearts)
Pop Punk’s most popular act has had a busy year. Releasing an album that debuted at No.2 on the Billboard Charts and going on two separate tours is a testament to their work ethic. But that doesn’t mean their material has gotten weaker. The first single off the aforementioned album has lead singer Alex Gaskarth questioning his worth over plucky guitar riffs. The song then leads to a climatic chorus that shows why they’re Pop Punk’s current kings.
2 Chainz – Watch Out (Trapavelli Tre)
This mixtape cut-turned single serves as a reminder that Tity Boi is not only a feature god, but he can also hold his own. Watch Out is all about how 2 Chainz is still the trap king, and it also contains one of the year’s best bass drops that will get even your grandma hyped up.
Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean? (Purpose)
I’ll admit it, I thought Bieber was done. Too much negative press brought on by questionable behavior usually doesn’t end well, but Bugatti Biebz proved me ( and the world) wrong by dropping one of the best pop albums this year. The highlight of which was What Do You Mean?, a tropic house masterpiece that has the Biebs crooning over a girl’s indecisiveness (sound familiar?). If doing dumb shit is what it takes to bring the creativeness out of him, than by all means, keep doing you Justin.
Travi$ Scott ft Quavo of Migos – Oh My Dis Side (Rodeo)
I could sit here and tell you that I knew Travi$ would blow up when I first heard Uptown, but that’s not that point. The point is that Scott dropped one of the best projects this year out of any genre, and the second track testifies to that. With the help of Quavo, Scott delivers an arena ready banger that features a beat switch that would make his mentor Kanye proud.
Earl Sweatshirt – Faucet (I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside)
Earl is an interesting guy. From rapping about raping women to depression, he’s certainly evolved as an artist. His sophomore album has him in a gloomy mood throughout, and Faucet is a great example. The song has Earl reflecting honestly on how he feels, and how he’d rather let his phone ring and listen to the faucet drip than do anything else. His vastly underrated lyrical prowess and producing skills are evident throughout the track, all at the ripe age of 21.
The Story So Far – Nerve (The Story So Far)
TSSF’s self-titled effort had the band go in a newer musical direction, specifically in the use of reverb. However, the band’s knack for catchy riffs and frontman Parker Cannon’s intense, gruff voice remains. Nerve, the albums only single, has Cannon aggressively explaining the fall of a relationship, and you can feel the emotion in his voice. This song combines old and new TSSF, and if you’re pissed about a former flame, look no further than this song.
Here’s a playlist of all the songs