Once again as the Earth continues its appointed circuit around the star we choose to call the Sun, the time has come to select the ten best songs of the year and send them in to Triple J where they shall be completely drowned amidst millions of votes for some yodeling beardo strumming a banjo. But such is our lot to endure, so endure it we must!
I went into my selections this year with a few songs already picked out but wondering how I was going to fill up the rest of the list. As it turned out this wasn’t a problem – there were a surprising number of really good tracks hidden among all the dross. I even had to eliminate some, which is why there’s nothing from Chvrches or my future wife Florence Welsh.
So without further ado, here we go…
Bassically – Te Shi
The first time I heard this track I nominated it as my song of the year, and that hasn’t changed in the months since. It’s magnificent! If you don’t think so at first, turn up the bass and wait until it kicks in at about the 2:30 mark.
My opinion of the track is not at all hurt by it sharing a key four note sequence with Last Train to Trancentral.
Long Loud Hours – Urthboy featuring Bertie Blackman
Good hip-hop tells stories. I suppose bad hip-hop can tell stories too, but they’re generally about how the performer is better than everyone else due to their acquisition of money, jewellery, firearms and women, and are therefore not stories worth the bother of listening to. Urthboy though can usually be relied upon to actually say something interesting with his music, in this specific case telling the story of Lucy Dudko, the librarian who hijacked a helicopter to bust her lover, bank robber John Killick, from Silverwater Jail in 1999. An interesting twist in this modern age of redefined gender is that Urthboy sings Dudko’s part while Bertie Blackman takes on Killick.
Story aside the music on this one is really great too, with those distorted, off-beat notes that I suspect are being played in reverse. If Bassically hadn’t blown every other song away, this easily could have been my song of the year, and even if you don’t enjoy the music, you should be able to find some entertainment in the quite silly poses Urthboy pulls throughout the video.
Flesh Without Blood – Grimes
Oh no! Grimes has gone pop! It’s a disaster! Whatever shall we do?! Well if you ask me, stop whinging about your precious indie-cred and enjoy a fantastically structured, intricately layered pop-rock-alt track that’s catchy as hell. In addition to the music you also get to choose your favourite Grimes. Autocannibalistic Marie Antoinette Grimes? Scary angel Grimes? Cool Cuban Grimes? Crazy dance Grimes? Cave-dwelling goth Grimes? Take your pick!
Of course Grimes hasn’t completely abandoned her indie ways, so the only way you can hear the song on YouTube is a part of a short film double feature thingie. The second song is fine, but nothing to really write home about.
Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett
I really couldn’t stand Courtney Barnett at first. This is mostly because her first single – History Eraser – is dreadful. It’s kind of ironic then that Pedestrian at Best is remarkably similar in style. It lifts itself out of the sub-Dylanesque mire of mumbled lyrics however with an absolutely vicious chorus that pulls the rest of the song together and makes the verses actually work. It’s great stuff! For all that the video is full of clowns (shudder!).
The Love Within – Block Party
Wub WUB WUB WUB Wub Wub wub wub. Wub WUB WUB WUB Wub Wub wub wub. There, you’ve heard 90% of the song, but somehow it works. Like Courtney Barnett’s effort the potentially inane remainder of the track is pulled together by a great chorus – a catchy, poppy affair that makes you want to jump up and dance.
Not that I’d ever do anything as undignified as jumping up and dancing of course.
All the Day – Haerts
I love the rhythms in this. That’s really all I have to say. Umm, the band members met in Iceland – is that interesting? Hmmmm. Did I mention the rhythms?
Get Down – Jess Kent
Possibly the catchiest song of the year, if not the decade or indeed all of human history. And the video is the only use of Emojis I’ve ever seen that doesn’t make me want to go out and punch a millennial in the face.
Scud Books – Hudson Mohawke
I’m not sure what the title of this track means – if it means anything at all. But this is a great piece of epic Scottish ‘EDM’ – as I believe all the cool kids are calling it today.
Just a shame that the YouTube version appears to have had all the bass sucked out of it.
(Edit: Oh my! It means pornography!)
Something to Tell You – Tom Lark
I’ve been hanging onto this since the start of the year, wondering if enough good tracks would come along to push it off my list. They didn’t. It’s a sweet little pop song with the most ridiculously hipster video clip you’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if they were trying to be genuinely hipster, or made a parody of hipsterism so accurate that they Poed straight through and ended up firmly back in hipster territory. In any case, the song still stands.
Love me Badder – Elliphant
If I knew the precise definition of soul music I might suggest that this sounds kind of like it. But I don’t, so I won’t. It’s very good though, regardless of what other genres it may or may not resemble.
So there we go. The 10 best songs of 2015. I wonder what bearded hippie will take out number one this year?