My Top 40 Songs of 2015

30. Lucky Charmes – “Skank”

While a track called “Skank” from someone with charm in their name might not seem quite contradictory, this is simply a fantastic bass driven track that has an amazing rhythm and beat to it.  From a new artist in the ever growing EDM market, this is a very confident and assured track that slows things down and speeds things up but never sounds forced.  The close of the song, with the bouncing melody taking centre stage, is really something special too.

29.  Christopher Norman – “Integrate” [2013]

This is an incredible song that manages to slowly build an amazing atmosphere bit by bit over the course of an unfolding romance in the song.  The beauty of the electronics going around is cut with the slightly electronic voice of the vocals that goes along nicely with the drumline that eventually makes its way into things.  This is a beautiful song and one that I think has an immense charm and is also pretty relaxing too, and well worth listening to (again and again).

28.  Matrix & Futurebound ft. Max Marshall – “Control” [2014]

Filing the drum and bass quota for this list is this gem from last year, one that is comparatively light and breezy compared to some of the heavier songs of the genre and a song that I really, really enjoy.  It’s got some incredibly strong vocals that drape themselves over the towering chorus and bring an ecstatic dimension to them over what is a more restrained song.  If you like fun songs that are a bit more fast-paced, this is the one for you.

27.  Disclosure – “Holding On” (feat. Gregory Porter)

The “biggest” track on Caracal was “Holding On”, starting with the powerful singer holding a note as the signature layering of the tracks go on behind him before the tune grabs hold for real and launches into a soulful shuffle that’s unmistakably Disclosure.  That minute of music is one of the highlights of this list, and the rest of the song is pretty good too – being a fantastic exercise in building a beat up and breaking it back down again.

26.  Pixies – “Debaser” [1989]

The Pixies pre-date the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam as the punk/grunge band de jure and “Debaser” is a wonderful and peppy tune that shows the brighter side of their work.  It’s a song that exudes energy throughout, and with its shouty, nonsensical lyrics, it’s one that never fails to brighten things up.  The guitar riff running through the song is also one that you’ll never forget.

25.  Galantis – “Peanut Butter Jelly”

Pick-me-up songs are extremely important, and “Peanut Butter Jelly” has got to be one of the happiest songs to have graced the charts this year, or in fact in many years.  Do the lyrics make the slightest bit of sense?  No. But it’s a twee fantasy of a song that never fails to put a smile on people’s face, making a slapstick dance song that everybody can enjoy no matter how much they like this sort of music.

24.  Disclosure – “Hourglass” (feat. Lion Babe)

Being all about your collaborators can be a risk, but when Disclosure uncover gems like they do it’s not that much of a problem.  Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe brings the sass to what is yet another soulful, but much more playful, Disclosure song here – and her vocal turn is to be admired and emulated, with its jumpy rhythm fitting the song impeccably.

23.  Nero – “The Thrill”

What Nero’s music does best is create a sort of dark, dramatic atmosphere – and in a world that’s dominated by pop and EDM, it’s a breath of fresh air.  “The Thrill” is one of their best tunes from their new album, and manages to combine that sort of energy with a driving melody that carries the airy vocals through.

This tune has also got a fantastic Porter Robinson remix which manages, strangely enough, to bring more dubstep to the mix – which is well worth a listen if you’re into that sort of thing.

22.  CHVRCHES – “Leave a Trace”

This was the first single from CHVRCHES’ new album and was a powerful message that the band were coming back stronger and fiercer than ever, setting the tone early on.  It’s a proper electronic ballad for the modern age, with Lauren Mayberry showing off the new-found strength in her voice in the soaring chorus with lyrics of learning from mistakes.  What I love most about the song is the way the echoes strain over the final chorus, putting that little bit of doubt in your mind and showing an extra layer to the song.  It’s an awesome song and a pop tune that fits this year’s efforts very well.

21.  Kacey Musgraves – “High Time”

This was the first song of Kacey Musgraves’ I’d heard and I was dumbstruck by how it managed to be such a slow, happy and funny song all at the same time with a nice message of getting back to your roots.  In the end, as an album opener, it sets up the rest of her songs pretty nicely – as they’re all just about the same sorts of things – but this one holds a special place with its laid back attitude that makes every other song on this list seem far too frantic and fast-paced by comparison.  This is the song you want if you need to relax.

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