My Top 40 Songs of 2015

20.  La Roux – “Uptight Downtown” [2014]

As far as I could tell, La Roux disappeared off the musical radar as quickly as they appeared on it after their hits back in 2009 that stormed the charts.  But a new album, with more of a solo focus, was released this year and it included this 80s disco-infused number that is a lot more grown up than the electronic love ballads of old.  “Uptight Downtown” conveys a sort of feeling, based around the London riots a few years back, of tension and of the world going on around you and makes it fun – so that’s what makes it so great.

19.  Katy B – “Katy on a Mission” [2011]

There’s something about softly or highly-pitched girls vocals over a dark and sinister tone that really makes a great dance song to listen to, and this might well be the one that has launched a thousand ships over the last few years.  Benga’s production really makes the song what it is, with the crashing electronic drop and the whoops and wails of alarms adding amazing energy to the slow and melodic sounds of Katy B.  How this one has escaped me for so long is beyond me, but I’ve made up for it by listening to it a lot this year.

18.  Kacey Musgraves – “Pageant Material”

This song is all about accepting who you are and not worrying about the world racing ahead of you, which is always a nice thing to hear.  It’s slow, it’s easy to listen to and it’s got a real tongue-in-cheek style to it that makes fun of the pageantry of modern life just.  The country guitar in the background is soft and soothing, and in contrast with the modern world around us, this song always manages to bring me back down to Earth in a good way.

17.  The Sisters of Mercy – “This Corrosion” [1975]

Golden oldie of the year goes to this fun gothic track from the 70s, one that features over the closing credits of Hot Fuzz.  It’s got this weird slightly sinister but very playful feel to it, making it seem more Rocky Horror than Halloween, which makes it great to listen to.  While the 10 minute full version is far too much for me, the shortened track gives a burst of fun rock that’s always welcome.

16.  Disclosure – “Magnets” (feat. Lorde)

Sam Smith and Disclosure were a natural fit on “Latch” a few years back, and that was the track the really pushed the brotherly duo into the limelight.  The chemistry between Disclosure and their guest artists on the new album was just as good, but this has to be the real stand-out.

Lorde may only be 18, but her voice is incredibly strong and aged and manages to carry a sultry sense better than almost anyone else in music today.  Here she croons along soulfully while the song pops and bubbles underneath and it creates this magnetic attraction between the listener and the track.  This is the best the Disclosure duo have done in a few years, and once again it’s thanks to a magical collaboration.

15.  Dr Kucho! & Gregor Salto – “Can’t Stop Playing” (Oliver Heldens Remix)

Oliver Heldens is pretty much the king of deep house, and this remix cements his place at the top of the game for another year.  The deep, throbbing bass that runs through this song is so good, and even though the chorus does it’s best to stay as minimalist as possible it still packs a punch that’s stronger than anything that most other DJs can do.  It ebbs and it flows and never gets old, and it’s one of the best dance songs of the year because of that.

14.  Major Lazer – “Get Free” [2013]

“Lean On” might have been one of the hits of the year, but “Get Free” is the Major Lazer that has had me most enamoured.

I first heard it in a sort of haze of drunkenness/hangover at a party mid-August and it’s chilled but jarring sound was clear and brilliant.  It’s got great vocals and a catchy chorus that sticks in your head.  A lovely and relaxed song, it’s been a go-to since then.

13.  Shamir – “On the Regular” [2014]

I quite like to read the online music magazine Pitchfork and one of their darlings this year has been Shamir.  He’s an androgynous rapper from Las Vegas, and is producing music that breaks the mould in just as many ways.

This song is a fantastic hype song, which is quirky and awkward but has a great bassline and rap flow running through it just enough to keep you interested.  You’ll not forget this one in a hurry, even if it’s not your thing, and for me that’s why I’ve listened to it a lot this year.

12.  Kacey Musgraves – “Cup of Tea”

Almost as comforting as the drink whose name it bears, this is a real treat of a song that delivers an upbeat message about embracing who you are in a sugary, sweet way.  The tongue-in-cheek toe-tapping country tunes of Kacey Musgraves suit this sort of happy music brilliantly and it’s almost impossible to listen to this song with anything but a wry grin on your face.  Try it and prove me wrong.

11.  KDA (feat. Tinie Tempah & Katy B) – “Turn the Music Louder” (Rumble)

In keeping with my recently discovered fandom of Katy B, this new song manages to put together a great, modern dance-pop record with her stellar vocals.  It’s catchy as anything and features a reasonably tolerable “hosting” from Tinie Tempah, who I’m usually not very fond of.  It’s one of those songs that you can see being played well into the future, and still being enjoyed, and I hope it turns out to be that way.

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