Most reputable publications put out some sort of year-end list relating to music, and this reputable publication is no exception. Below I have chronicled the Best Songs of 2015, the Worst Songs of 2015, and one decidedly Meh Song of 2015, compiled using a very sophisticated algorithm based solely on my personal opinions.
The Best Songs of 2015, in the order I thought of them:
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
I don’t think this one really needs much commentary. Just google “Hotline Bling Memes” and you’ll be entertained for hours. To this day I can’t tell if I like the song because it’s actually a good song or if I just like the humor associated with it. Drake definitely put out better songs musically and lyrically this year (which I’ll get to below), but “Hotline Bling” is my most-listened-to Drake song of 2015 by far.
The Weeknd – “The Hills”
From his lyrics, it’s clear that The Weeknd has some serious things to work out in his personal life and might not always be making the healthiest choices. However he is a musical genius and those choices inform some really fantastic songs so as long as he’s relatively in control of things I guess it’s fine. Bless up.
Drake and Future – “Jumpman”
My favorite part of this song is the little “ooh” sound and the shoutout to one of my favorite DJs, DJ Mustard.
Big Sean – “Blessings ft. Drake and Kanye West”
I feel #blessed that Big Sean made this song.
Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – “Wanna Be Cool ft. Jeremih and Big Sean”
As I pace around my house in Smart Wool socks and Birkenstocks, the message of this song really rings true.
Meek Mill – “R.I.C.O. ft. Drake”
I know it’s hard to remember the bygone era when Meek and Drake were still pals, so here’s a gem of a song to remind you. “R.I.C.O” is in fact the song that started their now-infamous beef due to Drake’s alleged ghostwriter. Whether or not his verse on the song was ghostwritten, he obviously more than redeemed himself, which brings me to my next selection…
Drake – “Back to Back”
You know you’ve won when your second un-rebutted diss song in four days gets nominated for a Grammy.
Leon Bridges – “Smooth Sailin’”
The first time I heard Leon Bridges I thought he was from the 1950s. His whole album is magnificent, but naturally the nautical song is my favorite.
Rae Sremmurd – “No Type”
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’
When I first heard the title of “Pretty Pimpin’” I must admit I thought it was going to be a different genre. Regardless, it’s a hilarious song.
Future – Thought It Was A Drought
“I just fucked your bitch with some Gucci flip flops.” That is all.
Modest Mouse – “Coyotes”
Modest Mouse is one of my all-time favorite bands and I got to see them due to serendipitous circumstances at Rock the Garden this year. Their most recent album, Strangers To Ourselves is fantastic. I included “Coyotes” on this list mostly for its music video, which features a coyote on the Portland light rail train.
Kendrick Lamar – Alright
I would argue, in the style of Shea Serrano’s The Rap Yearbook, that this is the most important song of 2015. It is also one of the best songs of 2015. Watch the video.
Jamie XX – “I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times ft. Young Thug and Popcaan”
The most unlikely trio makes the most wonderful song.
Lizzo – “En Love”
Lizzo is a musical genius and her live shows are some of the greatest I’ve ever seen. “En Love” is my favorite track off her new album “Big Grrrl, Small World” all of which is solid gold.
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Yes, “Trap Queen” was technically released independently in 2014. However, the (amazing) album was released in 2015 and “Trap Queen” was released as an official single at the very end of 2014, so I’m counting it with 2015. This was my most frequently listened to song this year by far. No surprise there, since it is an amazing song that transcends genre by crossing hip-hop with traditional yodeling. If I had to sum up my year personally with one song, it’s very likely that this would be that one song.
Fetty Wap – “679”
In the wake of “Trap Queen’s” success, most people (including myself) figured Fetty Wap would fade into history as a one-hit wonder. To my surprise and delight, that was not the case. Fetty continued to change the hip-hop yodeling game with “679” which I may actually like slightly better than “Trap Queen.” Both are truly amazing, and I look forward to seeing what Fetty will serve up in 2016.
Rich Homie Quan – “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)”
Speaking of yodeling, Rich Homie Quan brought us more magnificence this year with “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh).” Just an all-around good tune.
Lil Wayne – Sorry 4 The Wait 2 (entire mixtape)
The beef between Weezy and Birdman tragically continues and thus another year goes by without Tha Carter V. Luckily Lil Wayne put out three mixtapes in 2015, some slightly better than others. Sorry 4 The Wait 2 was great and lots of the tracks harkened back to a better Weezy era (Drought 3/Carter 3).
Tame Impala – “Eventually”
Tame Impala is like if the Flaming Lips and MGMT had a baby and that baby is a champion. Their album Currents is really top-notch.
Rihanna – “Bitch Better Have My Money”
This song is an absolute banger and the video is ridiculously intense.
2 Chainz – “Watch Out”
This is one of my favorite songs to sing at 7:15 am while I make my breakfast. My roommate and friend Carl loves the calm, soothing, family-friendly lyrics.
EL VY – “Return To The Moon”
The side project of Matt Berninger from the National and Brent Knopf. I got to see them live in Minneapolis and it was an awesome show. Their whole album is great as well.
Frank Ocean – oh wait…
T-Pain – “Officially Yours (live on NPR)”
This might be my personal favorite song of 2015. T-Pain + NPR has become one of the best musical combinations in the world, starting with his Tiny Desk Concert and leading to the 30-minute live acoustic performance he did on NPR this fall. I hope he continues making non-auto tune music (although I do love his auto tune music as well) and would legit pay money for a T-Pain acoustic album.
The Worst Songs of 2015:
This song just pisses me off. I hate it. Bruno Mars is a tiny gemstone, but this song was a bad decision on his part.
Yazz – “Drip Drop ft. Teana”
One of my favorite things about the show “Empire” is the hilarious music. A lot of it is produced by Timbaland, which means the beats are amazing, but somehow the lyrics to most of the songs seem like a bit of an afterthought. That is particularly evident in “Drip Drop” which makes many appearances on the show and causes endless laughter in our household. Let it be noted that while “Drip Drop” is on my list of worst songs, “Empire” would definitely make it on my list of best shows and Yazz is actually a talented rapper.
I love Rihanna and I love Kanye West and I despise Paul McCartney. When I first heard that this song was going to be made, I figured it would be good because I love ⅔ and while I don’t personally like the Beatles I do believe Paul McCartney is a good musician. Boy, was I wrong. This song is a disaster.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of “Call Me Maybe.” I just wish CRJ had quit while she was ahead instead of releasing this song. The song itself isn’t horrible, but the music video ups the awful ante by featuring one of my least-favorite actors, Tom Hanks (unpopular opinion, I know). Ish.
Taylor Swift – Everything she did in 2015 and before
I HATE HER. Not only is she just obnoxious, she repeatedly makes overtly racist and culturally appropriative music videos. Just stop, Taylor.
Post Malone – “White Iverson”
Like RiFF RAFF but it’s not funny.
Most “Meh” Song of 2015:
I know I will be ridiculed for this but I’m just very neutral on Adele. Yes she’s talented, but so are a lot of people. She just doesn’t do it for me. And anyway, our lord and savior Beyonce Knowles had a song called “Hello” before anyone had even heard of Adele.