I am more than fortunate to say I spent my New Year’s eve in a room full of people I love. After the off key karaoke to “I Love Rock and Roll,” the pounds of food, and something that resembled a Soul Train line, I watched a pair of my friends dance, eyes locked on one another in the middle of the room as “In The New Year” by The Walkmen played in the background. Another couple sat beside me smiling, and beyond them were people laughing on couches, sitting cross legged on the carpet, all anxiously awaiting the countdown.
Glasses clink, people kiss, fireworks sound…then comes the imminent bittersweet feeling following an end.
“You’re deviled eggs were the last thing I ate in 2015 and the first I ate in 2016!” I laughed at my good friend’s post New Year’s exclamation, feeling oddly flattered by my hors d’oeuvre’s small moment of fame.
Despite the big leaps and setbacks of this year, the most brief and mundane of moments became those I treasured most. The handful of concerts I attended, for instance, not only kept me sane, but reunited me with old friends and surprised me with fun acquaintances. For the other times where there was simply no time or money to attend shows, I engrossed myself in the wonderful new sounds that artists had to offer. Thus, once again, a “20 of…” playlist was born.
1. “(All Afternoon) In Love”- The Vaccines
I’ll admit, I am sucker for a love song. (All Afternoon) In Love, like New Year’s is bittersweet. Although the lyrics describe a broken relationship, the wistful song finds a glimmer of hope in falling in love.
2 . “Put A Flower In Your Pocket”-Arcs
Dan Auerbach, lead singer of the Black Keys made a sweet little psychedelic funk, soul love-child. And it’s fantastic. As a fan of the Black Keys, I was happy to see Auerbach take on a side project this year. The result: something a little more electronic than the Black Keys and unique enough to stand on its own.
I was attracted to the band’s name before I even learned I liked their music. Not only does the name contain a mild swear word, but it is punctuated with an exclamation mark. What could be more exciting than that? Not to mention I first read it as “AudioDAAAMN!!!” with a little more enthusiasm than necessary. Once I hit play I was greeted with an equally as enthusiastic soul jam that was refreshingly different from other 2015 material.
4. “Me & My Girls” -Selena Gomez
I unexpectedly fell onto the Selena Gomez bandwagon. “Me and My Girls” is a straight forward girl power song fit for dancing. “No jodas nosotras.” Gracias, chicos. 😉
5. “Honeymoon”- Lana Del Rey
Honeymoon as an album was not my favorite, but as a song, it had me mesmerized by the haunting instrumental introduction and bleak lyrics, unbefitting of honeymoon merriment.
6. “The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box” – Modest Mouse
Nothing seems to mix together appropriately in this bizarre Modest Mouse concoction and it is a bit maddening.
“Bring your candy taster, time wasters around
And we’ll fuck with their minds.” Umm…What? This whole song sort of fucked with my mind. The concept of “the world’s an inventor with it’s work crawlin, runnin, squirmin ’round” is intriguing, for sure. The more I listen to this song, the more I feel like it is something akin to the poems in my literature class.
7. “Me Myself and I”- G-Easy, Bebe Rexha
“Oh, it’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause I got me for life”
Growing up as an only child with a single mother, this was practically preached to me. Perhaps not verbatim, but pretty close. She told me I better learn to love myself, because people will come into my life as quickly as they go. I can only count on myself.
There is also quite a bit to be discussed about greed and fame and their consequences of pain and loneliness. However, the three mentioned lines resonated with me more than anything.
8. “I Love You, Honeybear”- Father John Misty
Perhaps it would be audacious of me to say that “I Love You, Honeybear” is the easily the finest song of 2015? It may sound like a cute piece from a romantic movie soundtrack, but all daintiness is lost when woeful vocals pierce through the dreamlike melody. What keeps the track from being completely depressing is its almost comedic matter-of-fact attitude that is too dry and real to bring a listener down. “Everything is doomed and nothing will be spared” but that’s okay, because he loves his Honeybear. Isn’t that sweet?
9. “Slab of Butter ‘Scorpion'”- Miley Cyrus feat. Sarah Barthel
Flaming lips teamed up with Miley to produce the monster of an album Miley Cyrus and Her dead Petz. Instead of another round of “Party in the USA” tracks, Miley ‘blessed’ the world with genius lines like “I feel like a slab of butter.” Enough said. Wait… Some glitter was harmed in the making of this album.
10. “Mountain at My Gates”- Foals
Trust me that the song is great. But the corresponding video deserves some serious credit. This was the first Go Pro music video I had ever seen and it knocked my socks off. I looked like an idiot spinning around my living room with my phone, but I didn’t care. It was magical.
11. “Genghis Khan”- Miike Snow
“Genghis Khan” is frankly one of those songs that I can’t seem to stop humming everywhere I go. There’s not a whole lot of meat to it, but the hook is really catchy and somewhat amusing. I’m hoping to see some more Miike in 2016.
12. “Sedonna”- Houndmouth
It’s 4:35 am. “Sedonna” is really pretty.
I still don’t know what hue “a Saturday night kinda pink”is…
13. “Losers”- The Weeknd
I will start by saying that any song that includes a horn wins points with me automatically.
What sets “Losers” apart from many other tracks on Beauty Behind the Madness, is the dynamic quality it has. The song begins as more of a soft ballad, crescendos into the chorus, and then shifts to a state of dominating vocals that pose interesting questions: “And now that we’re all grown up, who do we owe it to?” “And now that we all came up, do we lose? Do we lose?” After a life of growing and advancing, is there anything else to gain once we have reached our respective thrones?
“Hello, it’s me,” still writing.
“I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet,” and talk about how great Adele is? This lovely lady broke records with her album sales. She also made me cry with this song. *sniff* Beautiful.
15. “Deja Vu”- Giorgio Moroder, Sia
My guilty pleasure has always been disco or anything that is disco related. DJ Giorgio Moroder collaborated with Sia (from Australia, where all good music can be found) to make this upbeat disco pop track.
16. “Now”- Joywave
“Now” will be the song I remember hearing on the radio most frequently in 2015.
17. “Searching for A Devil”- In The Valley Below
For my 18th birthday, my friend and I went to see these folks live and what a performance! To put it lightly, the lead female singer was a bit frightening-mostly because she didn’t blink enough and every movement she made was delicate, controlled, and almost inhuman. Not to mention, what sounds like a tambourine in this song is actually a chain that she stood stoically shaking. She was lovely though, and she and her husband (the lead singer) had a wonderful on stage chemistry.
18. “Yes, I’m Changing”- Tame Impala
I was tempted to swap “Yes, I’m Changing” for “The Less I know, The Better” from Tame Impala’s album Currents but I found the former to be more applicable to my 2015 reflection. “They say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do. Yes I’m changing, can’t stop it now.
And even if I wanted I wouldn’t know how.”
19. “Black Sun”- Death Cab for Cutie
I was unbelievably excited when Death Cab for Cutie released an album this year. “Black Sun” got the number two spot on my list before I listened to anything else on this list. One of my favorite bands of all time.
20. “What Kind of Man”- Florence and the Machine
Saving the best for last…”What Kind of Man” by dear Florence- a medley of killer guitar pieces, prominent horns, and striking powerhouse vocals.
Oh, one last thought for the new year: “2016 is the year MGMT re-dominates your mind hole.” So ready.