The 'Shroom:Issue 105/The Best Songs of 2015
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Before I get started on my traditional best-of-the-year list, it's time to talk about some tracks that could be described with a different adjective...
|WORST SONG OF THE YEAR
|It's sort of like if Reddit was a person, and he decided to make an inspirational rap song. Also, at the end of the video, he and his acolytes reject society and go live half-naked in a forest, so there's that.
|MOST BAFFLING SONG OF THE YEAR
|Tyler, The Creator
|Industrial hip hop
|My first thought upon hearing this song was that Tyler appears to be under the impression that the way to sound like Death Grips is to turn up the volume on every instrument to the point where it all sounds like a mess of static. Whether that's the case or not, it actually made me think differently about the potential of compression, noise, and distortion and really inspired me to change the direction of the music I've been working on. It's certainly not good, but it's too interesting to be bad, and it remains the song I've listened to the most off the album, so it gets the spot of 'most baffling.'
|THE BEST SONGS OF 2015
|Love that eerie synth line. I'm very excited to see what these guys do in the future.
|Indie folk, indie rock
|This song really gets to me. I found it during probably the most depressing part of the year, so it's tied to some ugly memories, but it's very pretty.
|Indie country, indie rock
|A fun, upbeat track about crushing depression and existential horror.
|Alternative hip hop
|Incredible song, incredible video. Vince really came through this year.
|Experimental pop, noise pop, R&B
|I have no idea what fka twigs is doing but it is great.
|"Flesh Without Blood"
|I'm glad this album's gotten her so much acclaim. She deserves it.
|It's good to have Blur back.
|Pop rock, nerd rock
|An instantly-likable ode to getting drunk and passing out alone while watching Robocop.
|Alternative hip hop, horrorcore
|This album grew on me a lot. Lot of tracks that could have gotten this spot- I almost went with "Faucet" or "Mantra," but "Grief" got the spot due to its fantastically inventive beat that samples the creaking sound caused by extreme lossiness in an .mp3 file.
|"Of Course We Knew"
|Post-rock, indie rock
|A glorious, crushing conclusion to Modest Mouse's sixth (and, as always, deeply divisive) album. It actually uses the loudness war/brickwalling effect to its benefit, making Isaac Brock's voice sound so crushed and distant that it amplifies the emotional effect. Note: A lot of other tracks from this album could've gotten this slot- "Sugar Boats" was the biggest contender. It's just a great album. I recommend it.
|"Still Want You"
|This was a late edition to the list. I've always liked the Killers, but I really, really did not expect a solo release from lead singer Brandon Flowers to be one of my favorite albums of the year. It's just so gloriously over-the-top and '80s! It's great!
|Progressive rock, indie rock
|I'm putting them together, since they're essentially one song, combined by a flawless transition that turns them into the centerpiece of one of indie rock's best and most underrated albums of 2015. These guys just keep getting better and weirder.
|Father John Misty
|"Chateau Lobby #4"
|Indie country, indie pop
|The most lovable hipster douchebag in indie rock takes a break from his endless cynicism with this stunningly beautiful, deeply romantic track about his wife. Somehow love songs mean more when they come from unexpected places.
|In a just world, this song would be destroying the charts. CHVRCHES are the masters of perky synth-pop, and they proved it again this year with their fantastic sophomore release. I mean, wow, I really love this song. It is everything a pop song should be. I could've picked any number of songs off this amazing album - "Playing Dead?" "Keep You on My Side?" "High Enough to Carry You Over?" So many good songs. But this one is my favorite.
|I literally dropped what I was doing the first time I heard this song. I didn't expect A$AP Rocky to deliver a song this emotional or just downright beautiful. But god damn if he didn't pull it off. I've never done LSD, but if I ever do, I'll put this song on first.
|"Why a Bitch Gotta Lie"
|Industrial hip hop
|Jenny Death when? Jenny Death now. And it was worth the wait.
|The Mountain Goats
|I am just a sucker for an incongruously upbeat song about horrific acts of violence. This song is about stabbing someone in the eye! And it's the happiest song of all the songs about stabbing people in their eyes.
|"Carrie and Lowell"
|God, this song is haunting. I already loved it, but when I paid attention to the lyrics it became almost unbearably emotional. The way it cuts between Sufjan's childhood memories of his mother and his current grief as he drunkenly stumbles around his Oregon hotel room is just devastating. And musically it's perfect too, the way there's this brief moment of uplift in the chorus and then it just drops out to the sound of the ocean before cutting back in. And that last line... "she breaks my arm." It just stops there. It stabs you in the gut and then leaves you, devastating in the same way as the final "and he takes, and he takes, and he takes" in "Casimir Pulaski Day."
|Alternative hip hop, G-funk
|Hell yeah! Kendrick comes through with an all-time great hip-hop anthem, a highlight track in one of the finest albums of the decade thus far. I'm incredibly excited for whatever he does next- he's made two near-perfect albums, what's next? Can he top them? I don't know, but it's gonna be one hell of a journey finding out.
|Sun Kil Moon
|"Garden of Lavender"
|"Garden of Lavender" is basically just about dying plants but there's just such a deep, aching sadness to it and the melody is so beautiful that it seems to be about so much more. For me it feels like a loss-of-innocence thing, longing for a time when he was younger and a better person and less beaten down and able to appreciate something as simple as a beautiful garden. It doesn't feel like nostalgia- it feels like real, burning grief. He sounds like a sick, damaged old man trying to hang onto the one thing he hasn't destroyed or driven way. And talk about a slow-burn- it's ten minutes long but somehow earns every second. The melody and lyrical topic shifts and shifts but always ends up pulled back to that central guitar riff and the titular garden, like when you're trying not to think about something that's really upsetting you but you end up returning to it over and over. When the banjos and harmonies come in toward the end it's the perfect emotional payoff. Just such a good song. One of my all-time favorites, and in my opinion the best song of the year.