Top 20 of 2015

In January just over two years ago, I started this blog with big dreams of expressing myself all over the Internet with thoughts on pop culture and art, and maybe some other things too. Turns out I didn't actually have that many thoughts, especially in 2015! One thing I did manage to do over the last two years is publish my list of my favourite songs of the year. Although last year's was criminally late - April! - I wanted to take the opportunity of having this final weekend in January free to write to continue the now annual tradition of blogging my Top 20 of 201X! In the real world this is now the sixth list I have compiled and I have listed the pre-blog years here, if you're interested.

This year I have gone deeper, and written a little bit about each song and its story in my year.

In no particular order, as always...

1 | My Shot - Hamilton/Lin-Manuel Miranda
So, if you're reading this and haven't heard about the new Broadway musical Hamilton yet a) who are you, you have clearly not spoken to me in the last three months? and b) go and listen to the soundtrack immediately. I am fairly confident that I will be writing extensively of my love for this musical at some point - ooh, maybe even a song-by-song analysis of the full soundtrack! - but until I do that I really can't devote enough words to it here. This song took officially-certified Genius and all-round awesome dude Lin-Manuel Miranda a whole year to write, and it is the most wonderful use of time I can think of. Every line has about fifteen layers of meaning and levels it works on, and you can read about all of them here.

2 | Shutdown - Skepta
I <3 London. And that bit in the middle that describes the most exciting moment at the BRITs by a mile is too real. Can't wait for the album!

3 | Desire - Years & Years
I am now officially starting to get old and all the lastest music fads all pass me by and leave me cold so it's a surprise to me as much as anybody else how much I loved Years & Years last year. I first heard them on Radio 1 winning the Sound Of 2015; this was the song they played and I immediately loved it. More later.

4 | Get Better - Frank Turner
Frank Turner is arguably deserving of a Taylor-Swift-style awkward autobiographical post on here, but it would be considerably shorter. Incidentally, I sometimes lie awake at night in disbelief that I have willingly put that on the Internet forever, but I'm also a total nerd and we are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff that we love, so there we go. Basically I first heard a song by Frank just after starting at university ('Long Live The Queen') and loved it. Being both very busy and very surrounded by music I already knew and liked, I didn't dig any further until I saw his set at Reading on television in 2013, and fell completely in love with every song I heard. He had a new album - Positive Songs For Negative People - out in 2015, and I listened and listened and listened to it, and this was one of my favourite songs from it. I saw him live for the first time last year, at Alexandra Palace, and then rounded off the year by winning a ticket to this and it was truly perfection.

5 | FourFiveSeconds - Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney
I really, really, really enjoyed this song last year. I will always have time for Rihanna and Kanye and Paul.

6 | I Really Like You - Carly Rae Jepsen
I can't pretend this song spoke to my very soul but sometimes I kind of think it might be the best pop song produced in the last ten years. Three and a half minutes of pure, sweet sugary joy. Doesn't get better than this.

7 | Talking Body - Tove Lo
One night in 2015 my wonderful housemate and I were gearing up to go on a night out, getting dressed up and excited, and a remix of this song was playing on repeat all evening and in the end we just didn't even leave the house, and it was maybe the best night of the year. This song reminds me of fun, spontaneous times spent with friends. Or rather, that one fun spontaneous time spent with one friend. Woo!

8 | Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding
Okay, no this might be the best pop song of the last ten years.This was originally sent to me by another wonderful friend as a song that our 14-year-old selves would have listened to while pining after boys. And we totally would have done.

9 | Up - Ollie Murs feat. Demi Lovato
Two of my favourites can do no wrong. I've never listened to any albums by either of these two but just noticed one day that neither has ever released a single I didn't like. Also, my sister once told me my Demi impression during this song was 'actually quite good'. So yeahhh.

10 | Fight Song - Rachel Platten
In 2015 there were plenty of good moments which shouldn't be overlooked, but overall I didn't have much fun. It was a Not Fun year for a few reasons. I don't want to get too cheesy or emo but from the moment I first heard this song over the summer, it really spoke to me and where I was at the time, and gave me a lot of encouragement to keep going. It really was my Fight Song, and it really helped me in 2015. I have still got a lot of fight left in me.

11 | Elastic Heart - Sia
The video has over a billion views, so you've probably seen it. It's just an excellent song.

12 | When We Were Young - Adele
She's BAAAAAACK. I was a bit slow to get on board with the whole Adele comeback (because I'm an idiot) but I spent all of December crying-emoji to this song. I am maaaaaad I'm getting old it makes me reckless. I imagine I'll probably spend 2016 listening to 25 and feeling nostalgic for, like, two years ago. Gosh, this is a good song. Waaah.

13 | Wait For It - Hamilton/Leslie Odom Jr.
I could have made this whole list songs from Hamilton but I'd have had to cut half of them out anyway, so I tried to be very discerning in my choices. This song is the moment the sort-of antagonist of the story, Aaron Burr, starts coming across as a complex, interesting, sympathetic character. I feel like you could play this song entirely out of context for almost anyone, and they would be able to hear that it is an undeniably excellent song, by any standard. Impeccably written, impeccably performed, impeccably produced - it's wonderful. I'll be listening to it for years to come.

14 | WILD - Troye Sivan
I'm not actually a 14-year-old girl, and yet I think this song by YouTube wunderkind Troye Sivan is a very good song. It makes me feel like I'm driving along an ocean road at sunset in balmy heat towards an exciting future. It makes me feel like I'm a character in The OC. It makes me feel feelings. And that's nothing to be ashamed of.

15 | Shine - Years & Years
So, after enjoying the singles of Years & Years for a few months, I read this great review of their recently-released album, Communion and thought it would probably be worth having a listen. I downloaded it there and then, and it is indeed a brilliant album. It marries up emotional, meaningful lyrics with beautiful, dreamy synths, and upbeat tracks and what I'm saying is it's basically good pop music. I was listening to it on repeat for weeks when my new colleague/friend/one of the unexpected joys of my year asked me one day at work if I liked them and if I would want to go and see them at the Brixton Academy. I said, "yes and yes!" and a month or so later, I had one of the best nights of year at a concert full of very cool teenagers, and it was such a joy. Yay Y&Y! This song was a bit too ubiquitous in 2015, but that's just because it's so darn good. "It's you that I've been waiting to find <3"

16 | We Are All Batpeople - Hank Green & John Green feat.The Gregory Brothers
I know literally nobody who has heard this song (aside from the handful of baffled friends I have forced it upon) but I love it. It is essentially just a YouTube video joke that I heard on a day when I was sad and it cheered me up, and hasn't stopped doing so since. Anytime I feel a bit down it has a knack of coming on shuffle and making me smile.

17 | Jealous - Nick Jonas
No, wait maybe this is the best pop song of the last ten years!

18 | Girl From Sweden - Eric Saade
I think this video has to be seen to be understood. This was my jam for the few months I hit the gym in 2015 (that's what I was doing instead of blogging... Hahaa).

19 | Want To Want Me - Jason Derulo
Every year or so, Jason Derulo comes out with an absolute banger, and this was one of those years. YES Jason!

20 | 2Shy - Shura
I first heard this song as covered by Mumford and Sons on the Live Lounge, and thought it was wonderful. The original is even more lovely. I have walked along the Uxbridge Road! I am shy! I particularly enjoy the opening few bars that sound like early 2000's-era Britney Spears.

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