Listen. / music

Songs of 2015.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – ‘S.O.B.’- ‘S.O.B.’ makes giving into your demons a rollicking good time. Nathaniel Rateliff’s vocals are powerful and lend the simple lyrics strength and soul. This song is nearly impossible not to dance and clap along to, great for parties and cooking up a good mood.

Suggestion by K. Hules.

Kendrick Lamar-‘u’– Kendrick Lamar will change hip hop forever, and ‘u’ will be one of the songs that did it. It is an open discussion with oneself about the possibility of ending one’s life, for fear of dealing with deep seated issues of insecurity and guilt over leaving home. A frantic and cacophonous soliloquy about the emptiness of money and fame in the face of inner turmoil.

Suggestion by Evan Nyarady.

The Fratellis- ‘Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!’– Scottish rockers The Fratellis have changed up and smoothed down their roughly manic form of rock on their new album Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, and it works beautifully. The entire album is worth listening to, but ‘Baby Don’t You Lie To Me!’ stands out with its amazing speed and for making a father telling his teenage daughter off fun to listen to.

Suggestion by K. Hules.

Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield- “Baby Britain”– Longtime Elliott Smith fans, a warning: this cover may deviate a bit too much. When Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield released an album covering Smith songs in March, some loyal Smith fans argued the pair watered down the style and sound that made him special. The album’s opening track “Baby Britain” begins acoustic and soft, straying from the upbeat, poppy original. It lets listeners know what to expect from the album: slower, more haunting versions of Elliott Smith favorites. Like each song, “Baby Britain” is a lovely tribute through the voice of two talented Smith fans. And for some, this album was an introduction to Smith’s work, which is a pretty great addition to their musical lives.

Suggestion by Kate J. Gonzales.

twenty one pilots-‘Lane Boy’– With the release of their new album Blurryface, twenty one pilots has exploded on to the music scene. This is another fantastic album where every song is worth a listen but ‘Lane Boy’ stands out due to its barefaced [and catchy] lyrics about the music industry. Lines like “Honest, there’s a few songs on this record that feel common…In the industry it seems to me that singles on the radio are currency” are sang and rapped in unusual, almost messy rhythms that somehow resolve nicely. Twenty one pilots is a really exciting band and are definitely worth checking out if you are interested in atypical melodies, rhythms, and lyric structures.

Suggestion by K. Hules.

Lukas Graham- ‘7 years’– In the past few years a majority of songs released have fallen under the genre of rap, hip hop, and rock, etc. As of 2015, this is changing, favoring more folk, blues, and R&B. ‘7 years’ is in this new wave of pop folk. It tells a story of Graham and his band’s journey through life. Similar to ‘100 years’ by Five for Fighting, the song is quiet but upbeat, offering a glimpse into the singer’s past, present, and future. Another great song of his is ‘Mama Said,’ it’s a little bit more upbeat and “catchy.”

Suggestion by Heather Uroff.

Elle King-Ex’s and Oh’s– King’s voice is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and her song’s instrumentation is funky. ‘Ex’s and Oh’s’ is a modern blues song fueled by real instruments augmented with interesting effects. The song has a neat little guitar solo too, which is rare in pop these days.

Suggestion by Ryan Stewart.

Leon Bridges-‘River’-Leon Bridges’ premiere album, Coming Home, closes on the most gorgeous song from this collection. River is slow and simple, so Bridges’ vocal talent and rich harmonies with backup singers can shine, uninterrupted. The powerful song about redemption couples with the title song, Coming Home, together making great bookends for one of the best albums of 2015 for anyone who loves an old-school, Motown-inspired sound.

Suggestion by Kate J. Gonzales.

The 1975-‘Love Me’– ‘Love Me’ sounds like it came off a modern Oingo Boingo album. The funky song uses autotune to tastefully augment the vocals instead of compensating for a singer’s lack of skill. The guitar work evokes some of Prince’s catchier numbers.

Suggestion by Ryan Stewart.

SWMRS-‘Miley’– Formerly the pop-punk band Emily’s Army, SWMRS has taken a whole new turn as a surf punk alternative band, taking the world by storm with their two track single ‘Miley’/’Uncool.’ My personal favorite out of the two is ‘Miley.’ The acoustic chord buildup leads into an exciting chorus: “You bring the bleach, I’ll bring chlorine…”Makes me want to dye my hair listening to it.

Suggestion by Vi Mayugba.

Edited and compiled by K. Hules.

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