[Ellis O’Connell | Contributing Writer]
2015 has seen some fab pop music. It saw The Weeknd ensuring we couldn’t feel our faces and Justin Bieber relentlessly apologising. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez tried to keep her hands to herself as Little Mix cast a catchy black magic spell. 2016 is just around the corner (I know, I can’t believe it too), but for the time being, here are the best 20 songs of the year.
But first, a 21st – because this song is just too good to miss out. Think of this as an honourable mention.
~21.~ Years & Years – Shine
Look, the thing is, I don’t necessarily like Years & Years as people. But, I’m willing to overlook that over how incredible this song is.
Right, okay, the top 20.
20. Troye Sivan – WILD
YouTuber-come-popstar Troye Sivan has enjoyed a fab 2015. What better lead single for his album than a mellow-but-better, and more meaningful, version of Katy Perry’s “Roar”?
19. Alessia Cara – Here
I’m pretty sure nearly everyone has felt like Alessia does here. Understated sadbanger. Side note: this is a hit to watch out for here in the UK during 2016.
18. Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
Definitely not an answer song to Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t”, the last chorus is truly impeccable.
17. Charli XCX – Doing It (feat. Rita Ora)
ALL HAIL THE QUEENS OF BRITISH POP MUSIC EXPORT (minus an “& Jess Glynne” shoved on the end). The Rita version isn’t just there for brand image, it genuinely improves the vocals; the “X. C-X. With the R-I-T. AAAY.” outro is brilliant. Thank you, Rita.
16. Major Lazer x DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)
You’ve got to feel sorry for DJ Snake and his anonymity; ‘Turn Down for What” was “by Lil Jon” and “Lean On” is “by Major Lazer”. Poor DJ Snake. Anyway, MØ sounds great and this song is a banger.
15. Snakehips – All My Friends (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper)
Serving as a sequel, or prequel, to Tinashe’s equally-as-amazing “2 On”, I think we can all ~relate~ to this song. It also happens to sound incredible.
14. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
The tweens will think he’s just a really happy person. Anyone older will understand the euphemistic and metaphorical undertones. One of Max Martin’s greatest productions this year, it catapulted The Weeknd to bona fide popstar status.
13. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
What a year Carly Rae Jepsen has had. Yes, this is the “Call Me Maybe 2.0” that her label wanted for the first single, but it’s still a banger.
12. Hailee Steinfeld – Love Myself
This sonic embodiment of self-empowerment is definitely not one extended euphemism. Definitely not…
11. Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)
This song probably saved Justin’s career. Bop.
10. Justin Bieber – Sorry
Ah, more Justin; but I don’t think anyone minds. This song is almost as fantastic as Scooter Braun’s year-long apology campaign to get the public to like Bieber again. I think we can forgive you, Justin.
9. Nick Jonas – Jealous (feat. Tinashe)
Nick J. Tinashe. Would this song have reached number one had this been the version that was released? Probably. Would this have meant that Tinashe’s “2 On” could have actually done something here? Probably. Ah well, this is still an extremely good song. One word: harmonies.
8. Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type
The second-best Jeppo single this year, this song was a moment live. The gargantuan kick into the chorus is true euphoria. Need I say more?
7. Tove Lo – Talking Body
I do love Tove Lo. Primarily a songwriter, she wrote so many songs she didn’t want to give away she just made an album out of them and became a very good popstar. Amazing. This is one of her best.
6. Selena Gomez – Hands to Myself
Selena has had a bloody good 2015, hasn’t she? Having transformed into a mature, seriously-taken popstar, here we have, in all its “imeanicouldbutwhywouldiwantto?” glory, “Hands to Myself”.
5. Little Mix – Black Magic
Little Mix seem to have inadvertently become one of the UK’s biggest pop entities. “Black Magic” was their key to shaking off any they’re-just-a-girl group tags. It’s also given us the best dance move of the year in the form of the choreography to the “HEY!”s.
4. Demi Lovato – Cool for the Summer
Can you imagine anyone else singing “Cool for the Summer”? I certainly can’t. You’ve got to hand it to Demi, she really goes for it; the sucker punch pre-chorus builds perfectly to a completely anthemic chorus. Also, it possesses probably the most brash, straight-to-the-point artwork I’ve seen this year.
3. Zara Larsson – Lush Life
Basically, you can read me gushing about this song here and you’ll understand why it deserves to be the third best of the year. Side note: this is going to explode in the UK in January.
2. Taylor Swift – Style
Take the best album of the past 3 years. Right, now take the best song from that album. Release it as a single. Ta-daa *jazz hands*.
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away with Me
Look, people are probably sick of me advocating this song, but in a better parallel universe somewhere, this song is officially the 2015 Song of the Summer. It’s the perfect, euphoric four-minute “fuck it, let’s go”, us-against-the-world anthem since Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”.
From the opening saxophone blast – that could quite literally blow every other song on this list out of the way – you just know you’re in for something special. Mattman & Robin (who produced “Hands to Myself” and “Love Myself”) and Shellback (who handled “Style” and “Talking Body”) provide the progressive production, subtly building until… until the chorus kicks you in the face with a pair of football boots.
“BAY-BEH. TAKE ME. TO THE. FEELING.” Good. Bye.
“RUN AWAY WITH ME. RUN AWAY WITH ME.” Inscribe it on my tombstone.
It may have not been a hit, but Carly has managed to capture something magical with “Run Away with Me”. “I Really Like You” was just the bridge to bigger and better things, coming in the form of “Run”. This song is the smash hit that never was; this song is the epitome of travelling on a whim without a destination; this song is what falling in love feels like. Thank you, Carly.
What was your song of the year? Tweet it to us at @TridentMediaUK