Thanks to everyone who participated in the the 2015 music survey. As always, I ask my friends and family to tell me about their favorite songs, albums, and artists of the year, and they always come through with great stuff. Many songs I’ve heard before, so I give them a second listen. And of course, it’s always fun to listen to new songs, too. Here are the results of the survey from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Wow, this is becoming a thing!
Here’s a Spotify playlist with most of the responses, as well as a few of my favorite songs. Go listen to it, and read below:
Here are 10 selected thoughts about the year in music:
- Friends seemed to think it was a good year for music. Stacy from CA said 2015 made her excited about music again, and Criss in Summit, NJ said: “No single hands-down classic song in 2015 for me, but it was a really good, diverse mix of genres this year with a lot of nostalgic throwbacks as well as some forward-leaning electronic music – really had something for everyone this year!”
- I don’t love any albums from 2015 (yet), but I like a lot. My favorites are all from female singers. They are:
- E-MO-TION from Carly Rae Jepsen. Way way better than I thought it would be, with at least 5 great, fun songs. Run Away With Me, E-MO-TION, I Really Like You, Boy Problems, and Let’s Get Lost were my favorites.
- How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful from Florence + The Machine. Every song is good, even the iTunes hidden tracks. Ship to Wreck is one of my favorite songs of 2015.
- Sometimes I Sit… from Courtney Barnett. Josh from San Jose, CA says: “It is, by far, the best album I have heard thisyear. The first time I heard it, I said it was going to be number one on my list, and that was a long time ago. The songwriting is incredible, and the playing is great too. Some of the best songs of the year are on here (start with “Pedestrian at Best”).”
- Sara Bareilles’s soundtrack to the musical Waitress. According to Sarah from Boston, MA: “She has always sounded like she was singing a musical soundtrack, so this seems like it should be her exact wheelhouse and she didn’t disappoint.”
- Okay, those were actually my 2nd through 5th favorite albums of 2015. My actual favorite album of the year is They Want my Soul from Spoon. Technically late 2014, but I already talked about it last year, so I didn’t want to count it again. But it was my favorite, and produced my favorite song of the year (the title song).
- The most mentioned songs by friends were I Can’t Feel my Face by The Weeknd; Hello by Adele; Renegades by X Ambassadors; Hotline Bling by Drake, and Sugar by Maroon 5. I think that’s a pretty good People’s Choice Top 5, if only because it gives me a chance to link to this.
- I didn’t get into Justin Bieber, but my friends did. Says Sarah from Boston, MA: “I know he’s a churlish little turd but his new album is undeniable.” And from Canadian Jennifer: “I can’t decide whether to be embarrassed I like three Justin Bieber songs, proud that he’s Canadian, impressed that he’s done this major image makeover, or just not overthink it and enjoy the damn songs.” Don’t overthink it.
- Adele is always a hit. The SNL skit is the truth. Why? “Because it’s Adele,” says Victoria from Austin, TX. Jennifer from Pasadena, CA said it was worth the four-year wait. And Christina from Sacramento, CA said Hello is a “beautiful, well written song that has haunting lyrics most people can relate to.” I’m personally still deciding how I feel about the album. It’s good “because it’s Adele”, like Victoria says, and she can sing anything, but I think the album is less consistent than her previous two, so I’ll give it more time in the cans (that’s what cool people call headphones FYI).
- There was some good country music this year, but I didn’t really notice until some friends pointed it out. Jenn in San Francisco, CA loved Cam‘s album and Lesley in Tacoma, WA said Kacey Musgraves‘ is great from start to finish. Suzi in Meridian, ID loved Eric Church‘s song Wrecking Ball. I listened to all of them for the first time recently and really liked them. For most of the year, I tried to like Chris Stapleton and Watkins Family Hour but didn’t really connect–maybe I should have asked my friends for their recs earlier.
- Laura in Bowling Green, KY really liked Sleater-Kinney‘s and La Luz‘s new albums, one aggressive and the other moody. We both really liked Natalie Prass who I guess would be described as chamber pop. Her voice is kind of love-it-or-hate-it, but give Birds of Prey a shot; not many pop songs end with a 2-minute orchestra jam, and a beautiful one at that.
- Other things I thought were good:
- Lianne La Havas‘s What You Don’t Do. A beautiful song.
- James Bay‘s album
- Tori Kelly‘s voice
- My guilty pleasure: Fun by the unholy marriage of Pitbull and Chris Brown. I couldn’t bold their names, sorry. Couldn’t do it. Can’t do it.
- I wanted to write something interesting about Coldplay, but here’s all I have: The only way for me to enjoy their music from this decade is to forget they made Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head about 15 years ago. Those albums expanded the type of music that was available at the time in the pop/post-alternative space, at least to me. Conversely, their last few albums are like Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but their last few albums feel like they are geared towards teenagers. I’m waiting for the Chris Martin action figures. Sometimes you want your bands to grow up with you. However, they are fantastic live performers who really give it their all, so I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl halftime show.
That’s all I have. Thanks for participating and enjoy the music and 2016.