10) ‘Stronger’ – Clean Bandit
Clean Bandit were number 9 on my list last year with ‘Rather Be’, and they are here again just one place lower with ‘Stronger’. This soaring, sophisticated and uplifting ballad featured Alex Newell and Sean Bass on vocals.
9) ‘Uptown Funk’ – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
There’s always a bias towards recency when you do these lists, and unfortunately that means songs like this can suffer. It is one of the biggest selling tracks of 2015 in the UK, but it came out at the end of last year. To be fair, it still sounds good despite overplaying. It’s great, it’s fun, it’s classy, it deserved to be the big hit it was.
8) ‘See You Again’ – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
While I can’t claim to have much of a fan connection to The Fast and the Furious film series (I didn’t see any until this year, I thought they were alright), I found this song very moving. Paul Walker’s death was a tragedy. He was a nice person by all accounts and died in a horrific accident at a relatively young age. ‘See You Again’ is a very well produced song which struck a chord with a lot of people.
7) ‘If You Love Someone’ – The Veronicas
Australian pop-rock duo The Veronicas released this track. The song is about changing and “finding a voice” in general, but has hints of supporting political causes, such as conservation. But a lot of people can relate their own personal problems with it. For me, it spoke to me as it could be applied to coming out or being more confident in yourself generally.
6) ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ – Jess Glynne
Jess Glynne has done very well this year, with this being her biggest hit. Her vocal performance on this is brilliant. This track got my through much of the last half of this year. Sometimes when you’re stressful about your present, regretful about your past and fearful about your future, songs like this can be helpful. I was surprised at just how helpful this track was actually!
5) ‘Eyes Shut’ – Years & Years
OK, I know ‘King’ was the big hit for Years & Years, but I liked this one more, and it’s my list. The original version of this track had an intriguing, electronic production, but I prefer the album/single version. ‘Eyes Shut’ as a piano ballad is absolutely beautiful, and showcases Olly Alexander’s voice more. It is very smooth and distinctive, and has a vulnerability to it which conveys the lyrics of their songs.
4) ‘Giant Peach’ – Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice – ‘Giant Peach’ reminds me of two works of literature I studied while growing up. The band is of course named after the short story Wolf Alice by Angela Carter, which I read in college and uni, while Giant Peach reminds me of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach which was read to us in Infant School and we had to paint a picture of the giant peach on the sea with the seagulls flying it. Wolf Alice are one of the best bands around at the moment, it is great that they seem to be getting more and more successful, and this track was one of the most interesting to come out this year.
3) ‘Ship To Wreck’ – Florence + The Machine
I was surprised this didn’t get more radio airplay than it did, it sounded great listening on my iPod. ‘Ship To Wreck’ is about being self-destructive and has the familiar motifs of water and the sea Florence + The Machine like, such as killer whales and ships, though I think my favourite line wasn’t water related. “Thousands of red-eyed mice scratching at the door”.
2) ‘Hello’ – Adele
Adele had her work cut out following 21, but she more than managed it. ‘Hello’ was a huge hit. Admittedly it being this high may well be another case of bias towards recency, as songs which come out near the end of the year when people make these lists tend to be more fresh in their minds. But ‘Hello’ has great vocals, an arty video, gorgeous music and production and emotional lyrics, and while it’s all very dramatic, it all fits together.
1) ‘Shut Up And Dance’ – Walk The Moon
When I first heard this song, I thought Walk The Moon were British at first! Not only that, but I thought they were Northern English. They seem like just the sort of band that would come from there. They are actually from the Midwest in America, namely Cincinnati in Ohio. This was my summer song this year, it’s fun and the colourful, cartoonish video perfectly illustrates it. I think this track, and certainly the video, would be a perfect fit to be used in Peter Kay’s Car Share.