Year In Review: Saam Das' Top Forty Tracks Of 2015 [Part One: 40-21]

on Thursday, December 31, 2015
Words: Saam Das

Originally, this was going to be a list of top ten tracks of 2015. Then a top twenty of 2015. Now it's a chart-worthy top 40. Apparently there's just been too many good songs this year. Not a bad problem to have. Some ground rules: only one track per artist, and all tracks should have been released (or had their videos published) in 2015 for the first time.

40: Jeff Richmond - 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Theme

You probably didn't expect this to appear in a list of best tracks of 2015. Especially not a song that lasts about thirty seconds. But both Jeff Richmond's version and the extended Gregory Bros remix were joyously effervescent and well suited for one of the better TV shows of the year.

39: Youth Warrant - 'Shake'

Youth Warrant appeared on my favourite songs of 2014 so it's not that surprising they're back again - this time with the sun-kissed party vibes of 'Shake'.

38: Anna B Savage - 'I'

Successfully teaming up with DM Stith for her debut EP, which immediately marked her as an intriguing prospect. Rousing opener 'I' was a particular highlight, with Savage's warm vocals contrasting her introspective and deeply personal lyrics.

37: Spector - All The Sad Young Men (Fairewell Remix)

'All The Sad Young Men' made many Spector naysayers sit up and take note. This remix from Johnny White in his Fairewell guise beautifully sways and swirls into arguably a dancefloor-befitting synth smash.

36: Stealing Sheep - 'Apparition'

Sure, the Morris-dancer-themed video was one of the most notable music videos of 2015, but to focus on that aspect would detract from the engaging and hypnotic quality of Stealing Sheep's song itself. Their 'Not Real' album from earlier in the year is also well worth a visit.

35: Day Wave - 'Total Zombie'

Even I can get a bit tired of some of the more "trending"/"blogosphere" acts that turn up from time to time so I unfairly turned my back on Jackson Phillips. His Day Wave project was not only responsible for this excellent lo-fi track, but The Drums-meets-Arcade-Fire offering 'Drag' also.

34: Braids - 'Miniskirt'

"I’m not a man-eater, I enjoy them like cake. But in my position I’m the slut, I’m the bitch, I’m the whore, the one you hate." Braids entered 2015 with a bang, and album 'Deep In The Iris' built on the promise of this track - a worthy nomination for Canada's Polaris Music Prize.

33: Brett - 'Street Cleaning'

There's something unexpectedly magical about Brett's dreamy piece of electro-laden slacker pop. The handclaps and vocal hooks probably help.

32: Roseau - 'Grab'

Roseau's debut album had some big tracks on it, but the synthy 'Grab' was especially arresting - opening with the line "I'm fucking sick", which I re-interpreted as an inspirational quote.

31: True Adventures - 'North Atlantic Ocean'

"Everyone is moving to London, what am I gonna do now?" The folky 'North Atlantic Ocean' managed to tenderly juxtapose a sense of hope with a sense of being a bit lost in the world.

30: White Sea - 'Never A Woman'

Slowly but surely moving out of the shadow of her M83 collaborations, thanks to tracks like 'Never A Woman'. It may start off relatively subdued but this eighties throwback soon takes its listeners on a wild and wondrous journey.

29: Everything Everything - 'No Reptiles'

One of several highlights from their latest album 'Get To Heaven', 'No Reptiles' was perhaps responsible for my favourite lyric of 2015: "It's alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair, old enough to run".

28: Al Bairre - 'Hi'/'Julia'

South African outfit Al Bairre were one of my most welcome surprises of this year's Great Escape festival in Brighton, and this live video of 'Julia' (and its prelude, 'Hi') is an adequate demonstration of how easily loveable these rogues are.

27: Sebastian Kole - 'Hello'

I still can't quite believe that my post about this track back in October blew up - 500 Facebook likes, and seeing a track go from quite literally about a dozen plays to over two million. And it's well deserved success for Kole, who co-wrote one of the year's biggest songs in Alessia Cara's 'Here', and whose version of Adele's 'Hello' feels even more emotive than the original.

26: Oh Wonder - 'Landslide'

I'm never that enamoured with the anonymous approach that many artists opt for these days, so it took a while for Oh Wonder to win me over. But it's probably not that surprising that I enjoyed their work, having liked some of their previous projects We The Wild and Jose Vanders - the latter was one of our tips for 2008! 'Landslide' felt like one of the most heartfelt tracks to appear in 2015.

25: Georgia - 'Move Systems'

Georgia's 2015 debut album was a shade too inconsistent for my liking but still contained some right bangers - including the percussive and chaotic 'Move Systems'.

24: Port Isla - 'A.L.I.V.E'

I've been trying to adopt Port Isla's battle cry from 'A.L.I.V.E' of "we never look back" in 2015, which isn't working quite as well as I'd like but nonetheless an uplifting sentiment that echoes the band's anthemic qualities.

23: Oh Land - 'Flags'

Admittedly, 'Flags' comes from a 2014 album, 'Earth Sick', but conveniently it received a charmingly low budget video in 2015, allowing the bouncy number entry on this list. Plus, I make up the rules for this anyway.

22: Charli XCX - 'So Over You'

Cruelly (for those who missed out) left off certain international editions of her second album, 'Sucker', 'So Over You' felt like vintage Charli XCX - vibrant and in your face.

21: CHVRCHES - 'Empty Threat'

CHVRCHES seem well on the way to music-based world domination, and with bouncy tracks like 'Empty Threat', it's easy to see why. One of the best from one of the year's best albums, 'Every Open Eye'.

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