- “Hotline Bling” – Drake
Over the last few years, Drake has slowly perfected his sound and flow as a rapper and singer. “Hotline Bling” is a track largely inspired by the Beyonce-approved song “Cha Cha” by Virginian rapper D.R.A.M. Its main melodic element, which samples Timmy Thomas’s “Why We Can’t Live Together,” rightfully sounds like a cellphone ringtone from the early 2000s. Paired with Drake’s emotional delivery, this song is the most memorable and catchy song of the year.
- Sweetie Little Jean – Cage the Elephant
The Nashville-based alternative rock band has created some of the most enduring tracks on alternative radio of the past eight years. While producer Dan Auerbach of “The Black Keys” seemed to have had a little too much to do with the writing process of lead single “Mess Around” of Cage’s new album “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” “Sweetie Little Jean” proves more rewarding. The chords used in the chorus are reminiscent of those in their hit “Come a Little Closer,” while the verses contain the bittersweet feel of Beatles’ gem “Penny Lane.” These melodic elements, paired with lyrics by lead singer Matt Shultz about a true story of the murder of a little girl, make this song a highlight of “Tell Me I’m Pretty” and of 2015 as a whole.
- “stranger than earth” – Purity Ring
Canadian duo “Purity Ring” released their first album “Shrines” in 2012, featuring producer Corin Roddick’s signature melodic and ethereal hip hop beats. In “stranger than earth,” a trap-inspired cut from Purity Ring’s new album “another eternity,” lead singer Megan James’ beautiful melodies and poetic lyrics, matched with Roddick’s slow-burning instrumental create a both haunting and gorgeous little world similar to their wonderful and eerie first album.
- “I Love You Honeybear” (Artist Father John Misty, Album: “I Love You Honeybear”)
Father John Misty’s first song off his breakout album “I Love You Honeybear” is an incredible start to an incredible album. It starts off with a light piano riff, which builds to a whole band backing Misty’s booming voice. Misty writes all of his songs incredibly intelligently, using clever lyrics and a simple chord progression. For these reasons “I Love You Honeybear” is the best song of 2015.
- “King Kunta” (Artist: Kendrick Lamar, Album: “To Pimp A Butterfly”)
In March, Kendrick Lamar released “To Pimp A Butterfly,” a critically acclaimed album. The one track that really stands out on this album is“King Kunta.” This is the type of track that once you hear it, it will be challenging to stop playing it. The song features a precise baseline, and Lamar’s clever lyrics diss his competitors. “King Kunta” is a track that can not be missed.
- “I Lost My Mind (+@)” (Artist: Titus Andronicus, Album: “The Most Lamentable Tragedy”)
“I Lost My Mind” begins with lead man Patrick Stickles’ voice over simple piano chords. As the fifth track in the 29-song Punk Rock Opera, it tells the story of an unnamed character losing his mind. The track features a heavy bassline and big guitar chords that bind together to make great backing instrumentals. “I Lost My Mind” is one of the highpoints of this amazing album.