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albums2015

“I’m too hot, hot damn! Call the police and a fireman.” Ring any bells? Of course it does. Uptown Funk will most likely go down in history as 2015’s biggest hit and no doubt Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars will have bought themselves plenty of ‘Chucks & Saint Laurent’ for  Christmas.

Besides this stonker 2015 will probably be remembered for OMI finding himself a Cheerleader, for Drake sharing his late night cellphone habits with us in Hotline Bling (this version is way better!), for Adele’s long awaited return (Lionel Richie much?) and for the sudden acceptance of Justin Bieber as a ‘grown up pop artist’ thanks to uncles Diplo and Skrillex.

I confess, I too was swayed by the poptastic fabrications of team Bieber this year… But fear not: I gathered up a bunch of top tunes with plenty of indie rock cred to compensate!

I’ve compiled the usual list of 50, available for your playlist cravings on Spotify of course. Below you can eye up the videos for the top 25 too. And for my list-obsessed comrades: my stupidly big ‘2015 long list‘ is also up for the streaming.

Please do share the tracks you obsessed over this year in the comments and berate me for the gems I mistakenly left out. Happy new year!

25. Mini Mansions feat. Alex Turner – Vertigo

LA smooth lads Mini Mansions cleverly asked buddy Alex Turner to donate his special brand of raunchy delivery to a couple of lyrics. It works a charm and adds some broodiness to this poppy tune.

24. Christine and the Queens – Christine

One of the best performances I saw this year was Christine and the Queens, who take the word ‘performance’ very seriously. The whole show was meticulously choreographed and a joy to watch.

23. BØRNS – Electric Love

An over produced glamfest of a song, but it’s so damn chirpy!

22. Justin Bieber – Sorry

Yes. This happened. #sorrynotsorry

21. De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig – Manon

DJVT keep churning out catchy tunes and this ode to (a female called) Manon has a super addictive chorus. And a video full of cats!!

20. Shura – 2Shy

Like an indie-version of an early Madonna song, sounds like it could actually be from the eighties.

19. Shamir – On The Regular

Discotastic funky number from this androgynous hipster guy (yes!) from Last Vegas. Also, you can never have too much cow bell.

18. Typhoon – Liefste

A plain and simple love song by Dutch hip hop artist Typhoon, with beautifully written lyrics that describe the push and pull of a relationship.

17. The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness

It’s a long standing love affair, me & The Maccabees. They are one of the first bands I remember getting completely bowled over by at a summer festival. This song has exactly that festival anthem quality they understand so well.

16. Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

It’s a miracle this song made the cut really, as the Viet Cong gig I saw this year was a mess. Continental Shelf got massacred in a screaming noise fit and lost all its eerie haunting quality. Still though, killer tune.

15. Sef – Wakker

More Dutch hip hop from Sef in this fresh tune with a nostalgic nineties club vibe going on. Incidentally also my boyfriend’s favourite song to wake me up with (makes me less grumpy).

14. Nadine Shah – Stealing Cars

This was one of my big finds this year. I’d never heard of Nadine Shah but this track would get stuck in my brain for days. She also collaborated with Gostpoet this year.

13. The Districts- 4th And Roebling

Nothing new or innovative about this one, but it’s just such a lovable raggedy romp of a rock tune.

12. Jack Garratt – Worry

Smashing mix of soulful songs and electronics, somewhere in that James Blake – Jamie Woon – Flume – Chet Faker niche market. Also cool how he really rocks it out more when performing live.

11. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

Just a beautiful song from the beautiful album Carrie & Lowell. Nobody can put intense lyrics about life and death to a ukulele quite like Sufjan can.

10. Major Lazer, MØ, DJ Snake – Lean On

My festival anthem of 2015 was a bit of a creeper-upper. Not as immediately convincing as predecessor Bumaye, but worthy all the same.

9. Mura Masa feat. NAO – Firefly

Thank you Mura Masa for popping up on our radars this year! Loving the whole melancholy R&B vibe that comes off his tracks, with enough glitchy and exotic sounds to keep you intrigued.

8. Foals – What Went Down

Yes yes yes. This is the sort of manic stuff we want from Foals and plenty of it.

7. Kendrick Lamar – Alright

There were almost too many standout tracks on Lamar’s much hyped second album for me to choose from. Apparently Obama’s favourite is What a dollar cost, which has that moody Radiohead sample. Nice choice mr. president!

6. Hot Chip – Need You Now

Songs about feeling in some way disconnected are Hot Chip’s forte and it shines through in the beautiful desperation of Need You Now. The video is a great partner to the song too.

5. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

Whenever I play this song my boyfriend says Courtney is sucking all the life energy out of the room. I couldn’t disagree more! Barnett’s trademark comedic ramblings on life and her grunge-throwback tunes always make me smile.

4. Tame Impala – Let It Happen

Well no surprises here, many-a-year list has crowned Tame Impala with the top position this year and it’s easy to hear why. I wasn’t big on the psychedelic stuff they put out before, but these 8 minutes (!) of musical magic really won me over.

3. Young Fathers – Rain Or Shine

The new Young Fathers album first left me in a state of total confusion, but I kept coming back to it for more. It’s all over the place, in a good way. After seeing them perform live a couple of months ago I was sold. These guys give it everything and just explode with raw energy. This song made the top three thanks to the clever Metronomy-hook.

2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Up until this year UMO were a band that I’d heard of, but never really bothered to look into. Apparently it took the lead singer and his wife entering into a polyamorous love traingle with another woman, and then going through a dramatic break up with her, to make an album that really caught my ear. Multi-love for the win!

1. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)

I long contemplated the top three positions of this list, but if I’m perfectly honest: there is absolutely no contender man (or woman) enough to squeeze father John from his well earned winner’s spot. The only son of a ladies man acually fell in love, and made a glorious album about all the highs and lows involved. From paranoid self doubt to wondrous ecstacy, it’s all there. And if you ever get a chance to see him deliver this rollercoaster of emotions on stage, do not miss it!

 

The remaining top 50 tunes, in alphabetical order:

A$AP Rocky, Rod Stewart, Miguel &Mark Ronson – Everyday
Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
Auntie Flo feat. Shingai – So In Love
Blur – Go Out
Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun
Django Django – First Light
DMA’S – Your Low
Florence + The Machine – What Kind Of Man
Fresku feat. MocroManiac – Kreeft
Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah – X Marks the Spot
Happyness – Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same
Hozier – Someone New
Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)
Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
Lil’ Kleine& Ronnie Flex – Drank & Drugs
Lizzo – Ain’t I
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Miguel feat. Wale – Coffee
Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money
Patrick Watson – Places You Will Go
The Tallest Man On Earth – Sagres
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Vaults – Premonitions
Years & Years – Take Shelter

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If I had to pick one tune that infiltrated every fiber of 2014 it would have to be Pharrell’s Happy. At first I liked it, then loved it for a bit before intensely hating those five frantic opening notes every bloody time they came on the radio… Which is probably the average life cycle of any major hit song. And can someone please explain to me how one feels like a room without a roof!?

Anyway, as opposed to last year’s ear worms, Happy didn’t make the cut. Besides, it was actually released in 2013 already! You will, however, be treated to a delectable smörgåsbord of 50 bites of audio-yumminess from 2014, with the top 25 sporting eye watering visuals too. As per usual you can check out the entire top 50 in my Spotify playlist too, or for my fellow ultimate listomaniacs (loveya!) my ridiculously large ‘2014 long list‘.

Please do share your faves with me too and shout at me about the ones I was oblivious to in the comments!

25.  Tiga – Bugatti

Clean, concise & devilishly sexy, Tiga doesn’t waste a single beat or syllable.The video is style perfection too.

24.  Clean Bandit – Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)

Such a chirpy tune! A simple catchy love song that takes you back to memories of a high school sweetheart.

23.  Real Estate – Talking Backwards

West Coast jingle jangle at its best, even though the band is from New York. Perfect roadtrip song.

22.  Usher – Good Kisser

Sultry, minimalistic and funky at the same time, Usher is back in shape!

21.  Sinkane – How We Be

A slow clapping head bopper, bringing together the sounds of Sudan and London the way Sinkane does so well. Was lucky enough to catch the band live at Berlin Festival this year and they killed it.

20.  Sia – Chandelier

If you’re anything like me and you’re always wondering what on earth Sia is mumbling about, you might find this tutorial very amusing. On a more serious note: this song tackles Sia’s problem with drinking in a suitably dramatic fashion, I think it’s her over the top masterpiece so far.

19.  Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

This song is the perfect example of what I love about BBC: seemingly soft spoken conservative Brits who surprise you with little bursts of joyous excitement bubbling just under the surface! Also: who can refuse a video with synchronised swimming?

18.  Dan Croll – From Nowhere

This song is the very first thing I heard by Dan Croll and I was immediately smitten.

17.  Elbow – New York Morning

Oh Guy. You’ve done it again. Be sure to check out the video about the lovely Dennis & Lois!

16.  The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure

Yes, it’s the song with the ridiculously spun out ending, but if you afford yourself the time to sit back and enjoy it in full it’s so worth it. And if you get to hear it jammed out live it makes complete sense.

15.  Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High)

A refreshingly honest take on breaking up from this Swedish singer, who also wrote songs for Icona Pop and Girls Aloud.

14.  Flume – Drop the Game

Even if you think the song has been played to death, at least watch the video for the incredible dancer. I still haven’t tired of this soulful stomper.

13.  Typhoon – Liefste

Typhoon’s much lauded 2014 album Lobi Da Basi is the cream of the crop in Dutch hip hop for 2014, including incredible live performances with his big band. This sweet small tune about the small aggravations that can niggle at a relationship is one of my favourites.

12.  SOHN – Artifice

SOHN has made an album full of tracks for those looking to wallow in misery, with Artifice as the crowning glory. “Somebody better show how me how I feel, cause I know I’m not at the wheel”

11.  Sam Smith – Stay With Me

My how Sam has grown! No I don’t mean in the waistline.. I saw him play a small venue in March, when he was almost painfully shy at times. It’s great to see how 2014 has made Sam Smith into an MTV VMA-show worthy performer. Plus hallelujah for coming out! Not that he was kidding anyone 😉

10.  Hozier – Take Me To Church

I’m sucked in by the darkness and outrage in this Hozier song. The video is a worthy companion and controversial to say the least, well worth a watch.

9.  Banks – Drowning

I love the rhythm Banks uses in her lyrics, she delivers them with such intensity. She also reminds me of Aaliyah in a subtle way, which is a cool throwback.

8.  Mapei – Don’t Wait

Don’t underestimate the radio friendly pop sweetness of Don’t Wait, Mapei turned out to be a lot more kickass than expected when I saw her at Lowlands! I’m curious what she’ll come up with next year.

7.  St. Vincent – Digital Witness

I think this is my favourite track yet of the ever quirky and slightly intimidating St. Vincent (who was also at Lowlands and ran off stage after throwing a tantrum).

6.  Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Sharing its theme with St. Vincent’s song, Damon quietly ponders our empty social media lives.

5.  Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)

Apparently I’m one of the few people who heard and loved this song before seeing the legendary Letterman performance. Still not sure whether Samuel T. Herring’s intense antics are for real or for show, but is doesn’t take away from the soulful eighties brilliance of this song!

4.  The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?

This is probably my most played tune of the summer. I just couldn’t get enough of the bouncy excitement Isabella Manfredi and Gideon Bensen bring to the song, very infectious .

3.  Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again

Ok to be honest I am still upset with Lowlands for this massive oversight. How on earth did they not book the Robyn & Röksopp tour!? Thankfully their collaborative album also contains the beautifully reflective Monument for me to work through this grief.

2.  Stromae – Tous Les Mêmes

It was a tough struggle at the top of his list, but in a very respectable second position we find the illusive Belgian genius Paul van Haver, better known as Stromae. I love the whole album Racine Carrée, and Tous Les Mêmes is one of the standout singles. His clever use of African rumba rhythms and European dance combined with very witty and sometimes razor sharp lyrics make Stromae one of the best artists 2014 had to offer in my book! And so goddamn stylish too.

1.  Jungle – Busy Earnin’

I was trying to remember the massive impression Busy Earnin’ made on me the first time I heard it, but I’ve played it so often now it’s become like a coundtrack to my everyday life already. I was lucky enough to see the band no less than three times this year and they didn’t disappoint once. They’ve got soul, sex and sweet harmonies that will bring out the hipshaker in even the most static music lovers. Perfect tunes to get a bit grabby with your significant other to…

Also, I need to learn that dance!

Numbers 25 – 50 in no particular order:

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – Love Me Harder

Beyoncé & Jay-Z – Drunk in Love

Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

Chad VanGaalen – Where Are You?

Damien Rice – I Don’t Want To Change You

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

George Ezra – Budapest

Glass Animals – Gooey

Half Moon Run – Call Me in the Afternoon

Katy Perry – Dark Horse

Kwabs – Walk

Little Dragon – Klapp Klapp

Mac Demarco – Salad Days

Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt so Good

Oliver – Light Years Away

Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely on You

RY X – Berlin

School Is Cool – Black Dog Panting

Schoolboy Q – Man Of The Year

Ta-ku – Beggining To End

Temples – Shelter Song

Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants

TRAAMS – Fibbist

Villagers – Occupy Your Mind

Wild Beasts – Wanderlust

Without much further ado I present the Top 30 singles of 2009 according to brokenbranches, all of which can be enjoyed through the means of a youtube playlist right here.

30   Spinerette

Ghetto Love

Raw, hot rock track oozing sex appeal. One can only imagine what goes on between Brody Dalle and Josh Homme. Oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oooooohhh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooohhhhh, Hey!

29   Peter Fox

Haus am See

A German track made it to my top 30, unlikely but true. Funky & funny track. Ich habe zwanzig Kinder meine Frau ist schön.

28   Andrew Bird

Anonanimal

From Bird’s album Noble Beast, an unassuming but deceptively intricate and charming song. Hold on just a second don’t tell me this one you know I know this one I know this song, I know this one I love this song.

27   Speech Debelle

The Key

Cheeky fresh and soulful rhymes by a bright young thing from South London. Love the Tribe Called Quest vibe in this song.

26   Radiohead

These Are My Twisted Words

One of only two officially released Radiohead songs in 2009, but I much prefer it to Harry Patch (In memory Of). This slightly eerie soundscapish track has an experimental B-side feel to it, also reminiscent of Up On The Ladder from the second In Rainbows disc.

25   The Temper Trap

Sweet Disposition

Still bummed I didn’t get to see these guys at Lowlands, it was a toss up with Bon Iver at that moment. This single, which gets loads of airplay over here, has everything a good popsong should have: a nice build up and a joyous singalong chorus.

24   Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

Empire State of Mind

Simply a great track, a worthy celebration of New York. I’m not usually that fond of Alicia Keys, but she definitely gives this song it’s infectious hook.

23   Noisettes

Don’t Upset The Rhythm

There’s no intricate explanation behind this gorgeous Noisettes song, who can resist it? Four three two one – Go baby go baby go!

22   Death Cab For Cutie

Meet Me On The Equinox

This is what Death Cab For Cutie does best, ominous guitar chords, swelling drums, Ben’s lyrics uttered with a sense of warning: Everything, everything ends. They sure had some smart kid making the Twilight – New Moon soundtrack.

21   Mumford & Sons

Little Lion Man

I never knew I was experiencing a lack of banjo fuelled tunes in my collection until I played Mumford & Sons’ debut Sighs No More. They specialise in the quiet-intro-waiting-to-explode-into-full-banjo-madness song structure, and it suits them. Don’t frown too much on the borderline twee lyrics, just enjoy the ride.

20   Matt and Kim

Daylight

Psychiatrists should show this ridiculously chirpy Matt and Kim video to depressed patients, surely things wouldn’t seem so bad afterwards?

19   Dizzee Rascal

Bonkers

With a little help from Armand van Helden Dizzee has made the ultimate rap – dance crossover single and club floor filler of the year. Some people think I’m bonkers, but I just think I’m free!

18   Patrick Watson

Fireweed

It’s a shame the band didn’t release Beijing as a single as that would definitely be my favourite pick, but Fireweed does the job as the perfect album opener. Gentle introduction, trademark drum shuffle, Patrick’s soft whispers, added layers of peculiar sounds and backing vocals all conspiring to make a beautiful composition.

17   Little Boots

New in Town

To be honest I was a bit disappointed with the Little Boots album, but that’s mainly because this tasty single really raised my expectations. It’s grimy and disco at the same time, and the killer chorus keeps you coming back. I don’t have a lot of money but we’ll be fine.

16   La Roux

Bulletproof

Definitely one of the catchiest songs of the year, it’s no wonder La Roux was played to death all over radio and tv music channels. I still haven’t bored of it yet actually, This time baby I’ll be bulleeeeeeeeeeeet proof!

15   David Byrne & Dirty Projectors

Knotty Pine

I just love this upbeat if slightly messy little song with it’s jangly guitar & David Byrne’s irresistible voice immediately coating it with indie cred. Which reminds me, must play Toe Jam!

14   Thunderheist

Nothing 2 Step 2

Yes thank you very much Thunderheist for this dirrrty, funky, head bobbing hip shaking number. Loving the eighties synth, loving the cow bells. I Want You To Know That I Ne Ver Meant To Walk A Way From You.

13   The Decemberists

The Rake Song

Is it a bad thing to love a song about murdering children? The Decemberists made me do it! This most harrowing tale on the Hazards of Love concept album is a burst of percussion and acidic lyrics, with the instant impact chorus Alright, alright, alright! Brilliant song that will have you singing along in no time.

12   Dragonette

Fixin to Thrill

Who is this strange creature in the flesh coloured leotard? For some reason Dragonette had never popped up on my radar before this buttkicking single came out, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from now on.

11   Beyoncé

Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

This is the only decent thing Beyoncé released over the last year or so, but it hits the spot. You tell ‘em B! Sassy, utterly danceable and let’s not forget the most copied video clip of 2009. If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it, oh oh oh

10   The Maccabees

Can You Give It

Ah yes The Maccabees, the band that made it to my number one slot on the Best Albums chart. There’s just so much exciting material to choose from on this album, but I’m sticking with the group-hug-sing-along-with-all-your-pubmates thriller Can You Give It.

9     Metric

Help I’m Alive

Such an addictive song this lead single from Metric’s fourth album release Fantasies. Emily Haines vocals are disconnected and desperate at the same time. I tremble, they’re gonna eat me alive. Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer…

8     Gossip

Heavy Cross

God bless Beth Ditto, first and foremost for rocking it out, secondly for adding some very necessary different scenery in between all the MTV polish and veneer. Here’s another inescapable monsterhit by the Washington based threesome.

7     Fanfarlo

Howard T. Wilkins, or How to Wait for a Very Long Time

This band “had me at hello” when they played a great gig at Lowlands this year despite lacking half the band members due to a missed flight. They play a happy brand of orchestral pop, not afraid to amp up the drama and throw in some trumpets and violins. Howard T. Wilkins is probably the best track on the album.

6     DM Stith

Pity Dance

The Spanish guitar strumming combined with strange electronic sounds and DM Stith’s plaintive wailing make for an odd but seductive concoction. By the time the dramatic piano comes in you feel like doom is on your doorstep and there is no escape.

5     Bat for Lashes

Daniel

Although an entire Bat for Lashes album can sometimes be too much of a good thing, this single is a work of art. Natasha Khan took everything that is beautiful about Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting and Running Up That Hill, mashed it up and updated it to 2009.

4     Clues

Remember Severed Head

When ex-Unicorns and ex-Arcade Fires mingle, this overwhelming severing of heads is what happens. A psychedelic and bizarre but utterly terrific romp of a song. You never quite know what’s around the corner, but you’re looking forward to it all the same.

3     Fever Ray

If I Had a Heart

Surely one of the most exciting releases of this year, If I Had A Heart is the lead single from the self titled album. It simultaneously scares and moves me. I read somewhere it was about post natal depression, which seems to make sense. What an amazing way to deal with such a delicate subject.

2     Florence + The Machine

Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

I could have chosen any of the singles Florence + the Machine released this year, but this is the one that, well, enchanted me seems the right expression. Such drama such passion, and what a refreshingly different sounds to everything else out there. This is a gift, it comes with a price…

1     Grizzly Bear

Two Weeks

With Two Weeks this Brooklyn foursome, who are about as far removed from a grizzly bear as imaginable, have produced the best single of 2009 by far in my opinion. The attention grabbing opening chords on the piano, the glowing harmonies, the spacey sounds that kick in with Would you aaaaaaaaaalways, it’s just a perfect package.

If you’re a brokenbranches regular you’ll know that even a selection of 30 is a painstaking process for me, with many casualties along the way. Here are some of the beautiful losers:

Alberta Cross – ATX

Animal Collective – My Girls

Antony and the Johnsons – Crazy In Love

Basement Jaxx – Raindrops

Beirut / Realpeople – Venice

Bell X1 – The Great Defector

Bowerbirds – Northern Lights

Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is the Move

Dodos – Fables

Emilíana Torrini – Jungle Drum

Friendly Fires – Kiss of Life

Girls – Lust For Life

Hockey – Song Away

Jack Peñate – Be The One

Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension

Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Le Le – Luxe Benen

Lily Allen – It’s Not Fair

Mando Diao – Gloria

Micachu & The Shapes – Golden Phone

Neko Case – People Got a Lotta Nerve

Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings

Phoenix – 1901

Portugal. The Man – People Say

St Vincent – Actor Out of Work

The Killers – Spaceman

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin

The Raveonettes – Last Dance

The Veils – Sit Down By The Fire

The Very Best feat. Ezra Koenig – Warm Heart of Africa

Thom Yorke – All For The Best

Vampire Weekend – Horchata

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

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