Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Top Twelve Songs Of 2015

Not every great song is on a great album, and not every great album has that one song that stands out. They have a strong correlation, but not an exact one, so I decided that in addition to counting down my favorite albums of the year, I would also count down my favorite songs. They largely follow my album list, but there are a few surprises thrown in for good measure. And since there are so many deserving songs, I'm expanding the list to an even dozen. These are the songs that I have endlessly repeated this year, the very best moments of another good year in music.

12. Revolution Saints - You're Not Alone

It's hard to think fondly of the band now, with what has been in the news, but that doesn't stop this from being a heck of a song. I love ballads, and this is dripping with dramatic flair.

11. Blues Traveler - Matador

Blues Traveler's collaborative album didn't always work, but there were a few remarkable moments. This is chief among them, a dusty country song that I still think would have been a hit on country radio if it had been released as a single.

10. Coheed & Cambria - Here To Mars

For being a quasi-progressive rock band, Coheed & Cambria isn't afraid to dip their toe into anthemic pop, which they do here. The chorus of this song is so big, and so memorable, that it stands head and shoulders above the rest of what is a good record.

9. Lunden Reign - Mary

This is classic rock done the right way. It sounds like the love child of Heart and Led Zeppelin, and rocks just as much. The way the vocal strains just enough in the chorus drives home the emotion of the song, while the hook has a way of sticking with you more than you'd expect.

8. UFO - Sugar Cane

I'm not usually a big bluesy rock fan, but this song is phenomenal. The riff is just gritty enough, the organ swells are a fantastic touch, and Phil Mogg proves that he's underrated at any age. UFO has rarely, if ever, done better than this.

7. Iron Maiden - Tears Of A Clown

The best thing about Iron Maiden is that they do the unexpected, like with this song. It's the most traditional rock song they've written in ages, and it's also a tribute to Robin Williams. And yet, it's also the best song on a critically acclaimed album. The way the melody locks in with the band makes it impossible to forget.

6. Adele - Hello

There's a reason Adele has broken every sales record. "Hello" told everyone that the years of waiting were not going to be for naught. This song is everything that is lacking in pop music, taking five minutes to absolutely deconstruct and eviscerate everything else on the radio.

5. Orden Ogan - A Reason To Give

Orden Ogan is an excellent power metal band, but they're even better when they go beyond those confines. This song is a medieval drinking song that you can easily imagine a horde of warriors singing as they conquer new lands in the name of their king. It's rip-roaring fun.

4. Karnataka - Fairytale Lies

I declare this the best hook of the entire year. The chorus of this song is so sticky, and so irresistible that you almost forget just how good the rest of the song is. Hayley Griffiths sells the living hell out of this, and makes this song flawless.

3. Ghost - Cirice

If there is one song that sums up Ghost, it is "Cirice". The drama, the heavy riffing, the glorious vocals, it's all here. This is their magnum opus, their defining moment. Ghost transcended their gimmick with this song.

2. Jorn Lande & Trond Holter - Save Me

It's hard to pick a song from this concept album, but ultimately "Save Me" is the one song that keeps ringing in my head. This unholy duet is grand, epic, and a number that should be gracing the stage for as long as it wants to. This is theater at its rocking best, and one of those songs that makes you stand back and simply say, "wow".

1. Nightingale - Forevermore

But the best song of the year is "Forevermore". Nightingale has given us a song that covers every base. It has beautiful pianos, rocking guitars, a strong hook, and a mighty vocal performance from Dan Swano. The non-traditional structure works, because you don't even notice that it hasn't gone from Point A to Point B. This song is everything I like about music, and it earns the honor of being the best song of 2015.

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