Top 20 Songs of 2015

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I am back in the saddle and thrilled to be writing about music on this site again. My comeback post is this here Top 20 Songs of 2015 list. If you have checked out any of my past year-end lists, you know I like to publish an objective-as-possible type list and then follow that up with an Editor’s Choice list. This list is very much the former; just me putting an honestly ranked list together because I think I know what I am talking about (haha). I don’t know, do I? I just like to write about and present music on a well designed website. And now you get to check out the list and comment below with whatcha’ think.  Sound off. Destroy my list or build it up. Create your own. Let’s see what you got…


Listen to the complete Top 20 list as a Spotify playlist here
Watch the complete Top 20 list as a Youtube playlist here

1. Adele “Hello”

I am not really a pop music supporter, nor does pop music see much light of day here on the site. But this Adele song is clearly the best song of the year. Everyone has heard it, everyone loved it, upwards of 80% of people cried when they heard the song (I made up that percentage but its a good guess), there were parodies of it, and it topped all the charts. I would love to see some comments at the end of this post from anyone who thinks this definitely is or definitely isn’t the best song of the year.

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2. X Ambassadors “Renegades”

I don’t know of any other song from our beloved alternative genre that came out this year that was more popular and viral (am I being redundant there?) that this one. My pick for runner up. Props for a song with as good of a message being so good and successful.

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3. Walk the Moon “Shut Up and Dance”

Walk the Moon came back in 2015 with a few singles that really put them on the map. “Shut Up and Dance” was a great indie/pop crossover hit and was played on all popular radio stations, sold well digitally, was in commercials and charted well. They even got to perform at the 2015 home run derby. We all got deathly sick of the song after hearing it so many times but be honest with yourself, you loved this song at some point during the year.

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4. Cold War Kids “First”

This song came out in late 2014 but didn’t really catch on and blow up until mid 2015. The song charted in my top 20 underrated songs of 2014 post. Cold War Kids was pretty popular before this song but now they are huge. Great song with emotional and meaningful lyrics. And if you are an avid playlister like me, it was probably in a lot of your playlists. My person favorite song of the year, as seen in my Best 20 Songs of the Year: Editor’s Choice post.

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5. Muse “Dead Inside”

This was the first Muse song that I was like “okay, this song is fricken awesome”. I’ve wanted to like Muse for years but just never really got there. But this song – and most of the album its on – was pretty kick ass. I was happy to see the song really take off and be a successful single for them, chart-wise and $$$-wise.

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6. Florence + The Machine “Ship To Wreck”

Our beloved Florence Welch can do no wrong. What a rockstar/angel she is! I would love to just throw this song on top of the heap as I stick out my tongue in stubbornness, but hell, the 5 songs ahead of it, I think, performed better. Anyways, try and see her in concert, she is amazing. The rest of the album was pretty good too.

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7. Elle King “Ex’s & Oh’s”

This was another alternative/pop crossover hit that got extremely popular this year. So fun to sing along to that chorus eh? Elle is a sexy badass rockstar with a unique sound and hit debut album. Good for her! This album kind of reminds of Jagged Little Pill with an alternative country rock makeover.

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8. Mumford and Sons “Believe”

Mumford and Sons  dropped the banjo and went with a more mainstream alternative rock sound. I dug it. I dug it more than their old stuff TBH. I thought the new album was one of the best albums of the year, actually. Anyways, “Believe” was my least favorite song on the album but it was highly successful so I had to put it on the list.

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9. Twenty One Pilots “Stressed Out”

If you have a Spotify account, check out this band’s average monthly listeners (AML) total. And compare it to the other bands and artists on this list. You’ll be surprised. “Stressed Out” could be heard on on just about any radio station, charted well on pop and alternative charts, and meant the world to a lot of youngsters. With lyrics like this, how couldn’t it?

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10. George Ezra “Budapest”

Meh. I didn’t like this song and always changed the radio station if it came on. Does anyone else still listen to the radio every once in awhile like me? Comment below or tweet me @musictrajectory with that one. Anyways, I have to give credit where credit is due. This song was huge.

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11. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness “Cecilia and the Satellite”

A highlight single on a very strong album. Where did this guy come from? I’ll tell you, he has been around awhile. Check out his Wikipedia page and do some research.

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12. Nate Reuss “Nothing Without Love”

When I first heard this song I thought it was going to be a huge, huge, huge hit. But it really only turned out to be a huge hit. Does that make sense? I think if fun. put out this song, it would have been a bigger hit. Dude has twice as many AML than Brandon Flowers and this is only Nate Ruess’ debut album. Brandon has two. Just saying’. (Believe me though, I love Brandon).

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13. Beck “Dreams”

Good for Beck and his resurgence. Dude is making albums that get nominated for rewards and shit.

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14. Coleman Hell “2 Heads”

Many genres mingled in with this guy’s music. Pop, dance, folk, hip hop to name a few. As of this writing, he only has an EP out so look for a full album in 2016 sometime.

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15. Wolf Alice “Moaning Lisa Smile”

Raw, edgy, catchy, good. Yeah. Those 4 adjectives. Kind of a throwback to the grunge sound for sure. Charts high on Editor’s Choice Top 20.

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16. Of Monsters and Men “Crystals”

I don’t know if this will make sense or not but I thought this second album by OMAM, compared to the first, as a whole, was not better than the sum of its parts. Catch my drift at all? Crystals was the most successful single on the album but pales in comparison to the success of “Little Talks” back in 2012/2013.

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17. Cage the Elephant “Mess Around”

This track was released late in the year so it’s ranking may have suffered a bit but definitely one of the best songs of the year, off one of the best albums of the year.

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18. The Struts “Could Have Been Me”

Strokes meets Darkness outfit caught on in a big way with this unexpected hit. I love The Strokes and I love The Darkness but The Struts (whew, that’s a lot of the’s) don’t do much for me.

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19. Modest Mouse “Lampshades On Fire”

We had to wait so long for this new Modest Mouse album but it seemed like it was a bit of a disappointment? You tell me. Anyways, this song stayed around alternative charts for a long time but never really broke though. Hey, it was still a hit.

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20. Death Cab For Cutie “Black Sun”

Honorable mention for best album of the year. “Black Sun” was the lead and most successful single. Scored a Song of the Week nod, as many other songs on this list did as well.

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