Song of the Year: "Shut Up and Dance" - Walk the Moon
While "Shut Up and Dance" was technically released in December 2014, on Walk the Moon's album "Talking is Hard," this single really made it's mark through 2015, earning Fox Radio Network's Song of the Year Award for 2015.
Walk the Moon's blend of 80's pop, arena rock, and mix of modern and vintage synth arpeggios create an epic anthem that feels timeless and will be featured in stadiums across the world for years to come. With that big sound, comes a very focused story lyrically. The composition of both, intimacy and scope, helps capture those feelings of love at first sight, or the first kiss.
Our song of the year celebrates the intimate in a big way, and that, the catchy lyrics, and dance inducing melody is ultimately what made "Shut Up and Dance" our song of the year!
The Best Songs of 2015
"Hello" by Adele
Even though "Hello" by Adele makes us think of Lionel Richie EVERY DAGGUM TIME, the new single from the English singer/songwriter showcases the artist's dynamic range and unparalleled control.
What really speaks to the greatness of Adele and her hit single, is the lack of a marketing hype machine or scandalous controversy to draw in attention. Adele captures the hearts of millions by simply outshining everyone where it matters most as a musician. She doesn't need an "image" or "shock value" to grab our attention. As it was said in Jerry Maguire, "You had me at 'hello.'"
"Photograph" by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is incredibly talented. There might not be another artist out there who can blend influences of acoustic pop, folk, hip-hop, and R&B quite as effortlessly as Sheeran.
Ed Sheeran's "Photograph" was originally released in June of 2014 on his second full length album "x" but it wasn't until mid-2015 that the song was released as a single around mother's day. The music video, featuring footage captured throughout the artist's life helps evoke the nostalgic feel that is so prominent in the song.
The song traverses through multiple levels atmospherically. "Photograph" begins with an acoustic guitar, piano, and Sheeran's voice. By slowly adding harmonies, percussion, strings, and pads, the song continues to build upon itself, making it hard to not hit the replay button over and over again.
"Hotline Bling" by Drake
It's not the best song that a hip-hop artist released this year, actually, it's not even the best song that Drake released this year, but "Hotline Bling" is undoubtably the "PLEASE GET OUT OF MY HEAD" song of 2015. While most songs suffer from being overplayed, "Hotline Bling" is a better song with every listen. Why? While most catchy Top 40 hits are in-your-face and anthems for their respective artists, "Hotline Bling" has a pleasing subtlety. The loop, though minimalistic, has a satisfying punchy bass, and crisp snare and high-hat samples, all being supported by an almost tropical funk/disco organ. The primary sample comes from Timmy Thomas' soulful "Why Can't We Live Together."
"Hotline Bling" is by no means a masterpiece, but it's fun, catchy, and we have to give a few points in its case for the music video and dance moves alone.
"See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
Wiz Khalifa's verses can be cringeworthy at times, but that is not what makes "See You Again" so memorable. The musical composition is very satisfying, blending a classic pop ballad feel with some modern sensibilities. The chorus is simple but emotionally effective, and Charlie Puth's powerful, yet understated performance can cause the most hardened hearts to break.
We can't ignore the context of the song either. Paul Walker's death shocked the world, and as the song used to pay tribute to Paul Walker for "Furious 7," this song solidified the emotional impact of the ending of the film.
"Leave a Trace" by Chvrches
Probably the track with the least amount of air time and Spotify/Youtube plays, "Leave A Trace" by Chvrches still makes its way onto our list, and rightfully so. "Every Eye Open" is Chvrches second full length album, and an obvious maturation both musically, vocally, and lyrically. This album could actually very much be the best album to be released in 2015.
"Leave a Trace" can be described as bitter, and as singer Lauren Mayberry describes it, an "anti-love song." There is a grit and aggressiveness to both the lyrics, synths, and drum samples. Mayberry has also appeared to grow as a vocalists and comes off much more confident. This Chvrches song's strength, though, is the mix of angst, vulnerability, and hope, which is conveyed in every aspect of the track. The single succeeds on all of these deep levels, without compromising the catchiness and replay-ability.