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Year-End List 2015: 25 Songs

In 2015, we were cheerleaders, we vouched that we're worth it, and we Marvin Gaye'd. We said hello, we confessed that we really really really like them, and then we said sorry even if it's too late. We cursed at that bitch who had our money, we got bad blood, we can't feel our face for a time, and we just got sick of that same old love. What do I mean? Shut up and dance with me! Ha. Yes, that's probably the best way to sum up another spectacular year for mainstream pop music, so let's have the songs do it for us instead.

Just like every year, these are my picks for the 25 Songs of 2015: endless songs about love (as usual), a tribute for a departed friend, and even ditties with a lot of questions. These are the songs that I've shared on this blog at some point over the past 12 months.

Of course, this is admittedly a subjective list based on my personal judgments and preferences, but this list should also be a great conversation starter and feel free to agree or disagree. Either way there is a lot of great mainstream music - again, take note, MAINSTREAM MUSIC - to be found here.


25. Trap Queen
Fetty Wap

"So good - it had the perfect melody, Fetty's brick-throwing chorus, and that weird slide whistle - it was hard to imagine he could ever top it, or even match it quickly enough to avoid being relegated to the catchy but cast-off island of one-hit wonders." - The Verge

24. Good For You
Selena Gomez

"This track is musically simplistic but has an ample amount of bass quintessential for any siren call such as this. Her voice is captivating in that it has a certain lucidity but then fades into hushes and whispers which makes the overall effect hypnotically alluring." - Red Brick

23. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)

"A great track that blends pop, reggae, and EDM influences together seamlessly to create a style called ska. I highly commend Felix Jaehn because the instrumental behind this record is infectiously catchy and extremely fun to dance to. The horn instruments unify the different parts of this track and truly are the song’s defining factors." - Ppcorn

22. Photograph
Ed Sheeran

"The acoustic core of the song is omnipresent, from the sweet guitar licks at the beginning of the song to the fuller orchestral swells underneath the later choruses. Photograph is one of Sheeran's more simplistically beautiful songs." - Music Times

21. Nobody Love
Tori Kelly

"It is an upbeat, irresistible track guaranteed to help you shake off any winter blues. Tori Kelly's full-throated vocals that effortlessly cascade down into a finger snapping chorus will remind many fans of Ariana Grande." - About Entertainment

20. Shut Up And Dance
Walk The Moon

"It's insane that this song has not been in pop vernacular for a billion years.  It's intuitive. It's catchy and quirky. And there are no dancing skills required." - HitFix

19. Earned It
The Weeknd

"With it’s strings and classical underpinnings, it actually sounds very lavish, understated and refined. The music is played with a lot of strength though; it’s very confidentially played with each individual note sounding like it’s been purposely placed where it is for maximum effect." - The Written Tevs

18. Lean On
Major Lazer x DJ Snake (ft. MØ)

" a more subdued song with an offbeat rhythm and pitched-up synths with MØ crooning out her message of togetherness with lyrics like "all we need is somebody to lean on" in the break." - Music Times

17. Cool For The Summer
Demi Lovato

".. undeniably the pop star's most self-assured statement to date. It shoves the listener into blissful submission, as the former Disney star swaps out the breathy flirtatiousness of Heart Attack with imperative sentences and not-too-subtle bi-curious cheekiness. " - Billboard

16. Here
Alessia Cara

"If Lorde's Royals was a rallying cry for those who felt isolated by the rampart materialism in pop culture, then Alessia Cara's Here is the anthem for those fed up with the glut of pop songs about partying and drinking. Thanks to the teenage R&B singer, being an introvert is finally cool again." - Billboard

15. Run Away With Me
Carly Rae Jepsen

"It’s a massive single complete with flattened-out horns and a guitar-and-drum combo that screams “I listened to Teenage Dream and thought I could do it better and guess what, I did.”" - Spin

14. FourFiveSeconds
Rihanna (ft. Kanye West & Paul McCartney)

"The Rihanna-fronted single has a lot more melodic ease and appeal than Kanye’s mewling cut Only One. It’s a catchy pop ditty, featuring an earnest and loose vocal from the star." - New York Daily News

13. What Do You Mean?
Justin Bieber

"Note the tick-tock beat in the background, as hinted at through all of his recent clock imagery. It’s also got the synth-generated pan flute sounds found in the burgeoning “tropical house” genre, chiefly popularized by platinum-selling producer Kygo. In other words, Bieber’s solidly on-trend and carving out a defined creative direction." - PopCrush

12. Fight Song
Rachel Platten

"Full of passion and emotion, Rachel pours her heart into this song, and the listener can easily tell that she truly believes the words that she is singing. The verses and bridge are aided by only light tapping on the piano, but the rest of the track is driven by a powerful drum beat. The song ends with a few strums on an acoustic guitar which ties everything together perfectly." - Ppcorn

11. One Last Time
Ariana Grande

"Its astounding musical production is effortlessly matched by her singer’s sultry voice. The pounding beat of “One Last Time” can make a person imagine so many things, and even picture the kind of video that would be appropriate for the song." - Ppcorn

10. Hold Back The River
James Bay

"an accessible track grounded by a self-assured songcraft, and while not entirely ‘visionary’, it definitely provides an intense sincerity missing from today’s straightforward folky populism." - Renowned for Sound

09. Hotline Bling

"Hotline Bling sees him mining the territory of nostalgia, love lost and the cruel passage of time in a way that is emotive but never melodramatic. His lyrics are on point. His voice is as good as it has ever been. Raw and honest, he never succumbs to generalizations or cliches, and one never gets the sense he is speaking anything but the truth." - Renowned for Sound

08. Drag Me Down
One Direction

"One Direction is prodding at some intriguing sonic textures here, but they’re far from unrecognizable. For those worried that a four-member incarnation of the group can’t get the job done, ‘Drag Me Down’ assuages those fears by keeping the overall quality level high." - Billboard

07. Can't Feel My Face
The Weeknd

"There are enough hooks in this one single for a dozen chart-toppers, but Abel Tesfaye packed them all into three-and-a-half minutes of sheer ecstasy." - Billboard

06. Love Me Like You Do
Ellie Goulding

"Atop swirling synths and booming beats, Ellie masterfully treads between delicacy and power in her performance on the intimately magnificent 50 Shades single." - AXS

05. Worth It
Fifth Harmony (ft. Kid Ink)

"Strong snare drums, and whooshing sound effects back this song when there isn't a sax leading things along. The intense, creeping music of Worth It is matched with deep harmonies from Fifth Harmony and personally positive lyrics, recalling the chords of BO$$." - Music Times

04. Sorry
Justin Bieber

"The ridiculously catchy Sorry is easily one of the year's best pop songs, thanks to its irresistible, dance-inducing beat." - Popcrush

03. Bad Blood
Taylor Swift (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

"It’s glorious. Stripping away all the live instruments and replacing them with electronic and synth based counterparts gives the song a tougher, cooler edge than it had on the album. The sound of the electronic snare increasing in tempo before the chorus drops everything into a bassy groove is intoxicating." - The Edge

02. Hello

"It’s a big ballad, but a superior example of its kind. It’s precisely the kind of lovelorn epic ballad that made Adele one of the biggest stars in the world." - The Guardian

01. See You Again
Wiz Khalifa (ft. Charlie Puth)

The overall sound of See You Again is reminiscent of Fort Minor's Where'd You Go nearly a decade ago. Both songs are emotionally affecting and drive their points home. - About Entertainment
Year-End List 2015: 25 Songs Reviewed by DAM on 10:52 PM Rating: 5

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