The Songs To Keep On Your Spotify Playlist For 2015 (And The Ones To Ditch ASAP)
The Debrief: Happy can definitely take a hike
Look, no one listens to albums anymore. It's all about playlists and when do playlists come into their own? That's right, during party season, ie all of December. But I'm not here to tell you which Christmas songs you should have had on your festive playlists (Destiny's Child 8 Days Of Christmas x 12, let's be honest), or what song you should be strutting around to near the stroke of midnight (anything by Beyoncé), instead I'm here to offer up some advice about songs to add to – and ones to remove from - your Spotify playlists as we move into 2015. Songs of the year, songs we're bored of, people to look out for next year, etc etc and so on. Obviously, this being Spotify, there's no Taylor Swift, but the 1989 album is the exception to that rule I outlined in the first sentence so don't panic too much.
Ryn Weaver – Octahate
Well-connected (she's mates with Charli XCX and super-producer Benny Blanco), ridiculously cool and almost irritatingly talented, Ryn Weaver appeared out of nowhere in June with the cut-up pop futurism of OctaHate. Having amassed 2.5m plays of that debut, she followed it up with the equally amazing Promises EP before promptly disappearing, hopefully to finish work on what will be one of 2015's albums of the year.
Pharrell – Happy
Okay, let's cut to the chase, no one needs to hear Happy again in 2015. Not even Pharrell. Even Pharrell's label and publishers, building new mansions out of the acres of royalty cheques, would likely never want to hear a note of it again for another twelve months. Its ubiquity means its attempt at raising the mood of a nation could in fact lead to mid-winter riots come February, the street lined with broken radios, cracked iPods and smashed up shop speakers. Delete this from all playlists immediately. (Caveat: Fine for wedding discos).
Ella Henderson – Ghost
Like Leona Lewis before her, Ella Henderson is an X Factor alumnus with the voice of an angel married to a personality that doesn't exactly make its presence felt in any obvious way. Also like Leona, Ella's first single was an undeniable Ryan Tedder co-write that's been inescapable since its release in the summer. Unlike Happy, however, Ghost's ubiquity hasn't worn thin just yet, perhaps because its lyrics are tinged with sadness and the promise of redemption; a scenario much better suited to the British sensibility. Mind you, those bloody TalkTalk X Factor adverts almost pushed everyone's patience to breaking point, let's be honest.
MAGIC! - Rude
'Why you gotta be so rude?' asked Canadian dullards MAGIC! on their debut single Rude, a song about asking the father of the person you love most in the world for marriage and then ignoring his (probably legitimate) concerns and doing what you damn well please anyway. 'Don't you know I'm human too?' lead dullard pleads whiningly, before finishing with, 'I'm gonna marry her anyway'. This song is a crystallisation of all that is wrong with the world and should be banned for the rest of time.
Shamir - On The Regular
Shamir talks and sings like Michael Jackson circa 1970 - all breathless squeaks and genderless gasps. His debut EP Northtown, featuring the lithe funk masterclass If It Wasn't True, was brilliantly rough and ready, but it was the cowbell cacophony On The Regular – released by XL Recordings (Adele, Vampire Weekend, Jai Paul) – that cemented him as one to keep a beady eye on in 2015. Play this to impress your mates who read Pitchfork.
Mark Ronson feat Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
Originally Uptown Funk – essentially the greatest office party anthem ever recorded - was going to be released in mid-January, therefore missing out on all the Christmas office shindigs. Ludicrous. Thankfully, Fleur East came along and single-handedly saved Christmas by making Ronson's record label see what idiots they were being. With pure joy running through every note, Uptown Funk is disco, funk, R&B, pop, Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and The Gap Band on a bouncy castle of happiness while a sunbeam of ecstasy shines down upon it. WARNING: Could easily go the way of Happy so play it wisely.
Kiesza – Hideaway
With dance music slipping down a faceless borehouse cul-de-sac, former Navy sniper Kiesza's 90s house throwback debut Hideaway felt like the perfect anecdote back in April. Bursting with emotion, anchored by a simple, naggingly effective vocal riff and retro without being obviously try hard, it felt like everyone was going 'ooh, ahh, ooh' over the summer. While its perfection may mean it's hard for Kiesza to every follow it up, she's at least given us a reason to wear braces again and for that we should all be thankful.
Ariana Grande feat Iggy Azalea – Problem
Midway through 2014 pop got the horn. It became quite saxually active. Geddit? SAXually active? No? Okay. Basically, for a moment, proper choruses were out and brass was in, the best example being diminutive Mariah tribute act Ariana Grande's Problem, a song so amazing it couldn't be ruined by another phoned-in verse from Iggy Azalea. Less successful was Cheryl's Crazy Stupid Love, which just sounded like she couldn't be bothered with a chorus and just went for a bit of a sit down while the cheap-sounding riff did its thing.
Verdict: KEEP Problem, DITCH Crazy Stupid Love
Beyoncé – 7/11
7/11 isn't so much a song as dance tutorial for the perfect house party. Over clattering beats, Beyoncé talks us through the various different moves - “wave your hands side to side, put it in the air”, for example – before warning against any spillages (“don't you drop that alcohol!”). She even offers a visual guideline in the song's ludicrous video, which not only shows us how to use a foot like a phone but also makes it abundantly clear that Beyoncé needs to tidy her bathroom. If you're making a house party playlist then this needs to be on there, just be careful when using a hairdryer like a wind machine, those things get hot.
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Not again cheers.
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