Welcome to Phantomonium.
Let’s talk about 2015. Ah yes, the year I graduated from middle school . Can’t forget those memories. But for music, what’s there that really need to be said about this year. 2015 is one the best years of music in recent memory. It’s so diverse, and everything about it was really good that I can say at least some positives for songs that I don’t really like. Pop music is stabilizing from a mediocre year that was 2014. Country music is slowly dying, but it’s serviceable. Hell, even hip-hop was better and stronger than ever. Some of my favorite albums were hip-hop. Rock is continuing to grow, with more indie acts making their presence known. This year was so great that I would make a top 20 and still make painful cuts. Before we start, I like to point out that this is just my opinion. And if you disagree, that’s perfectly fine. But hear me out, before going ballistic. That out of the way, let’s go with my 20 honorable mentions
I’m really hurting anybody when I say that I’m not really a huge fan of One Direction. They don’t really annoy me like Justin Bieber in his early days, but I do feel that they were undeservingly overheated by many people, mainly because of emotionally manipulating their teenage fanbase. And this is coming from someone who admits that he was a fan of theirs. While Drag Me Down was a decent song, I’ve always preferred this. The production is swell and gorgeous and the performers were really good. This is about a girl who’s insecure and wanting to gain love and having the time of their lives. This was a really great song to end by since ZAYN left the band in March 2015. This is a really great song I can get behind.
This should’ve never been a hit. The fact that Drake made a diss track against Meek Mill and completely bodied him proves that he can’t be a force to reckon with, until Pusha T destroyed him 3 years later with the Story of Adidon. And it’s funny enough that Drake and Meek currently have a song together in the top 20 as I’m posting this, that’s really mediocre. As it is, this is a really great track that shows Drake at his strengths.
When I was younger, I was didn’t really about the Jonas Brothers. They were self-made for Radio Disney and the female fanbase in the mid to late 2000s. As a group, I’ve always prefer Nick Jonas and this shows why. The twinkly percussion, the beautiful melody, his blatant ripoff to Justin Timberlake that somehow worked, and the buildup to that drop. This is about a relationship being trapped in love and trying to overcome it. I like how this song slowly progressed in this song and started to go all out. So yeah, a really great song. Jealous still sucks though.
HM: Honey I’m Good by Andy Grammar
Well, this is going to be a tricky one, considering a lot of people hate this song. Many people believed that he’s bragging about almost cheating and passing it off as an achievement while being so smug about it. Others would say that he’s just happy that he didn’t managed to fuck up his relationship. I’m in the latter category. He’s just happy that he managed to reject this girl’s advances while being polite about it and protecting his relationship. Some would say that he’s just a jackass who shouldn’t even come to the bar and drinking alcohol, but he’s saying that the alcohol would fuck up his mind to the point that he will eventually cheat. He’s just happy that he’s in love and being faithful. I blame it on the production for the hatred of this song.
This is just a weird song and that’s not only because of our collaborators. Rihanna and Kanye are the only performers in this song and they have really great chemistry While, Paul is just strumming the guitar and the organ comes later in the bridge. I love this song because I can relate to this. This is a just about being stressed and getting of dealing with people’s bullshit and wanting someone to test me so I can wild out on them. This isn’t on the list because this isn’t something I would listen to that much, in my opinion.
HM: Lean On by Major Lazer and DJ Snake ft MØ
Imma keep this this brief, since everyone has praised the hell out of this song. So here it goes, this is weird fun song with meaningless lyrics from a really charismatic artist, a danceable house-influenced production with vocal effects in the drop I could’ve sworn that it’s saying “let it go.” If I have to nitpick, the “firing a gun” line really has nothing to do with leaning on from each other. Other than that, a fun track that deserved to be praised. I wouldn’t find this better than
HM: You Know You Like It by DJ Snake and AlunaGeorge
As great as Lean On was, was that the best thing DJ Snake did that year? Like, seriously. This was easily a standout to both Snake and AlunaGeorge’s careers. While the original was good in its own merits, but the remix brought it to a whole new level. The swell synth-line, Snake’s signature vocal loop in the drop, AlunaGeorge’s retrained vocal delivery and the percussion that seems to work. The lyrics contains the negative effects of letting temptations goes into your head and controlling you. This song tops The Double Agent’s best list of this year for a damn good reason.
I have always have a sweet spot for this song. The production is filled with somber pianos in the intro then turning into a reggae dance track dealing with a guy telling this girl if all the negative indications has happened to him, would she be his ride-or-die. I don’t really like the hook that much, Levine sounds great here, but the writing does sounds undercooked at times, which prevents making this list.
From the moment I heard her first hit Habits (Stay High) from 2014, I had high expectations that she would become a one-hit wonder. Then, this happened and I was happy that it was big as it was. The production has some groove with the catchy percussion and bassline and great synths and Lo being a talented pop star. This isn’t as good as Habits, but it’s definitely up there.
This is just great. From the banging beat, and most of our performers showing that they do have potential. My problems with this song is that one, why the hell is truffle butter the name of this song. Also, if you don’t know what it is, do not look it up. And second, Lil Wayne was easily the worst part with shitty punchlines that drags this song to an honorable mention.
This is easily one of Taylor’s best songs to date. The production with roaring synths, groovy guitars and percussion. Taylor finally finds a guy who’s “out of style”, but he becomes the right guy for her. Taylor showing her weakness is phenomenal since songs like Delicate and Back to December are great examples of her admitting her faults and it sounds like the mature way for her. So more songs like this and less Look What You Made Me Do and Shake It Off, if you may.
HM: Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato
I had always wanted to talk about this song, since it was one of the most overhated songs and it was tons of fun. And if you thought including Honey I’m Good was the biggest controversial pick I made in this list, well here it is. Out of the 4 major child stars who were big this decade, Demi is my second favorite behind Ariana Grande. At times, she can be as badass as Ariana in Heart Attack or bland or annoying in Sorry, Not Sorry. But I will say that this song is in the former category. A synthesized beat with a flourished piano in the intro and a kick-ass electric guitar solo in the chorus that works in the mix. I’m really a huge fan of lesbian anthems, but Demi sells one hell of a performance unlike Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl seven years ago. Awesome song and I wished Confident was also a hit back then.
HM: 679 by Fetty Wap ft Remy Boyz
I missed Fetty Wap. He was one of those who has that much charm that gives me a smile on my face. Many people would say that his voice was incredibly annoying, but his personality and energy makes me go past it. Back in 2015, this guy was huge. Spawning 3 top 10 hits, while his first ended up being one of the 5 biggest hits of the year. And luckily, his follow up was a lot better.While Trap Queen was good and My Way was alright, I always loved this. A dope beat with tons of energy. Every performer talking about how they want a girlfriend who is single and they’re not insulting them. A modern lesson mainstream hip-hop needs to learn ASAP. I wish Fetty Wap made a comeback …
oh he did. Can I cherish this one moment, please?
HM: Waves(Robin Schulz Remix) by Mr. Probz
There is always that one song that puts me in a depressed mood whenever I feel like it. And this song is one of them. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was when this song barely made the year-end a few years ago at number 95, despite peaking at no.14. That being said, I first hated this song back in middle school. I constantly heard this song as a bell back then. Later that year, it magically clicked with me. The swell organs, sweet guitar loop and Probz’s rough vocals that fits perfectly well. But the Robin Schulz remix adds a much better groove in the song. Seriously, check out songs like Sugar and Prayer in C and tell me he doesn’t deserve this much attention. Lyrically, this song is about Probz and his failed relationship that becoming a waves, slowly drifting from each other. I’m so happy that it made the year-end so that I can give it the attention it truly deserves.
HM: Renegades by X Ambassadors
This is a very simple song. This song puts me in the feeling of relaxing and setting out new adventures, Vocalist Sam Harris having this much grit in his vocals works, as well as the guitar melody and the hand clap percussion in the song. This is basically wanting to live young, wild, and free. I find it ironic that its about living their lives wild and becoming renegades, and it broke through being in a Jeep commercial. If only this band tried more in their craft, I would enjoy their songs like as much as I enjoyed this. Just a commercial jingle. Nothing more, nothing less.
HM: Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy
Shoulda seen this one coming. If there’s one band that most people mixed feelings is Fall Out Boy. They have so many great songs that we all can agree on like Thnks fr th Mmrs and Sugar, We’re Going Down, and at worst, Young and Menace. This is definitely in the former cause it’s just that good. A clunky piano line that works, melodic drums and guitars and a freaking Munsters sample. That alone is why I love this so much. Stump is having a good time with this girl that reminds him of Uma Thurman, a sweet badass chick that can’t be messed with. This isn’t my favorite Fall Out Boy hit of this year, but still good in all the right ways.
HM: Time of Our Lives by Pitbull and Ne-Yo
I don’t hate Pitbull. At times, he can be that one dumbass that can ruin one song with his presence. Every now and then, he can make at least one song that I can fully enjoy and this is one of them. Why don’t we have more songs like this? Basically this is concept is about someone who doesn’t have enough money to pay their rent and partying like it’s the last night of their lives. Seriously, we need more party anthems with a great concept like this. Even though Pitbull is mostly talking about this girl who’s recently single and the production could’ve been better, Ne-Yo’s performance easily stole the show. The real reason why it’s here is because of this line
“This for anybody goin’ through tough times
Believe me, been there, done that
But everyday above ground is a great day, remember that“
AW, that felt touching. Thank you Pitbull for that message. And considering that this may be his last hit, this was a positive note to end by.
What’s there to say about Adele? She is one of the most successful, talented and influential artists of our decade. She’s that damn good. 4 years after her successful album 21 impacted the year of 2011, she returns with another glorious masterpiece. The pianos and the backup vocals works so effectively with her vocals. Did I also mention that her voice is godlike and she can hit any notes than no other. Adele is reminiscing about her past relationship with a guy she ended on bad terms with and wanting the best for him. This is a blatant ripoff to her other big hit Someone Like You back in 2011, but I can get past that because Someone Like You is a phenomenal song and Hello is also a great song. And since this is only an honorable mention shows how great this year was for music.
HM: Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd
This song is different. Usually, he creates a dark, moody atmosphere in his tracks, but he truly step out of the box with this track because this is really that awesome. The funky, heavy bassline, great synths, pounding drums and guitars. Abel sells this performance incredibly, kinda reminiscent to Michael Jackson in the 80s, but In the Night and I Feel It Coming has done it a lot better. This about comparing his love of doing drugs to a girl. I don’t really like these “you’re love is a drug” because it’s a bit cliched, but The Weeknd step out of the ordinary and has this personality that I can easily go behind. This was his first number one hit for a damn good reason. Consider this as my honorary number 11 though.
Take Me To Church by Hozier
To be fair, this would’ve easily been my top 5, if I was comfortable speaking about it. And also, why is Hozier a one-hit wonder?
Now onto the top 10
10. Every now and then, we have at least one crossover hit from X-Factor or American Idol. Most people would remember Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood and that’s just it. From what I can recall, we had Phillip Phillips, who broke through from American Idol with Home, (which is a great song) and faded away. And in X-Factor we had many acts from England such as the aforementioned One Direction, Cher Lloyd and James Arthur. Luckily in 2015, we have one artist who broke through from the UK. May I introduce to you, Ella Henderson.
HM: Ghost by Ella Henderson
I didn’t know who Ella Henderson was until I started going through the 2015 year-end list. I only thought of her and this song as decent the first few listens. Then for some reason, it just clicked with me. Just like Waves, I was also happy that it made the year-end, barely. Ella Henderson is a great singer that deserves more recognition in the States than most of her peers. And this song is no exception. The production composed by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tender filled with a kickass guitars, explosive percussion and a steady baseline. The melody is damn near perfect when we to the verses and the hook, but the momentum slows down a bit in the bridge, but goes back and the vocal melody is just glorious. This song is about Ella trying to move on from a toxic relationship, but realizing that she couldn’t and just gives up. Her performance easily works with the cadence and charisma she can back up, which makes me like her And on the album this song is from, which is Chapter One is pretty much worth your time. So, if you haven’t heard it, check it out immediately. Kinda makes me wonder why Mirror Man didn’t follow up as successfully as this song.
9. I might end getting shit for this, huh? Fuck it, Centuries is better than Uma Thurman.Centuries by Fall Out Boy
Look, I get it. I get why many people prefer Uma Thurman than this, most notably that Munsters sample. But here’s the thing, this is much better to me in my opinion. The loud, aggressive guitars, kickass drums, the out-of-place Tom’s Diner sample and the bombastic crescendo at the beginning of every chorus. Patrick Stump can be a bit obnoxious in song when he says “Remember me for centuries,” but it builds an atmosphere feel to the point where I feel that I can give it my all . Hell, there is a reason why they should be remembered for centuries. I know I should like Uma Thurman a lot more than this, but there is enough elements that makes me love this song a lot more. Awesome song.
8. So, every once a while, there’s always a song from the UK has tried to crossover from the US. I already talked about Ghost, but I don’t really think that it was enough. Sure it’s great and all, but this song should’ve crossed over when it was big back in 2014.
I have one question I always asked myself when I think of this guy, why doesn’t he have this much success in the US as much in his home country? George Ezra is incredibly talented and deserves much of your time. And this song was a good first impression for him. The acoustic guitars, warm bells and hit-hats that works right in the mix and a great melody behind it. The songwriting is pretty simple. It’s about Ezra telling this girl all the things he would give up so that he can be with this woman and his vocal is rough, yet powerful enough for me to be invested to what he’s saying. I wouldn’t mind hearing this guy on the radio, but this is a pretty solid song from a talented foreign artist.
7. One of the most unique crossover hits that we deserved.
Yes, I know that it was a bigger hit in 2016 like my potential number 6, but it’s eligible since it debut in this year-end, so I’m talk about it here. The minute I first listened to this song, I wanted this to be a hit. I didn’t expect this to reach the top 10, but hey, I’m not complaining because this song kicks all types of ass. The energetic blues-rock instrumentation that’s going for a little country, but with a fiery guitar solo. Lyrically, this is about King takes these guys out and leaving them behind after. I should hate this, but it turns positive because she turning them into better lovers so that they can demonstrate it in the real world. What works is that I believe every single word she’s saying. Unlike Mehgan Trainor and Taylor Swift, I believe that she doing this for a greater good and her badass personality shows that she is a force to be reckon with. Find it weird that she is the daughter of Rob Schneider, aka the one of the unfunniest comedians in the world. Still doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the song, though.
6. Considering that I’m really anti-social, this song would easily earn a spot.
Alessia has usually been a mixed bag to me. She’s a vocally talented singer following Lorde’s footsteps pretty well compared to acts like Daya and Halsey, but I can find her just okay for me. Her production doesn’t really grabbed me the way it should, as well as her writing. But I do consider her to be incredibly talented, but I really not feeling it, the way I should. But her breakthrough hit Here was something special. The smoky guitar and piano lines, the gospel harmonies and a sample from Issac Hayes’ Rap II. She talks about a party she at and sharing her pure hatred of it. I heard that many people hate this song due to its pretentious attitude Alessia delivers, with mentioning listening to music with an actual message. But I like this a lot because of how relatable it is to me. I don’t go to parties because I really don’t like being around people, which makes me an introvert. I could’ve put Time of Our Lives in this slot, but like I said, I relate to Here more that song. If I have to nitpick, why are you here then? You can just leave and go home and do what you rather be doing. Remember when Lorde made Royals? A song dealing the overuse of materialistic consumption in our music such as in pop and hip-hop. I brought that up because Lorde’s mature and intelligent, but her somewhat pretentious delivery adds more depth in that track and it might’ve influenced this song and Cara’s framing in this song. Other than that, I really love this song.
5. I know that a lot of people hate this song, and I could understand why. But usually, I’m one of those people who are easily satsified and don’t care about what other people think. So, here it goes.
The Hills by The Weeknd
I kinda find it weird that this came before Can’t Feel My Face, and that reached number 1 before this. I don’t know how that happens, but here we are. Now onto the song. If 2015 belonged to one person it was The Weeknd, he spawned several hits, one from a shitty Fifty Shades of Gray movie and a few from his great album Beauty Behind the Madness. While one was atrocious, his second hit from the year was just ugly. Consider that a compliment. The dark atmospheric production with the gloomy synths, dark heavy bass and Abel’s disjointed vocals in this track, especially in the chorus, naming this song after a horror movie about cannibalism and the bizarre outro, spoken in Amharic .The eerie vibe I get in this song is what makes me like this song so much. Abel sells this performance as this insecure douchebag who’s only looking for a one-night stand with this woman and leaving her in the dust, unless he stuck by her. He isn’t glorifying the fact that he is a piece of shit, but living in it. He doesn’t sound like an abusive asshole who only looking for lust, but it is showing his weakness that he’s just a broken man who uses sex to ease his pain. This kinda takes me back to Hozier’s Someone New. Notice that song also deals with jumping into one relationship to another, but the thing is, is that Hozier was trying to build a connection he was seeking in order to find love. While I like this song better, it doesn’t really keeps me from returning to it. Great song from a great artist. Sorry Sharon.
4. Noticing it now, I haven’t really talked about hip-hop in this list. Yeah, in the mainstream, I wasn’t really all that impressed. Sure we had Fetty Wap, and a couple of songs with Drake, I didn’t really see it a great though. To be fair, hip-hop as a whole in 2015 was phenomenal. After all, albums like TPAB, Compton, B4.DA.$$, Summertime ’06 and it goes on and on. But there was one song that caught my attention and it was in the bottom 20 in the year-end. Do you wanna take a trip to the Downtown?
To quote the Rap Critic, “Are you guys happy that you scared off Macklemore?” No seriously, you guys decided due to his corniness, we wanted him gone. Instead, we decide to bring in fuckboys like gnash and Tom MacDonald. But let’s cut to the chase, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were an underrated duo who deserved the praise they got around 2013-2015. Macklemore was a really skilled white rapper who talked about serious messages like same-sex messages in Same Love and the overuse of buying materialistic things and how stupid it kinda makes you look in Thrift Shop. It ain’t easy being a highly skilled rapper. Just look at 1999-2003 Eminem, Aesop Rock, Dessa, Action Bronson, Yelawolf and many others. Ryan Lewis is a very talented producer, with his beats excellent at best and average at worst. And for some reason, its shows for both of those cases. The production is a cluttered mess that doesn’t seem to mesh well with 80s hip-hop, but it surprisingly does. The lyrics is a blatant rehash of Thrift Shop with the idea of buying used mopeds, but with a dash of asininity. Macklemore is a pretty good rapper with some funny lines like
” Neighbors yelling at me like, “You need to slow down”
“Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the fuck out
Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down”
Makes me laugh every damn time I hear it. I don’t know why Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, and Kool Moe Dee all shared two verses with each other. Don’t get me wrong, their verses were good, but couldn’t they have individual verses? And my favorite part is easily Eric Nally. His chorus adds to the track even more and it makes the 80s funk come to life. Also, is it me or does he sounds SO much like Freddie Mercury(R.I.P)? He just sounds like him to me. Anyways, I wouldn’t consider this as my favorite track from the duo, it would easily be Can’t Hold Us with Ray Dalton. But this is a contagious track that keeps the blood flowing.
3. The one key in order to make a good collaboration is simply made by chemistry and how well both artists played to the other extremely well. Which is why songs like Locked Away, Lean On, 679, Truffle Butter, FourFiveSeconds are so great in my opinion. But if I have to talk about the one that easily blows the aforementioned songs out of the blue, well here it is.
I previously stated on this website that I’m a fan of Ariana Grande, but I never really prove it. It’s mainly due to the fact that the quality she’s releasing today hasn’t fully caught my full attention. Sure, I liked them for the most part, but it doesn’t have that much replay value to me. Songs like Into You, No Tears Left to Cry, and Dangerous Woman would be the opposite because they’re some of the songs that shows Ariana at her best. Instead, she’s resorting to the mediocrity of God is a Woman, buwygf, ib and the godawful 7 Rings. But to me, Love Me Harder would be in my top 3. A nice sounding beat with the guitar licks, a cohesive melody, the drums and bass working extremely well with the synths that could easily pass off as a homage to the 90s R&B. It helps that she chose The Weeknd as her collaborator because he does seem to mix well with the 90s R&B sex jam that they’re trying to accomplish. And I really love the chemistry The Weeknd and Ariana have together. The Weeknd bringing in that darker, sexual side of his that counterbalances Ariana slowly losing her innocence and believing that a she’s a sex goddess. Unlike say Marvin Gaye by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor, you can tell that it’s believable and I can buy what Abel and Ms. Grande is portraying as. At the end of the day, it’s still a great song held back by 2 classic gems.
2. Should’ve seen it coming folks
I mean, what is there to talk about? This song got so many praises from people alike, topped the charts for 14 weeks, ended up as the biggest hit of the year and possibly of the decade. Like, there is really nothing new to talk about this song. Mark Ronson’s production is fantastic. A killer beat with warbling synths, a funky bassline, a guitar melody with horns used correctly during the chorus(looking at you AJR and Panic! at the Disco) that makes us reminiscent of the 80s funk. Bruno Mars is easily a highlight because of his remarkable personality and charisma he demonstrates. I should hate this because Bruno is practically sucking his own dick, but his personality and charisma shines through. His lines are top notch with him bragging how he’s so hot, that could make a dragon retire and how it catches the police and the firefighters attention. This would’ve topped, but for two things. 1: It was incredibly obvious and 2: It reminds me of Trinidad James’ horrendous breakthrough smash All Gold Everything with that “Don’t believe me, jut watch” line. I honestly don’t know they used that song to create this glorious masterpiece. The fact this isn’t at the top of my list is baffling to me, but the reason for it wouldn’t be.
1. The moment I first heard this song, I practically fell in love with this song. I played it every day and I’ve never gotten sick of it. And to this day, I still enjoyed and dance like a dork whenever this comes on. If you want to shut up and just present it, you’ve gotten your wish
Walk the Moon wasn’t a band I was familiar with until I started this countdown. They were good, but weren’t great in my opinion. Then, I heard this song and I was easily blown. The 80s instrumentation is splendid with a kickass guitar melody, explosive drums, a phenomenal groove surrounding it, and a synth solo in between the third chorus and the bridge. The song is about letting go your frustrations and just having this once in a lifetime dance with someone you know wouldn’t last. The verses are well structured, a bit clustered at places, but just right. The chorus is very addictive and it goes inside your head for months and the bridge is really good as well. Front-man Nicholas Petricca gives it his damnest to make us believe he’s having the time of his life in his delivery. This song does reminds me of the The Killers, most notably songs like Mr. Brightside, and Somebody Told Me (highly recommended songs) since it kinda does go overboard with the 80s style of rock. Can’t say I blame them, by the way. I just noticed that I haven’t talked about overplay during this entire post. That’s because considering how annoying overplay was that year, it was mostly because of the numerous amount of times this song was played. Then again, I’m immune to overplay since I barely listened to the radio. Even if I hear this song, I would be some idiot dancing to this like I’m some loser. And because of that, Shut Up and Dance is easily my pick for best hit song of 2015.
So that was my list, I hope you enjoyed. And it’s my birthday so consider this list as a present to you. Next time, Phantomonium out back to the darkness. Bye.