The end of the year is when music critics release their best-of lists, but these lists always seem too neat, too curated. I thought instead it would be super masochistic if I presented the top 10 songs that I’ve actually been listening to on Spotify this year. Guys, I feel very vulnerable right now.
1. “Hey Mama” – David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha and Afrojack
I was on an island watching a French music video channel and they kept playing this song. I love how it feels like it’s assembled from parts, that everyone contributed bits and pieces via Dropbox. Bebe Rexha wasn’t original credited, which is crazy because she sings the best part of the song.
2. “Girl From Sweden” – Eric Saade
I can explain (can I?). Saade is a Swedish pop star and this song wasn’t even a hit in Sweden. But one day I was listening to it on Spotify and decided that the instrumental of the song was dope and I stuck it on repeat and listened to it enough to be my second most listened to track of 2015. FML. The video is fun, at least.
3. “Lush Life” – Zara Larsson
More Swedish pop, this time from Zara Larrson who currently has a legit international hit with “Never Forget You”. “Lush Life” was a massive summer hit in north-west Europe. It is such a tune. If there was any pop justice in the world, it would be a summer hit in New Zealand, but I’ve given up wishing for stuff like that.
4. “Saxofuckingfon” – Samir & Viktor
Sigh. Maybe my excuse is that as I’m learning Swedish, it’s good to have simple lyrics i svenska that I can listen to and understand. Or maybe it’s just fun to listen to novelty pop by a fashion blogger and a reality TV star. Or maybe it’s the thrill of a song with the F-word in it that doesn’t get bleeped and even ends up on compilation albums of songs 4 kidz because Sweden doesn’t care about English swears.
5. “Cool for the Summer” – Demi Lovato
Demi’s ode to summer holiday lady love was co-written by Max Martin, who writes all the good songs. Btw, do you read my weekly Tumblr post Max Martin NZ Chart Watch? If you like over analysis and/or under analysis of chart pop, you’ll love it! Every time I think I’m getting sick of this song I listen again and am reminded of how cool it is.
6. “Froot” – Marina and the Diamonds
This was the first track I put on my Spotify playlist 2015 aka Hot Jamz, so I ended up listening to it quite a lot. Marina uses plenty of fruity sexual innuendo and then throws in her own stuff. And that melody in the chorus though. That’s quite good.
7. “You and I Alone” – Daphne & Celeste
When this song came out, a lot of people alerted me to its existence. I was never into D&C in the ’90s, but I’m happy to pick up where they left off. The song was written and produced by alt pop producer Max Tundra. Best thing – all the confused comments at the Guardian from guys whose logic circuits was nearing meltdown at the thought of a cool producer working with naff ’90s novelty pop girls.
8. “Meet Me Downtown Tonight” – Magnus Carlsson
The video is for the original Swedish version, “Möt mig i Gamla Stan”. This song is schlager, that particular kind of European pop that sounds super cheesy if you’ve been raised on New Zealand chart pop. But somehow something flipped it in my head and I dig it. The song is basically “bb, meet me in the Old Town because I want u”. Jag älskar det.
9. “Elastic Heart”
At the beginning of the year, I did not especially like Sia (I thought she was shouty) but now she’s ok. She writes good songs! The video is great – Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler do the dirty leotard dance of destiny. They both represent different aspects of Sia’s personality.
10. “Earned It” – The Weeknd
Even though 50 Shades of Grey is one of the worst films ever made (with its shitty fan fic roots painfully evident), it had a really good soundtrack. “Earned It” wasn’t even The Weeknd’s biggest song of 2015. I’ve used the lyric video because the official video is a bit rude, but you can watch it here. Meanwhile in Romania…
11. “2 On” – Tinashe featuring SchoolBoy Q
I’m adding an eleventh track because I want at least one cooldude song. This is from 2014, but I listened to it a lot this year. The song is about smoking marijuana. Tinashe has even explained the song lyrics on Genius.
Here’s my full list of the tracks I listened to the most. I feel like I need to explain the presence of “Sex Show” the 2001 album track by the Feelers.
I was looking up something for 5000 Ways when I saw there was a song called “Sex Show”. And after listening, I realised it was essentially a New Zealand response of Nsync’s “Digital Get Down”, an artefact of the awkward relationship that people had with digital hook-ups in the early 2000s. And it has quite catchy chorus. I eventually started listening to it a lot in private mode, but the damage was done.