Lyn’s Favorite Songs of 2015

Narrowing down a year of music into my favorite songs of the year list is always a challenge–but I love it!–and this year marks the 10-year anniversary of compiling and distributing this mix. Of all the years making the list, this year’s process was special.

All year–November 1-October 31–I add songs I like to a playlist. (My “WLYN <insert year> mix” to be exact.) I spend the month of November revisiting that list, adding songs recommended by friends or blogs I follow, and trying to whittle the list of hundreds to 40-42–or whatever will fit on two CDS. Since I generally drive a lot for work, there’s plenty of time for me to give the list a thorough listen–and generally by Thanksgiving, the list is complete.

This November, however, I was in Nepal trekking in the Himalayas. I figured my list would have to wait until I returned home in December. But after days of not listening to any music, suffering from altitude sickness–and homesickness–and hiking down one of the longest mountain passes in the world, it was time to put my headphones on and get to work.  With each song, it felt like my life was being restored. All of the songs took on new meaning as they became the soundtrack of my trek: up the rocky trail to the medieval Tibetan-style town of Kagbeni, through the apple orchards of Marpha, down the dusty jeep roads to Tatopani, across trails cut into forests of Rhododendron to Ghorepani, climbing 10,460-foot Poon Hill to watch the sunrise, up the steep stairs to Sikha, and then down the 3,300 stairs to Tikhedhunga. With so many incredible releases–one of the best in the ten years of doing this list–this year was even harder to narrow down. But with so many songs now filled with memories, cutting any song was particularly difficult.

So I decided I needed to expand the list–and instead of the usual two CD set–I made the list an even 50 songs and have posted the complete list on Spotify. A link to the Spotify playlist is at the end of this post. You can also find playlists of my favorite albums of the year here. I still organized the list into two sequenced playlists but combined them into one for maximum listening enjoyment.

Making this list is one my favorite things to do each year, but so is reading and checking out what everyone else loved that I missed. So don’t be shy–let me know what you loved that made my list–or what you loved that didn’t.

Thank you, 2015! Here’s to music, memories and mountains! (in no particular order except for songs 1-3):

  1. The Charade, D’Angelo and the Vanguard

2. What Kind of Man, Florence + the Machine

3. Where Are Ü Now, Jack Ü with Justin Bieber

4. Dumb, Jazmine Sullivan

5. In Your Bones, Meghan Rose

6. Mountain at My Gate, Foals

7. Throw Sum Mo, Rae Sremmurd

8. Too Original (featuring Elliphant & Jovi Rockwell), Major Lazer

9. Loud Places, Jamie XX featuring Romy

10. Wednesday Night Interlude, Drake featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR

11. High By the Beach, Lana Del Rey

12. The Deep, Dawn Richard

13. 1998, Chet Faker featuring BANKS

14. Boys Life, Small Black

15. Open Book, Jose Gonzalez

16. Dimed Out, Titus Andronicus

17. F*ck Up Some Commas, Future

18. Mr. Put It Down, Ricky Martin featuring Pitbull

19. Surrender, Gavin Turek

20. No Sleeep, Janet Jackson

21. When You’re Smiling and Astride Me, Father John Misty

22. I Don’t Want to Let You Down, Sharon Van Etten

23. Downtown, Majical Cloudz

24. Space Song, Beach House

25. River, Leon Bridges

Disc Two

26. Pedestrian at Best, Courtney Barnett

27. Dope Cloud, Protomartyr

28. Pray to God, Calvin Harris featuring Haim

29. Leave a Trace, CHVRCHES

30. Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh), Rich Homie Quan

31. Truffle Butter, Nicki Minaj featuring Drake and Lil’ Wayne

32. Glass & Patron, FKA Twigs

33. Love is Free, Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique

34. One Last Time, Ariana Grande

35. Night Changes, One Direction

36. Return to the Moon Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo), El Vy

37. The Less I Know the Better, Tame Impala

38. Multi-Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

39. 400 Blows, Zero 7 featuring Danny Pratt

40. Corner, Night Beds

41. Light, ODESZA featuring Little Dragon

42. Real Love, Clean Bandit

43. Shine, Years & Years

44. Fool for Love, Lord Huron

45. Electric Love, BØRNS

46. Alright, Kendrick Lamar

47. No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross, Sufjan Stevens

48. Tropic of Cancer, Panda Bear

49. Summertime, Vince Staples

50. face the sun, Miguel

 

My Favorite Albums of the Year, 2015

As expected–2015 was an incredible year for music. Surprise releases from old favorites, highly anticipated albums that exceeded expectations, new voices with confident debuts–one of the challenges was making time to give proper attention to so many worthy listens.

This list represents my favorite albums of the year, which I classify as November 1, 2014-October 31, 2015. These are the albums that I return to again and again, through all my travels and many moods, ranked in order.

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End of Summer Music Mix

2015 continues to roll out incredible new music–and this fall–we will see a slew of highly anticipated releases.

So before I’m buried in the new Disclosure, Chvrches, Youth Lagoon and Prince albums–provided I’ve put down the Florence, D’Angelo, Father John Misty and Tame Impala–here’s a mix of tracks I’ve been loving this summer:

The Way, Kehlani featuring Chance the Rapper

Love is Free, Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique

Inhale, Exhale, Nao

Summertime, Vince Staples

Glass & Patron, FKA Twigs

Willing and Able, Disclosure featuring Kwabs

Snakeskin, Deerhunter

 

You’re the Best, Wet

F*ck Up Some Commas, Future

Boys Life, Small Black

1998, Chet Faker featuring BANKS

Body, Young Galaxy

No Sleeep, Janet Jackson

In the Silence, Asgeir

Pray to God, Calvin Harris featuring HAIM

Banjo, Clark

Electric Body, A$AP Rocky featuring Schoolboy Q

Corner, Night Beds

Open Book, Jose Gonzalez

Space Song, Beach House

 

Favorite Albums and Songs of 2015–so far

As predicted–after a weak 2014–2015, it has been a great year for music! There are so many fantastic releases that I haven’t even made my way through–and exciting releases dropping every week. My only complaint about the year has been the sheer volume of music coming out. I find it hard to keep up and I often feel I’m not giving all albums and tracks a fair shake. But that said–I have worked through lots and lots of music–and these are the albums and songs that keep calling me back. Maybe it’s my mood, maybe it’s because they are legit fab–you’ll just have to check them out for yourself.

Favorite Albums of 2015 (November 1, 2014-June 15, 2015)

1. Black Messiah, D’Angelo and the Vanguard

2. I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty

3. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + the Machine

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10 Spring Tunes You Should Know

So far, 2015 has been an incredible year for music! What a treat to have so many great songs getting radio play this spring, such as What Kind of Man, Florence + the Machine’s lead single from the upcoming “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”, two equally fine Diplo tracks, one as Major Lazer featuring the Danish singer, MØ, and the other as Jack Ü, his collaboration with Skrillex and featuring some guy named, Justin Bieber, Rich Homie Kwan’s insanely catchy, Flex (ooh, ooh, ooh) and a great AlunaGeorge number remixed by DJ Snake.

While there is definitely not a shortage of spring jams–there can always be more!

So here are 10 more songs to add to your spring playlists:

 1. Real Love, Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne

 2. In Your Bones, Meghan Rose

 

3. Coffee (F***ing), Miguel

4. Fool for Love, Lord Huron

 5. Hasta la Raíz, Natalia Lafourcade

 6. Imagination, Gorgon City featuring Katy Menditta

 7. Save Yourself, Milo Greene

 8. Mr. Put It Down, Ricky Martin featuring Pitbull

 9. Coming Home, Leon Bridges

10. I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty

 

 

Favorite Songs of 2014: Tied Up, Tied Down, Teen and Cut Your Teeth, Kyla La Grange

I love it when friends recommend tracks–and both of these numbers were brought to me by trusted music sources–my friend, Troy and my sister, Holly.

The first song was a gift from Holly, although she has no recollection of sharing it. *sigh*

I knew nothing about Teen when I first heard this song. Searching for information on them (and the song) proved to be a NSFW experience. But I have since learned that this all-girl band is made up of sisters, Teeny, Katherine and Lizzie Lieberson and Boshra AlSaadi. I’m crazy for sister bands! I was surprised to learn they are signed on Carpark Records–along with my favorites, Beach House and this year’s list maker, Cloud Nothings–because I still haven’t heard much about them and they are so great! Here’s to a big 2015 for Teen!

The next song was sent to me from my friend, Troy. Troy convinced me to switch to the Rdio streaming service because it was a better interface and easier to share music with friends than Spotify or other services. (I need to do a post about the streaming services someday–but spoiler alert–Rdio is fantastic!) Troy has been my go-to for Euro-pop for years and he uncovers lots of cool tracks I would’ve otherwise missed. Including this one. I feel like, of the songs on my 2014 list, this one has the most potential of hitting it big in 2015. So enjoy it now while it’s yours.

 

Get Your Veggie On

Healthy McHealthersons are always telling you to “listen to your body”, it will tell you what it needs. Good advice! But what about those days (weeks?) when your body is like “no! Listen to me! A bag of Milanos and a whole pizza is a perfectly reasonable dinner! And then feel free to mindlessly chow a whole bag of Sriracha flavored potato chips, and then you should probably eat an ice cream sandwich just to balance that out. I am YOUR BODY! You will listen to me!!”

This happens to me easily once a month. And also all winter.

Sometimes, though, something wonderful happens- I get sick of feeling salty and sticky, and a broken, weak little voice inside whispers, feebily, “…..vegetables!!! eat a vegetable!!!” and slowly, if I listen closely, it gets louder and soon I am totally on team veggie. I have a few go-to recipes* for when I need a serious veggie intervention. An interveggton, if you will. Continue reading

Favorite Songs of 2014: BBC Radio One Chart Show Edition

When we got our first computer as a kid, I used it to keep a running list of all the top songs on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40. (#nerdalert) Some things haven’t changed. Each week, I update a playlist on my Rdio account to keep track of all the songs that make it on BBC Radio One’s Chart Show. The Chart Show is basically the UK version of AT40. Some of the tracks end up on the American charts, but many do not.

Here are a bunch of my favorite songs of the year that I learned about through The Chart Show. Some became US hits, some didn’t, but all are awesome: Continue reading