That I can rather easily put together a list of recent songs that I liked is certainly a change from my usual of being steeped in the music of the past. I can, of course, attribute much of this to one Adam Mitchell Lambert, my current celebrity crush, who also happens to be quite generous about recommending the work of his fellow musicians.
It’s also been bolstered by increased use of streaming services, along with Google Music’s habit of making entire albums of new music free or 0.99 to download. (This week: The new Pentatonix Deluxe Edition, free to own! I’m quite liking it so far.) Music radio, on the other hand, continues to have no influence on me, as I never listen to it.
Two songs, one title
We all knew Adam Lambert’s “Ghost Town” was going to be here, so might as well get it out of the way. A catchy song that is musically and lyrically off-beat enough to stand up to multiple (and I do mean multiple) listenings. But it’s only recently I actually listened to other “Ghosttown” song—the one by Madonna. It’s quite good as well! And completely different.
Saying you don’t like Adele is like saying you don’t like The Beatles: It doesn’t make you as cool as you think, and you’re just lying to yourself anyway. What I find amazing is that it seemed after only one listen, I knew all the lyrics already. How is that even possible?
And also, no one much comments on the slightly disturbing aspects of what Adele is doing in this song, eh?
Hi, it’s me, that person who broke your heart in high school, I heard you’re finally over me & it really bothers me; I keep calling…Hello?
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) November 30, 2015
As for Hedley: Hello! This is rock! Hedley is current and successful and they make rock music not pop music and that’s a reason to love them right there. Always like Jason Hoggard’s voice, too.
One category, two non-winning yet ultimately successful alumni from American or Canadian Idol, so let’s add another: Carly Rae Jepsen.
Carly Rae made many “Best of” lists this year, and I agree; her new album is terrific. But there is a certain mystification that it hasn’t sold better. (Could it be inept management? The CD is often out of stock at Amazon, which just seems odd.)
At any rate, the single, “Run Away with Me” is just incredibly infectious.
And although I seem to be the only one, I just adore the blatant come-on of “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” – Do you know what I mean? You know what I mean. If you just give me a chance, you’ll see what I see.
And speaking of horny women
Selena Gomez all grew up this year with the slinky “Good for You” and its yowza video. Leave this dress a mess on the floor, indeed.
And then we had Tove Lo, following up “Habits” with “Talking Body”.
And if you’re talking body, you’ve got a perfect one, so put it on me.
Swear it won’t take you long. (!)
If you love me right, we fuck for life… On and on and on
Why so subtle, Tove?
Little Big Town’s singer so wanted this guy, she developed a “Girl Crush” on his girlfriend. Pretty good for a country song.
The Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack was hella better than the movie (not that’s it’s much of a bar), a nice collection of smooth, sexy songs. My tops from it are Beyonce’s “Haunted” and Ellie Goulding’s big hit, “Love Me Like You Do”.
And while it’s more quirky and lively than the above, one can’t miss Janelle Monae’s repeated request for her baby to “bend over” and “Let me see you do the yoga” in the wonderful “Yoga”.
What does this say about me?
That I like so many, uh, passionate songs? Not going there, but did feel that Alessia Cara was describing me in her big introvert anthem, “Here”, about how horrible it is to be at a party with a bunch of people you don’t really know.
Bilingualism can be handy, because some French artists are great. And to widen their appeal, some of them sing in English also.
When on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah described France’s Christine and the Queens as “weird. But good. Good weird!” That’s about right. They are actually good; can’t help it if they’re tilted.
(Also check out “Paradis Perdus”, a take on “Heartless”.)
And le groupe Swing released a new album this year as well, with “La Folie” having some success in French Canada.
Who rule the world? [Girls, girls]
Not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but this a very female-dominated list. And until Adele came along, no one was more dominant than Taylor Swift, whose 2014 1989 I finally acquired this year, partly on the strength of the 2015 single, “Style”.
I also like Ryan Adams’ take on this album. (Here’s his version of “Style”, for example.) Although the original is still better.
But a few other guys not named Adam also put out some interesting music.
I know nothing at all about Lost Frequencies and their song “Are You With Me”, except that I adored from the first time I heard and still do, every time since.
Also great fun was Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”. Watch me, baby, don’t stop! And Duran Duran (remember them?) put out a rather good album called Paper Gods. The single (I’m just learning) is “Pressure Off”. (I also liked “Sunset Garage”.)
And Zhu’s “Faded” highlighted his unusual voice.
And speaking of unusual voices
Aka how to get The Who on this list, as a rather excellent Lovelife Remix of “Love Reign O’er Me’ came out this year.
And to bring this full circle, I also enjoyed many remixes and mashups of Adam’s “Ghost Town”. In the “remixed live” category, Queen + Adam Lambert gave it a rock edge. In the non-live category, tt was nicely combined with Bieber’s “What Do You Mean”: What do Ghosts Mean? and even more successfully with “Prayer in C” by Robin Shulz and Lilly Wood & The Prick: Prayer in Ghost Town. But my favorite was the “Ghost Body” mashup of Talking Body with Ghost Town, with Tove’s blatant come-on met with Adam’s “Meh. My heart is a ghost town.”
(By the way, Tove and Adam do actually sing a duet called “Rumors” on his album.)
- Ghost Town – Adam Lambert
- Ghosttown – Madonna
- Hello – Adele
- Hello – Hedley
- Run Away with Me – Carly Rae Jepsen
- I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance – Carly Rae Jepsen
- Good for You – Selena Gomez –
- Talking Body – Tove Lo
- Girl Crush – Little Big Town
- Haunted – Beyonce
- Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
- Yoga – Janelle Monae, Jidenna
- Here – Alessia Cara
- Style – Taylor Swift
- Style – Ryan Adams
- Tilted – Christine and the Queens
- Paradis Perdus – Christine and the Queens
- Carry on – Coeur de Pirate
- Crier tout bas – Coeur de Pirate
- La Folie – Swing
- Lost Frequencies – Are You With Me
- Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
- Pressure Off – Duran Duran
- Sunset Garage – Duran Duran
- Faded (Big Gigantic Remix) – Zhu
- Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
- America’s Sweetheart – Elle King
- Love Reign O’er Me (Lovelife Remix) – The Who
- Ghost Town – Queen + Adam Lambert
- What do Ghosts Mean? – Adam Lambert and Justin Bieber
- Prayer in Ghost Town – Adam Lambert, Robin Shulz, and Lilly & The Prick
- Ghost Body (Mixed Mashup) – Adam Lambert and Tove Lo
Spotify playlist of most things (email people, you have to look at this post in a browser to get the Spotify playlist. And to see the embedded YouTube videos, for that matter):
- The Original High – Adam Lambert
- E.M.O.T.I.O.N – Carly Rae Jepsen
- Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack – Various
- Swing. – (le groupe) Swing
- 1989 – Ryan Adams
- Paper Gods – Duran Duran
- Roses – Coeur de Pirate
- Pentatonix – Pentatonix