Been a long time since I’ve written about pop music, haven’t I?
Now before people go nuts on me, I just want to make it clear that I’m not a music buff or anything. I barely listen to my local radio these days, and most of what I know about music is through occasionally looking at the Billboard news or the top 100 charts. Pop music to me is like anime before I started blogging the stuff: I have basic knowledge of the scene, but I only check out one or two things from it every couple of months or sometimes even none at all, and most of my interaction in-between is just replaying the same thing over and over. So this post might be missing a few noticeable things and I can’t go into nearly as much detail about the songs as a writer on Anime Instrumentality, but I honestly have listened to and liked enough 2015 music to praise the year overall. If there’s even more good stuff out there that I don’t mention, that just means 2015 was a better year for pop music than I thought. Or I thought the song was shit.
Let’s start this post off with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s new hit song, Downtown. Some people are probably aware of how much I love Thrift Shop, and Downtown is basically the Tokyo Tribe to Thrift Shop’s “Why Don’t You Play In Hell”. Whilst I don’t love it nearly as much, the mixture of different genres really pays off in adding to the catchiness of the music, and it’s fully self-aware of how silly the subject matter is whilst never letting it get in the way of the fun. Wasn’t aware that the female-sounding singer was male until I actually watched the video, which raised a bunch of questions in me afterwards, but that doesn’t change the fact that I get a smile every time I hear it.
Now let’s shift to the song you heard everywhere upon its release. When I first heard Shut Up and Dance, I immediately thought to myself “is this a song from the 80s?”. Turns out it wasn’t, but even though the production is definitely modern, listening to this song gives off a feeling of being transported back to a time when cynicism wasn’t as prevalent as it is now and all you have to do to impress the girl is to be direct. And all the girl has to do to be attractive is to be even more direct. There’s no bullshit getting in the way of your feelings aside from maybe the guy trying a little too hard at points (which the video makes fun of). Just shut up and dance, son!
If you can’t tell, I have a certain amount of nostalgia for 80s stuff even though I grew up in the 90s – which some people have told me this song represents more. Eh, I’ll just pretend it’s 80s just so I can get that above paragraph to work.
Can’t have a post praising 2015 music without bringing up Taylor Swift, now can we? Little did I know when my Swift-loving friends introduced me to her teen-pandering pile of meh that she’d grow up to be one of the most powerful women in the world; but she did, and Style is easily my favorite thing of hers. Admittedly, that’s not hard to accomplish given how I mostly don’t care for her other songs (and let’s not forget, she released that godawful Bad Blood song in the same year), but Style isn’t just better than her previous stuff, it’s light years better. In addition to the catchy music, it plays both sides of the bad relationship equally whilst acknowledging that even though it has problems, you just can’t stop seeing how good you are together. Now that’s what I call maturity. You know, unlike what Selena Gomez has been doing these days.
Bleh. Let’s get back to posting good music on this post…
…uhhhhhhhh, I can explain.
You guys notice that Justin Bieber has been getting a huge rise in popularity as of late? I mean music-wise, because after a brief period of obscurity when he finally hit puberty, he became pretty damn infamous by being a complete asshole in 2014. 2015 had him get back on the music scene though with three top hits, and whilst I do like all of them, that’s mostly for the music. Bieber’s singing is still dull and the lyrics to Sorry and Love Yourself are so misogynistic that it’s hilarious. I do legitimately enjoy What Do You Mean though, as like Style, it plays both sides equally whilst acknowledging how difficult relationships are. If Bieber keeps making songs like this, maybe I’ll stop showing amazement at how he outlasted One Direction.
Do I really have to describe why an Adele song is good? I mean it’s Adele. Admittedly, I don’t like Hello as much as Rolling in the Deep, but…well…it’s still fucking Adele. And it’s still fucking good.
Pitbull ranges from charmingly bad to boring bad depending on the song. That collaboration he did with Ne-Yo where he advertised Kodak was mostly the latter. This one is definitely the former.
Now this song I only learned about a few days ago. It was technically released in 2014, but it’s a part of a 2015 album and I don’t think it made it big until that year, so I’m including it. It’s basically a song about a woman who carelessly dated men in the past whilst being incredibly obvious about her superiority over them, and mostly gets by on Elle King’s pipes. For those of you who don’t know her, Elle King is Rob Schneider’s daughter, and basically has all the talent her pop never had. She’s fucking brutal in Ex’s and Oh’s, and when you listen to her talk about how she was the dominant one in her past relationships, you believe it.
Let’s end this post with my top two favorite songs of the year. Now I didn’t like anything from 2015 as much as my 2014 favorite, Uptown Funk (which thankfully stayed on the charts for the majority of the year after its release…or is it still on? I haven’t checked), but these songs really get me on a good mood whenever I play them on my car radio. And trust me when I say that listened to both of them quite a bit.
The first one is Carly Rae Jepsen’s Run Away With Me. This song, I would never have heard about if my friends didn’t inform me about the release of her newest album because it never became a hit and I don’t exactly pay much attention to Carly Rae despite thinking she’s a good singer (didn’t even know she was doing the Fuller House theme until just now when I decided to look her up. And then I cried). The whole album was fun to listen to, but the main song is basically Petula Clark Downtown levels of good. Its use of sax is amazing and it does an awesome job of capturing the innocent side of being young as opposed to the pessimistic side that What Do You Mean showcases. Definitely the most underrated song of that year.
And my second favorite song of 2015 is Demi Lovato’s Cool For the Summer. You know, that song where she casts aside that kiddy persona she’s built up over the years with stuff like Barney and Camp Rock and (ugh) Glee in order to sing about her experiences with another woman over the summer due to some bi-curious tendencies that have apparently been building up for quite some time? Basically like Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl, only with a hardcore rock edge and 100% more awesome. This single is without a doubt the best transition from kiddy stuff to adult smash I’ve ever seen in the pop scene, proving that just because Miley Cyrus’s fall was pitiable doesn’t mean every other little girls’ has to be. It’s fun to listen to. It’s fun to sing, although I personally don’t because I’m a terrible singer, nor am I either gay or female. It makes me forget about Selena Gomez’s existence for brief moments. Can’t get any higher praise than that.
- As for what I think of See You Again, I thought the song sucked in the F7 movie and hearing it on the radio didn’t make that better.
- I’ve listened to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud a lot of times and I still can’t tell if I like it or not.