Friday, January 01, 2016

Rewind: The Year 2015 in Music

year in review

Coldplay, Adele, Kendrick Lamar, Björk surface with new albums while Radiohead release rejected James Bond theme

- Life stopped making sense when Justin Bieber suddenly decided to stop being atrocious, releasing a string of singles that left us asking ourselves, “did we really just like a Justin Bieber song?!” We’re still very confused about this.

- Like, if JBiebs doesn’t suck anymore, what does that mean for world equilibrium? Would someone awesome, say Coldplay for instance, have to make a really bland album to offset this disturbance in the order of things and restore balance to ... oh wait, so that’s what A Head Full of Dreams was for!

- Adele’s immensely successful new album 25 made us wonder how something can be so incredible and so incredibly boring at the same time.

- The One Direction soap opera saw Zayn leave the group (depriving Pakistan of our tenuous link to the world’s most popular boy band) and also break off his engagement to Perrie, and Louis expect a baby, before the group released their fifth album and went on a hiatus. We’ll miss the drama; the music, not so much.

- ‘See You Again’, Wiz Khalifa’s tribute to Paul Walker, hit us right in the feels. We still haven’t recovered.

- Walk the Moon told us to shut up and dance. We obediently complied.

- Years and Years released a very solid single. We could listen to it for years and years – ok, maybe days and days – and not get tired of it.

- Hilary Duff breathed in and out; Selena Gomez tried to have a revival; Demi Lovato was confident; Ariana Grande chilled; while Miley Cyrus was ... just plain weird.

- Katy Perry was upstaged by a guy in a shark costume at the Super Bowl halftime show.

- Nicki Minaj had a beef with, like, everyone.

- Taylor Swift gave us Mean Girls flashbacks when she formed a high school-esque clique of gorgeous, famous young women, and inspired young listeners everywhere that they too can hang out with her if they’re rich and beautiful.

- Ryan Adams released a cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Also, his marriage to Mandy Moore ended as she filed for divorce. We’re presuming these two things are related.

- Sufjan Stevens made a remarkably beautiful, crushingly poignant album about his mother Carrie and step-father Lowell, which was easily one of the best releases of the year. It was nominated for lots of Grammys ... haha, just kidding! It got zero nominations. But hey, Taylor Swift got 7 nods, so that should put the Grammys into perspective!

- Sia still didn’t get rid of those marbles in her mouth.

- The Internet was concerned that Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ sounds like D.R.A.M.’s ‘Cha Cha’.

- Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay US$7.4 million to Marvin Gaye’s estate in a plagiarism case ruling that left us torn between pointing out how ludicrous the verdict was and just taking the decision as proof that the whole karma thing is actually real.

- Kurt Cobain’s estate turned voyeurism into an art, milking the late singer’s legacy for all its worth.

- The absolute legend that is Dave Grohl broke his leg after falling from the stage during a Foo Fighters concert, then promptly came back onstage minutes later to finish the gig while a medic attended to his broken limb, making us feel really guilty about that time we stayed in bed all day because we had a cold.

- The Weeknd made us wonder why he can’t feel his face. Or spell his name correctly. He should seriously consider consulting a doctor. And a dictionary.

- Inspired by Mark Ronson’s infectious ‘Uptown Funk’, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis went ‘Downtown’.

- Elle King came to the world’s attention after releasing her catchy debut single ‘Ex’s & Oh’s’. Then we found out she is Rob Schneider’s daughter. Our brain is still not sure how to process that information.

- Jamie Lawson made a song in 2011. It became a hit in 2015. He probably wasn’t expecting that.

- OMI found the cheerleader he’d been looking for since 2008.

- Sigala reminded us of how amazing little Michael Jackson used to be.

- Noel Gallagher flew high with his High Flying Birds, who released their well-received sophomore record.

- Bleachers were fun.

- Kelly Clarkson made a comeback by continuing down the generic pop route.

- Carly Rae Jepsen made a pop song that was really, really, really, really, really, really catchy (and/or grating, depending on how many times you had to listen to it).

- Madonna continued to be desperate to stay relevant.

- LunchMoney Lewis worried about paying his bills

- The world was underwhelmed when the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince released two HITnRUN albums.

- Blink-182 sent fans into a meltdown when they parted ways with Tom DeLonge, subsequently hiring Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba as his replacement.

- Blur released their first new album in more than a decade, then followed that up by creating their own brand of ice cream, because why not.

- Mumford & Sons suffered an identity crisis.

- Jason Derulo still kept singing his own name.

- Jess Glynne made a hit-fuelled debut.

- Newly crowned The X Factor winner Louisa Johnson made a rocky start to her career when her first song became the lowest charting debut single by a winner of the show.

- A capella fans were grateful for the existence of Pentatonix.

- Avicii told us stories.

- New releases from New Order, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, D’Angelo, Sleater-Kinney, and even Ugly Kid Joe (!) left us feeling like we’d fallen asleep and woken up in the wrong decade.

- The Libertines regrouped to make some anthems for doomed youth.

- The Corrs returned after a decade’s absence to show us that the sisters are still annoyingly, unfairly gorgeous.

- Radiohead released their rejected theme song for the recent Bond film, leaving us with the question: who the hell chose that Sam Smith song over this, and what on Earth were they thinking?!

- Ellie Goulding did a song for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. It gained constant rotation everywhere, and every time we heard it, it reminded us of the existence of that stupid movie. We will never forgive her for doing this to us.

- Chris Brown named his album after his daughter Royalty. It was simultaneously sweet and disconcerting.

- Fall Out Boy tried to make America psycho again.

- Kanye West named his son Saint West. Pete Wentz (father of Saint Wentz) may have been a little miffed.

- Paul McCartney ended his nearly three decade long top 10 drought by working with Kanye West on the Rihanna song ‘FourFiveSeconds’.

- And Kendrick Lamar, Björk, Courtney Barnett, Muse, Alabama Shakes, and Florence + the Machine impressed listeners around the world with their new albums.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 1st January, 2016 *

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