A few days ago, I saw online where someone had shared their list of the ten songs they'd listened to most in 2015. Not best of 2015 specifically but what they'd listened to most this year. Rather than trying to narrow down my current favorites to music that came out over the past twelve months, I decided to go with this idea instead since much of what I've listened to most this year wasn't necessarily released in 2015.
Hopefully somewhere in this list you can be enlightened to something new and enjoyable to your ear holes.
10. Sinema (Swoope)
I had never listened to Swoope much until this year. While he's definitely an MC to be reckoned with on his own, the track from Sinema called #SameTeam is a collaboration full of amazing artists. One of the best hip-hop tracks I heard all year.
9. Rage Against the Machine (Rage Against the Machine)
A few times this year, I found myself in some pretty interesting conversation with my old high-school friend Brian. Although I've always been a big Rage fan, these chats with Brian have reminded me just how amazing they really were.
On a side note, Brian used to front a pretty amazing band of his own. Got my fingers crossed for a reunion show one of these days.
8. We Buy Gold (Playdough)
Playdough made my list last year and he's back again with a new release in 2015. Although the entire album comes in at only about twenty minutes in length, the beats are bangin'. Reminds me of Rev Run's solo album -- short but amazing.
7. Amigo De Fuego (Fragile Porcelain Mice)
As a long-time fan of Springfield-based NIL8, I had always been familiar with Fragile Porcelain Mice but never really paid them much attention. That's changed over the past few years, this year especially. I regret not following these guys just as closely as I have NIL8 for all those years!
6. Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.)
With the release of the Straight Outta Compton movie this year, the album (one of my all-time favorites) has found itself back into a regular rotation in my playlists. The film reminded me just how ground-breaking this album was at the time it came out -- proud to have owned it since it's initial release. I was going to post the video for the title track but stumbled upon this video instead. Long-time NWA fans will certainly find this hilarious.
5. Run the Jewels 2 (Run the Jewels)
Much like Fragile Porcelain Mice, I had not paid proper attention to Run the Jewels. This live video on YouTube with Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha was a game changer. I'm guessing I've watched this video at least 100 times in the past twelve months.
4. Strictly Business (EPMD)
Never did I think I'd see the day that a hip-hop album rivaled Eric B & Rakim's Paid in Full as the best ever in my opinion. Now we've got a tie for first. If Strictly Business doesn't get your head nodding in a hurry, you might want to check your pulse.
3. Sunday Morning Record (The Band of Heathens)
Sunday Morning Record is one of my go-to albums to listen to at work. Tame lyrics with a mellow sound I can get away with playing when students wander into my office. Probably my most-played album on Spotify this year.
2. Just Kids (Mat Kearney)
As much as I loved his previous album, I was sure that Just Kids was going to be a disappointment, but a few months ago, there would have been no doubt in my mind that Mat Kearney would have come in at #1 on this list for 2015. A lock at #1 had it not been for a recent discovery.
1. I Used to Be So Young (The Homeless Gospel Choir)
I never thought that my Mister Rogers obsession would ultimately introduce me to one of my favorite musicians. But it did. Derek Zanetti, the voice behind The Homeless Gospel Choir (and fellow Mister Rogers "appreciator"), and I have been in contact a few times this year and after seeing a photo online of him wearing a Dead Milkmen shirt, I thought it only proper that I give his songs a whirl.
I was hooked. Immediately.
Equal parts political, personal, inspirational, positive, and witty, I simply cannot get enough of The Homeless Gospel Choir -- especially Derek's most recent album, I Used to Be So Young.