According2g.com’s Top 15 Albums & Songs of 2015

Posted by The G on December 1, 2015 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photos, videos, words and autographs obtained by G.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these bands, songs or albums listed below, I urge you to open your mind and check them out.  Maybe they won’t be your taste or maybe they will change your life!  And now… According2g.com’s top 15 albums + songs of 2015!!!

Currents by Tame Impala

Currents by Tame Impala

  1. “Currents” by Tame Impala.  By now you should know I am obsessed with this band.  They fuse psychedelic rock and and pop seamlessly on this album, their third, and I can’t get enough of it.  Lead singer Kevin Parker’s voice sounds like a fusion of John Lennon and George Harrison with a little bit of reverb on his vocals.  The opening track “Let It Happen” is over 7 minutes long and I listen to it over and over and over again and months later, I am still not sick of it.  By now you’d think I’d have the lyrics memorized, but the processing on his voice makes the end part sound like he’s signing “Shoobie doobie doobie” to me.  And I’m not complaining!  It makes me smile every time I put this song on repeat.  The songs on “Currents” move away from being so rock oriented and this collection of tracks are the grooviest songs Tame Impala has done to date.  If this is the direction they are headed in, I am ready to take the ride.  I recommend this album, but if albums aren’t your thing, check out “The Less I Know The Better,” “Let It Happen,” “Eventually,” “Cause I’m A Man” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.”  If those songs don’t rock your world, we are no longer friends 🙂
Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

2. “Honeymoon” by Lana Del Rey.  I’m really glad the world finally stopped hating Lana Del Rey and came to the realization that there is no one else out there in the music scene that is like her.  From her dark lyrics to her noir-esque music, Lana’s songs sound like mini 5 minute soundtracks to David Lynch films that don’t exist yet.  Love her or hate her, no one else opens an album with a 6 minute song that is nearly a capella, save for an orchestral arrangement when the name of the song is sung.  Her lyrics are badass (“you could be a bad motherfucker, but that don’t make you a man”) but she still gets her heart broken (“Ever since my baby went away, it’s been the blackest day/ All I hear is Billie Holliday/ It’s all that I play”) and in between she name checks legends and talks about many of our favorite subjects including getting high by the beach, appreciating art deco and invites you to move to California and become a freak like her.  Oh Lana, you have my heart!

Alex Kapranos of FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks)

Alex Kapranos of FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks)

3. “FFS” by FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks).  Who would have thought pairing 90s rockers Franz Ferdinand and 70s duo Sparks would have been such a great idea, but whoever matched these two bands up deserves a medal.  The 16 song (if you have the deluxe edition) album is as theatrical as a Broadway show and has enough grooves and quirky lyrics to make you listen to this album repeatedly, whilst occasionally laughing out loud at the absurdity.  The opener “Johnny Delusional” talks about not being attractive and trying to impress a hot woman.  With song titles like “Dictator’s Son,” “The Man Without a Tan,” “The Power Couple,” the band knows how to take the piss out of themselves.  In fact, the regular edition of the album closes out with “Collaborations Don’t Work,” and “Piss Off” which is obviously telling critics to piss off, since the results of this collaboration (that does work!) are some of the best work either band has done.  The deluxe edition features the song “So Many Bridges” and just from hearing the title, you think it’s going to be a reflective song, and instead they sing about how there are “so many bridges in the world to jump off from.”  This album rules!

Jarryd James

Jarryd James

4. “Thirty One” by Jarryd James.  Jarryd James is a singer/songwriter from Australia who has a nice mixture of soul, R&B and pop in his songs.  In the age of the piano ballad that makes you want to slit your wrists, Jarryd James is the relief as his music has a beat and many times, a funky little groove.  His album has yet to make a splash in America, but I think with the right marketing, he has the potential to be a big star.  I happened to see that he was playing a concert in New York and the promoter inserted a youtube link to his track “Do You Remember?” and I pressed play, heard about 5 seconds of the song and said “I need to see this guy sing.”  It was a great decision and I enjoyed every song I heard that night and when his album came out, I found the same love for every track on the record.  If you are looking for a starting point, let me recommend “Give Me Something” (for a more upbeat taste) and if you need a slow jam, check out “High.”  I really hope Jarryd’s career takes off because I love this album so much.  I am looking forward to hearing more from Jarryd James and you should be too!

Adele

Adele

5. “25” by Adele.  Hello!  A brilliant album of sad songs.  Adele is so charming when she is interviewed (I’ve met her 3 times and I can confirm the charm), her laugh makes the world a brighter place.  But sad songs are her specialty, so we’ve gotta let Adele be Adele.  Luckily songs like “Send my Love (To Your New Lover)” and “Water Under the Bridge” give us a glimpse of Adele when she is at her most up beat.  The world is her oyster, so hopefully we will get a tour and more music without having to wait years in between.  But Adele lives by her schedule perhaps if more artists did that, we’d get more artful works such as “25.”

Borns

Borns

6. “Dopamine” by Borns.  If T. Rex were alive and making music with the band MGMT in the age of the millennial, it would sound a lot like Borns.  His songs are groovy and soulful with a little bit of psychedelia mixed in.  You’ve got to watch the video for his single “Electric Love,” and if the song and video don’t blow you away, then try the title track “Dopamine,” which will have you repeating the chorus “wanna feel that stream of dopamine” over and over again.  “10,000 Emerald Pools” and “The Emotion” are two of my favorite songs on this great debut.  If you scour the archives of this site, you will find videos of Garrett Borns covering Bowie and Elton John.  You’re welcome!

Judith Hill

Judith Hill

7. “Back In Time” by Judith Hill.  Judith Hill is so bad ass!  She’s sung backing vocals for a list of legends including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson and for her latest album “Back in Time,” Prince produced it!  This production gives us a throwback to the purple proteges of the 1980s when every song on the record is great and it sounds like a Prince production.  I saw Judith Hill perform a few of these songs live and the studio renditions don’t do her voice justice because this woman can SING!  If you don’t throw your hands up church style when you hear songs like “Cry Cry Cry,” you might need to get your ears checked.  “As Trains Go By,” the album’s opener is that funk that is sorely missing from Prince’s own output these days and “Jammin’ in the Basement” will make you do just that.  Hopefully the world will catch on to the amazing Judith Hill because she deserves to have a career as great and powerful as her voice.

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

8. “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.  Aside from a handful of rock songs, I typically despise Christmas music.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Kylie Minogue’s Christmas record to be a mix of classic x-mas songs with traditional arrangements (“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” where they’ve seamlessly spliced in Frank Sinatra’s voice) to 1980’s covers (“2000 Miles” by the Pretenders, “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses – but Kylie’s version is paired with Iggy Pop! and “Only You,” a Yaz(oo) cover “Only You” paired with funny man James Corden – proving he’s got a nice set of pipes) to a disco Christmas song – “100 Degrees,” a duet with her sister, Danii Minogue.  It’s got a little something for everyone and you’ll need the deluxe edition if you want some of the better tracks on the album.  Ho Ho Ho!

Disclosure

Disclosure

9. “Caracal” by Disclosure.  Not as strong as their debut, the sophomore release from the cute Lawrence brothers has some really strong tracks.  In fact, when the tracks are strong, they hit it out of the park and when they are weak, they are little more than album filler.  Their collaborations with The Weeknd (“Nocturnal”), Sam Smith (“Omen”) and Lorde (“Magnets”) make you wish they would do full albums with these artists.

Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson

10 “Uptown Special” by Mark Ronson.  Mark Ronson + Kevin Parker of Tame Impala = G Heaven.  There are in fact 3 collaborations with the pair including “Daffodils,” which is a track so funky, I’ve had it on repeat a lot this year.  But the collaborations don’t stop there, Ronson also works again with Andrew Wyatt of the electronic group Miike Snow (sic) as well as producer Jeff Bhasker and there’s even a little bit of Stevie Wonder’s harmonica featured to open the album.  The record also features the mega smash “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars, and to be honest, Bruno’s music is so derivative to my ears that this song sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live parody of Eddie Murphy doing James Brown, but that’s just me.  The music is funky though, and that’s what matters.  This record is a little patchy in comparison to Ronson’s last effort “Record Collection,” but I still love it.

Young Empires

Young Empires

11. “The Gates” by Young Empires.   There is no greater champion for this band than me, and I was so excited that their full length debut record has finally seen the light of day.  Their music is dance rock, funk punk or “haute rock” as they like to say.  Call it what you want, there are 10 tracks to shake your ass on the dance floor and some of my favorite songs are the reggae tinged “Never Die Young,” “So Cruel,” and “Mercy.”  Below, you can check out a live version of “Sunshine.”  Apologies for it being so dark – that’s rock and roll!

Matt Bellamy of Muse

Matt Bellamy of Muse

12. “Drones” by Muse.  Not their strongest album, but there are so many Muse moments, from their very political lyrics, to Matt Bellamy’s high pitched voice, stadium anthem ready choruses and my favorite moment on the album – the song “Revolt” where Matt Bellamy tells the listener to do exactly that!  FUCK YEAH MUSE!

Bernard Sumner of New Order

Bernard Sumner of New Order

13. “Music Complete” by New Order.  Peter Hook is noticeably absent on bass, but there are guest stars a plenty that range from good “Superheated” (featuring Brandon Flowers of The Killers) to really good “Tutti Frutti” and “People on the High Line” (featuring Elly Jackson of LaRoux) to cringe worthy “Stray Dog” (featuring Iggy Pop).  The strongest tracks on the record, according2g are the obvious tribute to Peter Hook “Unlearn This Hatred” and “Plastic.”

 

Simon LeBon of Duran Duran

Simon LeBon of Duran Duran

14. “Paper Gods” by Duran Duran.  Duran Duran’s career in the 2000s has been all over the map as they released the near-career killing, but mostly pleasant “Pop Trash,” the comeback, but not hugely popular album “Astronaut,” the absolutely horrible “Red Carpet Massacre” (PLEASE don’t ever work with Timbaland again), the criminally underrated “All You Need Is Now” and the spotty “Paper Gods.”  As FFS somewhat rightly noted in entry number 3, collaborations don’t work.  This rings true for some truly WTF moments as DD have collaborated with Kieza on the otherwise good track “Last Night In the City” but she over-divas her vocals and that has no business on a Duran Duran album.  The first single “Pressure Off” also suffers from the ill conceived collaboration with Janelle Monae.  Don’t count Duran Duran out though – their live show is still great and Simon LeBon’s voice sounds better than it has in years.  They perhaps need to just focus on their strengths which are best made with the 4 remaining members of the band.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

15. “Unbreakable” by Janet Jackson.   It’s just so good to hear Janet sing again after the death of her brother and almost a decade long hiatus, she could sing the phone book and it would have made the list.  Don’t ever leave us again Janet!  And check out “No Sleeep” (sic).  It’s classic JJ!

Deluxe Edition:

Madonna, D'Angelo

Madonna, D’Angelo

16 / 17.  “Rebel Heart” by Madonna and “Black Messiah” by D’Angelo and The Vanguard.  Both of these albums were released at the end of 2014, so they don’t really count.  Well, Madonna’s record leaked over 6 months early and didn’t see an official release until 2015, but the versions she picked to give the fans something different than what leaked are nearly all inferior to the leaked versions.   A pity, since this was Madonna’s strongest studio effort in a decade!  On the other hand, “Black Messiah” is a fucking masterpiece by the recluse of R&B, D’Angelo.  Every song on it is not only great, but essential listening.  Let’s hope he is inspired, after the universal love he got for this album, to continue to release music in intervals shorter than every 14 years.

Here are my Top 15 songs of 2015.  I’m going to save the commentary, so seek out these tracks!

  1. Erik Hassle – “No Words”
  2. Nervo (featuring Jake Shears, Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers) – “The Other Boys”
  3. Mac Demarco – “Just To Put Me Down”
  4. Father John Misty – “I Love You Honeybear”
  5. Yacht – “Matter”
  6. Leon Bridges – “River”
  7. Charli XCX – “Sucker”
  8. Duffy – “Whole Lotta Love”
  9. The Maccabees – “Marks To Prove It”
  10. Penguin Prison – “Show Me The Way”
  11. Guy Garvey – “Angela’s Eyes”
  12. Beck – “Dreams”
  13. Van Hunt – “The Fun Rises The Fun Sets”
  14. Lianne LaHavas – “Unstoppable”
  15. Courtney Barnett – “Small Poppies”

 

What’s on your list?

According2g’s Top 13 Songs of 2013

Posted by The G on December 10, 2013 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

2013 was filled with highs and lows musically.  I’ve found that debut albums got more airplay than recent releases by veteran acts.  So many hype machine songs did absolutely nothing for my ears, but the year was not a total waste.  These 13 tracks made the year worth living.

Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware

1. “Running” by Jessie Ware.  A perfect song from a perfect album. Jessie Ware’s silky smooth voice couldn’t be any sexier. Paired with this down-tempo groove that is good for chillin’, working out, walking down the street or getting it on.  Here’s an exclusive live version!

 

Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys

Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys

2. “Fluorescent” & “Thursday” by Pet Shop Boys.  I couldn’t pick which one I love more, so I am putting them both down in the number 2 spot.  “Fluorescent,” is one of the danciest, darkest and moodiest tracks that Pet Shop Boys have ever recorded and every time I hear it, I can imagine being on a dance-floor after a night of intense partying.   “Thursday” is one of the catchiest PSB songs in recent memory and features lyrics about two lovers sharing the weekend together instead of just one night and also has a guest rap from Example as well as a rare vocal appearance by Chris Lowe during the chorus.

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs

3. “Sacrilege” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I highly encourage you to look up this video if you haven’t already seen it.  It’s the story of a girl getting burned at the stake.  It’s told backwards and the reasons she perishes are most certainly sacrilegious.  This song is not only my favorite video of the year, but it’s my favorite video in a long time.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

4. “Summer Wine” by Lana Del Rey and Barrie James O’Neil.  The self-proclaimed ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ teams with her boyfriend and they cover Nancy Sinatra.  Like Lana did many times in 2013, she didn’t have her team issue a press release teasing new tracks.  With no warning, she put out the song and video at the same time.  I wish that would become a trend!

Janelle Monae and G.  Photo appeared on the interweb

Janelle Monae and G. Photo appeared on the interweb

5. “Electric Lady” by Janelle Monae.  Janelle Monae is one of the most talented artists out there today and she is so desperate to prove that she’s unique, she keeps releasing concept albums that, while extremely creative, are only good for a few listens aside from a few tracks here and there.  Props to Janelle Monae for not only convincing Prince to be a collaborator but she took the reins and produced him (instead of the other way around) for their track “Giving Em What They Love,” which is Prince’s first listenable track in years.

Courteeners

Courteeners

6. “Are You In Love With A Notion?” by The Courteeners.  The Courteeners are big in Britain but are failing to make a splash stateside.  A real pity, especially when you hear rockin’ tracks like “Are You In Love With A Notion?”

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac

7. “Sad Angel” / “Without You” by Fleetwood Mac.  The Mac finally came back.  They released a 4 song EP in 2013 that featured a very “classic Mac” sounding track called “Sad Angel” and the old unreleased Buckingham Nicks track “Without You” was dusted off and re-recorded.  Luckily, Lindsey Buckingham’s vocals are overpowering the flatness of Stevie Nicks’ voice, making both songs totally essential tracks of the Fleetwood Mac catalog.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith

8. “Latch” by Sam Smith and Disclosure. I’m not a huge fan of all this mediocre electronic music that is coming out lately, but when you add the vocal talents of someone like Sam Smith who has a deliciously soulful voice, you can turn a music curmudgeon like me into a fan.  Sam Smith’s debut album should probably be released in 2014 and he’s already an early contender to be on the best of 2014 list.

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode

9. “Goodbye” by Depeche Mode.  I read a funny thing on the interweb once saying that Depeche Mode are the Rolling Stones of synth pop – whereby you will always go see them live because they put on a great show, and you dread hearing the lead singer saying these words:  “Here’s a new song.”  Depeche Mode’s 13th album “Delta Machine,” has a few good moments, but overall the album is pretty weak.  One of those good songs is the closing track “Goodbye” which is dark, bluesy and kind of depressing – everything you want from a classic DM song.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

10. “Porno” by Arcade Fire.  Every hipster on the planet has jerked off to the fact that the overhyped Arcade Fire recorded an album with the brains behind the overhyped electronic outfit LCD Soundsystem.  The results are not surprisingly an overhyped album for hipsters.  One of the tracks is 11 minutes of feedback.  You get what you pay for!!!  I wonder how many times people have gone to Pitchfork’s website searching for an answer of what it all means.  With that being said, the double disc has two good songs on it.  One – the title track “Reflektor” (even though it’s 4 minutes too long) and the other is “Porno,” that has a cute beat and creepy lyrics about boys with their pornos.  Way to go, new dad Win Butler.  Every time this song comes on my iPod, the first thing that comes to mind is what motherfucking assholes this band are.  Thanks for ruining your own mediocre music, dicks!  Also, LA Weekly thinks you suck too.

11. “The Ballad of Boogie Christ” by Joseph Arthur.  Joseph Arthur is an extremely underrated artist.  He sings, he paints.  Sometimes he paints as he sings.  (not kidding).   You should definitely check out his album “The Ballad of Boogie Christ,” as it’s a nice concept album in the age of the 2 second attention span generation.  Watch the video above if you don’t believe me!

Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib

12. “Head In The Dirt” by Hanni El Khatib.  If you only listen to Hanni El Khatib’s records without seeing him live, you are not getting the full picture (or sound in this case) of how good his music is.  His new record was produced by one of the Black Keys so that was a start in better production studio-wise, but I still see an opportunity for growth.  The title track “Head in the Dirt” gives you a taste of what you are missing out on by not seeing Hanni live.

Kele Okereke

Kele Okereke

13. “Let Go” by Kele Okereke, MNDR and RAC.  A great dance track by RAC featuring the vocals of Bloc Party’s Kele and MNDR.  As of press time they’ve only collaborated on one track, but once you hear “Let Go,” that perfectly marries the signature sounds of Kele and MNDR, you will want a whole album of duets.  I’ve put it out there.  Maybe it will happen!

Thanks to all the musicians who helped make my world a better place with these excellent songs!

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