Well so long 2015… I can’t say you’ll be remembered with any fondness. You haven’t been bad but you’ve still been a mediocrity. There’s still one last thing to do before we wave it goodbye once and for all though- My now traditional rundown of the songs I have been listening to over the last year. I would advise preparing yourselves for the usual surprises, obscurities, odd choices and down right inexplicable melodies because if previous years are anything to go by there could be absolutely anything on this list. So here we go…
BING CROSBY & THE ORPHANAGE KIDS- ‘DON’T BE A DO BADDER’
I first came across the film ‘Robin & The 7 Hoods’ as a kid whilst surfing the television channels really early one Saturday morning. It was near the end and what struck me most wasn’t the quite frankly genius idea of relocating the Robin Hood Legend to prohibition era Chicago but this song. It’s a catchy number sung by Bing Crosby (as the film’s equivalent to Friar Tuck) and a group of orphans and I can see why I liked it then because I still like it now, as I found out when I watched the film in full at the start of the year. It is a lovely, old fashioned number that they just don’t write any more. I’ve decided that I want to learn how to play this on the piano but there’s no sheet music for it anywhere, sadly. Never mind. At least we still have the original and I can still enjoy it without knowing every note or being able to play it.
THE VAMPS- ‘CHEATER’
I will say this again… I am not a fan of The Vamps. It is just that this song slipped onto my radar around late September, a recommended video, and I played it just to have a listen. For some reason I kept playing it. My first thought on hearing it was ‘I want to prank call someone by playing it down the phone at them.’ An awful idea, yeah, but I find that each time I listen to this song I like it a little more. And I can’t explain why I like it. I just do. It might be because it’s catchy. There is always, for some reason, one of these unexplainable songs on these lists and it just so happens that for the second year running that song has been by The Vamps… Again.
BOYZONE- ‘PICTURE OF YOU’
A blast from the past! I used to own this one back when cassettes were a thing and Boyzone were the only band I had heard of. This year I, for a reason that has been forgotten, decided to revisit it. I came to the conclusion that this is actually quite a decent song, one that deserved a bit more than a single ‘blast from the past’ listen. It is also very catchy. Fun Fact: I used to think that the last line at the end of the first verse was ‘I was after Nora Batty.’ It still sounds like that.
THE STRYPES- ‘SCUMBAG CITY’
The Strypes made it onto last year’s list with ‘Hometown Girls,’ a song from their first album. Their second album, Little Victories, came this year and It still has the old fashioned, rock and roll tone of the first but there’s a more of an adult complexity to it. This was the song I liked the most, the one I’ve played the most. It speaks to me… I’m trapped in a ‘scumbag city’ and I’m repeatedly longing to get out. So why wouldn’t I like it? It is one that I think am definitely going to continue listening too over the next year. And hopefully this is the year that I’ll get out of this scumbag city.
DIANA ROSS- ‘CHAIN REACTION’
I was after the full Bee Gees version of this (they wrote it) but all I could find was a medley version. So I went to this version to see if I could hear their backing vocals. Whilst I was successful in that this is a song I don’t think anyone can just listen too once. I ended up listening to it a fair but actually… Perhaps too much. The problem is that, again, it is a very catchy song- This seems to be a theme of this year, catchy songs that get stuck in my head. I even thought, at one point, that if I ever reach one million YouTube subscribers I would do my own version of this, complete with dancing cheerleaders in the background. That will never happen though and if by chance it does it is a long way in the future…
TOM ROSENTHAL- ‘RUN FOR THOSE HILLS, BABE’
Every book I write has a soundtrack, what I listen to whilst I’m writing, and it is sometimes the case that one song becomes inextricably associated with that book. With Max & Anna the song that became associated with it, this one, only came during the copying up to computer. It isn’t the kind of song I don’t like normally but when I first found this on YouTube I did like it immediately, though at that point it wasn’t likely to make this list. It was only when I switched to it in the process of my copying up that it started to barge its way on here. And it fit with the book so perfectly that each time I started copying up or doing something with the book it came into my head and I had to listen to it. I’ve started to see it as being perfect for the end credits of a movie adaptation (lets ignore the line about the radio for that one, yeah?) We’ll talk about movie adaptations some other time but, for Max & Anna, this enters the Sound of 2015 as a most welcome addition.
CAHOOTS – ‘NO MONEY’ (FEAT. ROOMIE)
Back in the mists of time when I was doing the radio thing I got into the habit of listening to almost every song that was thrown my way, no matter where I found it or who it was by. It is a habit I never got out of and if I see a song or a band I haven’t heard before. I will, usually, listen to it. That is how I ended up discovering Cahoots- A twitter recommendation for their debut single, Shoes, which I liked immediately. Later on a second recommendation came through for the equally catchy ‘No Money.’ I have liked and listened to both songs a lot this year and whilst I initially preferred Shoes I’ve changed my mind. I like this one better. But I might change my mind again next week. Also the video has puppies in it.
BASTILLE- ‘DANIEL IN THE DEN’
I sung this song to a sheep in the middle of nowhere. As to how I ended up in that situation… I didn’t really like Bastille when I first heard them. Then I came across ‘Skulls’ whilst looking for an appropriate song to go with someone being bludgeoned half to death (It was for a certain movie) and not long after I bought the album it was on because I liked an awful lot of the songs on it, quite a change of opinion actually. This song stands out because of the incident with the sheep. It was on the way back from Drum– That time when I spent two hours walking through a field full of heather because some old lady sent me in the wrong direction. By the time I was coming down the mountain again my damned knees were giving in and I thought that sticking my iPod in my ears would distract me from the pain. It worked and thus I ended up singing along as I came down, this song being sung to a sheep. It therefore stands out above the others from the Bastille album and makes it onto the list by way of my own lunacy.
WALK THE MOON- ‘SHUT UP AND DANCE’
One that dropped my way in the summer… I can’t recall how. I fell in love with it instantly, no qualms, no worries, just instant attraction. I’d never even heard of this band before I came across this song and I still couldn’t name a single other song of theirs but I don’t care. I just love this one. Like a lot of the songs on my list this year it is ridiculously catchy and this might be the most danceable of all.
JIMMY CLIFF & LEBO M- ‘HAKUNA MATATA’
This was the year I finally got down to finishing the first major draft of the Past Force Movie, a thing which had a massive effect on this list a couple of years back. This year, however, I decided that I would only select one song out of the ten or so that in the movie. As soon as I found this song in February it went in and I knew where I wanted it to go, right at the start of the second act to go with a ‘Rise of Past Force’ montage. I think the reason I like it so much is because it is so wildly different to the version used in the film. It’s got more of a beat and rhythm to it and the lyrics are much better. I’d advise listening if you haven’t heard this version before. I could have gone with any song from the movie to go on this list but I chose this one because it is the one that stands out the most.
I should call this the year of the catchy songs… Eight out Ten of these are really catchy songs. Earworms they call them. The year of the Earworm! As usual the next twelve months will bring new songs, new surprises and we’ll just have to wait to see what comes up. Happy New Year everyone… And this is for Ronan Keating: