The Best Songs I Discovered This Year

Before we begin, here’s a random picture of Jeremy Sumpter playing Peter Pan in 2003. To this day 
I’ve never seen this live-action film version of the story, but when I first saw him on the movie cover,
my twelve-year-old heart went pitter patter.

Doing year end wrap-up style blogs is fun, but honestly, if I were to do a blog post about “the top songs of 2015,” I’d be pretty sorely disappointed, but frankly, the last few years haven’t been great years for music, particularly popular music. But then again, that’s just my opinion, and it doesn’t even matter anyway because this post is about my favorite songs that I DISCOVERED this year. So songs in this list are not necessarily new (in fact I don’t think a single song in this list is from this year), but they are songs that I discovered this year and spent a lot of time listening to. Frankly, this list was a lot longer because it was originally “the songs I listened to the most this year,” but I decided it was more fun to go with songs I discovered this year. That’s the rule that I mostly stick to, though some of them are songs I discovered before this year but listened to obsessively this year.

Also this rambling introductory paragraph is a good excuse why you shouldn’t listen to really fast Ben Folds music rambling into your ears because it makes it damn difficult to concentrate. One final thing I want to mention is that unlike most of my other fun little lists, these aren’t in any particular order.

Say Something
A Great Big World

I first heard this song around Christmas 2013 when it became a big hit, and the lyrics really hit me like a brick. 2015 has been a year which, for me, has been primarily defined by crushing depression, loneliness, fear, and a desperate struggle to get over a relationship that lasted three years and ended just before Christmas of 2014. My relationship was strained from the beginning, but when I first heard the words, “Say something I’m giving up on you,” it so perfectly described how I felt in my relationship that seemed completely stuck and moving nowhere. In the silence between us was a sadness and a void, and though I wasn’t ready to say it out loud yet, this song said it for me.

I spent considerable time this year curled up in bed crying and listening to this song, much like I did with Kesha’s “The Harold Song” back when I experienced another traumatic breakup a few years ago. I also want to mention that I usually listen to the original version of the song, though I enjoy the version with Christina Aguilera as well (in fact I was shocked to learn that the girl in the song was Christina because she doesn’t over-sing like usual, and manages to be soft and heartfelt; well done Christina).

Bigger On The Inside
Amanda Palmer

Oh god I think my heart is breaking already. I read Amanda’s book The Art of Asking earlier this year, and by read I mean I listened to the audiobook, and it was nice to hear Amanda’s voice telling the story. Not only that, but the audiobook actually featured ten songs from throughout her career, including the original version of Bigger On The Inside, which was talked about near the end of the book and played before the final chapter of the audiobook. The version of the song featured in the audiobook is simply Amanda, vocal and ukulele, and this song is about trying to deal with her best friend and mentor dying of cancer, as well as the communal heartbreak we all feel all the time; she even references a fan who sent her a letter about being raped, who said that they were scared and wanted to know how to keep fighting. You pretty much can’t listen to this song without your heart completely breaking. It’s gorgeous. When I first heard it I was driving with tears in my eyes.

Love Me Or Leave Me
Kerli

Okay, so I’m suddenly noticing that the majority of the songs I’ve listened to this year are sad, but hey, it’s been an upsetting year. This one I haven’t listened to nearly as much as the others, but I got into a relationship this year that unfortunately only lasted a few months, but early on, he showed me this song, and I loved it both because it reminded me of being with him and because it’s so beautiful. I first heard it while watching Kerli’s performance of various songs from Utopia in Estonia.

Nothing Really Matters
Madonna

I had a BIG Madonna phase this year. There were a few months where I listened to just about nothing but Madonna. I could have chosen quite a few songs here (Angel, Ray of Light, Falling Free, Easy Ride, Erotica, Deeper and Deeper, Vogue, Survival, Runaway Lover, Secret Garden, Human Nature, Music Inferno…. the list goes on and on), but ironically I chose the one Madonna song I discovered AFTER my two-month Madonna binge was completed. I was trying to show off Madonna’s flexibility and the huge amount of ground she’s covered in career to a boyfriend (mentioned earlier) and I remember that the Nothing Really Matters video had seemed kind of cool and creepy, and I found that I accidentally really loved both the video and the song, so I spent a while binge-listening.

Spinning Around
Kylie Minogue

I accidentally found this song a while back when listening to Kylie’s Aphrodite tour, because it was done right after Get Outta My Way, and I can see why because the songs have very similar choruses, so earlier this year I went through a short Kylie phase, and I started exploring some of her older music, and discovered that I really like Spinning Around. I listened to the live version from the Aphrodite tour, and found myself insatiably hungry for the studio version, and once I heard it I pretty much didn’t listen to much else for days on end.

Swallow
Emilie Autumn

I was only vaguely aware of Emilie Autumn before this year, and Fight Like A Girl is actually the only song of hers that I’d ever heard, but only once, when a friend shared the music video upon it’s release. My short-term boyfriend from earlier this year is a huge Emilie Autumn fan, and successfully converted me over to Emilie’s team by showing me her music, her poetry, her writing, and her story of mental illness and her struggle with it. I was very impressed with Emilie upon listening to her Opheliac Companion (which was about eight hours plus), where she talks about how she’s dealt with mental illness, rape, abuse, and expresses her creativity. It was very inspiring. Though Fight Like A Girl remains one of my favorite Emilie songs (it’s a freaking earworm, and it’s a fantastic battle anthem), the song that really one me over was Swallow, which is a six-minute long journey through something that might be underwater and might be floating through the air, and describes the struggle of taking antidepressants and accepting all that comes along with it, because it’s the only way to survive when you’re about to drown.

By the way, I had a very difficult time choosing one Emilie Autumn song because there have been three that I’ve listened to absolutely obsessively: Swallow, Fight Like A Girl, and Opheliac. I highly recommend all three of these, especially Opheliac since I didn’t talk much about it here.

Tusk
Fleetwood Mac

I went through a Fleetwood Mac / Stevie Nicks phase earlier in the year, also influenced by the aforementioned short-term boyfriend, whose favorite music is Stevie. I discovered a lot of songs I didn’t know, or songs I’d heard before but hadn’t given much time to, but I’d absolutely never heard Tusk before and I was shocked that I hadn’t, because it’s such a great uptempo rock song, with something of the feeling of dancing around a campfire mixed with marching band brass. I was pretty surprised that I’d never actually listened to a song that is apparently one of Fleetwood Mac’s hits, but then, they have so many hits that it’s difficult to know when you’ve heard them all.

Lost
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

I’ve had Amanda’s album Theatre Is Evil for a while, and even binge-listened to a few of the songs in the past few years, but I had never actually listened to Lost until I heard it on the audiobook of The Art of Asking. Funnily enough I actually didn’t finish listening to it when I heard it on the audiobook, but I came back to it later and found that it reduced me to a blubbering mess in the midst of all my heartbreak. “No one’s ever lost forever, they are caught inside your heart, if you garden them and water them they make you what you are.” I found myself driving down the road in the middle of the night and crying loudly just listening to this song on repeat (along with Want It Back, another song that’s happy, but heartbreaking).

Rather Be
Clean Bandit

I fell in love with this song the moment I first heard it on the radio back in 2014. Clean Bandit is one of those bands like Freemasons that just gets House music right, and I have a real love for House music. I can’t tell you why exactly, I just love how it seems to have this kind of depth, if that makes sense, and I’m talking about the way it sounds, it sounds deep. Like, physically deep. I know, describing music is something that doesn’t really make sense but there you have it. Anyhow, earlier this year I found myself listening to Rather Be on an infinite loop, and screaming with joy when I heard it. It’s one of the happiest songs I’ve ever heard, and it’s difficult to wear this one out (though I’ve moved on to some other Clean Bandit songs now, I recommend Stronger).

I Just Wanna Dance
Alison Jiear

Now, this song has apparently been kind of a gay party anthem for a few years, thanks to a dance remix, but even though I really enjoy the dance remix, it’s the original version of the song from Jerry Springer: The Opera that I adore. It’s funny, because Jerry Springer: The Opera is as silly and tongue-in-cheek as it sounds, but this song manages to be so incredibly expressive and beautiful, and what begins as the story of a white-trash poledancer turns into a gorgeous song about longing, the desire to cast aside all worry and a deep need to experience life. I found myself crying to this song more than once, and it was my go-to song right after my breakup.


Bernadette
IAMX

This one is a recent find. I’ve known about IAMX for a while, and always enjoyed the song Spit It Out (particularly it’s re-released single version and Imogen Heap’s remix), but I hadn’t really listened to his music in a while, because even though I liked a few of Chris Corner’s songs, and bought Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, nothing really stuck with me much. Earlier this year I decided to watch How To Get Away With Murder, and I was amazed at how great of a show it was, and at the end of the first episode I could hear a song called I Come With Knives, and though I’d never heard the song I immediately recognized Chris’ voice, and it turns out that IAMX is featured in almost every episode of the show, which adds an incredible depth to both the show and the music, because I find certain IAMX songs a lot more meaningful, having memories of the show attached to them.

Bernadette, however, is not featured in How To Get Away With Murder, and I think I must have found it just by seeing it in a related links bar on Youtube while watching other IAMX songs, and the moment I heard it I was addicted. Interestingly, I’ve gotten my little sister addicted to the song too. It’s this carnival cabaret song with toy pianos and strings and a theremin, and falls somewhere between Pink Floyd’s The Trial and some kind of creepy carnival dance. It’s entrancing.

~

There were a lot more than eleven, but I decided to narrow the list a bit. I didn’t include any of Ben Folds’ music, because I went through a phase earlier this year listening to his album Way To Normal, and also had a huge Dresden Dolls bender as well, but these are pretty much the big highlights of the songs that kept me company this year.

And now, here’s another sexy picture of Dylan O’Brien. I may need to make this a regular feature of blog posts.

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