I don’t know if you know this about me already, but I cannot get enough music. It started with a love of Aqua and Blue while I was still in pigtails and identical outfits with my younger sister; before progressing to pop-punk and fawning over singers with emo side fringes in cramped sweaty gig venues, where I genuinely thought I was in love with anyone I got to have a dripping, flush-faced picture with afterwards. Through my teen years I was all over that indie vibe, pumping out Maximo Park, We Are Scientists and Franz Ferdinand and pogo-ing around my bedroom to my heart’s content, insisting that I’d heard that new band before anyone else knew who they were (yep, I was THAT guy) and frequenting every tiny gig venue South Wales had to offer. Nowadays, I’ll listen to anything that doesn’t rip my earlobes apart – hell, I even enjoy a bit of the Biebs in my old age – but this year has been an especially good one for albums that have really spoken to me, whether that be a brand spanking newbie or discovering a golden oldie for the first time. Here are the songs that made 2015 for me – they may all seem a little depresso, but stick with ’em…
The One That Made Me Feel
I love James Bay. The chiselled cheekbones, the iconic hat, the Johnny Depp-meets-Jack White vibe – but of course, the insanely magical voice. I love him so much, I’d get a t-shirt printed to prove it, commitment right? I also have a black heart (no joke – I was once described as an ‘emotional brick’), so anything that makes me have the ~feelings~ is a hit with me. The super soulful ‘Scars’ was that for me, a heartbreaking tale of a loved one having to leave the country and his love behind (this guy really has no luck with the ladies), which was so frickin’ emosh – I’m talking literal goosebumps – that I listened to it on loop for a week straight, crooning the whole time.
The One That Blew Me Away
Earlier this year I went to Victorious Festival, and the real standout performance of the weekend came from acoustic duo Seafret, who packed out the acoustic stage with their emotive song-writing and vocalist Jack Sedman’s ridiculously powerful gritty voice. Sat on a hay bale in the fading light, their set really made you feel like you were part of something intimate, and the commanding ‘Be There’ had the power to grab you by every part of your being and force you to really pay attention to every word. It’s moments like that we really drag ourselves into a field to be battered by the elements for, isn’t it?
The One That Turned on the Waterworks
This one’s not a newbie, and to be honest I think it will be the soundtrack to every year for the rest of my life, but Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ holds a special place in my heart. I first fell in love with it on The O.C, my ALL TIME fave TV show, and remember the exact moment when Marissa Cooper died in a car crash to the song – oops, spoiler if you’re a decade late on that one – where I cried hysterically for about an hour. It was so bad, my mum came home from work halfway through and thought someone had died IRL, that’s how invested in the characters I was, and kind of still am a little. I still cry like a huge baby everytime I watch that scene, which is many because I’m OC-sessive, and when I found it again on vinyl this year it sounded even better than I ever remembered.
The One That Convinced Me to Leave the Country
Matt Corby – WHAT a guy. Not only does he have the voice of an Australian surfer angel, but his powerful songwriting really hit home with me when I was faced with the decision of staying in my job in London, or quitting and leaving the country. I listened to the lyrics I was never lost, I only chose to never go home from ‘Monday’ over and over while I thought out the pros and cons of quitting, before I worked up the courage to pack it in and get outta there, and I haven’t looked back.
Do you have a song that made your year? Let me know in the comments below, I’m always looking for a new tune!