“This is something you can’t touch
This is something you feel
For some people it’s too much
For some people it heals
This music is my healing.”
– Gary Clark, Jr. “The Healing”
If my death is tomorrow or in 1,000 years, there is one notion you will never pry from my cold grasp: A single song has the power to change the world.
While we wait for that to happen and as I prepare the Top Albums of 2015, let’s give these individual tracks their due for bringing magic to music this year. Maybe these songs can’t change the world, but they can make it a little better.
*This list excludes songs from the albums to be listed in the 2015 review.
In no particular order:
1. “Grace Beneath the Pines” by Glen Hansard
This man has a rich, enviable soul. When he closes with a building “I’ll get through this,” you have no doubt that he will.
2. “Intro” by NF
This is how you get people’s attention. A shooting star in the rap world: “The least I could do if I murder a beat / Is take the time to go to his funeral.”
3. “The Healing” by Gary Clark, Jr.
Music means so much to so many, it’s almost impossible to put into words. I am convinced, as I’m sure Gary would attest, that the only way we can create everlasting peace is through our voices, hearts and whatever objects we can bang or strum.
4. “Monkey Tree” by Mother Mother
Feel-good song of the year. Look at the title! It might be about drugs, but what isn’t these days?
5. “Back to Back” by Dustin Kensrue
A love song with indefinite depth, “Back to Back” tells a brutal tale of a relationship ravaged by a disease that affects us all. Still, love will persevere.
5. “Fucking Off Today” by Tree Machines
We all know people in bands, and they’re oftentimes rancid renditions of “music.” What a delight this one is from a former classmate!
7. “Bird Set Free” by Sia
I can’t sing, but I still do. It is an expression like no other and Sia gives us the confidence to not only share our voice, but to pierce the sky with our passions.
8. “Downtown” (feat. Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz) by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Get this: On a trip to Tennessee this past October, I visited the owner of one my company’s resorts. He was a classic still-has-a-flip-phone, what-is-Facebox country boy, which is a lifestyle I envy. When I first met him, he insisted on showing me a video on this new site he found called “YouTube.” It was the music video for “Downtown!” The video (amazing in its own right) was the man’s gateway to the 21st century.
If this song doesn’t have the power to change lives, I don’t know what does.
9. “The Emotion” by BØRNS
His strong debut album is tethered to this cloudy daydream of love gone by.
10. “Lilly” by Toro y Moi
So, so chill. It’s the music version of the Fizzy Lifting Drink.
Editor’s Choice: “Lydia” by Highly Suspect
Take it away:
Best Tracks of 2015 Playlist on Spotify:
My theme for this year in music: Like it or not, here it is.