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The Best (Mostly) Sad Bastard Songs of 2015

On July 23, 2015

by Adam Sharp

I can think of few things better than a ‘favorite songs I’ve heard this year’ post for us to get to know each other. Just so you aren’t going in blind: my favorite kind of music is sad bastard music, in all its various forms, and I need the music I love and connect with to have some sort of pop structure to it- I need a hook, man.  So, let’s get to know each other- here are my 16 (whatever- I couldn’t pare it down anymore) favorite songs released so far this year.

‘Shoegaze’- Alabama Shakes

The record Alabama Shakes put out earlier this year is the most exciting I’ve heard so far this year. ‘Shoegaze’ isn’t the most expansive, out-of-the-box song on the record (it’s likely the least, honestly), but it’s my favorite because it sounds like what I’ve wanted them to sound like on record since I first saw them.

‘Alta Falls’- The Barr Brothers

The prettiest, most lovely sounding song I’ve heard in 2015. Alta Falls is a collection of b-sides that didn’t make their latest record, which is absurd because the title track is better and more affecting than most everything released this year.

‘Portland, Maine’- Donovan Woods

Donovan Woods obviously knows where Portland, Maine is (he lives in Ontario and has the internet), but the thing about this song that makes it work is that he at least sells the idea of maybe not knowing where it is, and that’s some talent.

‘These Are The Mountains Moving’- Fort Frances

Sometimes you move from the Midwest to Colorado after falling in love with a girl and one of your friends writes a song about the mountains that has nothing to do with your situation but which fits it perfectly.

‘Grand Old Flags’- Fountaineer

The song released this year that most makes me want to buy an old muscle car, roll the windows down and find a desert to drive through at dusk. For me, this is the song that will get the most plays this summer.

‘Haunted By You’- Future Islands

We’ve all had our hearts broken into a million pieces. None of us has written a song this good about it.

‘Waitress’- Hop Along

The 90’s kid in me loves the loud, fast power chords and the slightly unhinged nature of all of this.  But then again, so does the present-day adult.

‘Brownlow’- Lapsley

Easily my most played song so far this year, ‘Brownlow’ is the best pop song I’ve heard in 2015. Holly Lapsley Fletcher sings everything on this track and she’s 18, both facts that manage to make me feel old and stupid and unaccomplished every time I hear it. Man alive is this a jam.

‘Lisa Sawyer’- Leon Bridges

I love my mom (HI MOM), so of course I’m going to love a song Leon wrote about his momma.

‘Fool For Love’- Lord Huron

For a good few months of the year this was the track that was THE track of my 2015…. as in I’d go days where this was the only song I would listen to.

‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’- Natalie Prass

Here’s the thing I can’t get over about this song: that little guitar line. This song is so goddamn heartbreaking and then that little guitar line comes in and it gets sexy for a few seconds. It’s a real mind-screw, and I love it so much.

‘Something Beautiful’- Nathaniel Rateliff

If you were to ask me who the best American songwriter currently is I would without hesitation tell you it’s Nathaniel Rateliff. It’s the damned truth.

‘I Need Never Get Old’- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

It’s not cheating and having two songs by the same artist because this is Nathaniel Rateliff AND The Night Sweats. Also because this song caused me to send links to friends telling them they must listen because it’s ‘hot fire.’ 

‘Seventeen in Roselore’- Small Houses feat Samantha Crain

I’ve seen Jeremy play this track live probably 5 or 6 times and every. single. time. the line ‘well, I swore I’d swear to anything, then I fucked that up before’ guts me.

‘Make It Holy’- The Staves

Just a pretty song, through and through. Everything Justin Vernon touches turns to gold.

‘Hot Scary Summer’- Villagers

Lots of sad songs have been released this year, none of them are as sad as this. Dear lord is this an exceptional, deeply-cutting tune.


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