Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2015 Vol 6 - Crowd Pleasers

1. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson
2. Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd
3. In For The Kill - Shamir
4. Coffee - Miguel
5. FourFiveSeconds - Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney
6. Here - Alessia Cara
7. Parachute - Chris Stapleton
8. Hurt A Little While - Patty Griffin
9. Pretty Pimpin' - Kurt Vile
10. The Life You Choose - Jason Isbell
11. Taste The Ceiling - Wilco
12. Sweetest Devotion - Adele
13. Ship To Wreck - Florence + The Machine
14. Synesthesia - Andrew McMahon
15. Necessary Evil - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
16. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Lana Del Rey
17. Run Away With Me - Carly Rae Jepsen
18. Youth - Shamir
19. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + The Machine

Track List / Mix Write-up / Spotify /
McQ's Favorite Albums Of 2015
McQ's Favorite Songs Of 2015

About The Albums/Songs On This Mix:

Starting with the singles, Andrew McMahon's Synesthesia is a blatant straggler (my code for songs I miss in the year of their release but upon actual discovery try to sneak into later collections), originally released in 2013 on his debut solo EP The Pop Underground.

Unlike much of McMahon's piano-anchored work with the two acts he's fronted, Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate, The Pop Underground found McMahon diving into the world of bright, cheery synth-pop, and the bittersweet, twee Synesthesia, a direct taking stock of his life and career up to that point in time done in an almost Postal Service vein, was the definite standout.

FourFiveSeconds, a fluke one-off collaboration between Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney - is one of my favorite mainstream pop songs of the year, powered by one of Rihanna's very best vocals and a fantastic, understated, almost tropical feeling guitar riff. It ended the year at #42 on Billboard's year-end Hot 100, and presently stands at #72 for 2015 on

Another 2015 mainstream favorite is without question ex-Canadian Idol contestant turned pop megastar Carly Rae Jepsen's Run Away With Me from her much better than you would think it would be third full-length release Emotion. A slice of pure ear candy, I find Run Away With Me to be oddly inspiring in a Leo & Kate on the deck of the Titanic sort of way.  Must be that intro.

Staying in Canada, boy has The Weeknd's career arc shifted.

Five years ago everyone, including this blog, was raving about this mysterious, reclusive, decadent, druggy R&B artist and his murky, cutting-edge slow jams.

Today, thanks to songs like The Hills and our selection here, the Off The Wall-ish disco banger Can't Feel My Face from his second major label release Beauty Behind The Madness, he's one of the biggest mainstream artists out there, even though the lyrical obsession with the shallow highs of drug-fueled existence remains. Go figure.

Moving over to the country genre - no artist had a bigger commercial breakthrough in Nashville in 2015 than songwriter Chris Stapleton.

An industry veteran who had already written over 150 recorded songs for other artists in the previous decade, including six number ones on the country charts, Stapleton finally branched out on his own in 2015 with his solo debut Traveller and boy did he hit it big.  Traveller went on to become the best-reviewed country album of 2015, won several Grammys, and spawned a number of fantastic tracks, including the rousing Parachute, included here, and an unreal cover of the country standard Tennessee Whiskey which is featured on our 2015 edition of Nancy's Favorites.

Hereone of maybe only four or five mainstream hits to make Billboard's 2015 year-end Hot 100 list that I actually loved, was the debut single for teenage Canadian neo-soul singer Alessia Cara.

Released in April of 2015, the song struck a chord with introverts and really all young adults who want their social lives to be more than just an ceaseless parade of appearances at drug-and-alcohol-fueled parties, and as a result, ended up spending more than half of 2015 on the charts and making the majority of critical year-end best lists, including ours.

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