Top Fifty Songs of 2015: 20-11


50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

Since 2002, I have obsessively tracked and categorized the music I listen to. It started as a way to share the songs and artists discovered while working in college radio with friends. I would regularly rip audio files, make quarterly Windows Media playlists and even burn CD’s.

For the last few years Spotify and YouTube have been my main source for listening to music and organizing monthly “Mixtapes.”

I hope you enjoy listening to the soundtrack of my 2015!

20-11 [and the top concerts of 2014]

Few live concerts have the ability to completely steal me away. My mind is always filled with the next move (getting a beer, going to the bathroom, when to avoid the parking jam etc.). Far too often, I get wrapped up thinking about life and forget to let go and get completely lost in a concert.

This year, one show absolutely mesmerized me to the point that I didn’t want it to end. But first, let’s list a few more songs.

20) Sufjan Stevens – Blue Bucket of Gold

Carrie & Lowell | May MixTape
Hearing this live was absolutely magical! It seemed to go on forever at the end of Sufjan’s set. I thought there was no way he could follow the majestic, extended ending of this song (which brought me to tears) yet he did with an entire encore.

19) Purity Ring – bodyache

another eternity |  August MixTape
I hate to keep harping on the break-up thing but fuck this album came out at a perfect time.

18) Movement – Like Lust

Movement | June MixTape
While tripping on acid in Las Vegas and contemplating my recent heartache, I would often put my headphones on to lose myself in the music. Like Lust was the main song I would drift down the hallways of the Bellagio Casino to.

17) Braids – Blondie

Deep In the Iris | July MixTape
I’ve always enjoyed Braids triply tunes and light female vocals. This is one of my favorite songs from them to date.

16) Nosaj Thing (feat Whoarei) – Don’t Mind Me

Fated | June MixTape
Yet another perfect headphone song to walk around and brood to.

15) BØRNS – 10,000 Emerald Pools

Dopamine | October MixTape
BØRNS said in an interview he always wanted to write a track using his mother’s address. It worked out perfectly for this song, which is about falling in love underwater. 10,000 Emerald Pools was a perfect compliment to the ACL Fest Artist section of my October MixTape.

14) Misun – Superstitions

Superstitions |  July MixTape
I discovered this song on Spotify radio and it fit perfectly with my July MixTape and mood.

13) Strand of Oaks – For Me

HEAL | February MixTape
The DJ duos of ODESZA and Hippie Sabotage definitely took center stage for ‘music I discovered during my ski trip and played heavily in February’. However, one other artist stood out just as much for me during that trip and on that MixTape. Strand of Oaks broke through to the mainstream as well in 2015 even playing at ACL Fest.

Imagine, if you will, listening to this while standing on top of a fucking mountain.

12) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Multi-Love |  March MixTape
The title track from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s latest album was the first new song I had heard from them in a while. Much like 2013’s So Good at Being In Trouble, I instantly fell in multi-love with this track.

11) Purity Ring – sea castle

another eternity |  June MixTape
I randomly started listening to this song after failing to see Purity Ring live (twice) at the end of May. A sudden rainstorm canceled the Saturday show at Stubb’s and then flooding again postponed their Austin Music Hall set.

50-41 [and the top songs of years past]

40-31 [and the top albums of 2015]

30-21 [and the other songs]

20-11 [and the top concerts of 2014]

10-1 [and my final thoughts]


I was fortunate enough to see many concerts and comedy shows over the course of 2015 (not as many as I would have liked though). One show clearly stood out as my favorite while the rest were in close competition.

Honorable Mention – Metallica @ X-Games, My Morning Jacket @ Austin Concert Hall, Sylvan Esso @ ACL Fest, Father John Misty @ ACL Fest and so many more I have forgotten.

5) Foster the People – Austin Music Hall (May 16th)

I’m not a huge fan but they put on a really fun show! Plus it was the last time I would hang out with my girlfriend as a couple. So there’s that…

4) Future Islands – Sidewinder (November 7th)

My friends and I left FFF Fest to do something we hadn’t in years: cram into a tiny bar and wait for hours, in the same spot, to see a band. What made matters worse is when three of us went inside to use the restroom we again had wait in another line to get back outside (as they were at capacity). Though I was grumpy, sober, annoyed by people in the crowd and seemingly too old to camp in front of a stage for hours – when Sam Herring hit came on and said hello it made everything worth while. On top of that, getting to see Future Islands up close at such an intimate venue with friends was spectacular. They sounded great too!

3-t) Purity Ring – Stubb’s // Austin Music Hall (Sept 5th)
Seeing one of my favorite bands of the year took a lot of effort! While standing inside of Stubb’s clapping for the opener a giant gust of wind suddenly blew through the venue. Shortly after, a young lady sadly trotted out on stage to let us know severe weather was coming and that the show would have to be postponed. Sure enough, within 15 minutes a monsoon hit us as we packed into Gibson Bar. The following Monday flooding in downtown Austin again set the show back. Finally, in September I was able to see Purity Ring with my friends and date at the Austin Music Hall. As always the lights and sound of Purity Ring were incredible! I hope to see them at a better venue someday.

3-t) TV on the Radio – Austin City Limits Taping (March 15th)
In march one of my best friends, and music curator at, took me to my first ACL taping to see one of my favorite bands – and it did not disappoint!

2) ODESZA – Fun Fun Fun Fest (November 8th)
I get it. EDM is just two guys with laptops. Well, not in the case of ODESZA. The duo came complete with multiple instruments, a horn section and guitar player. Their sound had a sort of ‘epicness’ to it and the visuals were incredible as well! Seeing them perform was truly a treat and a perfect way to close out FFF Fest.

1) Sufjan Stevens – Bass Concert Hall (May 13th)
Nothing this year, or last, even came close to seeing Sufjan perform at the Bass Concert Hall. The last time I remember being so lost in a show was Sigur Rós in 2013. I fucking cried. Twice. Instead of trying to recall the night I’ll repost what I typed out in my notepad:

Sufjan Stevens was simply spectacular. One of the best concerts I’ve seen in a couple of years. It’s not often I lose myself so much at a show that I don’t want it to end. Two hours past as though it had been 15 minutes. And now, hours later I’m still thinking about the show. So many songs still resonating. The lighting and sound was perfect. You could hear nothing but Sufjan at times and then the room would fill with the entire band. 

The last song before the encore was intensely mesmerizing. Now way they could follow that up!

For Windows in Paradise made me tear up and almost cry…

… quickly realized my 21-year-old “date” probably didn’t want to see a middle aged white man weeping at Sufjan lyrics

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