Song of the Year 2015

The end of the year is closing in, and once again, it’s time to consider my Song of the Year for 2015.  But first…

I didn’t write a post on the subject last year, but if you must know, my Song of the Year for 2014 was:

Word Crimes, Weird Al Yankovic

After initially watching the videos on YouTube and being disappointed by the music, I later bought a copy of Mandatory Fun in a moment of desperation.  But listening to the music while doing something is not the same as watching a YouTube video.  The music started to grow on me.  ‘Word Crimes’ is energetic and rails against sloppy English, one of the persistent annoyances in my life.

And then a really strange thing happened: I started noticing the original songs on which the Weird Al parodies are based.  It seemed that the Weird Al version was correct, tight and clean, and the original was a sloppy imitation.  What does it mean when Weird Al and his group are better musicians than the original artists?

Anyway, on to this year:

Penalty Box: Almost There, but So Wrong

Writing’s on the Wall, Sam Smith (Theme from Spectre)

I’ve written about this song before.  The music is beautiful, but the lyrics are full of doubt rather than confidence, and are delivered in a whiny countertenor.  It isn’t what you want in a James Bond theme, unless your intent is to defrock Bond as a hero.

Runners Up, in No Particular Order

What Are the Chances, Duran Duran

Paper Gods, this year’s album, was a disappointment, but not a total wasteland.  ‘What Are the Chances’ is one of the best contemplative Duran Duran songs ever.  It’s beautiful, but for me, the Song of the Year has to be more energetic.

Danceophobia, Duran Duran

Also from Paper Gods, this song is more energetic.  While it has many of the flourishes that make Duran Duran songs so cool, it’s lacking in substance.  (And if you’re burning with curiosity, the real word for ‘fear of dancing’ is ‘chorophobia.’)

Confident, Demi Lovato

I was watching the American Music Awards with my wife a few weeks ago.  The music was listless, dreary, annoying.  And then this came on.  It’s energetic, exciting, and brassy (not much brass in popular music these days!).

And the Winner

Who Can You Trust, Ivy Levan (Theme from Spy)

My wife and I missed Spy when it came out in theaters earlier this year, but watched it as an in-flight movie.  The movie itself is silly and fun, in a way that too many current movies aren’t, without being inane.  The theme song is expressive and powerful and everything that a real James Bond theme song should be.