earthings! 2015: My ten favorites of the year

We’re closing up shop for another year, which means our obligatory look at the year that was – and, like in the past two years, it’s in the form of ten songs, arranged alphabetically by artist. And it’s been an interesting year, indeed. Pop music was, once again, no longer a guilty pleasure. The much-anticipated comeback of guitar music did not happen, but we had some genre-pushing, if not outright weird, alternative anyway. We’ve seen new acts make a legitimate splash, but it wasn’t for the sake of a new voice. We’ve seen old acts make triumphant returns, but nostalgia wasn’t the biggest thing. Things have not settled down to the way people want it to be (and that could mean anything depending on who you ask) but things have never looked this good in recent years either. It is weird. Interesting, but weird.

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“Two thumbs up for making me cynical.”

“Backpack” by Petite Meller | Okay, let’s get this thought out of the way: this song is so twee. And weird. The song first reminded me of Lily Allen’s “Air Balloon”, and then of the more innocent-sensual Japanese stuff (like this Chara song I wrote about last year), and then of Lady Gaga, if she had sparser songs and used the saxophone more prominently. Parisian singer Petite Meller’s Lolita shtick might actually be creepy, but there’s something, err, interesting about her. I don’t know. I sit here listening to “Backpack” (which is being released as a single next week, but was already out last year) and her earlier song “NYC Time” and I’m torn between “cute!” and “this is doing my ears in!” And yet I feel like a moth when I see one of those insect-zapping things. It’s catchy. It’s a bit groovy, even. But it will do your head in at one point. Makes you wonder what this philosophy student (she’s taking up her masters) is really thinking. [NB]