Special Features

Top 40 of 2015: 5-1

This is it! We’ve reached the conclusion of the countdown of the best 40 songs of what has been an incredible year of music! Bands from the USA, Canada, Australia and all over Europe have been included in this amazing countdown but the top five belongs to the UK (except one little group from New York City). Thank you all for following the countdown and see you in 2017!

5 – Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck

For a long period of time this year, Van McCann and friends were sat in the top position. When The Ride was released earlier in the year I was convinced nobody could top what they had done. Somehow Catfish and the Bottlemen topped their stunning first record which, as Van suggested, was only the warm up. How right he was; when Soundcheck was released, the ambition, the quality, the pure talent of the men from Wales was truly seen for the first time. This quality of this track was really hammered home to me in Halifax when, after the song had just been released, McCann only had to sing “Maybe” (the first lyric) and the 1500 strong crowd sang every word that followed right back to him. Although every Bottlemen song is a sing along, Soundcheck is the song that The Balcony was missing, the song that if they ever go they’ll be remembered for. It’s a brilliant piece of music and fully deserves to be in the top five of 2016.

4 – Augustines – Are We Alive

Where to begin with this.

In 2016, Billy McCarthy and Augustines possibly provided the highest points of the year with Billy’s live solo show being the pinnacle of live shows, but sadly, devastatingly one of the saddest moments of this tragic year when the band announced they were finishing. I rarely get genuinely upset but when I got the news on holiday in Amsterdam I stopped in my tracks in disbelief that one of the planets best voices, one of the worlds greatest live bands couldn’t continue anymore. The injustice was so great I knew the rest of 2016 was to be a bad one.

When Augustines released their final album in June, I saw it as a record that could go on and do the band great things, it was inventive, it was perfect and Are We Alive was simply brilliant. Both in it’s musical execution and passionate delivery from McCarthy, the song should have been the track that took Augustines all over the world, touring the record and propelling them to stardom. Instead, it was the best track they ever wrote, that will probably be heard in ten years time and everyone will say “damn they’re good, who are they?”, look them up and then be horrified that the music industry is such that a band like this can’t exist. For Billy, Eric and Rob, please, go buy the record, it won’t do much now, but this band deserve to exist, they deserve to have sold more records than they did. Let us not forget just how good this band were and hopefully will be again.

3 – Deaf Havana – Sing

From a band that broke up this year to a band I was desperately hoping weren’t going to after many rumours, Deaf Havana returned in 2016 with their best song yet Sing. Now it’s no secret that Deaf Havana hold a special place in my heart so when they finally announced a new single and then an album at Reading and Leeds Festival, I could breath again, at least for another few years. Sing is without doubt one of 2016’s best songs, it has everything you would want from a proper rock song. Heavy guitars, incredible vocals, and raw emotion (although I’m not sure James Veck-Gelodi knows how to sing a song without emotion) all combine in harmony and it’s so so good to have them back to their best. Nothing more can be said, just listen, listen and keep listening until the record next year.

2 – Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Wild Flowers

Holy s**t. Like seriously, holy f*****g s**t.

1 – Biffy Clyro – Howl

And here we are. The best song of 2016 is Howl by the incredible Biffy Clyro who returned in 2016 with their 7th studio album Ellipsis. Scotland’s finest came back in style this year with Wolves of Winter a heavy, crashing, typical Biffy song which was worthy of the top spot also but Howl makes it because it’s so..not Biffy. It’s so atypical, it’s amazing. With happy chords, soft guitars and harmonies sent from the heavens, this song is the best of 2016 for so many reasons. Live the song is taken up a notch and the high notes throughout make me so, so happy and not many songs do that anymore. I present to you, the number one song of this year, Howl. 

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