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Almost Mainstream: The 2015 Mixtape

Posted on 24 December 2015

Every December/January, I like to make a little mix of my favourite things in music from the past year. Sometimes it’s top songs, sometimes it’s top albums, sometimes it’s twelve tracks, sometimes it’s twenty. It really depends on what feels most relevant to my listening habits of the past year.

This year, it feels like the most honest thing to do is make a mixtape that’s roughly representative of my listening habits of the past year, which was largely listening to various mixes and individual tracks. I limited it to forty tracks because I find anything too long is just not worthwhile as a curated mix of the best of the best. If you desperately want more, I suggest my 2015 jams playlist on Spotify which sounds awesome on shuffle and includes basically every song I loved from the past 360-ish days.

As it is, these are the forty songs I’ve selected as the best representation of the past year. I followed the Said the Gramophone rules for year-end lists, which is: every artist only gets one song, and the songs are ones that heard for the first time in 2015- a few came out at the tail end of 2014, but I didn’t catch them then.

By the way, my favourite albums of the year were: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s Emotion plus all its related singles, Grimes‘ Art Angels plus all her related singles/releases of the year, and Bleachers‘ Terrible Thrills Vol. 2. My other favourite artists were Drake (who released a good album, a good joint album, and good singles) and Justin Bieber (who released a strong slate of singles, but whose album still has too much filler). My favourite live artist was Black Spruce Bog, who had a great year from the Canada Winter Games through to The First Waltz and who also released the very excellent ConfluenceMy favourite song, period, was “Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weeknd. My favourite soundtrack was the season one playlist for Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, which is great all the way through and introduced me to “Cool It Now” by New Edition, which I’d somehow never heard before.

If you are interested, here are my previous year-end lists:

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

And here’s this year’s mix:

Almost Mainstream 2015 Mixtape Cover


MixcloudDownload | Spotify (not all tracks are available on Spotify)


  1. Cree Dance Clearwater Revival – Mob Bounce
  2. The Peoples’ Champ – A Tribe Called Red feat. Hellnback
  3. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
  4. WTF (Where They From) – Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell Williams
  5. Adventure of A Lifetime – Coldplay
  6. Electric Love (Oliver Remix) – BØRNS
  7. Tete Jaune Road – Black Spruce Bog
  8. Cheer Up London – Slaves
  9. HOTFOOT – Doldrums
  10. Pedestrian At Best – Courtney Barnett
  11. FourFiveSeconds – Rihanna feat. Kanye West & Paul McCartney
  12. Bassically – Tei Shi
  13. Gold – Kiiara
  14. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) – Jaime xx feat. Young Thug and Popcaan
  15. Lean On – Major Lazer feat. MØ and DJ Snake
  16. Want To Want Me – Jason Derulo
  17. Unlock The Swag – Rae Sremmurd feat. Jace of Two-9
  18. Like Whoa – Logic
  19. Everyday – A$AP Rocky feat. Rod Stewart, Miguel, and Mark Ronson
  20. Old Love/New Love – Twin Shadow feat. D’angelo Lacey
  21. Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen
  22. I Wanna Get Better – Bleachers feat. Tinashe
  23. How I Want Ya – Hudson Thames feat. Hailee Steinfeld
  24. Bad Blood – Nao
  25. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
  26. Burial – Yogi feat. Pusha T, Moody Good, and TrollPhace
  27. Shutdown – Skepta
  28. Energy – Drake
  29. This Aint’ Toronto – Wasiu
  30. Where Are Ü Now – Jack Ü feat. Justin Bieber
  31. All My Friends – Snakehips feat. Tinashe and Chance the Rapper
  32. Middle – DJ Snake feat. Bipolar Sunshine
  33. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
  34. Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes
  35. Moaning Lisa Smile – Wolf Alice
  36. Firefly – Hollerado
  37. Pretty Good Joke – Dan Mangan + Blacksmith
  38. ‘Cause I’m A Man – Tame Impala
  39. The Feeling – Justin Bieber feat. Halsey
  40. Realiti – Grimes

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