Now THAT was a year of music! 2015 was an overwhelming explosion of great tunes, so much so that I had no idea what was going to be my #1 song of the year coming into the writing of the post (the horse I bet on came in 6th – I genuinely can’t even predict my own thoughts). I’m going to spend as little time as possible in the up-front here because I imagine anyone reading this has already scrolled down to the Spotify playlist below to get started.

I’ll have some album of the year thoughts and other accolades before the year comes to a close, but this 7+ hours of jams is a great way to break away from the 96 radio and Pandora stations shoving Andy Williams into every available orifice as you scramble for your last minute Walgreens gift cards[, Dad] and try to figure out what size trash bags will make for good wrapping paper this year[, Dad].

Some observations on the list:

  • THE LIST IS UPSIDE DOWN. Spotify automatically ranks them as they’re added to a playlist, but I want you to listen from my #100 to my #1, so all the numbers you see on the playlist below are backwards (#1 = #100 and vice versa). This is a countdown, not a count up, see what I’m saying? (X Ambassadors is #100…there, you can’t mess up now)
  • It’s middle-heavy. The tail end is good, the top is great, but it’s a long and gradual drop from “great” to “good”. I’d say it’s the best overall collection I’ve put together, though a bit lighter at the top.
  • Welcome back, pop music and rap! Missed you guys. From “way underrepresented” last year to “probably overrepresented” this year, I’d rather lean towards the latter. Making no apologies about that – catchy is catchy, regardless of how popular something gets.
  • 62 of the 100 artists on this list have not been on previous lists. That means most of these artists are completely new to me. I’m pretty pumped about that.
  • The rules still apply – one song per artist to avoid over Father John Mistying this thing and to expose as many artists as possible.
  • With Sturgill Simpson last year and Chris Stapleton and Christopher Paul Stelling this year, I’m getting increasingly concerned I might not hate country music as much as I think I do.
  • Between Pure Bathing Culture & Pfarmers is a song that’s not on Spotify. It’s supposed to be “Lay Me Down” by Adele. Good luck finding a way to listen to it without buying it – you won’t find any solutions here.

How does it all come together? Music podcasts, Spotify’s new Discover Weekly feature, friend recommendations, previously discovered artists, opening bands at shows I go to…any source and every source I have time for.

If you want to get a taste of the old lists, you can check ‘em out here: 2014, 20132012, and 2011. Otherwise, I don’t know why you’re still reading and not listening. Get on with it!