If I had to sum up pop music in 2015 as a whole, it would be, “meh.” You might perceive that to be an insult, but that is a tremendous upgrade from the prior two years, which were simply abominable. The year was dominated by Mark Ronson (“Uptown Funk”), Taylor Swift (“Blank Space”), Adelle (“Hello”) and a whole bunch of Canadians, one of whom can not spell the word “weekend” in any version or variation of English. (And I already used my “invisible letter” joke back on my podcast).
It doesn’t help that not only does most pop music continues to sound unremarkably similar, but in 2015, the music was low-key, and the lyrics were dour. If the pop music scene is supposed to represent the general mood of the populace in regards to the political and economic landscape, then they are six or seven years too late. Thankfully, last year was the least amount of time I spent listening to pop music in the past seven or eight years.
God damn, I need a drink.
I usually post these awards sometime in December. The Omnis were delayed this time in the hope against hope that something new would be released in the waning days of the calendar year. Also, I waited for some year-end lists in case I had forgotten about some songs earlier in the year.
So without further adieu, let’s hand out the 2015 Omnis:
The Unclear of the Concept Award: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Somebody get this girl to a college football game – ASAP. This song makes “Katy Perry’s “Roar” feel like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” by comparison. This will not replacing “Seven Nation Army” in football/soccer stadiums anytime soon… or ever.
The Best Cover Song of the Year Award: “Bad Blood” by Ryan Adams, covering Taylor Swift. He has given me a new-found respect for Ms Swift as a songwriter. Ryan may have covered the entire “1989” album initially as a joke, but he may have inadvertently shown us that sometimes it’s not the singer, nor the lyrics, but the producer and/or engineer that makes the song. She has plenty of money now. Perhaps once she grows bored with being a “pop” singer, Ms. Swift could become a legitimate musician, and reach her full artistic potential.
The Best Song Title of the Year Award: “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box” by Modest Mouse. Any year they release an album, they are a finalist to win a Best Song Title and Best Album Title Award.
Best Artist Name of the Year Award: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. He got recognition with his lullaby, “Cecelia and the Satellite.” This is the Power of the Preposition. If the band was called “Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness,” he would have won the Worst Artist Name Award. This slight alteration is the best name-changer since Mark Foster and The People ditched the words “Mark,” and “And.”
The Grammys Got it Right, Unlike the Other Big 3 Award: Beck. Heck quickly followed up his Album of the Year Grammy (which is just slightly more prestigious than this award), with a new album. And in typical Beck fashion, his latest album was completely unlike his previous one. His song “Dreams” was the #1 song on WXPK’s Top Songs of 2015 list. Meanwhile, Queen Bey and her 25 writers seemed to have taken the year off – or perhaps they just don’t have another song in them. Hey, it happens!
The Twilight Zone Award for Tempting Fate: “Cheerleader” by OMI. Wouldn’t it be nice if, considered for your approval, that OMI has a daughter and grows up to be not a normal cheerleader, but one described in his song? Like baby mama, like daughter?
The Metal Song of the Year: “Win Hands Down” by Armored Saint. Considering there were new albums by Queensryche, Operation: Mindcrime, and Iron Maiden (a double album nonetheless), this is an impressive accomplishment.
The Worst Metaphor Award: “Fire and The Flood” by Vance Joy. Vance is using two natural disasters to describe his love? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I used to use fire and flood as metaphors to describe my depression – not my love for a woman. “Honey, did you see the news out in California, with the out-of-control forest fires, and flash floodings? Yeah, that’s the same way I think of you.” Tell me this pickup line works for any non-famous schlub or non-musician.
The Everybody Wants to Rule the World Award: Dan Auerbach. Between his primary band, The Black Keys; his side project, The Arcs; and all of the acts he is producing, Dan is trying to get his style and his sounds over the airwaves and internet. I applaud his counter-revolution of sorts. And even if I wasn’t a fan of his music, I despise the current style that has hegemonized the top 40 scene the past couple of years so much, that I would welcome any change whatsoever. I don’t even care what genre – EDM, C&W, K-pop, Gregorian chants – anything would be better than this auto-tuned, mopey garbage we have right now.
At this point, I would like to present my Top Ten Songs of the Year. I had much difficulties with the latter half, but f* it, they deserve the love.
10. “In the Heat of The Moment” by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
9. “Cecilia And The Satellite” by Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
8. “Lifted Up (1985)” by Passion Pit
7. “Trouble” by Keith Richards
6. “A Little Smile” by Joe Jackson
5. “Under The Pressure” by The War on Drugs
4. “Dreams” by Beck
3. “The Shade” by Metric
2. “Let It Happen” by Tame Impala
1. “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Honorable Mentions and other “Songs of the Moment” not already awarded above – “Exes and Oh’s” by Elle King; “Getting Ready to Get Down” by Josh Ritter; “Reinventing the Future” by Operation: Mindcrime; “Once a Day” by Michael Franti & Spearhead; “Whitestone City Limits” by Jesse Malin; “Things Happen” by Dawes; “Why Would I nOw?” by The Decemberists; “Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile.