My top 100 songs of 2015

Every year, my brother Justin and I each pick our favorite 100 songs that we listened to throughout the year. They aren’t necessarily tracks released that year, but are things that resonated during the year (and generally got listened to a lot). This year, my list is, for me, a very satisfying mix of indie, rock, hiphop, rap, and random weird stuff that I like. (Like listening to The Sound of Animals Fighting, anyone?)

I listen mainly while I program, so these are the tunes that help me be productive (and many of which I would expect to do the opposite for most people, even keeping them from being productive). This year’s list has perhaps less low key stuff than lists from past years—somehow, I found myself wanting more hard driving songs in general. I guess events like Sandra Bland’s death and the killing of Tamir Rice, and sadly many others, had me raging against the machine and looking for some musical release.

So, here’s the list:

Note: the preview of the list showing here is listing 111 songs, which is most certainly greater than 100. I can still count, but it seems that there are 11 songs that disappeared from Spotify’s inventory throughout the year and I haven’t been seeing them while working on finalizing the list (but they hang around for the preview). It’s also a reminder of how annoyed I was that Divine Styler’s new album was on Spotify in January and then disappeared.

I actually got to the 100 top tracks from a starting list of over 350 songs, which is more than I’ve ever had in five years of doing top 100 lists. This is in large part due to the excellent Spotify Discover feature that Chris Johnson and his team built—I found tons of new music that way, and I’m going to keep listening to what it gives me every week this year. It’s fun to see personalized recommendations working so well, providing novel and good stuff and benefitting from it myself.

Here’s the list of runner ups, which has lots of great tracks on it too (especially because I had a one track per album constraint for the top 100, which often means making hard choices about which song stays and which ones are cut).

If you are into music, and into these genres, enjoy! Please let me know if there are things you’d recommend for me to check out. And if you are among those who assert that all the great music was from the 1960’s, or from the 1800’s, or whatever, you’re just… old. ;-P


I also curate some music to play in the People Pattern office, and generally try to make it be composed of songs that most people can listen too (which is definitely not true of the majority of the songs in my personal favorites). So if you’d like something a bit more generally palatable, here are 299 songs you might find more appealing.

Author: jasonbaldridge

Co-founder of People Pattern and Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. My primary specialization is computational linguistics and my core research interests are formal and computational models of syntax, probabilistic models of both syntax and discourse structure, and machine learning for natural language tasks in general.

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