Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The music of 2015 left listeners both in awe and disenchanted

(Randy Crandon/Daily Collegian)
(Kelley Dillon/Daily Collegian)

With every passing year comes a plethora of artists, albums and singles that dominate the popular music scene. In 2015, it was filled with comebacks of musicians that strayed from the public eye along with debuts of many fresh faces. Pop music seemed to be in a battle with the alternative and R&B genres and online streaming thrived. It was the year of breakups and makeups, of newly emerged artists and both hits and misses.

Perhaps the most talked-about element of the year in music was the reemergence of Adele. Her hit single “Hello,” released Oct. 23, was followed by her third studio album “25” a month later. The album was her first release since 2011.

With a melodramatic music video published in tandem with the single’s release and her overall long-awaited revival, Adele’s contribution to the year in music – although spanning only two months of it – was a sure hit.

Another resurgence from the year came from Justin Bieber and his album “Purpose,” released Nov. 13. The album led listeners to become curious as to how such a controversial individual could come back from the scandals of the previous year.

For Bieber, 2014 was filled with arrests, charges and a petition for his deportation. The purpose of “Purpose” – for a lack of better words – should have been for Bieber to prove himself to both fans and the public. Singles “Sorry,” “What Do You Mean?” and “Love Yourself” were favored by the public and could provoke an argument for his comeback. However, the similarities in style and lyrics across each album prove that the star may be hesitant to take risks.

March was a monumental time in One Direction’s career. Member Zayn Malik announced his separation from the group and his plan to continue as a solo artist, leaving many in despair and others inquisitive as to what this meant for the future of the British band’s career. Despite the fact that they were one heartthrob short, One Direction’s album “Made in the A.M.,” released (like Bieber’s) on Nov. 13, was an example of the group’s musical strength.

Songs featured on the album like “Olivia” and “History” exuded a happy-go-lucky manner that was unique to anything they had released before. Single “Drag Me Down” seemed to be directly alluded to Zayn’s announcement and their continued success without his presence.

Rapper Drake prevailed in the R&B category with singles “Hotline Bling” and “Jumpman,” released in July and November respectively. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” released in February, precedes his newest album “Views From the 6,” which is expected to drop in 2016. The Weeknd, another artist of the same genre, released singles like “Can’t Feel My Face” that played repeatedly on the radio and in our heads throughout the year.

According to Billboard’s Hot 100-2015 Archive, “Can’t Feel My Face” had its chart position fluctuate from August to September, but the song became notably overplayed and overhyped. The Weeknd’s contribution to 2015 was a bit disappointing because of this, and because his track “Earned It” was heavily associated with the film “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Emerging artists should deviate from linking their work with a soundtrack. Besides this, The Weeknd has proven himself enough to excite us for what’s to come from him in the future.

An unlikely competitor was the alternative genre in 2015. Although the album “Hozier” was released in 2014, Hozier’s hit song “Take Me to Church” won the 2015 BBC Music Award’s song of the year and remained at the top of the charts throughout. Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” could be considered the song of the summer and “Budapest” by George Ezra was a heartfelt tune; both singles stayed near the top of charts from the end of May throughout the summer months.

The method of music listening in 2015 was centered on digital streaming. According to a report by Statista, Spotify dominated with over 20 million paid subscribers, surpassing Apple Music, which reported having only 6.5 million.

Each year brings both the expected and unexpected when it comes to music. This past year gave us a whirlwind of artists and albums from various genres that went above and beyond, or the opposite direction. From what we have seen in 2015, we can anticipate continued releases from artists that have now reemerged, an increase in alternative music and works from new and innovative musicians.

Lauren Crociati can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *