Alternative Nation released its top 10 rock albums of the year just a couple of weeks ago, but that list was voted by readers. Below is a list of the top 10 rock songs of 2015, as selected by Alternative Nation owner Brett Buchanan and reporters Jeff Gorra, Mike Mazzarone, and Elias Fulmer.
10. Failure – “Hot Traveler” (The Heart is a Monster)
Brett Buchanan: Loyal readers Felonious Punk and J mentioned this album in the comments section when we recently did our Album of the Year poll, and it made me go back and revisit it. “Hot Traveler” is definitely the standout with its plodding grungy riff.
9. Dead Sara – “Something Good” (Pleasure To Meet You)
Brett Buchanan: Dead Sara returned with their second album earlier this year, and the standout track by far is definitely “Something Good.” The track has that classic California summertime feel, with a standout performance from lead singer Emily Armstrong.
8. Cage The Elephant – “Cold Cold Cold” (Tell Me I’m Pretty)
Mike Mazzarone: I could list ANY track from Tell Me I’m Pretty, they are all simply amazing songs. From the “Eleanor Rigby” inspired “Sweetie Little Jean”, the “Something” inspired “Trouble,” to the infamous “Mess Around”. When I first heard the album I had a sinking feeling it would be all Black Keys soundalike tracks. However, that wasn’t the case at all. “Cold, Cold, Cold” has pure 60’s flair.
I could imagine Bob Dylan belting out the “Oh no ain’t it a drag” part, and there are huge David Bowie influences as well. It’s just a fantastic album. I’m not sure if it’s their best effort, especially in comparison to Melophobia, but like Doug McCausland said in our review of Tell Me I’m Pretty – I don’t care! This is a band that everyone should get into, and hear their albums all the way though. They are one of the best acts in modern rock, and they are here to stay.
7. Foo Fighters – “The Never Ending Sigh” (Saint Cecilia EP)
Jeff Gorra: This song just rocks. It’s simple and catchy. It feels like this song in particular captures the vibe of exactly what the Foos did with this surprising EP. I just imagine sitting on the porch of that hotel with beer bottles, hearing this song being jammed.
6. The Arcs – “Stay In My Corner” (Yours, Dreamily)
Brett Buchanan: Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach released a new album this year with his new side project band The Arcs, and “Stay In My Corner” is just as great as any recent Black Keys hit. The soulful blues ballad is definitely the highlight of the album, with the lyrics telling a love story with the backdrop of boxing.
5. Chris Cornell – “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” (Higher Truth)
Jeff Gorra: It’s signature Cornell, exploratory and courageous all at the same time. It also has the flexibility to plug into multiple genres.
4. Marilyn Manson – “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge” (The Pale Emperor)
Mike Mazzarone: After a string of meh to forgettable albums it was Manson who in early 2015 decided to reinvent himself as this gritty, Mark Lanegan sounding rocker. The result? Pale Emperor and it’s hit single “Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge”. I knew this album was going to make or break the recording future for Manson as he, up to that point hasn’t put anything really up to scratch since 2000’s Holy Wood. After a string of “meh” albums, it was time for a release like this and Manson defied any expectations.
3. Eagles of Death Metal – “I Love You All the Time” (Zipper Down)
Elias Fulmer: Now the most well known track from the Eagles of Death Metal’s 2015 Zipper Down, the song’s jangly glam rock stands in defiance of the face of terrorism, with ISIL assaulting the Bataclan where Eagles of Death Metal played on November 13th. It has spun a campaign for other artists to cover it, with the proceeds going to the Sweet Stuff Charity.
2. Faith No More – “Superhero” (Sol Invictus)
Brett Buchanan: While “Motherfucker” was Faith No More’s official comeback single, “Superhero” is really the fitting reintroduction to the band after a 18 year hiatus from recording. The infectious piano chords throughout the song really drive the song, and Mike Patton somehow manages to conjure of the dark spirit of the 90’s without sounding like he’s trying to, unlike some of his contemporaries.
1. Scott Weiland – “Circles” (Blaster)
Brett Buchanan: “Circles” unfortunately ended up being the bookend to legendary Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland’s 23-year studio discography. Guitarist Jeremy Brown kept it simple with with the musical arrangement, playing a memorable riff throughout the song. When it came to vocals, Scott Weiland went back to the country music he grew up listening, with one of his most memorable melodies in recent memory. Weiland’s lyrics are beautifully haunting, but with a sense of hope, like many of his greatest songs.