Jan 16

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2015: #10-#1

FT27 comments • 1,221 views


“Yojne! – 01 Pot gnilffuhs-zzaj, gnikcilc-regnif lanif eht s’ereh, yawyna! Ekil I mug taht ekil, elyts ni kcab emoc ll’yeht yllufepoh. Selit eht htiw yoj on tub, sniatruc der eht dah yeht dna Esabemoh ni dekool I. Egdol Kcalb eht detaroceder tsal ehs nehw, morf selit roolf gazgiz esoht tog ehs erehw Remlap Arual gniksa ot dnuor teg yllanif nac I! Seires wen eht tuoba enoyna sa deticxe sa m’i. Skaep Niwt morf frawd gniklat-sdrawkcab eht, Ecalp Rehtona Morf Nam Eht m’i, olleh.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. Without further ado: let’s have a look at the Top 10:

10. Accelerate – Susanne Sundfør

This song is so good that this year I made a Spotify playlist called ‘ALL SHALL FEAR ME AND DESPAIR’, in an attempt to gather together more amazing polar witchcraft like this. Ignore the video where she spoils the whole effect by dancing around in a poncho. Ponchos are not noir, Susanne! Thankfully Bach fugues are maximum noir, and if you get to the end of this song without being turned into an ice statue then you will be rewarded with the most Goth moment of 2015.

9. Trap Queen – Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap has been so inspired by The Great British Bake Off that he has been spending the entirety of 2015 in the kitchen making pies. The synth line is up in the mesophere somewhere with the one from Girl Unit’s ‘Wut’, and sounds good even if you’re playing it on your phone speakers.

8. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd

This dude seems to have got nearly as much grief as Drake in terms of general hatorade this year. I haven’t been keeping up with the specific bro-beef regarding Mr Weeknd but I bet if Justin Timberlake had released this the other year instead of his prog-rock double album (or whatever it was), said haters would be wetting themselves over it. Slick, gelatinous and probably best not to think too hard about how it was made, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ is the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter of this year’s R’n’B spreadables.

7. King – Years & Years

Doodle-oodle-ooo! Ooowee-ooowee-ooo! That cockerel hook is catchy enough on its own to put ‘King’ on the top of the Most Likely To Be Used On A 2015 Sporting Montage list. Bung on some castanets and a great singalong chorus about chess pieces (the ultimate test of cerebral fitness) and you have yourself a pop classic. Ollie is also now just one tub of VO5 away from achieving the ultimate haircut.

6. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen

A confession, readers: I have just this second realised I have buggered up the poll results a bit and ‘Making The Most Of The Night‘ should have been in the mid twenties somewhere. Argh! This would have only pushed ‘Your Type’ (and Susanne Sundfør’s ‘Memorial’) out of the Top 40 so it’s not like CRJ is lacking representation in this poll. For this heinous error you can blame Google Sheets’ sorting algorithm. For what it’s worth, I think MTMOTN sounds like Paula Abdul and IRLY sounds like Kelly Clarkson. Some #MusicCriticism for you all there.

5. Cool For The Summer – Demi Lovato

Demi sings this like she’s about to unleash a nuclear winter on Los Angeles, just for the hell of it. She’s pressed a button and that playground from the beginning of Terminator 2 are totally about to be on fire. As noted elsewhere, the chorus is a bit of a rip of Jessie J’s ‘Domino’, but the meaty guitar more than makes up for that.

4. Black Magic – Little Mix

Do you still get Black Magic chocolate boxes or have they been trumped by All Gold these days? I remember them being a step up in classiness from Milk Tray, which I would obv have no qualms eating either. Much like a chocolate selection box (yes, I know, worst link ever) Little Mix apparently still need their names written on the overlay for their videos so we know who is who, but this video is otherwise GREAT and features MAGICAL FARTS.

3. You and I Alone – Daphne & Celeste & Max Tundra

This year’s subject of attempted VOTE RIGGING. I may have effed up Carly Rae but I’m not that daft, dudes. Max Tundra’s backing sounds absolutely like nothing else I’ve heard this year – actually that’s a complete lie, the Roisín Murphy album sounded a lot like this. Let’s imagine Roisín has taken over the running of Bertha but instead of toys she’s making cultural references, and most brilliantly of all, she’s put Daphne and bloody Celeste in charge, and they’ve decided to see what happens when they press all the buttons at once.

2. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar

West Coast G-funk checklist! Irresistible bass sample? TICK. Video shot in Compton? TICK. With plenty of bouncing car suspensions? TICK. Shout out to James Brown’s ‘Payback’ (right down to Kendrick’s husky vocal)? TICK. Making me want to mix myself a gin and juice right now? TICK TICK TICK. You’ll just have to imagine those TICKs are emojis as WordPress doesn’t seem to be down with the kids.

1. WTF – Missy Elliott ft Pharrell Williams

A 100% banger. Missy is trolling us all by claiming to be ‘futuristic’ and ‘so ahead of y’all’ when she’s released a song that sounds over a decade old and is *still* better than 2015’s combined musical output (as scientifically proven by this poll! We haven’t had a clearer winner since ‘Call Me Maybe’.) It’s like she never went away – great dance moves, batshit outfits, even Pharrell’s turn (‘lyrically I’m/Optimus Prime‘) is A+ enjoyable. Rest of World: this is what you have to compete with, time to up your game.

And that’s your lot! Thanks again to everyone who sent in a ballot. The full Top 40 Top 42 now looks like this:

1. WTF – Missy Elliott ft Pharrell Williams
2. King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
3. You and I Alone – Daphne & Celeste & Max Tundra
4. Black Magic – Little Mix
5. Cool For The Summer – Demi Lovato
6. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen
7. King – Years & Years
8. I Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
9. Trap Queen – Fetty Wap
10. Accelerate – Susanne Sundfør
11. Flesh Without Blood – Grimes
12. Coffee – Miguel
13. Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna
14. Hotline Bloody Bling – Drake
15. Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen
16. Lean On – Major Lazer & DJ Snake ft MØ
17. FourFiveSeconds – Rihanna, Kanye & Macca
18. E-mo-tion – Carly Rae Jepsen
19. Delirious – Susanne Sundfør
20. Hello – Adele
=21. Ice Cream Cake – Red Velvet
=21. Sorry – Justin Bieber
=21. Style – Taylor Swift
24. Shut Up And Dance – Walk The Moon
24a. Making The Most Of The Night – Carly Rae Jepsen
25. Baby Love – Petite Meller
26. What Do U Mean – Justin Bieber
27. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – Silento
28. Sunday Candy – Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment
29. The Very Best – JME
30. Sax – Fleur East
31. REALiTi – Grimes
32. Slumlord – Neon Indian
=33. Silhouettes – Floating Points
=33. You & The 6 – Drake
35. Pedestrian At Best – Courtney Barnett
36. Shutdown – Skepta
37. Piss Off – FFS
38. Know Me From – Stormzy
39. Need You Now – Hot Chip
=40. Memorial – Susanne Sundfør
=40. Your Type – Carly Rae Jepsen

Stay tuned for some STATS CRUNCH coming up in the comments later.


  1. 1
    Tom on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Gosh! Well, “King Kunta” was my #2 as well – and I filed our winner firmly away under “awkward attempt to recapture past glories”, so I think Kendrick got robbed a bit here. But that’s pop for ya! Also voted for: D&C, Demi and Y&Y. Almost voted for: Fetty Wap. Pointedly Did Not Vote For: This particular CRJ track.

    Thanks Kat for doing the poll!

  2. 2
    byebyepride on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Massive thanks to Kat for taking care of the poll! Definitely one of the highlights of January for me.

    Voted for this Kendrick, so I am clearly partly in tune with the Freaky Trigger massive; have heard 6 of these, but only 3 during the year – including CRJ, as I tried to work out what the Singles Jukebox were seeing in her.

  3. 3
    Tom on 22 Jan 2016 #

    I did a Spotify playlist (sadly missing Taylor and JME but what can you do) – in countdown order, naturally https://open.spotify.com/user/freakytrigger/playlist/48HEx5SIGjEZP0gzg0iFd2

  4. 4
    weej on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Very happy to read this one, especially as it seems that my taste gels well with the FT hivemind this time – WTF was my #1 and You & I Alone was my #2. No chance of my D&B stuff getting in there, but I was well-enough prepared for that. If anyone’s interested my top 75 with playlists / downloads / unfortunately no blurbs is here

  5. 5
    flahr on 22 Jan 2016 #

    “….she’s released a song that sounds over a decade old and is *still* better than 2015′s combined musical output (as scientifically proven by this poll!)”

    Maybe that just means the voters are all BORING OLD FARTS like what were in the Little Mix video

  6. 6
    flahr on 22 Jan 2016 #

    I voted for three of these (and SUPPRESSED PEOPLE’S CHAMPION MTMOTN). Daphne & Celeste! Maybe next year Junior Senior will be comfortably Top 5 with a comeback single.

  7. 7
    Tom on 22 Jan 2016 #

    I like the fact that the “next video” screen at the end of D&C offers you a choice of their early funny stuff or Grimes – a great choose-your-own-pop-adventure decision.

  8. 8
    Tommy Mack on 22 Jan 2016 #

    The bloke from the Black Magic video is a proper douche. Why are Little Mix trying to snare a chap who a) has a ponytail and leather jacket in 2015 and b) is so uptight he can’t handle the idea of a woman farting?

    Yay Kendrick, probably would have been my #2 after vote-rigging #1 choice. If I had got round to voting.

  9. 9
    jeff w on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Thanks for running this Kat!

    Voted for #1 and #3 but they were last and third-last on my ballot respectively. The only other things I voted for in the whole top 41 (or 42) were “Coffee” and “Sunday Candy”. (Figured Kendrick needed no help from me.)

    And for all the Sundfør here, her best song (“Fade Away”), the only one I voted for, didn’t make it.

    #bah #idontknowupeople

  10. 10
    thefatgit on 22 Jan 2016 #

    So here we are, and what a trip it’s been:

    Susanne Sundfør – Much as I really admire Susanne Sundfør, I’m wondering whether I’ll be pursuing her stuff in 2016, or moving on to something new. Time will tell I s’pose. One observation re: the video; where’s the schlong?

    Fetty Wap – Forgive my dirty mind, but whenever I hear this guy’s name my subconscious does that Spoonerism thing, and I chuckle every time.

    The Weeknd – Gotta admit, I preferred “The Hills” to this.

    Years & Years – I was going to make some snarky comment about the room in the video needing a feature wall, but then I realised Years & Years ARE THE FEATURE WALL!

    CRJ’s I Really Like You – Undeniable. Inescapable. Irresistible.

    Demi Lovato – Never knowingly heard this. That’s the first time I’ve said that in this top 10. Sounds like a lot of other stuff, on first listen. Maybe I’m immune to Demi’s charms.

    Little Mix – There’s a bit of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” running through this like “BLACKPOOL” through rock.

    Daphne & Celeste & Max Tundra – I was wondering if Hannah Diamond or S.O.P.H.I.E. might feature in this poll, but why bother when D&C come along and show these young ‘uns how it’s done. They ran the piss gauntlet at Reading* for you, kids! Show them all due respect.

    Kendrick Lamar – I know nothing about Kendrick Lamar. This must change soon.

    Missy Elliot & Pharrell Williams – As one might say on Tumblr; I can’t even. “WTF” makes everything else around it sound inadequate somehow. How the fuck do they do that?

    Not featured, probably would have voted for: “Marvin Gaye”, “Out Of The Black”, “In2”. I must vote in 2016. No excuses.

    *I assume this is a matter of historical fact and not just an exaggeration from those “I was there” bores.

  11. 11
    swanstep on 22 Jan 2016 #

    ‘King Kunta’ was the only one I voted for here (my #8), and perhaps unsurprisingly (and with all due respect to Missy, Weeknd, and CRJ) I find that it towers over the rest.

    @fatgit. ‘Black Magic’ is a kind of maximally irritating combination of cheerleader chants a la Hollaback Girl/I wanna be your girlfriend with Taylor Swift’s Blank Space chorus.

    Surprised given Popular’s demo that New Order’s ‘People on the High Line’ didn’t show up somewhere. Hella good and a bassline beyond Hooky to die for – one of the year’s most pleasant surprises to my ears. I had it at #7.

    My #1 was Empress Of’s ‘Kitty Kat’ (I had tracks by Tame Impala and Alabama Shakes at #2 and #3). It’s on spotify and youtube (with a lyrics vid. only), so check it out if you missed it!

  12. 12
    Mark M on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Hurrah for Kat for doing the poll.

    The Top 10 was considerably less surprising than what had come before – four tracks I would have probably put money on.

    Stuff I’d never heard before:
    Accelerate – Starts off OK, gets a bit too big towards the end for my purposes.

    Stuff I had heard:
    Trap Queen – Catchy as hell, but annoying. Enough with this mumbly r’n’b half-singing. (As I write that sentence, Post Malone pops up on the TV. Grrr.)

    I Can’t Feel My Face – Even more ubiquitous than Drake, but less hateable. I just find his stuff dull.

    King – This hung around for ever. Bloke needs a decent meal. Nah.

    I Really Like You – I get why people went big for this, but it never really clicked for me. Don’t think it’s the best of her tracks this year.

    Cool For The Summer – Sleek and powerful. But baffled by the reviews that suggested this was some kind of radical statement and contrasted it with I Kissed A Girl – it’s still all curiosity and ‘something I want to try’. The difference is Demi appears to want a shag rather than a snog.

    Black Magic – It’s a recreation of an idea of the ’80s, rather than the actual ’80s. Again, I know why people liked it rather than really enjoying myself.

    You And I Alone – I’d totally forgotten about this. I quite like it, but then I always had a soft spot for D&C.

    King Kunta – The big, graspable moment from what it is an impressive but dense and intense album. (My question: Do the kids like Kendrick? I’d be interested to know. What I do know pensioners with vivid memories of Sly Stone etc do – apart from David Bowie’s recently much-cited enthusiasm for To Pimp A Butterfly, I overheard Richard Williams, who is 68, raving about it at Lord Sukrat’s Underground/Overground conference.) Awesome.

    WTF – Not surprised at its position, seeing as I got excited texts from friends when it was first played on the radio. Don’t think it’s extraordinary, just think folks are super-chuffed that Missy is back and identifiably herself.

  13. 13
    thefatgit on 22 Jan 2016 #

    @Swanstep, yeah I hear all that too. But it’s that thing in the back of the mix that harks back to Cyndi. In the end it’s all sugar.

  14. 14
    katstevens on 22 Jan 2016 #

    Posting this v late last night meant I forgot to do a run down of people’s #1 picks that didn’t make the Top 40:

    Airway Management – Nick Höppner (my top pick, v close between this and Missy)
    Apres Le Temps – The Revolutionary Army Of the Infant Jesus
    Bitch I’m Madonna – Madonna ft Nicki Minaj
    Calypso – Dawn Richard
    Diamonds – Giorgio Morodor ft Charli XCX
    I’m An Albatross – AronChupa (This year’s CHALLOPS pick)
    If I Could – Juliana Hatfield Three
    Kitty Kat – Empress Of
    Lemon Eyes – Meg Myers
    March Madness – Future
    Number One – Tove Styrke
    Realism – Bodega Bay
    Reason To Die Young – Le Butcherettes
    Regret – Everything Everything
    Somebody Loves You – Betty Who
    Street Pastor Colloquy, 3AM – Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
    The Legend of Chavo Guerrero – The Mountain Goats
    매일 – Ash-B

    (If yours has not appeared then blame the spreadsheet)

  15. 15

    fuuuuuck i forgot i’m an albatross

  16. 16
    thefatgit on 22 Jan 2016 #

    *rushes off to YouTube to check out AronChupa* Now I’m scared…that view count!

  17. 17
    katstevens on 23 Jan 2016 #


    Splitters Award: Jeppers with 7 different nominations, runner up being Susanne Sundfør with 6.

    Total no. of songs nominated: 386

    Track with most individual votes that didn’t make the top 40: “Can’t Stop Thinking About You” by Tobias Jesso Jr.

    81% of the nominated songs only got one vote (about the same as previous years).

    UK 2015 Singles Chart #1 Artists that didn’t receive a single vote: Wiz Khalifa, Lost Frequencies, David Zowie, Meghan Trainor, Rachel Platten, Sam Smith and the NHS Choir.

    Lowest average score in the Top 40 (i.e. lots of people voted for it, but put it low down on their list): “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna/Kanye/Macca

    Highest average score in the Top 40 (i.e. fewer people voted for it, but they all gave it a massive thumbs up): “Accelerate” by Susanne Sundfør.

    I also had a column for Standard Deviation but no-one’s interested in that now, are they.

  18. 18
    swanstep on 23 Jan 2016 #

    @14, Apres Le Temps – The Revolutionary Army Of the Infant Jesus, which I just streamed from Bandcamp, is a pretty stunning beginning of something. Will now check out their other stuff to see where it goes…Thanks to whoever had this as their #1.

  19. 19
    jeff w on 24 Jan 2016 #

    Not particular taken with “Airway…” but have been sampling the Nick Höppner album on Spotify this morning and “Mirror Image” is twinkly loveliness.

  20. 20
    Cumbrian on 25 Jan 2016 #

    Thanks to everyone who voted in this. I am basically so disengaged with new music and new artists that things like this, curated by people who I at least am aware of through their writing (either articles or in the comments), are really helpful for me to find out about things that I wouldn’t otherwise hear. Big find for me this year is Susanne Sundfor – who squarely falls into the bracket of “I would never hear this in the normal run of my listening” – every track recommended here was a further push to just go and get the album, which I did over the weekend. And it’s ace. So thanks again.

    Much more aware of what’s in the Top 10 than would otherwise have been the case. Unfortunately, with the odd exception, I don’t rate most of it. For instance, I have no idea what people see in that CRJ song or Can’t Feel My Face. Kendrick’s good, mind.

    I didn’t vote – for the aforementioned reason that I hear nothing that would fit into this in the normal scheme of things – I spent most of my 2015 reconnecting with metal and other stripes of heavy rock, and no one needs to hear me unconvincingly advocate for Restarter by Torche, The Darkness’ latest track in what seems like a long running effort to put together a rock musical about the myths and history of East Anglia or the title track of AC/DC’s most recent album (the one track from their new album which absolutely stood muster with the rest of the set that they played when I saw them at Wembley back in July), when the rest of the world has long since moved on from that sort of thing.

  21. 21
    katstevens on 25 Jan 2016 #

    #19: I love the whole album – ‘Airway Management’ to me sounds like late-90s Orbital have dropped a tea tray down the stairs = tick.
    #20: I put ‘Barbarian’ in my ballot! Immensely silly & enjoyable.

  22. 22
    dollymix on 25 Jan 2016 #

    I didn’t expect any other votes for my #1 (Juliana Hatfield), but I’m sad my #2 pick, Grace Mitchell’s “Jitter”, missed out, since it seems like the sort of thing this readership would like.

  23. 23
    James BC on 26 Jan 2016 #

    I’d just like to add my thanks for doing the poll – the usual strange mix of the very well known and the (to me) incredibly obscure. I bought WTF so it must be a worthy winner, though I’m not sure I remembered to vote for it.

    I think I was the one who put the Charli XCX / Giorgio Moroder song at number 1. You all should listen to it!

  24. 24
    Andrew Farrell on 26 Jan 2016 #

    I am feeling a little disconnected from music listening after reading this – not because of songs I don’t know (there’s lots of those), but because I remember going nuts when WTF came out, excited for more from Missy in the future. It was a very exciting afternoon, but then I forgot all about it – like, literally I had forgotten about the song by the time it turned up in this poll.

    (this may also be “Andrew’s Getting Older”, of course)

  25. 25
    Tom on 26 Jan 2016 #

    I was also incredibly excited about NEW MISSY but forgot to actually listen to the song until a month or so had passed, which is probably why I didn’t feel very whelmed by it.

  26. 26
    cryptopian on 22 Jul 2016 #

    A word of thanks to any Susanne Sundfør voters for introducing me to my new favourite album.

  27. 27
    Rory on 22 Jul 2016 #

    #26 I’ll second that! I also really appreciated the prompt to listen to Art Angels, another new favourite.

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