Time Out Dubai looks back on the top tracks from 2015 as part of our special year in review. Watch the most popular YouTube music videos of the year
The return of Justin Bieber, Kanye West collaborating with a former Beatle and the world being taught to “Whip/Nae Nae” by a 17 year-old: 2015 had it all. But as we all leave it behind, here’s our pick of ten tracks that deserve a place on your nostalgic 2015 playlist – and there’s something for everyone. Romantic ballads? Check. Funky floor fillers? Check. Electronic mash-ups? Check. Emotional songs that perfectly capture love, loss and everything in between? Check, check, check…
1 Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (1.2 billion views)
Resurrecting ’80s disco-funk in the modern era of electronic music won’t be easy. That’s what we all thought until super-producer Mark Ronson teamed up with pop star Bruno Mars for Uptown Funk. “It just worked,” Ronson tells us. “I know at this point that I could never ever potentially make another song as big as Uptown Funk.” And since it debuted at number one across the world, we can see where he’s coming from.
2 See You Again, Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth (1.2 billion views)
Released at a time of great loss, Wiz Khalifa’s hip-hop power ballad stood as a beautifully fitting tribute to the late Paul Walker. A soundtrack that accompanied the seventh instalment in The Fast and the Furious franchise, See You Again introduced Charlie Puth as a talented young singer-songwriter who was able to capture the spirit of the movies as well as produce a chart-topping hit. To this day, it is the fifth most viewed video on YouTube, ever.
3 Lean On, Major Lazer and DJ Snake (903 million views)
Producing under his pseudonym of Major Lazer, Diplo gains a second spot on our list with his Bollywood-inspired single Lean On. Collaborating with French producer DJ Snake, this single is an archetypal Major Lazer production with abstract samples peppered freely over unrelentingly surging drum patterns. With a great sense of attitude, this single serves as testament to the beauty of cross-genre hybridisation as it draws inspiration from dancehall and reggae alike.
4 Love Me Like You Do, Ellie Goulding (855 million views)
Another single, another movie soundtrack. Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do perfectly captured the passion and fire of 50 Shades of Grey. Showcasing the best of this young British singer-songwriter’s soft yet powerful voice, this ballad of tumultuous desire broke records back in January as the most streamed track in a single week worldwide.
5 Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), Silentó (479 million views)
People love to be taught how to dance. It makes for less social embarrassment when it comes to the dancefloor. That is why when a song such as Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) comes around, it is so lovingly embraced by those of us who shamefully have two left feet. Spawned from a high school in Atlanta, this snappy dance move has spread across the world claiming 400+ million views on YouTube. Nobody can doubt its helpful advice on how to Whip and more importantly... how to Nae Nae.
6 Where Are You Now? Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber (346 million views)
With undoubtedly the catchiest breakdown in any chart hit this year, this song marked the long-awaited return of controversial pop prince Justin Bieber. As the second most unlikely collaboration on our list, Where Are You Now? sees a more vulnerable side of Bieber, joined by electronic music producers Skrillex and Diplo. Originally intended as a soft, piano-led ballad, Bieber sent the blueprints for his new single to the duo, who in turn added the sumptuous rolling drums and an unforgettably high-pitched sample.
7 FourFiveSeconds, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Rihanna (311 million views)
By far the most unlikely collaboration on this list, FourFiveSeconds saw hip-hop pioneer Kanye West join forces with former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. Completing the trio of pop royalty, this single saw Rihanna gain her 26th entry into the Billboard top ten singles chart. With simply an acoustic guitar and McCartney and West’s irresistible songwriting, this record peaked at number one in ten different countries upon its release.
8 Cheerleader, OMI (Felix Jaehn Remix) (288 million views)
Never underestimate the simple power of a trumpet and the rhythmic pound of a drum. This stripped down remix by German-born producer Felix Jaehn provided the summer soundtrack to more than 200 million listeners on YouTube alone. With production beginning back in 2008, this single was certainly a labour of love and justifiably reached the top spot in 20 different countries.
9 Can’t Feel My Face, The Weeknd (276 million views)
With a haircut similar to that of the late artist Jean Michel Basquiat and the stage presence of an ’80s Michael Jackson, Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, channels the great icons of popular culture in his baseline driven single Can’t Feel My Face. Critically acclaimed across the board, the abstract lyrics have left the musical community debating the song’s inspiration and meaning, but there’s no denying that the Canadian singer is the future of R&B.
10 Hotline Bling, Drake (212 million views)
The most recent release on our list, Drake’s long-awaited offering sent Twitter into meltdown back in October. With some highly questionable dance moves and an even more questionable turtleneck sweater, Drake’s latest single clocked up more than 100 million views on YouTube in just under a month. With internet parodies running rampant and an acoustic cover from Sam Smith, this single appears to hold more cultural value than it does musical.