by Sam Robinson
While you keep sending through your votes for our 2015 Readers Poll (don’t leave it too late!), it’s time to share the six songs for 2015 that have stood out among the pack, as picked by our writing team. We would love to hear your thoughts – do you agree with this list? What did we miss here? Let us know below. Here are our picks in no particular order.
NF – i’ll Keep On (from Mansion)
Appearing in the latter half of NF’s debut album Mansion, this softer track is a shift from most of the ferocity of the album’s sound and themes. Here, Michigan artist Nate Feuerstein shares of his struggle to have faith and trust God, particularly when feeling lost in the dark mansion of his mind: ‘I hate sin, but I built a house and I still live in it. Afraid to open up the door to you and let you into it.’
Sufjan Stevens – No Shade In the Shadow of the Cross (from Carrie & Lowell)
Perhaps the most heartbreaking song of 2015, Sufjan Stevens’ wispy track about his complicated relationship with his mother is both beautiful and harrowing at the same time. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Sufjan describes his struggle to find purpose (and his spiral into self-destruction) following his mother’s death.
Dustin Kensrue – Of Crows and Crowns (from Carry the Fire)
This song was first released in March of this year, and still gives me a lump in my throat on every listen. Beautifully restrained, Dustin has penned a gorgeous love song, rich with stunning imagery:
Never to float away again, a captive to the tide
No more to wander in the wind, without you by my side
Andy Mineo – Hear My Heart (from Uncomfortable)
Andy Mineo’s sophomore album Uncomfortable dropped in September, and the sound of the record came as a surprise to many – displaying real maturity and a variety in sound. Tracks like Hear My Heart also reveal a maturity in character – as Andy opens up and apologises for not learning sign language in order to communicate with his deaf sister Grace. As Andy revealed to me in an interview on Sydney’s Hope 103.2, “I was hanging out with her and she introduces me to a community of her friends, and they all began to speak sign language. I was like, wow, for the first time I feel like the outsider who doesn’t understand what everyone else is saying, and I got a little glimpse into her life, and how lonely that must feel to not be able to hear what everyone else was saying.”
Ghost Ship – Adoption (from Costly)
A beautiful folky jam with a solid groove, Ghost Ship’s Adoption is one of the highlights of their sophomore album Costly. Based on Ephesians 3, the song speaks of God reaching out to us, rescuing us from sin, and making us his own. As lead singer Cam Huxford told us, ‘I always feel that’s the coolest thing – that we who are the lowest are adopted into God’s family. And that means that Jesus is our big brother.’
JGivens – 10, 2, Get In (from Fly Exam)
Las Vegas artist JGivens released his first album on Humble Beast Records in September, Fly Exam. The record is filled with poetry and rich synonyms describing JGivens’ working through of issues such as pride and drug addiction. It’s this track that might at first seem to be about dominoes, but as Jeremiah revealed to me on Sydney’s Hope 103.2, it also investigates our chase for all things under the sun and the ways in which we try to make our own way to heaven. And the 360 degree interactive video is pretty clever too.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? What tracks should have made it that aren’t here? Comment below and let us know! And don’t forget to cast your vote for your favourite films and albums of 2015 in our Readers Poll before voting closes on December 22!