Back To The Future could be a good theme for how 2015 ended up musically. Some 30 years from now, we could look back and marvel at just how amazing 2015 was for music. Yet as the year ends, we are all collectively scratching our heads wondering what the hell happened between last year and this year.

The same thing happened at the end of 1985, when the American Top 40 chart was fairly lackluster, pure rock music had suddenly faded, and a mediocre blend of ballads and Rock 40 was now being matched by freestyle dance music, crossover funk and R&B, and an evolving modern rock scene that suddenly incorporated industrial sounds with Casio keyboards.

As we look back on 2015 as a whole, across genres and nations, in this ARJ HOTTEST 100 countdown, the music produced during this 12 month period is quite impressive. It took hours of effort, however, and listening to songs for the first time in mid-November. But, it’s no 2014.

The year in music for 2014 was quite simply the finest seen in nearly two decades, with tremendous singles across a variety of formats. This year, songs released in 2014 still warranted high airplay well into fall 2015; the abundance of quality singles simply wasn’t there. Eurodance soundalikes came one after the next; no country tracks or straight R&B make a strong impact. Hunting high and low on global Shazam charts proved to provide a wealth of terrific tunes.

Still, there was concern by Halloween that a top 100 list would be impossible, given the high level of recurrents still in power rotation on the radio and on my iPod playlist – the “scientific” gauge of rankings seen here.

So what’s on top? Adele. No. Surprised? Of course not. There were other songs released in 2015 prior to this masterpiece.

There are few surprises. Justin Bieber is on the list. Seriously. Merle Haggard is on the list. Seriously. So is Birdy. And people you’ve probably never heard of, like J Boog. And, there are lots of “hits” based on where they were released. Yes, “Shut Up and Dance” is on here. I hate this song. But, I couldn’t escape it so it’s here.

So here we go … The ARJ Hottest 100 of 2015. You may not agree. You may wonder what the heck is wrong with me. Again, this is a chart based on total iPod spins in combination with exposure from radio station streams consumed during the entire year, and radio stations in Maui, Los Angeles, New York’s Hudson Valley and Miami-Fort Lauderdale.

https://player.spotify.com/user/12148775063/playlist/5YyVUBTnlOqDnZBZ5iHl3P

Note: The ARJ Hottest 100 Spotify playlist is not a comprehensive audio accompaniment, as several songs listed are not on Spotify. These songs can be found individually on YouTube.

 

1              OMI                                      Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)

2             MAJOR LAZER X DJ SNAKE f/MØ        Lean On

3             FEDER f/LYSE                  Goodbye

4             ANNA NAKLAB & ALLE FARBEN & YOUNOTUS         Supergirl

5             ADELE                                 Hell0

6             KYGO   f/CONRAD SEWELL                                      Firestone

7             ROBIN SCHULTZ f/ FRANCESCO YATES           Sugar

8             TWENTYONE PILOTS  Tear In My Heart

9             LOST FREQUENCIES   Are You With Me?

10           JR JR                                    Gone

11            NICKY JAM & ENRIQUE IGLESIAS       El Perdón

12            THE WEEKND                  Can’t Feel My Face

13           DEAR ROUGE                  Black To Gold

14           DISCLOSURE f/SAM SMITH     Hotline Bling (Radio 1 Live From Maida Vale)

15           ELLE KING                         Ex’s & Oh’s

16           AVALANCHE CITY         Inside Out

17           DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE             Black Sun

18           COLD WAR KIDS            First

19           BAIO                                     Sister of Pearl

20           MARK RONSON f/BRUNO MARS        Uptown Funk

21            DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE             Ghosts of Beverly Drive

22           ALVARO SOLER             El Mismo Sol

23           UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA    Necessary Evil

24           BECK    Dreams

25           RAURY f/Tom Morello              Friends

26           NEW ORDER                    Restless

27           EL VY                                    Return To the Moon

28           SEINABO SEY                  Younger

29           BLEACHERS                     Rollercoaster

30          ROBIN SCHULZ f/ILSEY              Headlights

31           KYGO   f/PARSON JAMES                         Stole The Show

32           NATALIA LAFOURCADE           Hasta La Raíz

33           FUTURE ISLANDS         Seasons (Waiting on You)-BADBADNOTGOOD Remix

34          GARRETT DOUGLAS f/LEONARD AGUON      Bad Or Good

35           SIA         Elastic Heart

36          SABINA DDUMBA        Not Too Young

37           JOSEF SALVAT               Open Season (Une Autre Saison)

38          JAMIE LAWSON            Wasn’t Expecting That

39          LOUANE                            Avenir

40          COMMON KINGS          Since I Woke Up

41           WOLF ALICE                    Bros

42           CULTURA PROFETICA               Saca, Prende y Sorprende

43          KURT VILE                         Pretty Pimpin

44          ED SHEERAN                   Thinking Out Loud

45          ELLIE GOULDING          Love Me Like You Do

46          CESARE CREMONINI  Lost In the Weekend
47          DISCLOSURE f/SAM SMITH     Omen

48          BORNS                Electric Love

49          MADCON & RAY DALTON       Don’t Worry

50          FLORENCE + THE MACHINE   Ship To Wreck

51           LOST FREQUENCIES f/JANIECK DEVY               Reality

52           DIPLO & SLEEPY TOM                Be Right There

53           J BALVIN                            Ginza

54          BIRDY + RHODES          Let It All Go

55           MATT SIMONS               Catch and Release (Deepend Remix)

56          NELSON FREITAS         Miúda Linda

57           J BOOG                               Let Me Love You (Country Bus Riddim)

58          ALESSIA CARA               Here

59          JESS KENT                         Get Down

60          KUTIMAN                          Intergalatic Lovers

61           CALVIN HARRIS AND DISCLIPLES       How Deep Is Your Love?

62           SLIGHTLY STOOPID     The Prophet

63          COMMON KINGS          Ain’t No Stopping

64          CHVRCHES                        Leave A Trace

65          COLOURS                         Monster

66          JOSE GONZALEZ           Let It Carry You

67          ROYKSOPP                       I Had This Thing

68          JUSTIN BIEBER               What Do You Mean?

69          X AMBASSADORS        Renegades

70          AGES f/JOHANNES EDER          Chances

71           MODEST MOUSE          Lampshades On Fire

72           LOW                                     What Part of Me

73           DUKE DUMONT             Ocean Drive

74          JAMIE XX f/ROMY        Loud Places

75           ANDREW MCMAHON IN THE WILDERNESS                 Cecilia and the Satellite
76          MAGIC!                               No Way No

77           SILVERSUN PICKUPS  Nightlight

78          ROBERT DeLONG         Long Way Down

79          THE ARCS                          Outta My Mind

80          MS MR                                Criminals

81           SIDO f/Andreas Bourani           Astronaut

82           CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN                 Cocoon

83          EAGLES OF DEATH METAL      Save A Prayer

84          SEINABO SEY                  Hard Time

85          MORGAN PAGE f/Lissie             Open Heart

86          JAILL                                    Getaway

87          COLEMAN HELL            2 Heads

88          SIX60                                   Purple

89          SIGALA                               Easy Love

90          NAMIKA                             Lieblingsmensch

91           YEARS & YEARS            King

92           WILLIE NELSON & MERLE HAGGARD               Alice In Hulaland

93          ATLAS GENIUS               Molecules

94          TOR MILLER                    Carter & Cash

95          BRONZE RADIO RETURN         Light Me Up

96          OLLY MURS f/DEMI LOVATO                 Up

97          WALK THE MOON        Shut Up and Dance

98          DAVE GAHAN & SOULSAVERS              All of This and Nothing

99          ST. LUCIA                          Dancing On Glass

100        CLASS ACTRESS            More Than You

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