Steve Greenberg's Top 40 of 2015

Steve Greenberg, former Tel Yehudah camper and staff member, and current member of the Young Judaea Global Board of Directors, is a record producer and the  CEO of S-Curve Records.  Steve is responsible for discovering such acts as the Baha Men, the Jonas Brothers, Joss Stone and Hanson and won a Grammy in 2000 for producing “Who Let the Dogs Out.”  Steve lives in New York City with his wife, Jennifer Sylvor (also a TY alumna and current member of the Tel Yehudah Board, and former TY camper), and children who have spent their childhood summers at camp, too!  In what has become a tradition for us at TY, Steve publishes an annual list of the best music tracks of the year and we re-blog it here.

2015: A Surplus of Terrific Songs

This year, it was especially hard to pare the list down to a mere 40 songs. So much great music out there! And across a broad range of genres. My #1 song, “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment is a ridiculously good hip-hop record featuring the great Chance The Rapper and an insane drum track, while my runner-up, “Before The World Was Big” is by female punk duo Girlpool, who don’t even have a drummer. It was actually a close contest between the two for the top slot on my list.

Meanwhile, I continue my intense love for the PC Music label, who are represented here by Hannah Diamond, GFOTY and sort-of PC’er Sophie. C’mon world, get with this most-poppy of pop music!

While I wasn’t moved by Kacey Musgraves’ debut album, there she is on my list with “Family Is Family” from her sophomore effort, which might contain the year’s most clever lyrics. Jana Kramer’s “I Got The Boy” contains another great Nashville lyric, while Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” shows you can be musically left of center in country music and still have a hit.

Sigala’s “Easy Love” proves that a killer dance track combined with the Jackson 5 is a winning combination in any era.

Amazingly, Justin Bieber appears on this list—and with an Ed Sheeran composition, no less. I love “Love Yourself”! So therefore anything’s possible on this good earth.

My two fave sample-based tracks of the year are both here—Drake’s “Hotline Bling” which shines a light on Miami soul legend Timmy Thomas’ brilliant “Why Can’t We Live Together” and Alessia Cara’s “Here,” which is, by my count, the third hit single to use Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Rap II” as it’s musical spine (the other two being 90’s trip-hop hits by Portishead, and Tricky).

Questions: How did Lunchmoney Lewis land two songs on this list—and why isn’t he more popular? How does Paul Simon put out a single—a duet with Dion, no less—and have it go entirely unnoticed? Why doesn’t Johnny Stimson do more songs like “So. Good.”? And, am I the only person in the world who waits until the year is actually over before compiling a best-of list?

As usual, I conclude my list with some great singles we were involved with this past year here at S-Curve (they are disqualified from the main list, but deserve inclusion nonetheless). I love them all, but I especially feel the need to point you in the direction of the criminally overlooked “Ulay, Oh” by How I Became The Bomb and the awe-inspiring “Elvis Presley Blues” by 75-year-old Tom Jones.

Have a great 2016. On September 1st, the decade will officially be two-thirds over. How can that be?



BONUS: Best Song of 2015—Foreign Language Division:
“This Too Shall Pass” by Israeli rapper Tuna. The lyrics of this song assure a jilted lover that his pain will fade away just like an endless list of pop cultural artifacts from the 90’s that are “over”–ranging from grunge to Pogs to the Y2K bug. It’s brilliant—you’ll just have to trust me. The video’s pretty great, too:

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