And so it begins. 2016. An election year. A leap year. A year in which we'll get to see new triumphs in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A year that will give us new records by Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Beck, Missy Elliott, The Jesus and Mary Chain, U2, and Frank Ocean. A year in which we'll hope, each morning, when we awake and flip the radio on, that David Green and Renee Montagne will not greet us with bad news. Winter is finally upon us in earnest, we've stashed the decorations in the attic, and we're counting calories consumed and burned again. But before we tighten the belt one more notch and book our flights to SXSW, let's take one last look back at the year that was, with the results of the 2015 Songlines Poll! I'll summarize the results here, but when you're finished reading, you might also enjoy heading over to a full report, where you can see, for example, everyone's thoughtful response on whether Triple A is flirting too dangerously with corporate rock, a list of the favorite artists of many of your colleagues at age 16, plus charts, graphs, bells and whistles.
Not surprisingly, we thought Adele had the best year in 2015, with Pope Francis and Amy Schumer nearly tied for second place. (Adele's off to a pretty good 2016 too, lightening our heavy hearts with her delightful carpool spin with James Corden.)
We very strongly prefer to receive singles digitally these days, but interestingly, when it comes to the servicing of full albums, physical product is preferred in almost perfect inverse proportion. We rely most heavily on Play MPE for digital delivery. And we think data from Spotify and Shazam is about equally useful, and both far outweigh the importance of Pandora numbers.
The United States Women's World Cup-winning national team was our favorite sports champion of the year by far. And for what may be a Songlines Poll first, the New England Patriots are not our expected Super Bowl champions! While they came in second, the Carolina Panthers topped them this year. Amongst other remaining playoff teams, the Arizona Cardinals nabbed 15% of the votes, and the Denver Broncos 5%.
We expect that Taylor Swift is going to win the Grammy for best album by a pretty significant margin, but we feel that Kendrick Lamar is the most deserving winner of the award, narrowly edging out Alabama Shakes. Courtney Barnett crushed all other potential Best New Artist candidates, getting 57.8% of our total votes. We think that Alabama Shakes are the likely winners in the Alternative Album category, and that Jason Isbell is most likely to nab the Americana Album prize.
We prefer Fargo to Nashville, Ben & Jerry's to Haagen-Dazs, John Oliver to Bill Maher, and Master of None to Masters of Sex. Britt Daniel has won our hearts a little more fiercely than has Chris Martin. Our allegiance is to Sinatra on Capitol over all other Sinatras, and we miss rolling in the deep with Adele at 21 more than we're eager to say hello to her at 25.
Jimmy Fallon is currently our collective late-night king, with Colbert coming in with a very respectable showing in second place. Together, the two of them ate up a whopping 69.3% of our late-night pie chart. We thought it was interesting that Jimmy Kimmel performed so poorly in our poll, getting only 7% of the vote and earning only a vote or two more than Conan, Larry Wilmore, and Trevor Noah. (Then again, maybe we shouldn't have been. The only people we've ever heard mention Kimmel's name are Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal.)
As usual, the full list of books that your cohorts recommended can be viewed by clicking the link to the full survey results, and it's always a great place to get some tips. Some of Sean's and my favorites from recent years were mentioned, such as Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks, Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Books that were chosen by multiple folks included:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
M Train by Patti Smith
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll by Peter Guralnick
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes
The Martian by Andy Weir
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello
Likewise, the full list of favorite radio announcers is fun to take in over at the full results page. (Note: we used the term "announcer" specifically as opposed to DJ, because those are two different questions. Voice, delivery, and style were what we were getting at here, not doing the best segues and stringing the best music together.) Answers ranged all over the map and through history. Those hosts lauded more than once were Rita Houston, David Dye, Carmel Holt, Lin Brehmer, Bruce Warren, Mary Lucia, Howard Stern,, Bret Saunders, Casey Kasem, Frank E. Lee, Bill Bowker, and Jim McGuinn.
Keith Richards slayed all the other Stones in the "Favorite Stone" question, earning 56.9% of total votes, with Mick Jagger coming in behind him with a paltry 16.3%. Ouch.
Who do we feel would make the best future James Bond? Idris Elba was the overwhelming favorite, garnering 22 votes. (Hubba hubba.) Clive Owen and Christian Bale were each chosen by three of our respondents, and Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, and Jason Statham pulled in a couple of votes each. Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Renner, Jude Law, Jon Hamm, Michael McConaughey, and Michael Fassbender were some other smart choices. Our colleagues Dan Connelly, Sean Coakley, and Norm Winer each scored a few nods as well. Two of the most creative ideas were Barack Obama and Charlize Theron. Interesting thinking!
Looking to fill your cold winter nights with a new TV show or two? Your peers had great recommendations of shows to binge-watch, including Mr. Robot, Broadchurch, Fargo, Black Mirror, Better Call Saul, Catastrophe, House of Cards, Jessica Jones, The Affair, Transparent, and Master of None.
When it comes to artist as yet to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the responses were great fun to parse. The Cure was our top shoo-in dog, followed by Little Feat, The Replacements, The Smiths, Gram Parsons, Big Star, Los Lobos, and Dire Straits. I'd say we've got damn good taste. Curious about which artists got no votes at all? Click on over to the link for full results.
If you were puzzled by the question "Who shares office space with Jade, Autumn, Summer, Rose, Violet and Dallas?," you were not alone. The correct answer was Dave Herold: he has a side gig as a strip club DJ.
Lots of fun was had with the question about who you'd cast to play the part of Rita Houston in a Sofia Coppola film. The most popular answer, by far, was the irreplaceable Rita herself. Other thoughtful suggestions included Frances McDormand, Amy Schumer, Bette Middler, Maya Rudolph, and Susan Sarandon.
Our favorite sports movies of all time were diverse and fun to dig into. Caddyshack made a whole lot of lists, as did Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, Hoosiers, The Natural, Major League, and Rocky. (Based on the vintage of the films and the heavy baseball bias, are we revealing something about our demographic?)
There were some cool and creative responses to the question about who should star in True Detective Season 3:
Bryan Cranston and Dwight Yoakam
Andre Braugher and Michael K. Williams
Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Downey Jr.
Christopher Walken and Tom Waits
Johnny Depp and Adam Driver
David Byrne and St. Vincent
Michael Sheen and Amy Adams
Donal Logue, Rooney Mara, and Ben Kingsley
We expect that Marco Rubio is the Republican candidate most likely to earn his party's nomination, followed by Donald Trump, and with all other ballot-seekers fading far into the rearview. About twice as many of us expect to see Hillary garner the Democratic nod over Bernie.
By the way, Christopher Walken did indeed work as a lion tamer, while James Lipton spent some time employed as a pimp. However, Dave Grohl can't juggle while riding a unicycle. But I bet he could learn!
The last week or so has been rough for most of us, as we mourned the deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Alan Rickman, heard news of still more terrorist attacks in far-flung lands, and had to stomach the Patriots making it to yet another AFC Championship game. Let's take the inspiration of Dr. King, and like him, hope together for better weeks to come.