20 Best Lists of 2015 – Rolling Stone
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20 Best Lists of 2015

From ranked NBA logos and Lil Wayne mixtapes to the year in mass shootings

Lists of Lists; 2015

Photofest, Ethan Miller/Getty, Universal History Archive, Justina Mintz/AMC

Deride them as mere clickbait all you want, but Internet lists often reflect what a culture is talking about and what most fascinates it at any given moment. With that in mind, the below lists aren't just entertaining or enlightening — they often provided an odd and/or insightful little time capsule of what living in 2015 was like. Gun rights and McDonald's all-day breakfast, presidential campaigns and Jennifer Lawrence: Here are 12 months encapsulated in 20 fantastic ranked countdowns. Sometimes, they were fun — other times, they were as sobering as the world around us.

Mass Shootings; Lists of Lists; 2015

CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 22: Jennice Barr, 10, leaves a message on a board set up in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after a mass shooting at the church killed nine people, on June 22, 2015. 21-year-old Dylann Roof is suspected of killing nine people during a prayer meeting in the church in Charleston, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2015: The Year in Mass Shootings

Everyone's aware that gun violence is a common occurrence in America. But it's not until you see each of these incidents laid out in print that the enormity of all these shootings really hits you. Early this month, we listed all 353 mass shootings that have taken place this year. (We defined a mass shooting as one in which at least four people were wounded or killed.) (Rolling Stone)

NASA’s Sentry Risk Table; Lists of Lists; 2015

SPACE - UNDATED: An artists impression showing an asteroid belt around a star similar in size to the sun. MEET Brit Lightyear - the British spaceman who could be called upon to save the world from Armageddon. Major Tim Peake, 40 - Britain's first official astronaut - is part of a specialist team training to land on an asteroid, just like in the Hollywood blockbuster starring Bruce Willis. Their research could prove vital in preventing a catastrophic collision that would see life on earth wiped out. The mission, carried out by NASA Extreme Environment Missions Operations, will eventually see the a manned shuttle propelled up to three million miles into space. There they will reach speeds of up to 55,000mph through a swing-by - where a planets gravity is used to increase speed - as they attempt to dock on the surface and carry out crucial research. But should an meteorite find itself on a catastrophic collision course with earth, a manned mission could be used to deflect it. And Brit Tim would be in line to answer the call as bruce Willis' oil magnate character did in the hit film Armageddon. PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA / Barcroft Media /Barcoft Media via Getty Images

Getty Images

NASA’s Sentry Risk Table

Sleep tight, everybody: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is keeping track of every interstellar object that could hit Earth, a catastrophic event that would wipe out life on this planet. Within the past 60 days alone, there have been about 25 asteroids observed that could send humanity into the dustbin of history within the next 100 years. (By the way, this should not discourage you from committing to that new exercise program in 2016.) (NASA)

Kid Rock; Lists of Lists; 2015

Bennett Raglin/Getty

Counting Down Kid Rock’s Top 7 Breaths With the American Badass Himself

It's a popular trope: A publication sits down with a famous artist to deconstruct his most indelible songs/movies/etc. Leave it to The Onion's clever sister site ClickHole to mock the behind-the-scenes gimmick and its faux-profound insights with this cheeky piece: "Kid Rock has had a chart-topping 15-year career, and along the way he's taken hundreds of unforgettable breaths. Picking the top seven is a tough task, but luckily we have the man himself to talk us through the breaths that loom largest in his mind." You'll never see Mr. Bawitdaba inhale the same way again. (ClickHole)

Lincoln; Lists of Lists; 2015

Library of Congress

The Ultimate Semi-Arbitrary Ranking of American Presidents

You perhaps have heard we're having a presidential election in 2016. (If you didn't know this, congratulations: You've spared yourself from some truly soul-crushing debates this year.) Political writer Matthew Yglesias decided to rank every American president, including Obama (who clocks in at No. 10), and put them into categories. Next November, let's hope we end up voting for someone who could one day end up in Yglesias' "The Good Ones" group — or, at the very least, "They Did Fine." (Just so long as it's not one of the "True, Epic Disasters.") (Vox)

Don Draper; Mad Men; Lists of Lists 2015

Michael Yarish/AMC

‘Mad Men’ Power Rankings

Lots of people do recaps of popular shows, but Grantland's Mark Lisanti had the brilliant idea of writing about Mad Men by doing a sports-style power ranking of the drama's major characters. Many still mourn the end of Matt Weiner's Emmy-winning show — we're just sad we’ll never see another installment of the "Don Draper Fingerbang Threat Level." (Grantland)

Jennifer Lawrence; Lists of Lists; 2015

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0370 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Jennifer Lawrence and host Jimmy Fallon during the "Come Dance with Us" sketch onAirdate 11/18/2015Color ImageComedyCos

Douglas Gorenstein/Getty

The 100 Most Delightful Things Jennifer Lawrence Has Ever Done

For a few years now, the culture has been enchanted by this Academy Award-winning actress' every utterance and public appearance. (Remember that time she was on Letterman!? And that time she hung out with Amy Schumer on vacation?!?) Eventually, a backlash is going to take hold — and the mixed reviews for Joy may help get that ball rolling — so, before that dark day comes, let's take a second to enjoy 100 of J-Law's finest moments. (Also, seriously, let’s stop calling her J-Law.) (Vulture)

Michael Stripe; Lists of Lists 2015

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Michael Stipe performs at the Everest Awakening: A Prayer For Nepal And Beyond at City Winery on May 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)

Grant Lamos IV/Getty

An R.E.M. Song for Each 2016 Presidential Candidate

Inspired by R.E.M.'s irritation at Donald Trump for using "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" on the campaign trail, this list matches up presidential hopefuls with an appropriate song from the Athens college-rock legends' catalogue. Also, shout-out to the list commenter who proposed "I Remember California" for Carly Fiorina, which is just perfect. (The Concourse)

Pepperonni; Lists of Lists 2015


Philip Dowell/Getty

A Definitive Ranking of U.S. States Based on Their Official Foods

Did you know that many states have their own official food? Well, now you do — and BuzzFeed is here to wonder what the hell West Virginia was thinking picking the pepperoni roll as theirs. (Also, cool it with all the different official state meals, Oklahoma.) (BuzzFeed)

Black Lives Matter; Lists of Lists 2015

Neal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, "Black Lives Matter" as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Washington. Black men from around the nation returned to the capital calling for changes in policing and in black communities. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Evan Vucci/AP

The Counted: People Killed by Police in the US

The rise of #BlackLivesMatter and high-profile incidents like last year's killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri can make it easy to assume that deaths at the hands of police officers are regrettable but isolated occurrences in America. Enter Britain's The Guardian, which is chronicling every single U.S. fatality caused by police. The highly searchable database allows users to filter results by everything from state to gender to whether the victim was armed. And by putting faces to the names of the deceased, this list makes each death stand out in all its individual tragedy. (The Guardian)

Trump; Lists of Lists; 2015

AIKEN, SC - DECEMBER 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to the crowd at a town hall meeting December 12, 2015 in Aiken, South Carolina. The South Carolina Republican primary is scheduled for February 20, 2016. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sean Rayford/Getty

Presidential Candidates Ranked by Their Supporters’ Grammar

In October, the proofreading service Grammarly decided to gauge the intelligence of different presidential candidates’ supporters by analyzing the contenders' Facebook comments. Lincoln Chafee proponents made the fewest grammatical mistakes, while Donald Trump supporters made the most. (Chafee celebrated this news by dropping out of the race a little more than two weeks later.) (Grammarly via ThinkProgress)

List of Lists; Lil Wayne; 2015

Ethan Miller/Getty

Lil Wayne Mixtapes, Ranked

In the age of the mixtape, a rapper's "official" discography can sometimes hardly even scratch the surface of his artistry. This is especially true of Lil Wayne, which prompted this ranking of all 25 of his tapes. Hip-hop writer Sheldon Pearce lays out a compelling argument for The Carter's rambunctious creativity, wildly uneven output and pantheon-level skills. (The Concourse)

SNL; 141 Characters; Lists of Lists; 2015

Illustration by Anita Kunz; Photographs by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

‘Saturday Night Live’: All 141 Cast Members Ranked

In honor of SNL's 40th anniversary, our very own Rob Sheffield fearlessly ranked every one of the show's cast members. Not everybody agreed with his picks — we're with you, Norm, you're too low — but it was a fabulous argument-starter that brought into sharp relief the insane amount of talent that has graced the stage of Studio 8H over the years. Sobering thought: Three of the Top 10 performers are no longer with us. (Rolling Stone)

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