Top 30 Albums of 2015

Featured, Hip-Hop/Rap, Pop, Rock

Albums of the year 2015

2015 was an interesting year for the music industry. It was quite weird and experimental, given all of the side-projects that rose to the surface this year. Big Grams, Thunderbitch, and The Arcs (just to name a few). It was conquered by both freshman and sophomore albums, as well as the returns of some pretty legendary artists. All in all, 2015 was a memorable year, so let’s see who made up the upper echelon.

 

30. SremmLife – Rae Sremmurd

SremmLife_coverWho else to start off the list than Rae Sremmurd? The duo’s debut studio album was a huge step in bringing gritty southern hip hop back into the mainstream. It was difficult going anywhere in 2015 without hearing songs “No Flex Zone”, “Throw Sum Mo”, and “No Type”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

29. The Great Pretenders – Mini Mansions

Mini_Mansions-_The_Great_Pretenders_CoverMini Mansions must be regarded as more than just that band that occasionally brings out Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) during their live shows. The Great Pretenders was an eleven track homage to both 60’s pop music and their Queens of the Stone Age roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

28. Another One – Mac DeMarco

11183_JKTTechnically Another One was a mini-LP, but the eight track battle with love is an easy choice for the list. Mac also has a surprise for those who listen to the album in full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27. Coffee Shop Selection – Gramatik

coffeshop_cover_smallComing in at an hour and twenty eight minutes, Coffee Shop Selection sees Gramatik utilize every instrument in his reach for a thorough and complex jam session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26. Foil Deer – Speedy Ortiz

a1802414554_10Noise rockers, Speedy Ortiz, did not hold back with their third studio album whatsoever. Tracks such as “Raising the Skate” and “The Graduates” contributed to Foil Deer being quite the blend of indie pop and angst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25. GO:OD AM – Mac Miller

Mac_Miller_GOOD_AMIt appears as though Mac Miller has finally evolved into something more than background music at a high school party. GO:OD AM is packed with enthusiasm, melody, and well-selected features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24. Purpose – Justin Bieber

Justin_Bieber_-_Purpose_(Official_Album_Cover)Speaking of artists who have finally grown up (and featured black and white album covers), we have Justin Bieber. Pairing Bieber’s glorious vocals with songwriters/producers who make bona fide quality music undoubtedly shoots Purpose into the top 30.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23. Dodge and Burn – The Dead Weather

TDW_Dodge_and_BurnIf you want to hear Jack White do his best Beastie Boys impersonation listen to “Three Dollar Hat”. Dodge and Burn never takes its foot off the gas pedal for a second, from “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” to “Impossible Winner”, The Dead Weather deliver pounding rock ‘n’ roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

22. Yours, Dreamily, – The Arcs

The_Arcs_-_Yours_DreamilyBlack Keys frontman, Dan Auerbach, released this side project back in September, and since then The Arcs have been anything but a one-off album. Yours, Dreamily, has something for every listener. The mixture of psychedelic rock, with influences that range from garage rock to blues is near perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

21. B4.Da.$$ – Joey Bada$$

Joey_Badass_B4.Da.$$Joey soars past some of his genre peers with this one. Rather than rapping about drugs and girls, Bada$$ opted to take the introspective route, reverting back to a time in which rap did in fact tell a story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Sprinter – Torres

TORRES_-_Sprinter_coverThis album was beautiful. Torres’ songwriting is well beyond her twenty four years of age, and that can only be taken as a positive. Title track “Sprinter’, as well as the 7:48 min “The Exchange” are demonstrations Torres’ potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. No Cities to Love – Sleater-Kinney

No_Cities_to_Love_coverTen years wasn’t that long of a wait, right? Well, at least it was well worth it. No Cities was raw, and easily the group’s most premier album to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Something More Than Free – Jason Isbell

SomethingmorejasonisbellA country album that ranges genres, and does so with ease. Isbell provides the listener with nostalgia for a place they have never been with Something More Than Free. The eleven song LP deserves a full listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. At.Long.Last.A$AP – A$AP Rocky

AtLongLastASAPCoverALLA is a collection of features and contributors which included Danger Mouse, Mos Def, Mark Ronson, UGK, Kanye West, and even Rod Stewart! Rocky’s sampling of genres like soul and southern rock lend the album to being a great listen, as well as what must be a great live show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes

Alabama_Shakes_-_Sound_&_Color_album_coverOh yes, the lords of southern rock, Alabama Shakes. However, Sound & Color is somewhat of an experimental shift for the Athens based band, ditching bluesy anthems for a more chaotic collection of songs. But, the Shakes struck creative gold again, and all we can do is enjoy the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake

Drake_-_If_You're_Reading_This_It's_Too_LateWhat more can I say about the best-selling digital body of work of 2015, that also turned Drake into the only rapper to ever top Billboard‘s Artist 100 chart? That it also features some of the greatest pump-up music of all time? Sure, I’ll say that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan_Stevens_-_Carrie_&_LowellThis may have been Sufjan Steven’s seventh studio album, but it certainly does not show signs of him slowing down anytime soon. Heartfelt and graceful, Carrie & Lowell was an obvious choice for not only the top 30, but top 15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. VEGA INTL. NIGHT SCHOOL – Neon Indian

Neon-Indian-VINSThis album was pure disco, and it is incredible that Neon Indian was able to pull that off without a hokey feel. Every track on NIGHT SCHOOL will have your feet moving within a matter of milliseconds, and Neon Indian seems to also be channeling his inner Prince throughout the record. And that’s the highest of compliments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü – Jack Ü

Skrillex_and_Diplo_Present_Jack_ÜThe highly anticipated collab album from two titans of industry, Skrillex and Diplo, was a showcase of both artists respective strong suits. The blending of Skrillex’s drop-heavy style with Diplo’s vast musical knowledge and tendencies to collaborate was one of this year’s most fun albums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Coming Home – Leon Bridges

Coming_Home_Leon_BridgesThis time machine record brought us back to the days in which Motown reigned supreme. And, like many other previously mentioned artists on this list, this is Bridges’ first album. The soul singer has the composure of a seasoned veteran on Coming Home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Art Angels – Grimes

Grimes_-_Art_Angels-1Art Angels is Grimes’ most ambitious work of art to date. With lead track, “REALiTi”, being released significantly earlier than the album all we could do was speculate on what the potential sound might be. And, this reinvention of the pop genre easily slides right into the top ten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Goon – Tobias Jesso Jr.

Tobias_Jesso_GoonTobias Jesso Jr. has already mastered the ballad, and Goon is only the musician’s first album. “Hollywood” and “How Could You Babe” are highlights of this wonderful production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty

Fjm-iloveyouhoneybearOdd wordplay and lyrics that often times feel comedic make this self-proclaimed concept album one of the year’s best. Misty’s songwriting is truly unparalleled, and I Love You, Honeybear is the eloquent album it is because of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine

Florence_and_the_Machine_-_How_Big_How_Blue_How_Beautiful_(Official_Album_Cover)With How Beautiful we see Welch take away the components that made Ceremonials and Lungs so well received. However, even with the stripping of catchy melodies, this LP remains enormous in depth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Summertime ’06 – Vince Staples

Summertime-06Staples’ storytelling takes the Summertime ’06 listener on a trip filled with imagery that only a few in this given genre can accomplish. This debut album is just the beginning of a fruitful future for Staples. He’s going in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. In Colour – Jamie xx

Jamie_xx_-_In_ColourIn Colour is not the final chapter of Jamie xx’s career, but it contains every element that the, The xx member has ever touched on. From banger to ballad, In Colour is deserving of a full concentration when experienced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Black Messiah – D’Angelo and The Vanguard

Black_MessiahD’Angelo’s fourteen year hiatus finally came to an end in 2015. Unadulterated funk with an excessive attention to detail summarizes this record, however can one ever “summarize” D’Aneglo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Currents – Tame Impala

Currents_artwork_(Tame_Impala_album)Tame took the weird route with their third studio album, ditching guitars for synthesizers. But, they most definitely exceeded their already high expectations. Tracks “Cause I’m a Man” and “Let It Happen” serve as prime examples of the band’s evolution. Moving from rock to dance is a hard task, but Kevin Parker & co. really knocked it out of the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett

CournetbarnettThe self-taught guitarist’s quirks and kinks shine on this sophomore record. Barnett’s Seinfeld-esque observations lead this LP to being he year’s most entertaining albums by far. The future is bright for this Australian singer- songwriter, who has already debunked any preconceived notions of a slacker rock artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick_Lamar_-_To_Pimp_a_ButterflyThere’s a reason TPAB is topping everyone’s year-end lists. It was the most essential listen of the year. The social context at hand could only be tackled by a mastermind like Lamar, and he essentially created one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time in doing so. K-Dot successfully created a masterpiece that discusses race, politics, and self-reflection. Collaborators George Clinton, Ronald Isley, and Thundercat all contributed to making Butterfly the year’s most authentic and musically gifted album of the year.

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