What an incredible year for music. It seems like music has been getting better and better over the last few years or maybe it’s just the sheer number of artists that are being heard through various mediums that no longer require big label push, this is evident in some of our picks below, especially Nicole’s and Van’s picks below. Can I also say I’m incredibly glad I don’t see Adele on any one of our lists? That was a relief. So with that check out our top picks from this past year and if you want to check our archives, click on the links below.
DT | twitter: @david_thai
Every year I’m somehow surprised by how many albums I actually liked throughout the year and generally I don’t include EPs in my Top 10 lists, but this year I couldn’t resist, I had to add spotlight Kelela, FKA Twigs and Nao, all three came out with excellent EPs. Initially when I was drafting my list it was I did have Vince Staples Summer ’06 shortlisted, it didn’t make my list in the end, but it’s an album that I would highly recommend, the same can also be said for Neon Indian’s VEGA INTL. Night School. The 1992 and 1999 version of me really wanted to add Dr. Dre’s Compton album on this list as well, but overall the album just wasn’t strong enough to hold up against my final list. With that, here are my picks for 2015.
01. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
02. Tame Impala – Currents
03. Miguel – Wildheart
04. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
05. Future – Dirty Sprite 2
06. Kelela – Hallucinogen EP
07. Jamie xx – In Colour
08. FKA Twigs – M3LL155X EP
09. Nao – February 15 EP
10. Empress Of – Me
Michelle | twitter: @michdas
Even I’m surprised that my top-three albums of 2015 are rap, but at the end of the day, these were ones I couldn’t stop listening to. I think in some ways, what A$AP, Kendrick, and Drake put out this year kind of pushed the boundaries a little bit for hip-hop. All three were also perfectly consistent front to back. I know I’ll be listening to these albums well into the next year. Jamie xx changed my mind about electronic, “dance” music. I actually find In Colour unclassifiable, and that’s why it’s so good. I’ve been a long fan of Beirut and Grimes, and I think both their albums showed growth and transformation. Perhaps the biggest surprise on my list? Justin Bieber didn’t just get my attention, he made the cut. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a Belieber or anything, but damn, he made a fine pop record, and no one can deny that.
01. A$AP Rocky – At. Long. Last. A$AP
02. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
03. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
04. Jamie xx – In Colour
05. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness
06. Beirut – No No No
07. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife
08. Grimes – Art Angels
09. Mac DeMarco – Another One
10. Justin Bieber – Purpose
Nicole | twitter: @tokyo_to
2015 is the year that we saw the return of Sufjan Stevens. Carrie & Lowell was Stevens’ first album in five years and although we waited for what seemed like eons, our patience was rewarded with a stunning collection of songs. 2015 was also the year I finally succumbed to Bieber Fever. It’s true and I have no shame when admitting to my love of Bieber’s stellar album, Purpose. I was surprised to see that it didn’t make many year-end lists because it’s a great listen and it’s a lot of fun. But Bieber Fever aside, 2015 also saw the release of some fantastic debut efforts, including that of Tobias Jesso Jr.’s and Leon Bridges’. Together, they brought back the sounds of decades past and had everyone in a time warp the moment the play button was clicked. Rounding out my list are a number of albums from a variety of genres, from grungy garage rock to funky dance tunes. Each of the 10 albums I’ve listed are albums that I deem required listening so start your homework now, my friends.
01. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
02. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
03. Justin Bieber – Purpose
04. Tame Impala – Currents
05. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
06. Beach House – Depression Cherry
07. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass
08. Chastity Belt – Time to Go Home
09. Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness
10. Years & Years – Communion
Van | twitter: @meeesterVan
For this year, my top picks ranged from tried and true favorite artists (ahem Hot Chip, Wen and Jacques Renault) along with bandcamp purchases and albums discovered by way of past Mixtape Mondays. Here’s a look at my top 10 albums for 2015.
01. Jacques Renault – Zentrum
02. Romare – Projections
03. Ghost Culture – Ghost Culture
04. Fort Romeau – Insides
05. Hot Chip – Why Make Sense?
06. Wen – Sentry Cycles
07. Kangding Ray – Cory Arcane
08. Beneath – Shlocky
09. George Clanton – 100% Electronica
10. Reverbal Sign – Silent Fog