Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2015
10. Beach House Depression Cherry
Depression Cherry might be Beach House’s weakest album but that doesn’t make it a bad album. The packaging on it is gorgeous and it has got some pretty mystical songs but the band’s set a super high standard for itself especially following up the incredible Myth. Getting past those unrealistic expectations, this is a solid album to listen to. 2015 wasn’t a super strong year in music for me thus but Depression Cherry did manage to stick out for me.
9. Little Boots - Working Girl
Little Boots is a very underrated talent. She is a terrific singer, a solid producer and very hardworking. What is amazing that even though Little Boots is indie euro pop, she is consistently reinventing her sound. She works very hard to not repeat herself. Little Boots’ last album was not that much of a hitter but this one is something else. At first, I didn’t mesh with it but with repeat listens, it is a very fun album. The glitch pop noise works very well with Victoria’s voice and the beats are all well crafted. Some of the songs are so well composed they could be radio hits or used as epic trailer music. Working Girl is very theatrical and it’s a beautiful piece by the lovely Little Boots.
8. Brodinski - Brava
Brodinski is one of the best techno producers but Brava was something different for him. Instead of making a straight up techno album, he mixes his style with modern day hip hop. Surprisingly, the collaboration turned out well. The rappers flow well with the music and Brodinski’s beats are dynamite. The lyrics on the songs can go from okay to terrible but Brodinski’s beats are hard hitting. They can make the songs emotional and intense at the same time. This is truly Brodinski’s album. It is a daring and fine collaboration album.
7. Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars
It is a rare thing to see a band release 2 albums in one year. Beach House usually takes 2 years between albums but Thank Your Lucky Stars is a treat. It kind of makes up for the underwhelming feeling of Depression Cherry. The album isn’t groundbreaking or anything new, but the album consists of solid melodic music from beginning to end. Each and every song takes you on a journey and capture what makes Beach House great. Thank Your Lucky Stars has a very soundtracky vibe and due to my love for soundtracks, I dig it.
6. Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo & Youth
It has been a long time since Lupe Fiasco made a good album. He has had some great songs here and there but sadly album wise not so much. Lupe has also had his share of problems in life and problems with record labels but Lupe is reinvigorated on Tetsuo & Youth. He no longer gives a shit and is making music he wants too. With the first couple of listens, I was thrown off. It didn’t have any stand out pop hits like the other albums. It is very dense. I was disappointed that it wasn’t another Cool but that was my problem. I went in with an open mind and learned to appreciate the craft of Tetsuo & Youth. It is an experimental album, some songs go to great lengths, the interludes are ambient but Lupe’s vocals & songwriting are at their best. The beats are also fresh and different from modern hip hop. The best thing about this album? It is great to hear Lupe having fun and making great music again. Tetsuo & Youth solidifies why Lupe is still one of the best rappers.
5. Youth Lagoon - Savage Hills Ballroom
I’ve always dug Youth Lagoon but I would not call myself a fan. Youth Lagoon announced that this is his last album and he goes out with a bang. Trevor Powers has abandoned most of that low fi sound he was doing on the previous albums and he is more confident. The album is designed as a soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. It is a great mix of instrumentals and songs. Powers’ writing has not ever been this strong before. Powers’ music has always matched indie film tones but Savage Hills Ballroom is the creator of its own identity. This album comes straight from his heart and it was the perfect way to close out Youth Lagoon.
4. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about Father John Misty before this. I didn’t even know he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes nor he was a solo artist. This album was a perfect example of why I have a 3 time listening rule. With the first 2 listens, I was ambivalent but with the third listen, something happened. Joshua Tillman is a super talented song writer. I love You Honeybear is very well written but it is also well composed. Rather than playing this as straight folk music, Tillman decides to play with sounds and make this experimental ambitious piece. It had some of the most beautiful music of 2015 and converted me to a die hard Misty fan. I think he is absolutely awesome and cool. It is a really unique sounding album. I Love You Honeybear was Josh’s breakout album but it was also an introduction to an artist I love very much now.
3. Neon Indian -Vega INTL Nightschool
Neon Indian like Youth Lagoon was a musician I dug, but wasn’t crazy for. It seems Neon Indian & Youth Lagoon went on some spiritual journey that changed them as musicians. Alan Palomo wasn’t a big singer on previous albums but he’s at the forefront here letting us know this is his band. The music is super disco & meticulously produced. What really makes the album standout, is it captured the 80s spirit perfectly. The album takes you on this journey through a night in the 80’s and it is a profound experience. Synth wave has been making a big comeback, but Palomo captured that 80’s spirit without doing the same thing as everything else. And with that accomplishment he created his best album.
2. Tame Impala - Currents
2015 was a year of discovery for me. I had heard of Tame Impala before but their albums never made an impact on me. With Currents, things were quite different. I was hooked from start to finish. The album is truly something special. The production is insane and mesmerizing. The mixture of electronica & psychedelic music is a good choice by Kevin Parker. I also think he found his stride as a musician with this. This album did the band a lot of good, it brought them a bigger fan base, and gave them one of their most successful tours (festival headliners, headlining Radio City Music Hall) . The album doesn’t let down its intensity once and starts strong and ends strong. I still to this very day have a lot of fun while I listen to this album. It is an absolute joy ride.
1. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
I love Sufjan Stevens. I believe he has one of the best musical minds out there. For the past few albums & projects, Sufjan has gone more theatrical, more experimental and bigger with his stuff. Illinoise was a masterpiece and an indie darling of an album. The Age of Adz and some other stuff he worked on was a bit too much for me. With Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan goes back to his folk roots but combines his newer knowledge of music. The album is absolutely heartbreaking, this is Sufjan’s saddest album yet. It is about the death of a mother he never really got to know. and the story of the boy who longed for his mother. The songs are personal, they hit you hard and even though the music comes off simple, they would break off into grandeur. It was the perfect blend of new Sufjan and old Sufjan. It was also sort of a creative renaissance for Sufjan as he seems more inspired than before. The album can painfully sad to listen to but I can’t stop listening to it.
The Social Experiment - Surf
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
Kamasi Washington - The Epic
Jamie XX - Colours
Joanna Newsom - Divers