It’s that time of year again! 2015 was a pretty great year for music with some truly exceptional albums and artists breaking out. The great part about doing this every year is being able to open myself up to new and different music that might have passed me by throughout the year. It’s my pleasure to say that a lot of this list is made up of artists that are brand new to me and more than a couple are debut albums which makes me extremely excited for the future.
I don’t want to get caught up in preamble so let’s just jump right in!
Ladies and gentleman, please enjoy my Top 10 Albums of 2015!
Forget the pop stylings of “Whip My Hair” because with this surprise album, Willow Smith is showing an entirely different side. It’s artistry, it’s hip-hop, and it’s a fascinatingly unique album that defies easy explanation. This is an album that puts Willow straight out of the shadows of her famous family and right onto a path of musical artistry her father only wishes he could reach. She may be 15 but this album proves the girl has got the chops.
Ten Love Songs
Gorgeous songs with lush beautiful music and a stunning voice help to make this albums one of my most favorite surprises. Sundfør might just be the Norwegian answer to Sia and she is for sure playing in the same league. I’d never heard of her before this album was recommended to me but you can be sure I’ll be taking a leisurely stroll through her entire catalog.
Leon Bridges sounds like he stepped out of a time machine and right into a recording studio. His voice is like a fine silk and these songs are timeless. Thank you to SNL for featuring him because that definitely put him on my radar. It’s a good thing to because I might have missed out on a classic and refreshing collection of songs.
Carrie & Lowell
Hauntingly beautiful and a return to form for Sufjan Stevens. This is an emotionally devastating yet sublime rumination on loss and grief inspired by the loss of his mother. An album born from an immensely personal and painful chapter in his life has most certainly taken the spot as one of his best and is sure to be an important album for years to come.
Chase The Sun
One need only listen to Holden’s heartbreaking relevant and relatable “Boys In The Street” to realize he is an important voice in music and Chase The Sun is chick full of wonderful songs. It’s the kind of album you can put on and just get lost in.
I don’t know where Grimes has been my whole life but she’s here now and I’m not letting go. This album is so great. Pure bliss and that sugary voice is just addicting. Total surprise and total love.
I Love You, Honeybear
What a multilayered stunning release this album is. It’s one of those unexpected delights that sort of hit you upside the head and demand to be listened to and then held up and shouted to the heavens in gratitude for such a complex and utterly relatable album. Misty is another new to me artist that instantly captivated me. The lyrics on this release are so poignant, equally angry and melancholy. It’s just a really wonderful collection.
Every Open Eye
God what pure perfection this album is. When I wasn’t listening to the #1 album on this list, odds are I was listening to this one. There isn’t a weak track in the bunch. It doesn’t matter which of the trio is singing, enjoy them all. Every Open Eye is one of those albums I’ll be returning to time and time again. I cant wait to see what this band has to offer as they grow.
Aside from having one of the best band names ever, they also have one of the years best albums. This is yet another band that’s brand new to me and the moment I put this record on I was hooked. It might be easiest to say that this feels like a second coming of Straylight Run but they’re totally unrelated (as far as I know). I just found myself in the same blissful state listening to these guys as I was with S.R. Harmlessness is such a great album full of unique and beautiful songs. Great lyrics and great musicianship make this one of the years best.
I am so in love with this album. I’ve listened to it beginning to end dozens of times. Lyrically, vocally, musically, to me it is unmatched. No other album this year has come close to captivating me the way this one has. It’s sonically gorgeous. Troye’s voice is pure bliss and his lyrics are exceptional. Every track is relatable. The collaborations are great and feature some truly top tier talent like Broods, Betty Who, and more. Hearing them on these songs make me want to rush out and buy their music as well. Troye Sivan is definitely exploding onto the scene with this album and his success and accolades are well deserved. This album is flawless and every time I listen to it I like it more. Hell, when I am not listening to it, I’m singing it under my breath. The kid’s got talent and I am on board for the ride.
That’s all folks! It’s always fun checking out these different albums and discovering new and important artists. Unfortunately, there isn’t room for everyone so here are a few that didn’t quite make the cut:
Years and Years – Communion
Adele – 25
Miguel – Wildheart
Bjork – Vulnicura
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness
Ben Rector – Brand New
Andrew McMahon – Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Justin Bieber – Purpose (seriously, I’m shocked too)
Selena Gomez – Revival
Sara Bareilles – What’s Inside
Alberta Cross – Alberta Cross
I know I’m forgetting some but hell this was a great year for music so there is no way to remember everything otherwise this post would never end.
What were some of your favorites this year? Let us know in the comments!
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.