2015 in Review: Top 25 Albums

Note before I start: What a year for music. Not to say that there isn’t great music every year, but there are probably six or seven albums on this year’s list that would’ve topped 2014’s. And not only was there a plethora of wonderful tunes this year, many of them came from emerging artists. The future of music is bright, friends.

Honorable Mentions: Aureate Gloom – of Montreal; Cherry Bomb – Tyler, the Creator; E•MO•TION – Carly Rae Jepsen; I Don’t Like S—, I Don’t Go Outside – Earl Sweatshirt; In Colour – Jamie xx; Kindred – Passion Pit; Me – Empress Of; Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass; Pale Horses – mewithoutYou


25. Black Messiah – D’Angelo and The Vanguard

Black Messiah

Essential Tracks: “1000 Deaths”; “Sugah Daddy”; “Prayer”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Brown eyes that will make you blue / Eyes that’ll see right through you / She crossed her fingers when she said her vows / She said I promise that I’ll sock it to you, daddy.”


24. Coming Home – Leon Bridges

Coming Home

Essential Tracks: “Coming Home”; “Flowers”; “Twistin’ & Groovin'”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “So you better run / Move fast like the bullet from the gun /  Over the hills, salvation rests in the sun.”


23. Why Make Sense? – Hot Chip

Why Make Sense

Essential Tracks: “Huarache Lights”; “Started Right”; “Easy To Get”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “We take a chance, a lifelong tribulation / Break away from human nature / I forget myself, forget my limitations / Be with me, be my conversation.”


22. Dark Bird Is Home – The Tallest Man on Earth

Dark Bird is Home

Essential Tracks: “Singers”; “Slow Dance”; “Seventeen”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “And to stop believing in the returning, I went on / So vaguely I still hear the bands but not what’s going on.”


21. No Cities to Love – Sleater-Kinney

No Cities to Love

Essential Tracks: “No Cities to Love”; “A New Wave”; “Bury Our Friends”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Exhume our idols and bury our friends / We’re wild and weary, but we won’t give in.”


20. Ratchet – Shamir


Essential Tracks: “On The Regular”; “Call It Off”; “In For The Kill”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Haters get the bird, more like an eagle / This is my movie, stay tuned for the sequel.”


19. b’lieve i’m goin down – Kurt Vile

b'lieve i'm goin down

Essential Tracks: “Pretty Pimpin”; “Life Like This”; “Lost my Head there”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Picked up my microphone and started to sing / I was feeling worse than the words come out / Fell on some keys, and this song walked outta me.”


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

Sometimes I Sit and Think

Essential Tracks: “Pedestrian at Best”; “Aqua Profonda!”;  “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey / I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.”


17. What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World – The Decembrists

What a Terrible World

Essential Tracks: “The Lake Song”; “Carolina Low”; “Anti-Summersong”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “You tattered me, you tethered me to you / The things you would, and the things you wouldn’t do / To tell the truth I never had a clue.”


16. Star Wars – Wilco

Star Wars

Essential Tracks: “Random Name Generator”; “Taste the Ceiling”; “King of You”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “I was on the ceiling, I could almost feel the sun / Try the words in sequence, but that’s never how it’s done.”


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

If You're Reading This

Essential Tracks: “Energy”; “Know Yourself”; “6 God”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “I got b—–s asking me about the code for the Wi-Fi / So they can talk about they Timeline / And show me pictures of they friends / Just to tell me they ain’t really friends.”


14. Caracal – Disclosure


Essential Tracks: “Omen (feat. Sam Smith)”; “Hourglass (feat. LION BABE)”; “Magnets (feat. Lorde)”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Never really felt bad about it / As we drank deep from the lie / Cause I felt melting magnets babe / The second I saw you through half-shut eyes.”


13. Something In the Water – Pokey LaFarge


Essential Tracks: “Something in the Water”; “Wanna Be Your Man”; “All Night Long”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “My hoosier girl is so fine, shake the watermelon off the vine / She’ll blow you a fist, throw you a kiss and you’ll thank her every time.”


12. Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) – Cast of Hamilton


Essential Tracks: “My Shot”; “Satisfied”; “The Room Where It Happens”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “We hold these truths to be self-evident / That all men are created equal / And when I meet Thomas Jefferson / I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!”


 11. Surf – Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment


Essential Tracks: “Wanna Be Cool”; “Familiar”; “Sunday Candy”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “I like my love with a budget, I like my hugs with a scent / You smell like light, gas, water, electricity, rent.”


 10. Goon – Tobias Jesso Jr.


Essential Tracks: “Can We Still Be Friends”; “Hollywood”; “Crocodile Tears”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Well, I’m a man, I was brought up right / I said my prayers every night since 1995 / And I pray, ‘God, help me. I’ve done the best I could.'”


 9. Brand New – Ben Rector

Brand New

Essential Tracks: “Brand New”; “The Men That Drive Me Places”; “30,000 Feet”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Oh, isn’t that the way it goes / You’re dealt a good hand, and you get celebrated / Oh, how am I the only one who knows / I’m half the man of the men that drive me places.”


 8. Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress'

Essential Tracks: “Peasantry, or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’”; “Piss Crowns Are Trebled”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: Lyrics? In a Godspeed song? Never!


 7One Wild Life: Soul – Gungor

One Wild Life

Essential Tracks: “One Wild Life”; “Light”; “You”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “And then my world was torn apart / I felt a ground, I felt a heart / And all the universe was one / Just like a Father, Spirit, Son.”


 6. Strange Trails – Lord Huron

Strange Trails

Essential Tracks: “Hurricane (Johnnie’s Theme)”; “La Belle Fleur Sauvage”; “Fool for Love”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Once he’s gazed upon her, a man is forever changed / The bravest men return with darkened hearts and phantom pain / Ages come and go, but her life goes on the same / She lives to see the sun and feel the wind and drink the rain.”


5. Art Angels – Grimes

Art Angels

Essential Tracks: “California”; “Flesh without Blood”; “Kill v. Maim”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “The things they see in me, I cannot see myself / When you get bored of me, I’ll be back on the shelf.”


4. Summertime ’06 – Vince Staples

Summertime 06

Essential Tracks: “Norf Norf”; “Señorita”; “C.N.B.”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “My momma was a Christian, Crip walkin’ on blue waters / Was fadin’ up in Davis, then walkin’ back to Palmer / A fro like Huey partner, Aunt Angie had them choppers / So tell me what’s the difference, so tell me what’s the difference.”


 3. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp a Butterfly

Essential Tracks: “King Kunta”; “These Walls”; “Alright”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “I can see the evil, I can tell it, I know it’s illegal / I don’t think about it, I deposit every little zero / Thinkin’ of my partner, put the candy, paint it on the Regal / Diggin’ in my pocket, ain’t a profit big enough to feed you.”


 2. I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty

I Love You Honeybear

Essential Tracks: “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment”; “Bored in the USA”; “Holy S—t”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “Oh, and love is just an institution based on human frailty / What’s your paradise got to do with Adam and Eve? / Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity / What I fail to see is what that’s got to do with you and me.”


 1. Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens

carrie and lowell

Essential Tracks: “Death with Dignity”; “Should Have Known Better”; “John, My Beloved”

Pick a Lyric, Any Lyric: “I forgive you, mother, I can hear you / And I long to be near you / But every road leads to an end / Yes, every road leads to an end.”


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