Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 50 Best Albums of 2015

Man...I don't know. This was a strange year. It feels like there were a whole lot of "good" to "very good" albums released, but very few "great" to "amazing" ones. The bands or artists who had good momentum leading into their third or fourth albums, seemed to rise to the challenge to make some great records. Some elders showed they could still hold their own, making better than expected records. Then there were some new kids who made some positive noise, and it will be interesting over the next couple years to see what they do with it.

For my part, I started the year once again hoping to focus my listening, by not throwing the net so wide. I listen to less music than some people, but more music than most people. I have become increasingly adept at hearing something quickly and knowing if it is going to work out for me, and moving along. That is not to say some albums don't grow on me in due course, but more than in previous years, there were so many albums this year that my ears thought were cool for a good time...just not a long time. Hence why this fun little project sees us back at a Top 50 this year versus a Top 100. 

Generally speaking, I feel comfortable that my sequencing and ranking methodology up to 50 with any pop culture list, works well and mostly without too much bias or outside influence. After 50, it can get a bit dodgy. So the fact that I really only truly liked about 70 albums this year, made it tricky to get down to 50, but pretty easy to stay inside 100. 

As always, melody, harmony, song craft, attention to detail and listenability generally make these albums winners for me. I could have thrown in a few metal and hip-hop albums I liked in 2015 I suppose, but it would have been disingenuous and only served the purpose of optically balancing the list. Plain and simple, I like well put together songs. They can be guitar songs or synth songs. They can be fuzzy, heavy, or jangly. They can be dreamy, gothy, mathy, quirky or bouncy. 

All I really ever want to hear from an album, are a bunch songs where somewhere cared, someone was honest, and someone gave something a try.

50Ghost CultureGhost Culture
48ProtomartyrThe Agent Intellect
47Local HHey Killer
46The CribsFor All My Sisters
45Mercury RevThe Light In You
44Gaz CoombesMatador
43Dave Gahan & SoulsaversAngels and Ghosts
42GrimesArt Angels
41The CharlatansModern Nature
40New OrderMusic Complete
39PINSWild Nights
38BattlesLa Di Da Di
37Sleater-KinneyNo Cities To Love
36Godspeed You! Black EmperorAsunder, Sweet and Other Distress
35Susanne SundforTen Love Songs
34Built To SpillUntethered Moon
33PeaceHappy People
32LowOnes and Sixes
31SwervedriverI Wasn't Born to Love You
30Veruca SaltGhost Notes
28Little BootsWorking Girl
27BlurThe Magic Whip
26Young GalaxyFalsework
25Beach HouseDepression Cherry
24Surfer Blood1000 Palms
23Beach HouseThank Your Lucky Stars
22Yukon BlondeOn Blonde
21The LibertinesAnthems For Doomed...
20Wolf AliceMy Love Is Cool
19ErrorsLease Of Life
18Kurt Vileb'lieve i'm goin down...
17TelekinesisAd infinitum
16Dan DeaconGliss Riffer
15FoalsWhat Went Down
14Viet CongViet Cong
13The DearsTimes Infinity - Volume One
11Girls NamesArms Around A Vision
9Panda BearPanda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
8Dutch UnclesO Shudder
7Tame ImpalaCurrents
6Hot ChipWhy Make Sense?
5CeremonyThe L-Shaped Man
4EZTVCalling Out
3Lower DensEscape From Evil
2Everything EverythingGet To Heaven
1Mikal CroninMCIII