I could go on about how 2015 was vastly different from last year’s music offerings, and how going to shows and listening to records drastically changed in the last 12 months, but I’d be lying through my teeth. It was a year that saw musical releases from many high-profile artists, newly established acts, and reunited groups that were never going to return. In short, it was 2014, 2013, 2012, and so on.
Still, it was still a pretty good year. These were some of the highlights:
Best Albums of 2015
You’ve seen it on every Best of 2015 list, but Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was truly one of the best albums of the year, and one of the best releases in hip-hop in a long time. It paired well with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me, an honest look at race relations in the modern American landscape, which the album dissects through the lens of a hip-hop artist and the community as a whole. It’s all told through a narrative using a variety of seemingly unrelated genres, like afrobeat and free jazz, making it both the most experimental and most high-profile release in the genre this year.
Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit harkens back to a “slacker” ’90s era of indie rock, but more enjoyable to listen to than Pavement and their Fall-aping tour mates. Barnett’s lyrics about depression, gentrification, and life in general are worth reading on their own.
Sure, the Adele album came out this year, but Tobias Jesso Jr. — one of the writers on the album — released a pop record that could go toe-to-toe with some of the best of the ’60s. Worth noting is how Jesso Jr. learned the piano for the piano-driven record, and Chet “J.R.” White (formerly of Girls) produced some of the record.
Wildhoney released their debut LP (Sleep Through It) and an EP (Your Face Sideways) this year, but they sound like it could have been released 25 years ago on Creation Records. I’ve listened to both releases this year as much as I’ve listened to Ride, My Bloody Valentine and other comparable bands. Seeing the band live and speaking with the principal songwriter only made me like them even more.
I first rejected the two Beach House records outright, but then I inexplicably kept coming back to them over and over again, to the point where they were my most listened to records of the year. While the first few Beach House records were great but sounded a lot like an Americanized Cocteau Twins, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars couldn’t sound more different. I look forward to seeing them live next year for the first time.
Things I Didn’t Like
Future and Drake
I don’t get it.
Half of the new Adele album
The production is ace, but the lyrics are pretty garbage for the most part.
There hasn’t been a better VU sample since A Tribe Called Quest.
Things I’m Missing From This Article
- Probably a lot
- I’m tired
- It’s New Year’s Eve