The Best Albums of 2015

Mainstream rock since the early 2010s had become softer and more refined because of indie rock. Rock was reportedly still the most widely consumed genre in the United States until 2015. The decade had also seen the return of successful rock artists from the past, including AC/DC, David Bowie, Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Blink-182, Radiohead, Green Day, and Alice in Chains. All of these acts had albums debut within the top 5. In particular, English rock instrumentalist David Bowie experienced his most commercially successful period since the 1980s with two U.S. top 5 albums. Here are all of the 2015 albums ranked.

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10. Have You In My Wilderness (Julia Holter)

“Like a lovingly restored family photograph, Julia Holter’s music gets more beautiful the clearer and sharper it gets. Although I miss the fuzz and not-quite-final-mix feel of her first album, this is concrete proof if ever it were needed that she is a very able songwriter, arranger, and performer.”

9. In Colour (Jamie xx)

“A pretty good album made by Jamie xx. Loud Places and I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times are my favorite tracks on this album. No bad tracks on the album, but nothing too outstanding to make it known as one of the best albums ever.”

8. E•MO•TION (Carly Rae Jepsen)

“Except for one of the greatest singles of the decade, “Run Away With Me”, there are no other flashes of brilliance on this record, nevertheless Carly Rae Jepsen smashed all expectations and delivered a consistently sleek and catchy synthpop album where you believe each and every word coming out of her mouth, whether she’s displaying exuberance or desperation. This is pop that really does pop.”

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7. Hand. Cannot. Erase. (Steven Wilson)

“A powerful prog album with many influences from pop and electronica. This may sound like a wreck, but Wilson manages to use them successfully. Pop melodies are like painting brushes, giving color to the album, and a lot of subtle details. The story is awesome and depicts a lot of feelings with a depth only Steven can provide. Wilson has found the sweet spot on which there is cohesion yet the tracks work individually without losing their strength.”

6. Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Courtney Barnett)

“This album is AMAZING. The songs are catchy, I didn’t find myself skipping around much at all. I can listen to this start to finish and really enjoy the whole experience (and there aren’t many albums I can say that about). I especially loved her lyrics; they are thoughtful, emotionally provocative, but still fun and clever at the same time.”

5. Art Angels (Grimes)

“Exemplary album that sounds both mainstream and like nothing on this earth. Grimes really is far ahead of her peers and has cemented herself as a new pop pioneer with this album, complete with exceptionally layered production (that she painstakingly creates herself), unique vocals & great lyrics. Most songs are also really catchy, yet still full of Grimes’ eccentricities.”

4. I Love You, Honeybear (Father John Misty)

“I Love You Honeybear is Father John Misty’s very best album way better than Fear Fun. Every single song is amazing and different and you can hear the Brian Wilson influences all throughout the cd. What a lovely surprise to get genuine cover art just like the old days on albums. Father John does have quite the way with words and I am a devoted listener.”

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3. Currents (Tame Impala)

“The record begins emphatically with the anthemic, Let It Happen. The track buzzes into focus as synth walls hiss while fuzzed-out beats linger behind. Parker concludes, “All this running around, trying to cover my shadow; an ocean growing inside, all the others seem shallow.” The track reaches a midpoint climax where it undergoes stylized skips as string-like synth tones swell concurrently.”

2. Carrie & Lowell (Sufjan Stevens)

“Carrie & Lowell is sober, sad, and crushing. Stevens writes beautifully about his troubled relationship with his mother and the self-destruction that follows. The instrumentation, to be honest, is rather forgettable. I can’t really remember any notes or melodies from this album. Still, it is solid work and I hope it brings him comfort.”

1. To Pimp A Butterfly (Kendrick Lamar)

“Kendrick’s Magnum Opus, an essential listen regardless of whether you enjoy rap or not. Ripe with social commentary and insights into the life of young Black men in the United States during the 2010s. Lyrically, musically, and most importantly culturally impressive and impactful. “We gon’ be alright” is basically the anthem for BLM.”