I could sit and pontificate on the “best” albums out of the mix of genres and artists I listen to (and I tried, but I had 30+ albums on a rough draft) but that’s not very useful because I’m not a trained musicological rankoligst. So as a guiding principle I stuck to the albums that I listened to the most that’ve come out in 2015, which is a far more— err— objective measure, at least. I fiddled a little bit with the order from there, but this is exceptionally dance-heavy because, hey, who doesn’t love a good Shake O’ The Ass. Thusly, 1 to 10 because I didn’t think far enough ahead to write this like a countdown and also who cares:
My Favorite Albums of 2015
1. Skylar Spence - Prom King
Exceptionally danceable and bouncy but with way more texture and atmosphere than anything all year. Perfect soundtrack to a good day/night. Varied, confident, and well-paced.
2. BORNS - Dopamine
Soaring pop with little glam touches, lots of falsetto and overtracked vocal harmonies. A little saccharine but solid throughout.
3. Kate Boy - One
Exuberant and powerful, occasionally foreboding, echoes of The Knife, Duran Duran, strong buildup and pacing through each song.
4. Years and Years - Communion
Interesting mix of confidence and vulnerability, resonantly queer, eminently danceable, though occasionally over-decorated.
5. Seinabo Sey - Pretend
A tremendous, unique voice backed by diverse production choices. Lots of standout tracks (esp. Who and Words)
6. Penguin Prison - Lost in New York
Run it Up
Longtime personal favorite - kinetic, throwbacky synthpop, strongly evokes Howard Jones, earnest and engaging.
7. Lianne La Havas - Blood
What You Don’t Do
Equally confident in grand and intimate scale, lyrically resonant, tremendously diverse, well-paced and coherent on both song and album level.
8. Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
Impeccably executed pop with way more peaks than valleys, stays in its lane but delivers tons of singalong moments.
9. Joywave - How Do You Feel Now?
Energetic and accessible, evokes a very specific early-2000s sensibility that pleases me personally. Smirky and self-knowing in a good way.
10. Doe Paoro - After
Insistent, earnest, largely minimal but still textured and memorable, genre-defiant, occasional echoes of PJ Harvey.
And because there’s a lot of incredible stuff that isn’t exactly on an album:
Vocals definitely on the saccharine side but this is so funky and infectious that I always listen twice. Stuttery, futuristic, and full of Husky Life.
Intimate and immediately engaging, resonant and intelligent lyrics. Plaintive and nostalgic without any hint of sappiness.
Yumi Zouma - EP II
Enveloping and atmospheric, subdued, warm and dreamy pop, entire EP is consistent and fantastic.
Kelela - Hallucinogen
VERY strong contender for the sexiest EP ever, consistently strong, unique voice with production to match - balances cool & precise, warm & sweaty.
easyFun - Deep Trouble
Hyper-processed and disembodied, yet strangely engaging dance-pop with occasional glimpses of a sublimely foreboding, alienated point-of-view.
Marina and the Diamonds - Froot
Bird and the Bee - Recreational Love
Bad Bad Hats - Psychic Reader
Ryn Weaver - The Fool
Tamaryn - Cranekiss
Beach House - Depression Cherry & Thank Your Lucky Stars
Craft Spells - Nausea
Astronauts, etc. - Mind Out Wandering