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
Affairs

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
Fool

Soaring pop with little glam touches, lots of falsetto and overtracked vocal harmonies. A little saccharine but solid throughout.

3. Kate Boy - One
Midnight Sun

Exuberant and powerful, occasionally foreboding, echoes of The Knife, Duran Duran, strong buildup and pacing through each song.

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4. Years and Years - Communion
Take Shelter

Interesting mix of confidence and vulnerability, resonantly queer, eminently danceable, though occasionally over-decorated.

5. Seinabo Sey - Pretend
Pretend

A tremendous, unique voice backed by diverse production choices. Lots of standout tracks (esp. Who and Words)

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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.

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8. Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
Boy Problems

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?
Nice House

Energetic and accessible, evokes a very specific early-2000s sensibility that pleases me personally. Smirky and self-knowing in a good way.

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10. Doe Paoro - After
Nostalgia

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:

EPs/Singles

Cosmo’s Midnight feat. Kučka - Walk with Me

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.

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Sorcha Richardson - Petrol Station

Intimate and immediately engaging, resonant and intelligent lyrics. Plaintive and nostalgic without any hint of sappiness.

Yumi Zouma - EP II
Catastrophe

Enveloping and atmospheric, subdued, warm and dreamy pop, entire EP is consistent and fantastic.

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Kelela - Hallucinogen
Rewind

VERY strong contender for the sexiest EP ever, consistently strong, unique voice with production to match - balances cool & precise, warm & sweaty.

easyFun - Deep Trouble
Fanta

Hyper-processed and disembodied, yet strangely engaging dance-pop with occasional glimpses of a sublimely foreboding, alienated point-of-view.

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Honorable Mention:

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