Best of 2015: Top 20 Albums
Judging by the year’s condensed Best Albums list (last year’s was a Top 30), one might be apt to believe the rumours that the album is on the way out in favour of the single in this era of streaming. Since this is my list, I instead lean toward 2015 as having been a slower year for albums with the outlook of 2016 already looking bright. With that out of the way, these are the albums I’ve selected to represent the year with. As we head toward the end of the list together, we can see that in the end, 2015 delivered a fine batch of records that are sure to go down as classics, personal or otherwise.
Feel free to share your favourites in the comments at the end.
20. Whitehorse – Leave No Bridge Unburned
With Leave No Bridge Unburned, Whitehorse successfully continue their mission of creating their own distinct brand of wild-west Americana, burning everything along the way. At the very least, Luke and Melissa’s signature harmonies are always a pleasure to hear.
19. Meg Myers – Sorry
Behind the confidence of Meg’s performance on this record is its raw production. Without the polish most music gets today, Sorry sounds lo-fi by comparison, but it’s the kind of record fans and followers would fall back to after the inevitable shift toward the adoption of bells and whistles and more advanced production. Its authenticity will serve as her foundation and if this album is any indication, there will be more to come.
18. Christina Martin – It’ll Be Alright
There are some vocalists whose voices have the power to stop me every time, whether it’s with a song I’ve heard many times before or one I’m hearing for the first time. On It’ll Be Alright, I’m confident to add Christina to that list. Where some artists rely on melody or production, Christina succeeds simply by singing.
17. Ryan Adams – 1989
This album of covers is commendable on principle and does stand strong as a companion, not a replacement, of the original. It shouldn’t serve as the introduction to 1989, nor as a stand-alone, but rather as a new perspective of the stories and thoughts originally recorded by Taylor Swift. Ryan Adam took the songs and made them different but they’re clearly still Taylor’s.
16. Ellie Goulding – Delirium
Ellie Goulding set out to make a big pop album and she did just that. There’s nothing on Delirium to dislike. It’s great pop music and is poised to be the album that finally makes Ellie Goulding a household name.
15. Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
There’s a lot to take in with What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, and that’s a good thing. While one may long for the cohesiveness of past albums, this one thrives because it covers so much ground. Their adventurous tales may be few and far between but they haven’t completely dropped the elegance that made their earlier work so unique.
14. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
This is an introspective album that has Florence laying her emotions and thoughts out often using biblical metaphors to help tell the story. Her voice is stronger than ever, and those pipes were already legendary, and she’s presented a new side of her music to offset the layered sound of the first two records.
13. Patty Griffin – Servant Of Love
Servant of Love marks what is perhaps the biggest departure in Patty Griffin‘s nearly two decades of recording. Where her albums tend to carry introspective melodies and lyrics across a spectrum of feelings and emotions, this one focuses more on capturing a mood that makes you feel whatever it is she wants you to feel when hearing it.
12. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material
Pagaent Material continues for Kacey Musgraves what Same Trailer, Different Park started for her two years ago. She’s still singing country music about non-traditional themes using sharp lyrics, but she shows herself to be more than a cowgirl rebelling against tradition.
11. Vance Joy – Dream Your Life Away
Dream Your Life Away fills a void I didn’t know existed with approachable indie pop and hidden lyrical gems that sneak out with each listen. It’s a pleasant record that can provide a welcome trip down memory lane for those who experienced this type of music a decade ago.