50. Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?


49. Shamir, Ratchet


48. Mark Ronson, Uptown Special


47. Jessica Pratt, On Our Own Love Again


46. Holly Herndon, Platform 


45. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp


44. Tamaryn, Cranekiss


43. Real Lies, Real Lies


42. Lower Dens, Escape From Evil


41. Kamasi Washington, The Epic


40. Fred Thomas, All Are Saved


39. The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness


38. Chvrches, Every Open Eye


37. Molly Nilsson, Zenith


36. Erykah Badu, But You Caint Use My Phone


35. Leon Bridges, Coming Home


34. Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon


33. Tobias Jesso Jr., Goonkurtvile

32. Kurt Vile, b’lieve i’m goin’ down


31. Beach House, Depression Cherry


30. Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass


29. Joanna Newsom, Divers

empress of album

28. Empress Of, Me


27. Carly Rae Jepsen, Emotion


26. Adele, 25

25. Majical Cloudz, Are You Alone?

24. Björk, Vulnicura

23. Donny Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Surf

22. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities To Love

21. Jeremih, Late Nights: The Album


20. Julia Holter, Have You In My Wilderness

19. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color

18. Neon Indian, VEGA INTL. Night School

17. Drake, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late

16. Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden Of Delete

15. Future, DS2

14. Beach House, Thank Your Lucky Stars

13. Viet Cong, Viet Cong

12. Grimes, Art Angels

11. U.S. Girls, Half Free

10. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear

9. Miguel, WILDHEART

8. Jamie xx, In Colour

7. Tame Impala, Currents

6. Young Thug, Barter 6

2015 was a rough, prolific, frustrating, but ultimately rewarding year for Young Thug; his name circulating through music blogs, if not for one of his three long-form releases for accusations of personal misconduct. Controversy first popped up when Thugger announced his debut LP would be a continuation of Lil Wayne’s Carter series and would be titled The Carter 6. A very public feud with Wayne ensued and days before the album’s release, Thug changed the album’s title to Barter 6. While all of that backstory could have swallowed the album before it fell onto an ear, it’s a testament to Thug’s artistry that as soon as the doors close, and one enters the world Young Thug and his team of collaborators have created, the only thing that matters is the dizzying array of verses, melodies, hooks, and production choices that melt together to form an album with a striking singular vision.

5. Deerhunter, Fading Frontier

4. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit

3. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06

2. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

Following the masterful good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore album was set up for failure. How could anyone have reasonably expected Lamar to top his excellent debut with his very next album? Well, he did just that as he channeled all the anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, hope, love, and passion of the black community following years of stories of the horrific crimes being committed against black bodies going unchallenged. To Pimp A Butterfly is a heady, sprawling, fervent record, but also the year’s most musically and thematically cohesive album. And under the weight of an entire movement on his back, Lamar never wavers. Instead, To Pimp A Butterfly is Kendrick Lamar at his strongest. good kid was advised by and influenced by the environment in which it was recorded, whereas Butterfly is a universe created by Lamar. While he tackles very real everyday concerns for members of the black community, he flips the narrative to represent the community as resilient, battle-tested and strong-willed. It’s a refreshing, sadly much needed corrective to ugly misconceptions and stereotypes against people of color. As important as this album is, as joyous as it is to listen to a man revel in his blackness, it is all aided by some of the strongest musical compositions of 2015. From “How Much a Dollar Cost”’s “Pyramid Song”-like piano backbone to the jazz and funk flourishes throughout, To Pimp A Butterfly is just as diverse and beautiful as the community it defends and upholds.


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