TOP 50 ALBUMS OF 2015

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50. Hot Chip, Why Make Sense?

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49. Shamir, Ratchet

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48. Mark Ronson, Uptown Special

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47. Jessica Pratt, On Our Own Love Again

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46. Holly Herndon, Platform 

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45. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp

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44. Tamaryn, Cranekiss

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43. Real Lies, Real Lies

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42. Lower Dens, Escape From Evil

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41. Kamasi Washington, The Epic

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40. Fred Thomas, All Are Saved

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39. The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness

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38. Chvrches, Every Open Eye

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37. Molly Nilsson, Zenith

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36. Erykah Badu, But You Caint Use My Phone

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35. Leon Bridges, Coming Home

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34. Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon

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33. Tobias Jesso Jr., Goonkurtvile

32. Kurt Vile, b’lieve i’m goin’ down

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31. Beach House, Depression Cherry

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30. Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass

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29. Joanna Newsom, Divers

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28. Empress Of, Me

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27. Carly Rae Jepsen, Emotion

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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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