The best albums of 2015

A&E looks at the top ten releases of the year


Drake's "If You're Reading This It's Too Late" easily makes A&E's top ten list.

With the semester winding to a close and the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s time to look back on a bountiful year of music. With so many outstanding releases it’s hard to pick a true top ten. While they didn’t quite make the cut, honorable mentions include Titus Andronicus’ “The Most Lamentable Tragedy,” Earl Sweatshirt’s “I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside,” Lana Del Rey’s “Honeymoon,” Joey Bada$$’s “B4.Da.$$,” Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic” and Chvrches’ “Every Open Eye.” Without further ado, the top ten albums of 2015.

10. Beach House, “Depression Cherry”

Like a melancholy electronic slow-dance, this album simmers and shimmers around Victoria Legrand’s ethereal vocals. Both intricate and delicate, “Depression Cherry” is a gem.

9. Panda Bear, “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper”

Sounding like a post-modern electronic reimagining of the Beach Boys, Panda Bear will always be a pretty niche artist. Nevertheless, his latest surreal odyssey soars and grinds through all manner of often-incomprehensible subject matter and ends with one of the year’s best and weirdest feel-good jams, “Acid Wash.”

8. Drake, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”

This sparse album, dropped out of nowhere, shows a new level of artistic capability for the Canadian actor-turned-rapper/pop star. The only bad thing about this album is that “Hotline Bling” isn’t on it.

7. Sleater-Kinney, “No Cities to Love”

A roaring return after ten years of inactivity, “No Cities to Love” sees seminal hard-rockers Sleater-Kinney in finer form than ever. Short and sweet, this record is a gift to everyone who wishes grunge had never ended.

6. Waxahatchee, “Ivy Tripp”

A step forward from the excellent “Cerulean Salt” in terms of songwriting and complexity of arrangements, “Ivy Tripp” marks a further refinement of Waxahatchee’s gritty take on pop music. This record rocks, meditates on self-worth and covers the messiest range of ambiguous emotions.

5. Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie & Lowell”

Surprisingly minimal but still packed with Stevens’ high-minded lyrics, this album is downright devastating. “Carrie & Lowell” may not be the year’s most important release, but it is certainly one of the most hauntingly beautiful.

4. Father John Misty, “I Love You, Honeybear”

Not since the Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” has an album so vividly and humorously presented the many facets of love. Misty careens through drug- and anxiety-fueled tales of romance, at once self-mockingly introspective and reflective of the listener’s own complex feelings of desire.

3. Natalie Prass, “Natalie Prass”

What Natalie Prass lacks in vocal bombast, she more than makes up for with unstoppable intensity, gorgeously clear tones and beautifully crafted lyrics. Enriched with lush, classic-sounding string and woodwind arrangements, “Natalie Prass” is one of the year’s loveliest and most unique releases.

2. The Mountain Goats, “Beat the Champ”

With this loose-concept album about wrestling, John Darnielle managed to create stunningly realistic depictions of complex emotion on every single track. With masterful storytelling and endlessly catchy melodies, this is one of the Mountain Goats’ finest efforts to date, and that’s saying something!

1. Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”

A genre-bending masterpiece bursting with jazz, funk and literary influences, this album encapsulates the tense social climate of modern America. Musically astounding and packed with thoughtful, provocative lyrics, “To Pimp a Butterfly” easily takes the title of Best Album of 2015.

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