Home / Music & Arts / From Drake to Adele: The best albums of 2015

From Drake to Adele: The best albums of 2015

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, December 18, 2015, 2:37 PM

There were standout albums across all genres in 2015.

From the year of Drake to Adele’s record-breaking album “25,” 2015 was filled with songs that served as a soundtrack for a turbulent year.

There were star-making turns in the worlds of hip-hop, rock, R&B, pop and everywhere else, as the music world continued to splinter off in different directions.

Here the top albums of 2015, and why they were the best:

Best album to listen to if you want to text your ex: “25,” by Adele

After having a baby and taking a three-year break from music, soul singer Adele blessed her fans with a new album entitled “25.”

The 11-track LP gives off an old school vibe and tells numerous stories of a love that is lost with seductive tracks like “I Miss You,” the ever-so popular hit single “Hello” and “When We Were Young’ and “Remedy,” ballads that focus on the past.

Adele’s third studio album has already broken records – peaking at number one on the Billboard charts and selling more than 4,000,000 albums to date – beating out the next two best-selling albums of the year from Taylor Swift and Drake.

Best album to listen to before going to a protest: “To Pimp a Butterfly,” by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar definitely had a lot to say on his sophomore album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

This album took a different turn from his first — bringing the audience to the streets of his hometown: Compton.

Several songs — including “Hood Politics,” “i” and “Complextion (A Zulu Love)” — included lyrics that showed frustration in our nation’s politics and in the music business.

Collaborating with producers like Dr. Dre and Pharrell Williams — and catching the attention of President Obama, who admitted his favorite song of the year was Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost” — it was no surprise that Kendrick was nominated for 11 Grammy Awards.

Best album to include a reading guide: “The Most Lamentable Tragedy” by Titus Andronicus

It could be easy to dismiss Titus Andronicus as self-involved, abrasive punks — but in doing so listeners would miss out on one of the few great honest-to-goodness rock bands in the modern music scene.

Titus’ ambitious 2015 rock opera is aimed at devoted fans of the band and is packed with so many references that lead singer Patrick Stickles offered his own annotation guide. The basic premise of the album involves the hero of the story going through a cycle of manic depression — Stickles himself suffers from bipolar disorder.

But the album also offers some of the most accessible songs in their catalog, which is highlighted by the lead single “Dimed Out.”

Best album to cry to: “Carrie and Lowell,” by Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens, one of the kings of emotional indie music, is more vulnerable than ever on “Carrie and Lowell.”

Each track is a tear-jerker, highlighting his relationship with his mother, who died in 2012, and family trips he took as a child.

Sonically, it’s as bare bones as Stevens’s older, more critically-acclaimed albums. “Carrie and Lowell” is full of quiet moments, some instrumental, that are as powerful and personal as music can get.

Best “don’t call it a comeback” comeback album: “No Cities to Love,” by Sleater-Kinney

After a 10-year hiatus, the celebrated all-female punk band “Sleater-Kinney” has returned with furor.

Sleater-Kinney changed up their sound from album to album, so it’s no shock that this comeback doesn’t sound much like what came before it.

But the “Riot grrrl” band still showcases their fierce female vocals and opulent guitar riffs. And although the ladies are in their 40s, their lyrics cry out about growing up and the struggles of adulthood.

The ten song album kicks off with the track “Price Tag,” shouting, “It’s not about the money money money // We don’t need your money money money // We just wanna make the world dance.”

Best album by someone you thought was a one-hit wonder: “Emotion,” by Carly Rae Jepsen

If you thought you’d never hear from the artist of “Call Me Maybe” ever again, Carly Rae Jepsen put you on notice in 2015.

With “Emotion,” Jepsen takes heavy influence from her pop star forebearers to make an album that wouldn’t seem out of place from a 1980s chart-topper — while adding her own flourishes on the genre.

Whether it’s the simple pop repetition in the chorus of “I Really Like You” or the dreamy throwback synths of “All That,” there’s something in here for nearly every pop fan.

Best album from the Year of Drake: “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” by Drake

This mixtape-turned-album (that may be a contractual fulfillment) isn’t necessarily the Toronto rapper’s best — but he’s on this list for having one of the best years ever in hip-hop.

He made people suddenly care who Meek Mill was before destroying him back into oblivion. Drake also released a critically acclaimed collaboration album with Future and had the most entertaining, most memed video of the year with the number one hit “Hotline Bling.”

The album’s still worth your time, especially for peak-Drake confessionals “Energy” and “You & The 6.”

Best country album for people who think they hate country music: “Something More Than Free,” by Jason Isbell

Before you dismiss country music as songs about partying and pretty women, all of which sound the same, listen to Jason Isbell’s “Something More Than Free.”

Isbell, who cut his teeth with alt-country gods Drive-By Truckers in his younger years, is a full blown superstar singer-songwriter now, and it shows on his fifth solo album.

“Something More Than Free” tackles the uplifting topic of becoming a new father, but is still layered with Isbell’s signature deep lyrics about his past as well.

It’s all brought together by his dark, unmistakable, vintage Americana melodies.

Best album to break your speakers listening to: “The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us,” by Beach Slang

Albums like Beach Slang’s “The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us” are rare.

The band, which can be best described as a bastard child of The Replacements and Jawbreaker, did something very special on their debut LP.

“The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us” is a treasure, a record that sounds like it was recorded a long time ago but was just now discovered.

The mix of heavy reverb, crunchy punk chords, nostalgic lyrics and singer James Alex Snyder’s desperate vocal tracks make for the perfect punk rock album that the genre needs now more than ever.

Best album if you love pop music but hate pop subjects: “Art Angels” by Grimes

Grimes kept fans waiting for the release of “Art Angels” — which expanded the scope of her breakout album “Oblivion.”

Claire Boucher, who performs under the persona of Grimes, produced every song on this album and provides the only vocals — with the exception of a guest verse from Janelle Monae.

What comes out is a booming mix of modern synth and dance beats that wouldn’t be out of place in any nightclub weaved in with lyrics that throw away some typical pop conventions in favor of anthems aimed at consumer culture and social politics.

Best album to daydream to: “Currents” by Tame Impala

The latest sounds by Tame Impala could put listeners in a trance — but in a good way.

“Currents” starts off strong with the nearly eight-minute dance track, “Let it Happen,” and slowly gets more melancholy focusing on frontman Kevin Parker’s disorientated emotions.

In “Yes I’m Changing” he subtly sings, “they say people never change, but that’s bulls–t, they do.”

The Australian rock band lands in the realm of pop with these 13 psychedelic synth beats. And no, the end of “Let it Happen” isn’t skipping like a CD in your old Walkman — it’s supposed to sound like that.

Best album to play during a “Netflix and Chill” date: “Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd

The second album from The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” proved the singer has come a long way since his underground mixtape days.

Ballads like “Earned It” from the hit movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and “Often” are guaranteed to make listeners feel sexy — and ready for action.

The album put the Toronto-born singer-songwriter on the mainstream map — gaining seven Grammy Award nominations, including one for album of the year.

Best album to talk to your local barista about: “I Love You, Honeybear,” by Father John Misty

“I just love the kind of woman who can walk over a man,” sings Josh Tillman — who goes by Father John Misty — in his folky ballad, “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.”

Tillman plays up the satire in each song set to the depressing sounds of a grand piano or an acoustic guitar.

The recorded version of the cynical tune “Bored in the USA” even features a faint laugh track.

If the wit exposed in the wordy lyrics of Misty’s “I love you, Honeybear” is lost on you — the album still freely stands as melodic and soothing.

Best album to hear blasting in a club or alone in a dark room: “DS2,” by Future

Drake may have dominated news headlines this year, but there’s a reason he chose to collaborate with rising star Future.

The rapper’s major label album “Honest” was received in 2014 with minor acclaim and modest sales, but the rest of his year was notable for the public dissolution of his engagement with artist Ciara.

Future transitioned from joyful club bangers to a space where he blazed these dark, desolate landscapes in “DS2” — “Tryna make a pop star and they made a monster,” he raps in “I Serve the Base.”

The album reckons with and embraces heartbreak, identity and drinking more lean than any one man should be able to handle.

Best album to listen to from the top of a mountain: “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” by Florence & The Machine

The English singer’s third record might be one of the darkest to top the charts this year.

He manages to mesh about a dozen subgenres of music while writing about heartache in ways so visceral and personal that Taylor Swift would merely blush.

Most importantly, it successfully takes the band’s festival-headlining live show into the studio on massive, sweeping gems like “Queen of Peace” and “Ship to Wreck.”

nbitette@nydailynews.com, slepore@nydailynews.com, nparco@nydailynews.com, hchu@nydailynews.com, sburt@nydailynews.com

Tags:
news break ,
lists ,
adele ,
kendrick lamar ,
titus andronicus ,
carly rae jepsen ,
drake ,
grimes ,
tame impala ,
the weeknd ,
future ,
florence and the machine ,
father john misty
Join the Conversation: facebook twitter


Music & Arts – NY Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*