Following an arguably weak year for albums, 2015 has seen a lot of great projects and many unexpected ones as well. While this year we saw the highly anticipated return of Adele, patient fans are still awaiting Frank Ocean’s sophomore album and Kanye West’s Swish. But where Frank and Kanye have left music fans hanging, new comers like Bryson Tiller, Alessia Cara, GoldLink, BOOTS, Halsey and more have put out some great albums to help kick off their relatively young careers. 2015 though was also a great year for some heavyweights, of course we’re referring to artists like Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar and even pop superstars like One Direction and Justin Bieber. In just one day, November 13th, the music world saw more great releases than it did in a span of months in 2014. Cheers to hoping 2016 delivers as well as 2015 did!
30. Dr. Dre – Comton
Released: August 7, 2015
This year it finally happened people. Dr. Dre dropped Detox – well sort of, but not really. What may turn out to be the hip-hop doctor’s last collective body of new material was released along the news that Detox was, in fact, no more. But, while Detox may be lifeless, Dre certainly isn’t. His album, Compton: A Soundtrack is the type of album that makes the most sense only when the volume knob can turn no more. It’s production and mastering are nothing short of the best you’ll hear all year. The verses can fall somewhat flat at times, but only because this is the same archetypal journey that has been talked about for all of Dre’s life. Its extensive list of features show Dre’s position as a mentor and help to curate the new age of Compton while reflecting on an old one they assuredly owe a lot to — and my goodness does it bang. – Evan Vogel
29. One Direction – Made in the A.M.
Released: November 13, 2015
We shall see, but unfortunately One Direction’s fifth studio album, Made in the A.M., may be there last, or at the very least, it will be there last for quite some time as Harry, Liam, Louis and Niall announced that they are taking an extended hiatus in 2016. But if it was to be there last, they definitely put together one hell of a last album. Full of stand out tracks like, ‘Drag Me Down’, ‘Perfect’, and even an unexpected record about break up sex in ‘Love You Goodbye’, Made in the A.M. was made for anyone who appreciates good music. Don’t be fooled by their target audience or their commercial success, 1D’s newest LP is a great project and can be enjoyed by anyone. – Dan Garcia
28. Jazz Cartier – Marauding in Paradise
Released: April 18, 2015
Let’s try an exercise: can you name a rapper from Toronto with a serious following, heaps of respect and critical acclaim, and a project that is sonically exceptional from an artist not in any way affiliated with Drake or OVO? If you can’t, it’s because you’ve never heard of Jazz Cartier, but that is all about to change. Jazz’s promise in hip-hop is as strong as his 2015 opus Marauding in Paradise, a record that is ferocious, and enraged while also being heartfelt and extremely well put-together. It’s a record that wears it’s influences on it’s sleeves, but unlike other artists who emulate and get lost in other peoples sounds and stories, the narrative on this record is truly unlike anything you’ve ever heard, as Jazz tells stories and reflects on a lifestyle so specific to him, yet so relatable. – Vikash Dass
27. Raury – All We Need
Released: October 16, 2015
On All We Need, Raury has grown wiser beyond his years, and has used his dynamic strengths as a musician to overshadow his sometimes flat songwriting that showed up on Indigo Child. Here, we are treated to a much more compelling and exceptional Raury that is able to balance making an album with social and cultural impact, while also allowing the listener to truly believe for every second that Raury is really living what he is writing. On his last project, he’d often deliver a social message with lacklustre poise and sound like he was biting off more than he could chew, but All We Needis proof that Raury has damn near mastered being a substantial writer as well as being an interesting one. – Vikash Dass
26. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife
Released: January 6, 2015
Try to skip a track on this album. No really, try it. It’s actually scientifically linked to you being unhappy with yourself or embracing the symptoms of your undiagnosed depression, but that’s none of our business. What is, though, is to tell you that although this record dropped very early into 2015, it’s energy has yet to be topped and is a record that has reinvented the term ‘slapper’. Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee are the best tandem in the popular rap stratosphere right now, and it’s not even close. Their knack for anthems and chaotic bangers is really a generational occurrence. They are rap’s new party starters, and if the dominance of bangers like ‘No Flex Zone’, ‘Lit Like Bic’ and ‘No Type’ are any indication, they aren’t going anywhere. – Vikash Dass