The Top 30 Albums of 2015

10. Adele – 25

Released: November 20, 2015

Treading slightly lighter territory emotionally, Adele’s 25 may not be her most poignant project but it’s probably her best sounding one. Even though she took some years off herself, it sounds like her vocals have been putting in overtime. Her voice is as clear as crystal and it elevates the emotion, bringing with it an ever-present need for tissues. Sinking to the rolling, low bass-y depths one moment and rising to sharp staccatos the next. She applies medicinal metaphors to her heartbreak and captures a definite soul-baring presence throughout the album. That chorus on ‘Million Years Ago’ though…  – Evan Vogel

9. GoldLink – And After That, We Didn’t Talk

Released: November 13, 2015

Future-bounce. Honestly, a perfect self-given label for his music. GoldLink managed to combine stories of young love, lost romance and black empowerment with his genre-twisting tendencies and create something that’s simultaneously mentally engaging and has you dipping, turning and jumping in your shoes. At times, when Goldlink abandons hip-hop and sings R&B ballads over a house instrumental, the genres break down and no longer matter as the velvety synths wash over you. A soulful rapper/singer that has found something of a niche with this album, he takes what works and runs with it. Made increasingly noticeable by his unique, rapid delivery on songs like ‘Spectrum’ and ‘Dark Skinned Women’ all while maintaining that rhythmic bounciness track after track.  – Evan Vogel

8. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon

Released: September 18, 2015

Is Honeymoon Lana Del Rey’s best album to date? Probably not, especially since we named her previous LP, Ultraviolence, our favorite project of 2014. However, Ultraviolence casts quite the shadow and there is no shame in being close behind it. Honeymoon is a great album for any music fan and an amazing album for any Lana Del Rey fan. Her songs are far from repetitive and stale and yet Lana still hasn’t abandoned her sound and style that has got her to this point and helped her build up such a supportive and strong fan base. Honeymoon likely didn’t gain Lana any new fans, but Lana is continuing to keep her fans and critics happy as this album is another masterpiece from Lana Del Rey.  – Dan Garcia

7. Tame Impala – Currents

Released: July 17, 2015

Currents is vast, immersive, and often times larger-than-life, with airy at atmospheric synths engulfing you immediately and not loosening it’s grip until the end of the record. It’s also a little less depressing than past Tame Impala releases, as the song structures utilized here are little more accessible and the hooks are less Beatles and more 80’s pop. Tame Impala can now pride itself on crafting a masterpiece of an album that is intricate and genre-bending. It’s as electronic as it is classic rock, with a perfect punch of soul on the side to establish Kevin as an incredible singer. Tame Impala’s past albums may have embraced the sounds found in an airy, echoing daydream, but with Currents, Kevin Parker and his band hit the pavement of reality and define just what it means to be human. – Vikash Dass

6.  Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Released: June 23, 2015

If Leon Bridges is half sweet and tender soul, the other half of him is undoubtedly the strong and potent sounds of Southern-gospel. Even underneath the soulful cuts on this record, you can hear gospel-influenced background vocals or church-organs sliding beneath instrumentals. ‘Smooth Sailin’’ is a Southern-blues banger with an infectious riff and enough energy to have anybody at least churn out a two-step. ‘Shine’ stands as a brilliant moment on this record, too, that perfectly blends both halves of Leon’s soul and gospel influences for one slow swaying track that dives into love and faith.

Most often, innovation in music today comes in the form of a sharper and more radical format—whether it’s the distorted and industrial influences that push hip-hop forward or the electronic and dance-funk that seems to be driving pop. Instead, Leon Bridges is able to bring an even more innovative and refreshing outlook on music, all while borrowing sounds from past generations. But, don’t get it twisted—Coming Home is not an album that’s 50 years late. Rather, it is a record that channels sounds and sentiments that are utterly timeless. – Vikash Dass

ALBUMS 30-26 / 25-21 / 20-16 / 15-11 / 6-10 / 5-1

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