Before I get buried in some very highly anticipate albums of 2016 – like Santigold’s 99¢ and Majid Jordan’s eponymous debut album – let me recap some of my favorite releases from 2015.
Overall, I went through 2015 in a daze and didn’t really pay much attention to many of the releases (I’ve been asked to listen to Grimes’ Art Angels at least 6 times). But the ones I did listen to, I cherish very dearly and would love if everyone could experience the same happiness I got through them.
In no particular order, here are the best music releases of 2015:
Lianne La Havas, Blood
Not that I’m biased or anything, but Blood is the best release of 2015. Maybe it’s because I have a very strong personal attachment to it, but whatever the case, it’s truly what love sounds like in music form. Tender, thoughtful yet full of intrigue and possibilities, it’s a formative album.
abhi//dijon, Stay Up (EP)
R&B is a growing, ever-changing genre yet sometimes the label feels reductive. In any case, this Maryland duo definitely adds something special to the genre and I can’t wait to hear more from them.
Kelela, Hallucinogen (EP)
I can’t wait until Kelela gets so much recognition she surpasses Drake but in the mean time, she is truly evolving into an artist that takes risk without compromising her signature smooth and grounded sound.
Red Velvet, The Red
Are they the best female Kpop group right now? I say yes. But they already had me when they debuted in 2014 with their single “Happiness”. What can I say? I’m a sucker for bright, loud visuals and chaotically good pop music.
Carly Rae Jepsen, E*MO*TION
This is the essential pop album of 2015. I also rediscovered “Call Me Maybe” and honestly? Where is Carly Rae Jepsen’s nomination for the queen of pop?
FKA twigs, M3LL155X (EP)
Although I didn’t entirely like the visual component of this EP, I did like all of the songs and I wonder if the next FKA twigs release will just be recordings of her dancing in an abandoned building. What other soundscapes will she create?
Archy Marshall, A New Place to Drown
King Krule’s new project is under Archy Marshall and it also has a visual component that I haven’t done a good job exploring. But the audio element is absolutely stellar; it’s an experience in audio submersion and really does make you feel like you’re underwater.
Nao, February 15 (EP)
Nao is on the come up for sure, especially with her feature on Disclosure’s album and opening for them at Itunes Music Festival in London. She’s doing well on her own too, having sold out shows and working on her debut album. In the meantime, obsess over this EP and her other amazing EP, So Good.
Daniel Caesar, Pilgrim’s Paradise (EP)
Daniel Caesar’s music is absolutely heartbreaking and gorgeous. Just layers upon layers of beauty woven together with melancholic threads of hope and despair. When I want to feel miserable yet elegant, I turn to his music.
Incredibly unique, incredibly harmonious, incredibly full of life.
Honorable mentions: Jamie xx, In Colour; Ben Khan, 1000 (EP); Dornik, Dornik; Only Real, Jerk at the End of the Line