Lists! Here are my top 50 albums of the year.
I love my indie and I love my pop. There’s a decent mix of both here I think and a few other genres have crept in because I’m so cool.
I was disappointed that I didn’t really hear much noisy guitar stuff this year that I liked (I didn’t get Girl Band at all although you all kept telling me I should) so there’s not much here.
As is now customary it’s mainly female vocal artists. Will there be any male vocal gatecrashers? My favourite album of 2014 was by Kozelek offending, Knopfler tribute act The War On Drugs, so anything is possible.
In reverse order for optimum scroll excitement…
50 Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
49 Astrid Williamson - We Go To Dream
48 LoneLady - Hinterland
47 The Charlatans - Modern Nature
46 Eskimeaux - O.K.
45 Hurts - Surrender
44 This Is The Kit - Bashed Out
43 Marika Hackman - We Slept At Last
42 Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
41 Little Boots - Working Girl
40 Krill - A Distant Fist Unclenching
39 Halsey - Badlands
38 Tove Styrke - Kiddo
37 Darren Hayman - Chants For Socialists
36 Taggart & Rosewood - The Killingest
35 Sleater Kinney - No Cities To Love
34 Menace Beach - Ratworld
33 The Fall - Sub-Lingual Tablet
32 Laura Marling - Short Movie
31 Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - Wisdom, Laughter & Lines
30 Leftfield - Alternative Light Source
29 Colleen Green - I Want To Grow Up
28 Denai Moore - Elsewhere
27 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - The Most Important Place In The World
26 Brandi Carlile - The Firewatcher’s Daughter
25 She Makes War - Direction Of Travel
24 Say Lou Lou - Lucid Dreaming
23 Darren Hayman - Florence
22 Purity Ring - Another Eternity
21 Meg Myers - Sorry
20 Lizzo - Big GRRRL Small World
19 Tove Lo - Queen Of The Clouds
18 Bully - Feels Like
17 Georgia - Georgia
16 Carly Rae Jepsen - E.MO.TION
15 New Order - Music Complete
14 Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
13 Sophie Hunger - Supermoon
12 Tamaryn - Cranekiss
11 CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye
10 Jimmy Somerville - Homage
I know. Two years after ‘Get Lucky’ another disco album. There was every chance this look back to the 70s dance floor would be a disaster from the title to the artwork. It turns out to be jam packed with lush produced tracks as good as anything from Somerville’s career and certainly his most consistent work in 30 years. The most pleasant surprise of the year.
9 Fight Like Apes - Fight Like Apes
Impossible to see this band live and not leave smiling. Amongst the obligatory eye catching song titles and energetic fun filled arrangements it should be noted that there’s some fabulous songcraft there too.
8 Torres - Sprinter
Probably the most affecting album I heard in 2015. At number 8 in this list but has the potential to have the most longevity of them all.
7 Charli XCX - Sucker
It’s a phenomenal pop album. Deal with it.
6 Nadine Shah - Fast Food
One of the great discoveries of the year after a stunning set at Latitude.
5 Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes
Louise and Nina reunited for the first time in two decades, with an album every bit as exhilarating as they once were.
4 Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool
I’ve a nagging feeling that if they’d released their debut 18 months earlier based on their first set of EPs, I’d be talking about a classic debut. ‘My Love Is Cool’ is a bit over-prepared (the fussy version of ‘Bros’ is immeasurably worse than the 2013 original) but still a hugely enjoyable record.
3 Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs
As she told The Guardian in October, making this album was an intense experience for Sundfør. The result is remarkable.
2 Marina & The Diamonds - FROOT
Taking all the good bits from her debut and the Electra Heart era, Diamandis’ third album is packed with emotion and full on pop bangers. My second most played album of the year according to last.fm and therefore rightly placed here as the runner up.
1 Grimes - Art Angels
An easy choice for number one. So far ahead of everything else on this list.
My most anticipated album of the year managed to exceed my high expectations.
The moment Grimes released the ‘demo’ of Realiti in March calling it a throwaway mix from a discarded album I knew. We all knew even if Claire didn’t at the time. Realiti was the public launch point for what would become Art Angels.
6 months later a new, equally incredible version featured on the album. Remarkably there were 13 other tracks of equal magnificence.
I’ve seen some people talk of their disappointment in the album in that it doesn’t compare with the experimental nature of ‘Visions’ and sounds too much like other artists. Pish. Art Angels doesn’t sound like anyone else to me. It’s the album Grimes has been destined to make.
NME’s godawful year had a redemption when they awarded it album of the year saying :
'Art Angels' was not so much the sound of an artist trying to fit into the pop landscape as one trying to shape it in their own image. The best album of the year, from the most exciting artist of a generation.
It was Stereogum’s album of the year too and they nailed it with this:
if you don’t think it’ll be here 20 years from now, you’re wrong. By then, it’ll be seen as a blueprint, early evidence of a new paradigm: experimentalism as populism; processed synthetic sound as raw human emotion; studio-genius auteur as universal pop star; singular as plural; future as present. In 2035, Art Angels will sound just as good as it did in 2015. And in 2015, nothing sounded better than Art Angels.
Some guest vocals aside, in all areas of significance this is the complete work of one person from all instruments to production, engineering and artwork. Oh, and the videos. She does them too.
This century’s most extraordinary artist.
I love this album so much.