SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2015

SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2015

Original Source

50. Janet Jackson - Unbreakable

Janet Jackson - Unbreakable
October 2, 2015
R&B
Critic Score
75
15 reviews
User Score
75
75 reviews

The best thing about Unbreakable is that it proves Janet can still surprise us.

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49. Girlpool - Before The World Was Big

Girlpool - Before The World Was Big
June 2, 2015
Indie Pop
Critic Score
77
20 reviews
User Score
75
71 reviews
Tucker and Tividad have discovered their indie-pop Neverland, and a fanciful, free-flowing sound to suit it.
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48. Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?

Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?
October 16, 2015
Ambient Pop
Critic Score
79
19 reviews
User Score
77
122 reviews
In their own quiet way, these are confrontational songs; not in the sense that they’re classically aggressive, but because they’re so probing and straightforward.
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47. RP Boo - Fingers, Bank Pads, and Shoe Prints

RP Boo - Fingers, Bank Pads, and Shoe Prints
June 30, 2015
Footwork
Critic Score
78
9 reviews
User Score
73
15 reviews
His compositions are skeletal and rudimentary in comparison to the work Rashad’s Teklife crew, galloping around with the gawky rapture of a newborn fawn.
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46. Mount Eerie - Sauna

Mount Eerie - Sauna
February 3, 2015
Avant-Folk
Critic Score
77
13 reviews
User Score
73
93 reviews

For Mount Eerie’s latest LP, principal driving force Phil Elverum made a deliberately literal collection of existential folk-rock, sort of like Calvin (sans Hobbes) re-imagining the recent output of Mark Kozelek.

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45. Seinabo Sey - Pretend

Seinabo Sey - Pretend
October 23, 2015
Critic Score
74
5 reviews
User Score
71
8 reviews

44. Krallice - Ygg Huur

Krallice - Ygg Huur
July 30, 2015
Black Metal
Critic Score
79
3 reviews
User Score
72
9 reviews

It’s their most conscious rejection of grandiosity yet, a turn toward nervous and gnarled instrumentals that bear little resemblance to what’s come before. 

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43. CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye
September 25, 2015
Synthpop
Critic Score
79
27 reviews
User Score
75
300 reviews
CHVRCHES aim for nothing less than maximum forward impact at all times.
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42. Best Coast - California Nights

Best Coast - California Nights
May 5, 2015
Indie Pop
Critic Score
69
24 reviews
User Score
67
90 reviews

Part of the fun of California Nights — and don’t get it wrong, the album is on a proud par with their first two — comes from the link Cosentino and Bruno draw between introspection and universality.

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41. Fetty Wap - Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap - Fetty Wap
September 25, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
67
12 reviews
User Score
63
64 reviews

40. Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa

Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa
May 19, 2015
World
Critic Score
90
8 reviews
User Score
78
111 reviews

Soukous licks dart between digital fuzz, Cubain Kabeya’s drum kit shoves aside synth riffs, warped guitar hooks edge against rumba choruses, and white noize smudges all.

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39. Bully - Feels Like

Bully - Feels Like
June 23, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
76
17 reviews
User Score
75
88 reviews
The efforts are Frankensteinian in approach, shocking new life into old parts.
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38. FKA Twigs - M3LL155X

FKA Twigs - M3LL155X
August 13, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
85
12 reviews
User Score
83
376 reviews

On M3LL155X, she does seem to be growing stronger, testing the boundaries between light and unfathomable darkness, the breathtaking and the nauseating. 

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37. Blur - The Magic Whip

Blur - The Magic Whip
April 27, 2015
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
78
30 reviews
User Score
74
253 reviews

There’s never been a Blur record that’s flowed as well as Magic Whip; you might have to go all the way back to Modern Life Is Rubbish to find one that even comes close.

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36. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf
May 29, 2015
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
83
15 reviews
User Score
76
246 reviews
With its heavy sense of community, emotional uplift and quest for righteousness, the LP is far more appropriate for the chapel than it is for the club.
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35. Rabit - Communion

Rabit - Communion
October 30, 2015
Grime
Critic Score
79
6 reviews
User Score
76
10 reviews

34. Chastity Belt - Time To Go Home

Chastity Belt - Time To Go Home
March 23, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
75
12 reviews
User Score
77
65 reviews

Time to Go Home breaks new personal and political ground for contemporary goth-influenced music as Chastity Belt trades cliche nihilism for proactively feminist post-punk.

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33. Jason Derulo - Everything Is 4

Jason Derulo - Everything Is 4
June 2, 2015
Dance Pop
Critic Score
65
7 reviews
User Score
59
21 reviews

32. Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy
July 28, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
83
27 reviews
User Score
77
166 reviews

Where The Monitor was a punk rock Born to Run for a different generation, full of sprawling “Jungleland” revamps, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is an epic of different means. It’s comprised of the punchiest, most direct songs this band has yet unleashed.

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31. Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up

Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up
February 24, 2015
Indie Pop
Critic Score
68
9 reviews
User Score
72
44 reviews
It's like her 4-track recorder was a psychiatrist and she wanted to squeeze as much into this 37-minute session as possible.
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30. Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete

Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete
November 13, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
79
24 reviews
User Score
80
208 reviews
In making a record about growing up, Lopatin’s come out on the other side in one mutated piece.
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29. Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down

Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down
September 25, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
78
25 reviews
User Score
78
254 reviews

From a purely musical standpoint, Vile’s at his most varied here, dabbling with piano and banjo in places and eschewing the gold-toned guitar that dominated his fifth full-length, 2013’s fawned-over Wakin on a Pretty Daze.

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28. Björk - Vulnicura

Björk - Vulnicura
January 20, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
86
30 reviews
User Score
82
546 reviews

Vulnicura doesn't have the reach-out-and-grab-your-attention quality of Björk's more technicolor works, but it possesses a dramatic weight in its own right.

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27. Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside

Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside
March 23, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
77
23 reviews
User Score
77
288 reviews

His paranoia is as thick as Drake's on the similarly inward If You're Reading This It's Too Late, from earlier this year. However, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is a much leaner, less showy effort (Drake is an actor, Earl decidedly is not), and Earl turns his pen on himself, too, not just everybody else.

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26. Grimes - Art Angels

Grimes - Art Angels
November 6, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
84
29 reviews
User Score
81
653 reviews

It’s a triumph of Grimes as gloriously and unapologetically DIY producer, a pop singer politically and emotionally invested in your knowing that she made this all on her own — as if anything workshopped with a team of songwriters could sound so bracing and unpredictable.

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25. Kelela - Hallucinogen EP

Kelela - Hallucinogen EP
October 9, 2015
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
79
8 reviews
User Score
77
117 reviews

Its six tracks see the self-described former “proper shower singer” climbing ever further into the synthesized mist.

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24. Destroyer - Poison Season

Destroyer - Poison Season
August 28, 2015
Chamber Pop
Critic Score
82
26 reviews
User Score
80
295 reviews

On Poison Season, Bejar’s new trappings may suggest self-sabotage, but the tremendously assured songcraft says otherwise.

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23. Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late

Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late
February 12, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
77
24 reviews
User Score
77
367 reviews
Sonically and thematically, this not-album is easily the harshest release of Drake's career, a brooding, unsettling listen with few respites offered from its sense of creeping dread.
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22. Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION

Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION
August 21, 2015
Dance Pop
Critic Score
75
22 reviews
User Score
79
362 reviews

E•MO•TION is 2015’s Pop Album for Non-Pop People ... It’s definitely a bid for the middle while Jepsen’s chartmates Beyoncé and Lady Gaga bleed the edges. 

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21. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
March 31, 2015
Indie Folk
Critic Score
90
33 reviews
User Score
88
989 reviews

Though it’s easily his best and most powerful album since 2005’s Illinois, it never quite reaches the same sweeping highs of that epic concept album. But this effort is a success on its own terms, hushed as they may be.

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20. Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect
October 9, 2015
Post-Punk
Critic Score
82
16 reviews
User Score
79
167 reviews

It’s an album so fully realized and of its own singular identity that despite its many obvious post-punk-era touchstones, there’s no mistaking the band for revivalists.

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19. SOPHIE - PRODUCT

SOPHIE - PRODUCT
November 27, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
76
18 reviews
User Score
76
91 reviews

To say that PRODUCT leaves you wanting more is an understatement, beginning and ending with EDM you can’t dance to, building and toppling all kinds of aural Legos in between.

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18. Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
September 18, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
74
26 reviews
User Score
73
344 reviews

Many of the 14 tracks meander like scenes in a Sophia Coppola film, all variations on depression and scenic pans of sparkling cities and desert expanses.

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17. Future - DS2

Future - DS2
July 17, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
79
18 reviews
User Score
70
190 reviews

Dirty Sprite 2 is a tremendous compendium of everything you want from a Future album in 2015.

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16. Beach House - Depression Cherry

Beach House - Depression Cherry
August 28, 2015
Dream Pop
Critic Score
79
30 reviews
User Score
80
496 reviews

It’s an approach they’ve taken time and again, but Depression Cherry’s particular non-specifics feel as full of breath and life as anything they’ve ever done — an album-length sigh as eloquent as a manifesto.

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15. Royal Headache - High

Royal Headache - High
August 21, 2015
Garage Rock
Critic Score
83
14 reviews
User Score
79
97 reviews
They offer a survey of rock’s history, but their take is revisionist.
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14. Miguel - Wildheart

Miguel - Wildheart
June 30, 2015
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
82
25 reviews
User Score
79
271 reviews

It’s not quite as satisfying as Kaleidoscope Dream, but it expands that album’s palette, pushing Miguel into further depths without submerging him in the squalor.

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13. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
February 10, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
89
32 reviews
User Score
84
772 reviews

I Love You, Honeybear, is littered with carefully wired bombs meant to blow up in the face of those seeking straightforward love songs.

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12. Deafheaven - New Bermuda

Deafheaven - New Bermuda
October 2, 2015
Atmospheric Black Metal
Critic Score
82
16 reviews
User Score
81
235 reviews

New Bermuda both expands their range and sees them coming further into their own.

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11. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
January 20, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
89
30 reviews
User Score
78
486 reviews

Cities might be their most oblique, which is hilarious because it's also their simplest.

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10. (Sandy) Alex G - Beach Music

(Sandy) Alex G - Beach Music
October 9, 2015
Lo-Fi
Critic Score
77
16 reviews
User Score
76
40 reviews

Beach Music sounds like an assembly of parts that could collapse in a minute were it not for Giannascoli at the center holding everything together.

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9. Shamir - Ratchet

Shamir - Ratchet
May 19, 2015
Electropop
Critic Score
78
22 reviews
User Score
74
201 reviews
It’s an incredible album strewn with highlights obvious and sneaky, the rare debut that holds up the weight of its backstory, with the added brassiness of assuring us that’s just him on the regular.
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8. Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material

Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
June 23, 2015
Country
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
User Score
77
103 reviews

There’s nothing not country about every step she takes; what separates and sends Musgraves soaring higher than her peers is her writing — the storytelling on Pageant Material could fill a memoir, secondary sources and all.

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7. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

Deerhunter - Fading Frontier
October 16, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
31 reviews
User Score
80
318 reviews

Fading Frontier ... certainly belongs in any discussion of their best. It’s a portrait of the young men as adult artists; it’s the closest equivalent to a major-label debut for an era when a band might as well stay independent.

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6. Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp

Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
April 7, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
81
24 reviews
User Score
76
208 reviews

On Ivy Tripp she particularly excels at sketching out just enough details to make her intentions clear, while leaving enough space to let listeners draw their own conclusions.

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5. Vince Staples - Summertime '06

Vince Staples - Summertime '06
June 30, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
85
21 reviews
User Score
83
445 reviews

Staples’ wickedly backward upbringing is the focus of Summertime ’06, which could well be the fiercest, most ferociously focused street-oriented double rap album since UGK’s Underground Kingz.

Full Review →

4. Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala - Currents
July 17, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
83
32 reviews
User Score
83
943 reviews

The result is the purest — and most complex — distillation of everything that makes the band such a nearly physical pleasure to listen to, whether it’s the sprawling riffs found on their 2010 debut, Innerspeaker, or this album’s taffy-lurid swirls.

Full Review →

3. Jamie xx - In Colour

Jamie xx - In Colour
June 1, 2015
UK Bass
Critic Score
84
32 reviews
User Score
82
763 reviews
It is exceedingly rare to find a producer who does so much, with so little, that he distilled from, again, so much. If drugs are the backbone of beat-based music, as some argue, Jamie xx’s is the purest kind.
Full Review →

2. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
March 24, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
84
31 reviews
User Score
81
649 reviews
It doesn't excite with sonic innovation and lyrical reinvention, it excites by just sounding really, really, really good, and coming from a voice that, in more ways than one, we've never quite heard before. And that in itself should make it one of the most thrilling albums you hear this year.
Full Review →

1. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
March 16, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
95
34 reviews
User Score
90
1336 reviews
This album is mandatory listening; serious rap fans who shun Mr. West due to his interfering personality (or Wayne, Drake, Nicki, Jay and Em) don't have that out here because Kendrick doesn't pretend to be Hova or Yeezus — just another young black man that Uncle Sam's ready to fuck up.
Full Review →
Original Source: http://www.spin.com/featured/the-50-best-albums-of-2015/

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Check out our 2015 Year End Summary.