Consequence of Sound's Top 50 Albums of 2015

Consequence of Sound's Top 50 Albums of 2015

Original Source

50. Joanna Newsom - Divers

Joanna Newsom - Divers
October 23, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
87
30 reviews
User Score
83
233 reviews

The album winds up feeling like the first in Newsom’s catalog that won’t be considered a classic, but it’s proof that a sturdy, thought-provoking, and rewarding record doesn’t necessarily need to stand next to her past work to find its own greatness.

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49. White Reaper - White Reaper Does It Again

White Reaper - White Reaper Does It Again
July 17, 2015
Garage Punk
Critic Score
76
11 reviews
User Score
77
28 reviews

Few acts ever manage to bottle up that crude energy on record — sorry, Palma Violets — and yet White Reaper Does It Again brims with spit and sweat.

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48. Angel Haze - Back To The Woods

Angel Haze - Back To The Woods
September 14, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
79
4 reviews
User Score
73
16 reviews

47. Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?

Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?
October 16, 2015
Ambient Pop
Critic Score
79
18 reviews
User Score
77
125 reviews

With Are You Alone?, Devon Welsh and Majical Cloudz find a way to exist within that gray, to thrive in it, to acknowledge the mortality and the chaos and the gray, and reach out a hand.

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46. FIDLAR - Too

FIDLAR - Too
September 4, 2015
Punk Rock
Critic Score
72
17 reviews
User Score
72
47 reviews

Despite a penchant for excess, FIDLAR never fully commits to one extreme, and the most interesting parts of Too come when the band struggles to contextualize the royal mess that is their lives.

Full Review →

45. A$AP Rocky - At.Long.Last.A$AP

A$AP Rocky - At.Long.Last.A$AP
May 26, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
74
25 reviews
User Score
75
265 reviews

While this record certainly echoes the who’s who of designer brands name-dropped on Long.Live.ASAP, A.L.L.A is Rocky’s “locked in the studio with a sheet of acid” record.

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44. Hop Along - Painted Shut

Hop Along - Painted Shut
May 5, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
83
12 reviews
User Score
79
175 reviews

In short, the band has range, and Painted Shut is often rewarding musically.

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43. Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls

Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls
May 12, 2015
Noise
Critic Score
80
9 reviews
User Score
74
61 reviews
Whether you’re walking the streets with a broken heart or raging in a cramped studio apartment, whether you lean more toward dense, abrasive power electronics or dark, airy ambience, Fernow sees where you’re coming from.
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42. Bully - Feels Like

Bully - Feels Like
June 23, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
76
16 reviews
User Score
76
87 reviews

The quartet’s debut album, Feels Like, is simultaneously youthful and weary, its bubblegum melodies punctured by Bognanno’s stark lyrics and abraded voice.

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41. Florence + The Machine - How Big How Blue How Beautiful

Florence + The Machine - How Big How Blue How Beautiful
June 2, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
78
24 reviews
User Score
77
276 reviews

With HBHBHB, Welch has added a considerable amount of feeling to her catalog, and it should go down as one of the year’s most well-crafted personal statements.

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40. Future - DS2

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

DS2 is his strongest campaign yet, and it’s the first time a new Future album has met all expectations.

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39. 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
85
29 reviews
User Score
81
610 reviews
Barnett clearly doesn’t always take herself or her surroundings seriously, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have serious things to say about both.
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38. Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm goin down

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

It should come as no surprise that follow-up b’lieve i’m goin down… finds Vile continuing to self-deprecate, amble, and sigh, despite the new tier of success. Neither should it be a surprise that all those qualities remain entirely charming.

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37. Ratatat - Magnifique

Ratatat - Magnifique
July 17, 2015
Indietronica
Critic Score
69
21 reviews
User Score
69
63 reviews

The precise beauty of their production work, specifically the refusal to dump gratuitous instruments into the mix, places Magnifique at the top of Ratatat’s catalogue. Stroud and Mast let guitars beat at the album’s heart, and their balance of bubbly and peaceful elements ushers a return too fluid to ignore.

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36. Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color

Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
April 21, 2015
Southern Rock
Critic Score
78
24 reviews
User Score
78
297 reviews

The tinted and tightly paced sophomore effort Sound & Color is an alluring musical rainbow that sets Alabama Shakes apart from niche throwbacks.

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35. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

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

At nine songs and just over 36 minutes, Fading Frontier is a filler-free opus of experimental rock splendor that never lags and always intrigues. It’s pretty sharp for a noise or garage rock album with sleek bass lines and vibrant electronic add-ons. 

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34. Arca - Mutant

Arca - Mutant
November 20, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
80
17 reviews
User Score
77
149 reviews

The relative sparseness of melody makes Mutant slipperier than much of Arca’s older work, but the way he’s able to use texture and rhythm as his primary tools of progression is worth the patience it asks of us.

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33. Sun Kil Moon - Universal Themes

Sun Kil Moon - Universal Themes
June 2, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
72
21 reviews
User Score
72
108 reviews

It might be one of the most in-the-moment albums ever made, as if Kozelek vomited words about everything that’s gone on his life since Benji right as it was all happening, kicked the ass of a few chords until they fit around the lyrics, called over Steve Shelley to lay down some drums, then cut it all to tape.

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32. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love
May 26, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
79
23 reviews
User Score
78
313 reviews
By deconstructing traditional geometries of desire, they’ve made their most fully realized album yet.
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31. Bell Witch - Four Phantoms

Bell Witch - Four Phantoms
April 28, 2015
Sludge Metal
Critic Score
82
2 reviews
User Score
72
19 reviews

30. Wilco - Star Wars

Wilco - Star Wars
July 16, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
User Score
74
186 reviews
After tearing off the bow and ripping through the wrapping paper, fans are left with the shaggiest, leanest, and most exploratory Wilco record in years.
Full Review →

29. Holly Herndon - Platform

Holly Herndon - Platform
May 19, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
User Score
76
165 reviews

Platform is continuously emotive, although it never quite tops the peak of “Chorus”.

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28. 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
22 reviews
User Score
76
333 reviews

If You’re Reading concentrates the anger pocketed within NWTS’ moodiness. The result is more thrilling.

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27. Braids - Deep in the Iris

Braids - Deep in the Iris
April 28, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
75
16 reviews
User Score
74
94 reviews

The specificity in the lyrics and the clarity of Standell-Preston’s voice gives the album an immediate human pull. Beneath that initial glitter, though, Braids have stockpiled a wealth of complexities like puzzles for us to untangle.

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26. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf
May 29, 2015
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
83
15 reviews
User Score
77
243 reviews
It’s existential in places, sure, but it’s still a smile-widening celebration of an album rooted in bright, soulful instrumentation and refreshing optimism.
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25. New Order - Music Complete

New Order - Music Complete
September 25, 2015
Alternative Dance
Critic Score
73
20 reviews
User Score
73
91 reviews

Because it’s loaded with guests, there’s a transparent curatorial awareness to Music Complete, one that’s surprisingly engaging and effective.

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24. Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION

Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION
August 21, 2015
Dance Pop
Critic Score
76
20 reviews
User Score
79
310 reviews

Emotion rolls out banger after banger, all while sustaining a remarkable level of complexity and compassion for everyone in Jepsen’s solar system.

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23. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon

Tobias Jesso Jr. - Goon
March 17, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
User Score
78
271 reviews

Jesso writes with fragility at the forefront. The fact that he doesn’t realize how pure his songwriting is makes it that much better.

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22. Disasterpeace - It Follows

Disasterpeace - It Follows
February 2, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
77
3 reviews
User Score
70
8 reviews

21. Deafheaven - New Bermuda

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

Its audacity and stylistic shifts may have resulted in an album that’s not quite as much like coming home as Sunbather, but it shows a genuine and fascinating maturation in a band that deserves to remain in the spotlight for all the right reasons.

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20. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - After

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - After
March 3, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
11 reviews
User Score
78
78 reviews

Lady Lamb is a novelty in the flesh. It’s only Spaltro’s second time trying out the loftiness of a studio album, but After pushes her to refine and redesign with grace.

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19. Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass
January 27, 2015
Chamber Pop
Critic Score
83
18 reviews
User Score
79
319 reviews

One of the most fully realized and confident debuts in recent memory, Natalie Prass is an expertly sequenced and executed work that transforms decades of American music tradition into something relevant to the 21st century.

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18. The Districts - A Flourish and a Spoil

The Districts - A Flourish and a Spoil
February 10, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
71
7 reviews
User Score
76
51 reviews

Despite some of the fuzz and purposefully lo-fi studio tricks, they let the songs speak for themselves. As A Flourish and a Spoil proves, that’s all they need.

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17. Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower

Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
September 18, 2015
Doom Metal
Critic Score
80
5 reviews
User Score
76
13 reviews

Expectations were exceedingly high for Grief’s Infernal Flower, and Windhand delivered a minor masterpiece and the best doom metal album of the year.

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16. Björk - Vulnicura

Björk - Vulnicura
January 20, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
86
27 reviews
User Score
82
507 reviews

Vulnicura is smooth and whole, even as its singer lies shattered.

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15. Dan Deacon - Gliss Riffer

Dan Deacon - Gliss Riffer
February 24, 2015
Indietronica
Critic Score
75
22 reviews
User Score
74
107 reviews
He understands that attention spans can be short, and if you want to get a message across, you’d better make the beat infectious.
Full Review →

14. Circuit Des Yeux - In Plain Speech

Circuit Des Yeux - In Plain Speech
May 19, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
81
4 reviews
User Score
75
19 reviews

13. Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect

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

Intellect highlights the band’s strengths, with Casey’s melodies punching through some of the sturdiest rock and roll arrangements since The National emerged with Alligator and Boxer.

Full Review →

12. Torres - Sprinter

Torres - Sprinter
May 5, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
User Score
78
212 reviews
Life has grown more complicated than running to or running from, and as Torres, Scott is better equipped than ever to shed light on the details.
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11. Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

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

Over its 45 beautiful but tortured minutes, I Love You, Honeybear weaves a complicated narrative of love gained at the expense of the individual.

Full Review →

10. Vince Staples - Summertime '06

Vince Staples - Summertime '06
June 30, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
86
20 reviews
User Score
83
402 reviews
Parsing generations of pain can be difficult and unwieldy, but Staples’ vision makes his whole history feel present all at once.
Full Review →

9. Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy
July 28, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
26 reviews
User Score
77
165 reviews
This is music that wants to be read as a text, and deserves to be. The fact that it comes to us in an era of smartphones and shortening attention spans only serves to underscore its audacity.
Full Review →

8. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

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

Sleater-Kinney are sick of the rules as they stand, but they don’t just want to break the rules; they want to make new ones. They could only do that by coming back together to reintroduce their own perspective and fight their own battle.

Full Review →

7. D'Angelo - Black Messiah

D'Angelo - Black Messiah
December 15, 2014
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
93
23 reviews
User Score
85
370 reviews

An artist of uncompromising power and originality, he has proven that he will not, cannot conform to the expectations of the music industry, his adoring fans, or anyone else. He is a delicate, impulsive genius of rare distinction, and this defiant streak is essential to the character of his music.

Full Review →

6. Jamie xx - In Colour

Jamie xx - In Colour
June 1, 2015
UK Bass
Critic Score
84
31 reviews
User Score
82
727 reviews

Each song grows richer the more you explore its open space. Its minimalism breathes buckets of color. After one listen or 10, In Colour reflects brightly, a phenomenally poised and universally approachable solo debut.

Full Review →

5. Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala - Currents
July 17, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
84
30 reviews
User Score
83
867 reviews

Currents is all about the wide lens. It’s not the landscape worth falling in love with, but the way Parker gives us a tour. Let it happen, and it will carry you off somewhere much further away than you realized was worth visiting.

Full Review →

4. Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete

Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete
November 13, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
79
22 reviews
User Score
80
202 reviews
It’s OPN’s most emotional work to date and also his most ridiculous. Its tragedy is bound up with its humor; its sublimity comes from the places where it feels the most broken.
Full Review →

3. Grimes - Art Angels

Grimes - Art Angels
November 6, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
84
27 reviews
User Score
81
594 reviews

After Visions, the only thing Grimes could do was to grow as big as the landscape around her. Here’s her mountain.

Full Review →

2. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
March 31, 2015
Indie Folk
Critic Score
90
31 reviews
User Score
87
913 reviews

Carrie & Lowell isn’t a return to the tentative woodsy footprints of 2004’s Seven Swans. It’s an album hollowed by grief, as expansive as Adz but without the verve.

Full Review →

1. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
March 16, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
94
32 reviews
User Score
89
1194 reviews
While the album is a lyrical landmark above all, there’s no missing that it’s a rich body of work all around.
Full Review →
Original Source: http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/12/top-50-albums-of-2015/

MORE 2015 YEAR END LISTS:


MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND:


Check out our 2015 Year End Summary.