PopMatters' 80 Best Albums of 2015

PopMatters' 80 Best Albums of 2015

Original Source

80. Ought - Sun Coming Down

Ought - Sun Coming Down
September 18, 2015
Post-Punk
Critic Score
81
16 reviews
User Score
77
148 reviews

Sun Coming Down gives us just enough new ideas while highlighting everything that makes this band great.

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79. U.S. Girls - Half Free

U.S. Girls - Half Free
September 25, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
User Score
76
88 reviews

Chirping Half Free‘s most compelling of its many indelible hooks, she tries to convince whoever listens “You all have nothing here / You have so much to fear”.

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78. Cam - Welcome to Cam Country

Cam - Welcome to Cam Country
March 31, 2015
Critic Score
70
2 reviews
User Score
75
1 review

77. Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf

Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf
July 24, 2015
Indie Pop
Critic Score
80
12 reviews
User Score
77
50 reviews

76. Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife

Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife
January 6, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
75
12 reviews
User Score
61
143 reviews

75. Ruby Amanfu - Standing Still

Ruby Amanfu - Standing Still
August 28, 2015
Critic Score
77
3 reviews
User Score
72
3 reviews

74. Dawn Richard - Blackheart

Dawn Richard - Blackheart
January 15, 2015
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
81
6 reviews
User Score
75
76 reviews

73. Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie

Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie
September 25, 2015
Post-Punk
Critic Score
80
23 reviews
User Score
73
54 reviews
Not only do Girl Band evade easy definition, they come across as if the very notion of being slotted into an pre-established marketing category makes them physically uncomfortable.
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72. 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

A massive, sprawling mess of styles and genres, all rooted in Stickles’ wordy lyrical catharsis, Tragedy reflects the wild mood swings associated with those suffering from bipolar disorder; raging one moment, euphoric the next before settling into a seemingly bottomless depression.

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71. Jaga Jazzist - Starfire

Jaga Jazzist - Starfire
June 2, 2015
Nu Jazz
Critic Score
69
9 reviews
User Score
73
8 reviews

70. Dungen - Allas Sak

Dungen - Allas Sak
September 25, 2015
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
76
9 reviews
User Score
71
24 reviews

69. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
August 21, 2015
Rock
Critic Score
69
7 reviews
User Score
72
8 reviews

68. Shamir - Ratchet

Shamir - Ratchet
May 19, 2015
Electropop
Critic Score
78
22 reviews
User Score
74
202 reviews

Shamir might not be the most conventional of vocalists, and Ratchet might not be the perfect pop record “On the Regular” hinted it could have been, but this is still one of the most dazzling debuts of 2015.

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67. Clarence Clarity - No Now

Clarence Clarity - No Now
March 2, 2015
Glitch Pop
Critic Score
74
5 reviews
User Score
80
72 reviews

66. The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness
August 28, 2015
R&B
Critic Score
72
20 reviews
User Score
71
298 reviews

Despite such strong highlights dropped in the album’s middle section ... Beauty ends up having a strange beast of a failing: none of the guest spots really add to the album’s overall vibe.

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65. Leon Bridges - Coming Home

Leon Bridges - Coming Home
June 23, 2015
Soul
Critic Score
75
15 reviews
User Score
73
94 reviews

The fact that he can make this into a compelling tale without overdramatizing the details reveals his knack for narrative. He can sing a story.

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64. Jlin - Dark Energy

Jlin - Dark Energy
March 24, 2015
Footwork
Critic Score
84
5 reviews
User Score
72
91 reviews

63. Heems - Eat Pray Thug

Heems - Eat Pray Thug
March 10, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
72
12 reviews
User Score
73
26 reviews
At some point, all the music’s dissonance and divergence just makes it more vital and interesting. Without Das Racist, Heems’ limitless creativity has completely erupted, and as messy as it all is, it’s a little beautiful, too.
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62. Battles - La Di Da Di

Battles - La Di Da Di
September 18, 2015
Experimental Rock
Critic Score
69
23 reviews
User Score
71
82 reviews

This is a confident record that focuses on beat and melody, while still allowing the group space to throw in other musical ideas.

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61. Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet

Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet
August 21, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
75
15 reviews
User Score
73
45 reviews

The Expanding Flower Planet is a confident declaration of independence from a vital artist operating at the top of her creative game.

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60. Omar Souleyman - Bahdeni Nami

Omar Souleyman - Bahdeni Nami
July 24, 2015
Critic Score
69
15 reviews
User Score
63
10 reviews

59. Doldrums - The Air Conditioned Nightmare

Doldrums - The Air Conditioned Nightmare
April 7, 2015
Neo-Psychedelia
Critic Score
67
12 reviews
User Score
71
24 reviews

58. DJ Spooky with Kronos Quartet - Rebirth of a Nation

DJ Spooky with Kronos Quartet - Rebirth of a Nation
August 28, 2015
Critic Score
80
2 reviews
User Score
63
1 review

57. John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
October 2, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
82
18 reviews
User Score
73
47 reviews
John Grant is making some of the best art of the new millennium as he struggles with his many demons, both those internal and those external.
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56. Max Richter - SLEEP

Max Richter - SLEEP
September 4, 2015
Modern Classical
Critic Score
77
4 reviews
User Score
85
20 reviews

55. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
September 4, 2015
Heavy Metal
Critic Score
77
14 reviews
User Score
73
31 reviews

They did push themselves like they’ve never done before, and they’ve rewarded their millions of worldwide fans with a late-career zenith.

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54. Bell Witch - Four Phantoms

Bell Witch - Four Phantoms
April 28, 2015
Sludge Metal
Critic Score
82
2 reviews
User Score
71
19 reviews

53. Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss

Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss
August 7, 2015
Gothic Rock
Critic Score
76
21 reviews
User Score
79
130 reviews

Abyss may not be a go-to for either late-night or summer listening, but it ably solidifies Wolfe’s presence as a devastatingly unique voice in our current musical climate.

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52. Ryley Walker - Primrose Green

Ryley Walker - Primrose Green
March 31, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
79
14 reviews
User Score
75
43 reviews

51. Bully - Feels Like

Bully - Feels Like
June 23, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
76
17 reviews
User Score
75
88 reviews
Bully’s exuberant strain of alt-rock is undeniably vintage, but what keeps the music afloat above the familiar jangle guitars and chunky bass lines is that spirited attitude of sunny nostalgia that Bognanno so deftly taps into.
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50. Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too

Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too
April 7, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
78
191 reviews
They might have to destroy pop to save it, but if anyone has a vision for a great new musical world, it’s Young Fathers.
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49. Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls

Prurient - Frozen Niagara Falls
May 12, 2015
Noise
Critic Score
80
9 reviews
User Score
74
61 reviews

48. C Duncan - Architect

C Duncan - Architect
July 17, 2015
Indie Pop
Critic Score
79
6 reviews
User Score
76
31 reviews

47. Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn

Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn
February 10, 2015
Folk
Critic Score
80
5 reviews
User Score
72
18 reviews

Everything works on Tomorrow Is My Turn, an album that heralds the arrival of a major American artist.

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46. Future Brown - Future Brown

Future Brown - Future Brown
February 24, 2015
UK Bass
Critic Score
70
15 reviews
User Score
69
24 reviews

45. Dâm-Funk - Invite the Light

Dâm-Funk - Invite the Light
September 4, 2015
Funk
Critic Score
74
13 reviews
User Score
69
20 reviews

It’s a very good approximation of a very specific sound and furthers Dâm-Funk’s reputation and worthiness of his chosen sobriquet.

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44. 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
289 reviews

She’s as huge and commanding as ever on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, the third album under the Florence and the Machine name, but the music that surrounds her is coupled with hints of restraint, making the record her sleekest and most gorgeous yet.

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43. Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?

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

42. CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye
September 25, 2015
Synthpop
Critic Score
79
27 reviews
User Score
74
294 reviews

The songs on Every Open Eye move better, evolve cleaner and hit bigger heights. It’s a subtle evolution, but a big step for this kind of pop band.

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41. FKA Twigs - M3LL155X

FKA Twigs - M3LL155X
August 13, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
84
11 reviews
User Score
83
361 reviews

The effect of the album is soothing and challenging all at once; full of complex messaging yet equally suitable as backdrop for studying; worthy of lingering concentration on each and every note or dozing off to on an airplane.

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40. Beach House - Depression Cherry

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

Some minor, targeted deviation from the formula would have pushed Depression Cherry to an unprecedented level of novelty for the band, but as it stands, the record falls into a creeping, achromatic daze far more ambitious than it is visionary.

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39. Skylar Spence - Prom King

Skylar Spence - Prom King
September 18, 2015
Nu-Disco
Critic Score
69
4 reviews
User Score
66
29 reviews

38. Ashley Monroe - The Blade

Ashley Monroe - The Blade
July 24, 2015
Country
Critic Score
81
9 reviews
User Score
73
21 reviews

The Blade is her first album that can’t be construed as a debut. It’s also the first that doesn’t feel like a debut. It’s coming from a place of confidence in talent, of assurance in what she’s doing.

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37. Holly Herndon - Platform

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

In its least engaging moments, Platform feels more like a homework assignment geared to some equivocal set than an album. In its better moments, it’s electronic music for the fourth-dimension.

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36. Deafheaven - New Bermuda

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

35. Torres - Sprinter

Torres - Sprinter
May 5, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
User Score
78
214 reviews

Voice, both the sound that emanates from vocal cords and the perspective from which songs are written, is what’s been honed on Torres’s second album Sprinter.

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34. 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
22 reviews
User Score
77
281 reviews

Never in any danger of overstaying his welcome, Kgositsile shows an overall maturity on Outside that suggests great things in his future.

Full Review →

33. Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic

Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic
July 10, 2015
Progressive Metal
Critic Score
77
5 reviews
User Score
73
24 reviews

32. Josh Ritter - Sermon on the Rocks

Josh Ritter - Sermon on the Rocks
October 16, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
70
4 reviews
User Score
73
7 reviews

31. Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo & Youth

Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo & Youth
January 20, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
76
13 reviews
User Score
78
171 reviews

Tetsuo & Youth finds Lupe Fiasco returning to the ambitious abandon that defined his first two albums.

Full Review →
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Original Source: http://www.popmatters.com/feature/the-80-best-albums-of-2015/

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