The Guardian's Best Albums of 2015

The Guardian's Best Albums of 2015

Original Source

40. Benjamin Clementine - At Least For Now

Benjamin Clementine - At Least For Now
January 12, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
70
4 reviews
User Score
80
67 reviews

39. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls

Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
September 4, 2015
Heavy Metal
Critic Score
77
14 reviews
User Score
75
30 reviews

On the evidence of The Book of Souls, The Acceptance of the Inevitable isn’t on Iron Maiden’s agenda.

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38. 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

37. Janet Jackson - Unbreakable

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

The chunky bass of Dammn Baby hits the dancefloor spot – but otherwise, Unbreakable’s highlights are low-key moments of reflection and nostalgia.

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36. Vince Staples - Summertime '06

Vince Staples - Summertime '06
June 30, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
86
20 reviews
User Score
83
404 reviews

In a year of impressive solo rap albums, Staples has managed to create one that’s arguably the most idiosyncratic of the lot.

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35. Dr. Dre - Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre - Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre
August 7, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
80
25 reviews
User Score
75
194 reviews

It’s an hour-long demonstration that Dr Dre’s skills as producer and curator alike are still as potent as ever.

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34. FFS - FFS

FFS - FFS
June 8, 2015
Art Rock
Critic Score
77
18 reviews
User Score
71
69 reviews
There’s more here than mere novelty appeal – enough to make you hope they repeat the experiment at some point.
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33. Jessica Pratt - On Your Own Love Again

Jessica Pratt - On Your Own Love Again
January 27, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
78
17 reviews
User Score
77
98 reviews

32. Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, girl

Jenny Hval - Apocalypse, girl
June 9, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
80
18 reviews
User Score
75
140 reviews

It’s provocative, but these are ideas rarely heard in pop, which makes it all the more compelling.

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31. CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

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

It’s an assured follow-up to their US-conquering debut, The Bones of What You Believe, picking out its predecessor’s stadium-pop moments and turning up the intensity without ever overselling its charm.

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30. Fantasma - Free Love

Fantasma - Free Love
March 9, 2015
Critic Score
77
3 reviews
User Score
NR

29. Sleaford Mods - Key Markets

Sleaford Mods - Key Markets
July 24, 2015
Art Punk
Critic Score
74
16 reviews
User Score
72
42 reviews
Anger is still their foremost energy, but there is a much richer seam of humour than they like to let on.
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28. Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass

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

The touchstones here, such as Dusty in Memphis, are all records that revel in a particular kind of musicality, yet this is a record that never feels retro, just timeless.

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27. Mac DeMarco - Another One

Mac DeMarco - Another One
August 7, 2015
Jangle Pop
Critic Score
74
26 reviews
User Score
74
186 reviews
This follow-up arrives quickly, and is small in its ambition, but still feels well-formed.
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26. Laura Marling - Short Movie

Laura Marling - Short Movie
March 23, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
80
23 reviews
User Score
77
137 reviews

It’s less musically intense than its predecessor – as well as the usual neo-Brit folk rock, there’s spindly and angular rock and even, on Gurdjieff’s Daughter, an unmistakable debt to Sultans of Swing.

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25. Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People

Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People
July 10, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
15 reviews
User Score
74
48 reviews

It is more than bluster: Perpetual Motion People is the restless sound of a genuine one-off in a generic world.

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24. Holly Herndon - Platform

Holly Herndon - Platform
May 19, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
User Score
76
166 reviews
Banger-free, perhaps, but gloriously avant garde and fiercely inventive.
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23. Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie

Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie
September 25, 2015
Post-Punk
Critic Score
79
22 reviews
User Score
73
53 reviews

22. New Order - Music Complete

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

It’s a little long, there’s the odd duff track ... But Music Complete still feels like the freshest thing they’ve done in ages.

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21. Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs

Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs
February 16, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
85
5 reviews
User Score
81
170 reviews

Ten Love Songs shows a command of artpop, chilly synthpop, and that simultaneously joyous and desperate disco that seems to seep out of Scandinavia in an unending flood.

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20. Grimes - Art Angels

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

19. 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
313 reviews

Her voice is fine, rather than outstanding. She doesn’t do anything to stamp her identity on the songs: good as they are, you’re struck by the sense you could be listening to anyone.

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18. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love
May 26, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
79
23 reviews
User Score
78
312 reviews
The songs nod to the 1960s (Like Acid Rain), 70s (The World Is Crowded) and 80s (Can’t Keep Checking My Phone), but always feel fresh – a giddy, psychedelic sound almost as unique as the subject matter.
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17. Jamie xx - In Colour

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

Although In Colour flirts with being overly tasteful, it usually manages to stay just the right side of strange – much like the xx themselves.

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16. Floating Points - Elaenia

Floating Points - Elaenia
November 6, 2015
Electronic
Critic Score
83
17 reviews
User Score
79
136 reviews
Like its namesake – a lithe South American bird – Elaenia flits, swoops and soars beautifully, impossible to pin down, let alone cage.
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15. Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala - Currents
July 17, 2015
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
84
30 reviews
User Score
83
875 reviews
Like all great psychedelic music, it perfectly evokes a deeply weird altered state, albeit that of a head wrecked by grief rather than lysergic acid diethylamide.
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14. 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
336 reviews
Intimate, intense, wistful, endlessly questioning, open-hearted Drake, backed by pristine machine beats, with aching chord sequences and lovely synth codas – longtime Drake fans will find much to appreciate here.
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13. Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool

Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool
June 22, 2015
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
18 reviews
User Score
77
145 reviews
It’s an invigorating debut with a gaunt, gallant identity of its own.
Full Review →

12. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier

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

There are so many straightforwardly commercial-sounding songs here that Fading Frontier could conceivably be an album that turns Deerhunter from cult concern into mainstream success.

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11. Miguel - Wildheart

Miguel - Wildheart
June 30, 2015
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
81
24 reviews
User Score
79
267 reviews

His previous albums were sonically scattered and eclectic, but Wildheart mints a signature musical style; moreover, it’s a signature musical style that doesn’t sound much like anyone else.

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10. Joanna Newsom - Divers

Joanna Newsom - Divers
October 23, 2015
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
87
30 reviews
User Score
83
237 reviews
It’s at turns maddening, exhausting, enrapturing, insightful and very beautiful. But it always feels like the work of an artist who’s out there on her own, doing something no one else is doing.
Full Review →

9. Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too

Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too
April 7, 2015
Hip Hop
Critic Score
81
19 reviews
User Score
78
186 reviews
They manage the rare feat of melding pop and politics into a potent mix, and continue a tradition – begun by the likes of Smith & Mighty, Tricky and Massive Attack – of reinterpreting pop, hip-hop and soul through the filter of black British life.
Full Review →

8. Kamasi Washington - The Epic

Kamasi Washington - The Epic
May 5, 2015
Jazz Fusion
Critic Score
81
5 reviews
User Score
82
262 reviews

Dedicated to bringing jazz to the uninitiated, Epic features soul and gospel vocals, boiling drumming, swing, funk, and voicelike free-jazz blowing.

Full Review →

7. 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
611 reviews
Gentle, subtle, poignant, Barnett is almost crooning as she talks disappointment and expectation, and she has a photographer’s eye for detail when it comes to the otherwise mundane.
Full Review →

6. 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
477 reviews
All hail Sleater-Kinney: as riotous and vital as ever.
Full Review →

5. Björk - Vulnicura

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

You could say there’s something gimlet-eyed about a woman who realises her relationship is collapsing and automatically thinks: still, great material. But it’s nothing if not honest. And besides, on the evidence of Vulnicura, she has a point.

Full Review →

4. Julia Holter - Have You in My Wilderness

Julia Holter - Have You in My Wilderness
September 25, 2015
Art Pop
Critic Score
87
24 reviews
User Score
84
419 reviews
The result is a genuinely exceptional and entrancing album, opaque but effective, filled with beautiful, skewed songs, unconventional without ever feeling precious or affected.
Full Review →

3. 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
728 reviews

For all the layers of irony on I Love You, Honeybear, the biggest irony of all might be that such an ostensibly knotty and confusing album’s real strength lies in something as prosaic and transparent as its author’s ability to write a beautiful melody.

Full Review →

2. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

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

The music matches the lyrics, managing to be both overwhelming and understated: melodies match sentiment with perfect judgment. Carrie & Lowell is a delight in every way, surely one of the albums of the year.

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
1204 reviews

Time will tell whether in decades to come, To Pimp a Butterfly is still being spoken of in the same breath as the kind of epochal albums it’s currently being compared to, but for the moment, he’s certainly achieved his aim in impressive style.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/ng-interactive/2015/dec/02/best-albums-of-2015

MORE 2015 YEAR END LISTS:


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Check out our 2015 Year End Summary.