SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2015 So Far

SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2015 So Far

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Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful

Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful
March 24, 2015
Critic Score
72
17 reviews
It's the rare rap album that actually rewards its mixtape following.

Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color

Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
April 21, 2015
Critic Score
80
28 reviews
Rather than resting on the laurels of our expectations, Alabama Shakes manage to make roots-rock a surprise again.

American Wrestlers - American Wrestlers

American Wrestlers - American Wrestlers
April 7, 2015
Critic Score
72
8 reviews

Ultimately, the most appealing thing about American Wrestlers is its lack of obvious guile or pretension. 

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power
April 24, 2015
Critic Score
84
6 reviews

Kouyaté offers an even more explicit nod towards Nigeria’s Fela Kuti this time around ... But more idyllic sections resonate, too.

Best Coast - California Nights

Best Coast - California Nights
May 5, 2015
Critic Score
69
25 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.

Björk - Vulnicura

Björk - Vulnicura
January 20, 2015
Critic Score
86
31 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.

Black Cilice - Mysteries

Black Cilice - Mysteries
January 30, 2015
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

This kind of raw, atmospheric black metal harkens back to when the genre was still wet with afterbirth.

Blur - The Magic Whip

Blur - The Magic Whip
April 27, 2015
Critic Score
78
34 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.

Cannibal Ox - Blade of the Ronin

Cannibal Ox - Blade of the Ronin
March 3, 2015
Critic Score
69
11 reviews

Ronin is a very good album and a fun anachronism in 2015 between surprise Drake and Kanye releases.

Chastity Belt - Time To Go Home

Chastity Belt - Time To Go Home
March 23, 2015
Critic Score
74
12 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.

Ciara - Jackie

Ciara - Jackie
May 4, 2015
Critic Score
59
8 reviews

The strong-heeled Jackie is far from conservative, and possibly more daring, with three of the year’s best songs at the very top, middle, and bottom, which couldn’t be more different from each other. 

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld - Never Were The Way She Was

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld - Never Were The Way She Was
April 28, 2015
Critic Score
77
16 reviews
It’s a cohesive meditation on the legacy of avant-garde greats like Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt and peers such as Tim Hecker — and, of course, an essential part of Stetson and Neufeld’s own impressive canons.

Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up

Colleen Green - I Want to Grow Up
February 24, 2015
Critic Score
64
9 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.

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
Critic Score
83
35 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.

Dan Deacon - Gliss Riffer

Dan Deacon - Gliss Riffer
February 24, 2015
Critic Score
75
25 reviews

Dan Deacon decided to scale back for Gliss Riffer, resulting in his most intimate — but still deliriously fun — album yet.

DAWN - Blackheart

DAWN - Blackheart
January 15, 2015
Critic Score
82
6 reviews

On the second album of her “Heart” trilogy she improves on the Linndrum sonics of her debut.

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

Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late
February 12, 2015
Critic Score
78
24 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.

Dwight Yoakam - Second Hand Heart

Dwight Yoakam - Second Hand Heart
April 14, 2015
Critic Score
84
7 reviews

No longer angling for a hit, this veteran of the airplay succession wars continues to record some of the best music of his life.

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
Critic Score
77
25 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.

Eye - The Future Will Be Repeated

Eye - The Future Will Be Repeated
March 9, 2015
Critic Score
90
1 review

The Future Will Be Repeated is blurred and indecisive in all of the best ways, a half-dozen awesome out instrumentals that dodder in place delightfully.

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
February 10, 2015
Critic Score
88
34 reviews

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

Fifth Harmony - Reflection

Fifth Harmony - Reflection
February 3, 2015
Critic Score
75
5 reviews

Reflection often sounds like a Frankenstein’s monster of borrowed samples, phrases, themes, and sounds, but the stitches never show.

Girl Band - The Early Years

Girl Band - The Early Years
April 21, 2015
Critic Score
76
7 reviews

Their squall is as destructive as ever, but now it’s been streamlined to nuclear levels with the integration of groove, making the band’s abrasive fury undeniable and giving them a sound entirely their own.

Heems - Eat Pray Thug

Heems - Eat Pray Thug
March 10, 2015
Critic Score
69
14 reviews

In many ways, Eat Pray Thug is a prequel to Das Racist, filling in the biographical gaps of a seemingly inscrutable wiseass from when he had to cry before he could laugh.

iLoveMakonnen - Drink More Water 5

iLoveMakonnen - Drink More Water 5
March 31, 2015
Critic Score
67
4 reviews

It’s the fifth entry in his Drink More Water mixtape series that proves he’s got more melodic facility of anyone else in the bunch.

Jack Ü - Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

Jack Ü - Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
February 27, 2015
Critic Score
65
7 reviews
As a guileless continuation of the escapist, dub-tinged blowout that Diplo effortlessly pursued with Major Lazer, it's one of the beatiest prizes of the year so far.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
March 16, 2015
Critic Score
95
37 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.

Laura Marling - Short Movie

Laura Marling - Short Movie
March 23, 2015
Critic Score
81
28 reviews
The new developments in sound and style of Marling's fifth album — and the way her leading-lady status continues to evolve — leave it as her most captivating yet.

Levon Vincent - Levon Vincent

Levon Vincent - Levon Vincent
February 9, 2015
Critic Score
82
3 reviews

The album feels epic in scope, imbuing the banality of everyday life with stunning tension and emotional weight in a way few producers can hope to touch.

Liturgy - The Ark Work

Liturgy - The Ark Work
March 24, 2015
Critic Score
67
14 reviews
For a band previously hailed and reviled for its supposedly sacrilege approach, this is the real radical departure worthy of admiration.

MARINA - Froot

MARINA - Froot
March 13, 2015
Critic Score
73
18 reviews
Is the payoff immediate? No, but that’s what makes Marina such an interesting character in the pop landscape. Her work asks for work back, just like life does. You get from it what you give. You ain’t got her number and you can’t pin her down.

METZ - II

METZ - II
May 5, 2015
Critic Score
79
19 reviews

It’s common for bands bent on destruction to dial things back as they move ahead, but METZ has no such designs. II, like the record that preceded it, is still a seasick and unyielding document of brutalist experimentation.

Monster Rally & Jay Stone - Foreign Pedestrians

Monster Rally & Jay Stone - Foreign Pedestrians
January 27, 2015
Critic Score
80
1 review

It’s not just the production, though — the record’s summery vibe has just as much to do with Stone, who skates over the beats with impressive nimbleness and rapid-fire wit. 

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
January 13, 2015
Critic Score
80
32 reviews

Grim Reaper is an unedited adventure of blossoming soundscapes, vision-blurring, dissonant melodies, and cheerful robot dance numbers.

Preoccupations - Viet Cong

Preoccupations - Viet Cong
January 20, 2015
Critic Score
81
26 reviews

Viet Cong's self-titled introductory LP feeds off itself and builds out ideas to create the first truly non-derivative piece in the drone-rock genre since maybe Deerhunter's Cryptograms.

Screaming Females - Rose Mountain

Screaming Females - Rose Mountain
February 24, 2015
Critic Score
73
14 reviews
Screaming Females have not only cleared hurdles; now they're scaling mountains.

Shamir - Ratchet

Shamir - Ratchet
May 19, 2015
Critic Score
75
23 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.

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
January 20, 2015
Critic Score
87
33 reviews

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

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
March 31, 2015
Critic Score
89
37 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.

The Body & Thou - Released From Love / You, Whom I Have Always Hated

The Body & Thou - Released From Love / You, Whom I Have Always Hated
January 27, 2015
Critic Score
76
8 reviews

Every note sounds instinctual, every moment fluid; this is what happens when good friends come together to watch the world burn.

The Paranoid Style - Rock & Roll Just Can't Recall

The Paranoid Style - Rock & Roll Just Can't Recall
March 2, 2015
Critic Score
80
1 review

Despite the cautionary title, they recall plenty, and they rock’n’roll too.

Timeghost - Cellular

Timeghost - Cellular
March 17, 2015
Critic Score
75
2 reviews

Cellular engulfs but never allows you to fully relax.

Torche - Restarter

Torche - Restarter
February 24, 2015
Critic Score
75
14 reviews
It feels like a Big Rock Album, the kind that we barely get from any band these days, no matter what part of the mainstream or underground they hail from.

Various Artists - PC Music, Vol. 1

Various Artists - PC Music, Vol. 1
May 2, 2015
Critic Score
71
9 reviews
This sampler encapsulates both the warped obstacles and celestial melodies in the Lipgloss Twins and easyFun’s keep-skidding-into-the-roller-rink-wall “Laplander,” respectively, that make the crew the most engaging puzzle in surge-protected pop.

Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp

Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
April 7, 2015
Critic Score
80
25 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.

Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too

Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too
April 7, 2015
Critic Score
82
23 reviews
The LP is the group’s most enjoyable, but also their most potent, all the more menacing for its unlikely grinning.

Young Guv - Ripe 4 Luv

Young Guv - Ripe 4 Luv
March 10, 2015
Critic Score
76
9 reviews

What elevates Ripe 4 Luv beyond four absolute bangers and four darn-good in-betweens is how it uncovers the creepiness of power pop relationship dynamics.

Young Thug - Barter 6

Young Thug - Barter 6
April 16, 2015
Critic Score
70
14 reviews
For the first time on a Young Thug release, you get the sense that he’s sitting around waiting to ascend to the next level of his sound, for inspiration to strike, though with such a laid-back, inscrutable flow, he might have to activate that change himself.
Original Source: http://www.spin.com/2015/06/50-best-albums-2015-so-far/
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