Here's a list of my 10 favorite albums from 2015, along with a short explanation of why each one made the list if there is any other reason other than "i just like it."
Aside from just being a massive fan of Sufjan Stevens and his many musical masterpieces, I happened upon an opportunity to meet thee Lowell Brams from the album title and from Asthmatic Kitty fame. As if already loving the art of Sufjan Stevens wasn't enough to give this an edge on my list, having dinner with Lowell, talking to him about his label and his connection to the music on this album, and learning more about other artists that are on his label made this an easy highlight for the year 2015. Carrie & Lowell is a devastatingly beautiful album that will be a lifetime favorite for me and many others.
Most people would probably claim this was the best album of 2015. Rightfully so, but for me it was not. I bought it the moment it was released on iTunes, and bought the vinyl version immediately when I saw it available on amazon, and having heard it probably 10 times all the way through, I could tell it was a masterwork, but if I'm being honest... it just wasn't clicking with me. It wasn't until well into the fall, several months after the original release that I actually started to think about this album randomly when I was at work or when I was away from other music. I started craving to hear some of the lines in context of the songs in context of the album as a whole. So it's incredible, and it will live on for years and years and years and maybe my kids one day will ask if I listened to this when it came out--if I cared about it when it was relevant--and I will resoundingly say "YES!"... but for me, even with that, it still wasn't the best album of the year for me in 2015. To each, their own.
Tame Impala released the most easily accessible album in my top 3 this year. I just immediately loved it and continue to as I write. Why anyone would ignore how great of a band Tame Impala has been and will continue to be is far beyond me... but Currents was a home run in their career and shall live in infamy among my record collection.
I have nothing to say about this Father John Misty album other than it's incredible, and I think Josh Tillman is an incredibly gifted artist and exceptional performer and entertainer. Also, I will be singing "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)" for the rest of my life.
The song of the summer of 2015 was, hands down, "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)." The rest of the album holds up too, Jamie XX continues to impress outside of The XX, which is incredible in and of itself.
Despite having just two out of the ten spots in my top 10 filled with "rap" albums, the real story is that it was incredibly difficult to just two. With albums from Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt, Drake, and Future I think I listened to Rap more this year than any other year out of the last 5. Young Thug is the show stealing performer though and 2015 was a landmark year for Thugger.
I probably listened to this album more than any other this year because it's easy to put on around my 18-month-old boy who happens to love it. It's like the album I put on in every occasion with him. If I need him to go to sleep, I'll play "Wild Imagination" or "All in a Daze Work"... if he's excitable, I put on "Pretty Pimpin.'" It's versatile, and it's adult/child approved.
Beach House released two albums this year that could both easily be in the top 10--first was Depression Cherry which saw a normal promotion cycle, singles, and hype--as well as the album shown above Thank Your Lucky Stars which was largely a surprise release even to the most avid fans. Their catalog continues to grown and expand in ways I always seem to appreciate, as well as their live shows. I chose Thank Your Lucky Stars as one for my top 10 because I legitimately wasn't anticipating it's release and loved as much as any of their other albums--which is to say, this album is incredible.
Full Disclosure--If a Destroyer album gets released in any given calendar year it's probably going to end up in my top 10. Poison Season is no exception. As soon as I heard this album the first time I listened to it almost exclusively for a month and I sang it in my head throughout my days. I can easily recall the melody to just about every song on the album as I sit, and currently can't get the crescendo from "Bangkok" out of my head as I type. Dan Bejar is a prolific artist.
Although this album rounds out the number 10 spot on my year-end list, it is no less valuable to me than any of the above. Deerhunter is consistently one of my favorite bands and is usually one of few I mention when people ask me "what music do you listen to" or "what bands do you like?" "Deerhunter," I tell them, "I like Deerhunter."