Hello everyone and I hope you had a happy whatever it is you celebrate!
As we come to the end of 2015, I felt like being one of the many bloggers who does a round up of some of the best this year. Today I'm sharing some of my favourite albums that were released in 2015. It's really hard to narrow down a favourite given that so many great artists released something new, or were introduced to the music scene. With that in mind, this list is in order of release date (because I just couldn't choose). Enjoy!
Jazmine Sullivan-Reality Show
This album really surprised me and kind of almost came out of nowhere for me. This album was completely out of the norm to what I usually listen to, which is why I think I loved it so much. This soulful R&B record talks about love, relationships and hard times on the street. Sullivan has a beautiful singing voice while still incorporating elements of rap into it which makes it stand out that much more.
Fall Out Boy-American Beauty/American Psycho
It's without a doubt that I'd be including Fall Out Boy's latest effort into my list. American Beauty/American Psycho was a slightly different record given that there was more experimentation with sound, primarily with guitar distortions and heavier drum beats. Given that there was a lot of pressure for a follow up to Save Rock & Roll, I'd say the band did so gracefully in such a short amount of time.
Sleater-Kinney-No Cities to Love
I was so excited to hear of the announcement of Sleater-Kinney coming off hiatus in 2014, and they came back forcefully with the album to follow, No Cities to Love. This record is a new and fresh sound to the usual Sleater-Kinney, but is reminiscent about their earlier material. It's clear that the hiatus was good for them to regroup and recreate a once lost sound.
Marina & the Diamonds-Froot
I was so excited about the announcement of Marina & the Diamonds' new album. Her previous effort, Electra Heart was a smash hit around the world and her inventive sound and clever lyricism was something that made her stand out among other pop acts. Froot is a dynamic and mature record, reflecting on growth from past relationships and how to move on. She keeps her same fun dance songs but also brings about some seriousness to other tracks. This consistency makes for a beautiful and mature record.
All Time Low-Future Hearts
After continuous touring and constant support for their last effort, pop-punkers All Time Low released their fifth studio album Future Hearts this year. This record features a very staple pop-punk sound that the band often uses creating a lot of familiarity. However, the band extended help from Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte as guest vocalists to spice up the record.
Alabama Shakes-Sound & Color
Alabama Shakes released their sophomore album, Sound & Color this year to rave reviews. Initially under my radar, I heard the song I Don't Wanna Fight and it blew me away. Brittany Howard's wailing at the beginning of the song left chills all over me, and the rest of the record managed to do just that. The band has done incredibly well throughout the year, even earning themselves four Grammy nominations! All for a very well deserved record.
Mumford & Sons-Wilder Mind
Wilder Mind is the third studio album from folk rockers Mumford and Sons. This record was a step in a different direction for the band. And while they still maintain the same alternative sound, there's a lot less banjo on this record almost making it remind a lot of fans (as well as myself) of a folk Coldplay album. That said, this record still carries the same rock sound that Mumford & Sons has always had. The album opens with the song Tompkins Square Park with a haunting guitar riff, almost reminiscent to Thistle and Weeds from their first studio album, Sigh No More. Ultimately, this record seemed to have been a challenging effort for the band in a way that helped them step outside of their comfort zone, but still making for an excellent record of 2015.
Best Coast-California Nights
This was another record that came out of nowhere for me. I was familiar with Best Coast after having seeing them open up for Green Day in 2013 on the Uno, Dos, Tre tour. I vaguely remember their set and nothing had particularly stuck out to me. However, if I could turn back time now, I would. Best Coast has easily one of the coolest and most casual pop-rock sound I've heard in a long time, and California Nights embodies that. This was easily a record I could (and still can!) listen to from start to finish without skipping a track. Its laid back sound and easy going lyrics make for a great every day album to listen to and has become one of my favourite records.
Twenty One Pilots-Blurryface
This year Twenty One Pilots became the band that everyone loved that no one knew about. The internet ultimately helped to blow up this band with thanks to Twitter and Tumblr. Their major label release, Vessel, gained enough attention for a highly anticipated follow up which would be Blurryface. Already dealing with darker content, Blurryface explores that further with this record. Heavier drums and heavier synths, Blurryface has taken a new turn for the band while still keeping their intense content. This album has increased Twenty One Pilots' popularity enough so that they're doing multiple sold out tours in North America and the UK.
Florence & The Machine-How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
I had always ben a huge fan of Florence & The Machine ever since I got Kiss With a Fist as a free iTunes download. Since then, she's been one of my favourite singers. Although I wasn't very pleased with her last release, she made up for it on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. This record has a more rock sound to it, and an extension in her vocal range, and kind of goes back to Florence's original sound. Songs like Delilah and Third Eye are the perfect dreamy songs to dance around to, while songs like What Kind of Man carry a more intense sound with the cascading drum beats.
Nate Ruess-Grand Romantic
I was so excited about the announcement of Fun. frontman Nate Ruess doing a solo album, and it delivered. Grand Romantic is a beautiful telling of coming into your own through love and life orchestrated in the most beautiful way. While elements of Fun's music is still very obvious, Ruess managed to spin his ideas and sound into his own.
Carly Rae Jepsen-E.MO.TION
Probably one of the biggest wild cards of the year, Carly Rae Jepsen's follow up to Kiss was easily one of my favourites this year. Although her catchy songs reign yet again (see I Really Like You), E MO TION covers a lot of, well, emotional issues that happen during a relationship. From falling in love head first, to messy boy problems. The production on the album is phenomenal, and I'll even go on to say it has a better production and better 80's inspired sound than Taylor Swift's 1989. YUP. I SAID IT!
This was another record that jumped right at me. What drew me the most to this record was that every single song has a different groove to it that will either make you want to dance around all over the place or just sit back and close your eyes for a while. It's a concept that runs the whole record but it makes it that much more enjoyable.
Mac Demarco-Another One
Canadian mellow rocker Mac DeMarco became an overnight hit with his 2014 release, Salad Days. Although primarily focusing on touring for the remainder of the year and into 2015, he managed to sneak in the release of a mini EP called Another One. This record falls similar to Salad Days with its mellow sound and grooving guitars, almost making it a part two to Salad Days.
2015 was certainly the year for Halsey. After signing on to a major label, the singer released her debut album, began a sold out tour in support, and even opened for The Weeknd on select dates of his tour. Halsey peaked the interest of a lot of music fans with her cheeky lyrics and dark, brooding music. Badlands makes just that. With lyrics about desperate relationships, heart break, and sex, Halsey explores the darkest corners of life and love on Badlands and creates something stunning out of it. More upbeat and lighter songs like Roman Holiday and New Americana deliver almost a counter balance to the far more darker songs like Control and Strange Love which make her story telling that much more interesting.
The Weeknd-Beauty Behind the Madness
After having an incredibly successful song used in the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey, The Weeknd soon became on everyone's radar. The Canadian R&B sensation released his second studio album titled Beauty Behind the Madness. The record is filled with soulful slowed down songs that keep a consistent rhythm like Often and The Hills, but also some more upbeat tracks like Can't Feel My Face. With its popularity, this record has gone on to define The Weeknd and his rise to fame, resulting in being on the cover of Rolling Stone and having a sold out North American tour.
City & Colour-If I Should Go Before You
City & Colour's fifth studio album was easily one of the most highly anticipated records of 2015. Dallas Green has outdone himself yet again with If I Should Go Before You. This time, however, he's stepped into a more rock territory as opposed to his typical soft acoustic. This is really evident in songs like Wasted Love and Mizzy C. It's an exciting twist in sound for the singer/songwriter, further helping to open his musical variety.
This was another album that was out of my spectrum that I didn't think I'd be including on this list, but here we are. Gomez has returned with a much more mature sound on her new album, featuring some sultry numbers (Hands to Myself and Good For You) and more dance heavy anthems (Me & the Rhythm) making it for a more interesting record. Although some of her past efforts have been on the cute and fun side, Revival has felt the most sonically cohesive out of all of her albums and has her sounding more grown up and less bubble gum pop. Revival really grew on me and has given me a brand new impression of her as an artist.
When the name Vanessa Carlton comes to mind, a lot of people associate her with her most famous song to date, A Thousand Miles. However, Carlton is know not just for her one hit. Her latest album, Liberman is a completely different direction in comparison to her previous pop efforts. Liberaman is a beautiful folk inspired record with a new and more darker tone to her voice. Another truly underrated record of the year, but certainly worth exploring.
Coldplay-A Head Full of Dreams
Rumours surfaced last year that Coldplay's next album could very well be their last. Whether or not that rumour remains true, if A Head Full of Dreams is their last effort, then I'd be okay with that. Coldplay's latest album is a brand new twist to their usual soft alternative sound. Their last release, Ghost Stories, was easily their most quiet and, personally, not my taste. This new record creates a more upbeat and fun sound for the band, with a heavy use of electronics and synths and even featuring a duet with Beyonce. Enough said. If Coldplay are pulling out all the stops, then they've done so perfectly with this record.
Those are some of my favourite records this year, what were some of yours? Leave a comment!