It’s the end of December, and we’ve made our way through another year of music. Check out what the MEB staff has kept on repeat throughout 2015 and what we’re looking forward to in 2015! Click hyperlinked artists and albums to read full reviews, or click staff photos to see all of each staff member’s picks for the year. While you’re at it, check out the 2015 MEBBIES. If you’re not feeling that whole “reading” thing, go judge some albums by their covers at the art clickgrid. Let us know in the comments if you agree with our picks or if we missed anything great!
The first time I listened to Carrie & Lowell (on the same night as Modest Mouse’s Strangers To Ourselves, no less), it was through headphones at around 3AM with no lights on. From that first time through, I knew that this record was something special. I didn’t need to see it live to confirm the emotional weight of these songs, but it certainly didn’t hurt, either. Sufjan is in a class nearly by himself, and the intimate, introspective Carrie & Lowell proves his songwriting is as strong as it’s ever been.
Most-Anticipated: The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
Christina: Tame Impala – Currents
2015 was the year of Tame Impala. Their new album Currents is filled with lush instrumentals, rump-shaking beats and trippy music videos. This album has quickly become the de facto chill party jam which is a world of change from Tame Impala’s previously psychedelic-pop sound.
Most-Anticipated: Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger
This album will go down in music history as one of those classic records where you remember the first time you listened to it – where you were and how it made you feel. I was on spring break and recall listening to each track in my room with the breeze coming through my open window. The record was crisp as the air, seamlessly flowing from track to track with lyrical precision and jazz-fueled instrumental diversity. Remembering that day never gets old, and neither does this hip-hop masterpiece.
Joy, Departed is a special record. Like The Hotelier a year ago, Sorority Noise was able to perfectly capture an emotional tone that no other records came close to touching. Cam Boucher’s lyrics carry such a weight to them as he continues to use his band to address deeply personal topics with a poetic ease, while the band seamless melds emo, power-pop and indie into a digestible package. Sorority Noise created a truly impactful record in Joy, Departed, and that’s why it’s my album of the year.
Most-Anticipated: Brand New
Heather: The Neighbourhood – Wiped Out!
Who would’ve thought that it were possible to feel mopey and turned on at the same time? Well, The Neighbourhood successfully did that and proved to us that they are SO much more than “that-band-that-sings-the-sweater-song.” Wiped Out! is a glorious continuation of their debut album that gives off a theme of understanding of the self in deep psychological aspects. It just goes to show that the most surprising artists can pull out the most thought-provoking songs from their geniusly creative brains.
Most-Anticipated: Simple Plan
Turnover did what almost every punk band tries to do. You know, that thing where their sound drastically shifts from a loud or hard foundation into a calmer forte. The only difference between them and everyone else is that they pulled it off seamlessly. Peripheral Vision makes its home in your mind and body and refuses to leave or pay rent on time. It’s a record that soars, hurts, and shines and my only wish is that it would run longer.
Most-Anticipated: Now, Now
Sharan: Alesana – Confessions
From the first song to the last, I was mesmerized by music that wraps around the words of a story I have followed for years. Crossing the entire spectrum of emotion, I was surprised, happy, sad, and frightened, as each song continues the plight of Anabel. Lyrics from “Fatal Optimist” say “I am no hero and I’m not a saint/I can’t save the world/and I never asked for this” and resonate with a generation who must find solutions to serious issues we face today.
Most-Anticipated: Keys & Corridors
Creativity, ambition, experimentation, catchy hooks, and helluva a lot of hard rappin’ is what all hip-hop addicts are fiendin’ for, and Kendrick Lamar was the one to supply the best dope in 2015. Dissecting the philosophy of this album is as enjoyable as the soulful, yet funky beats he raps on. The lyricism and content will be something we’ll be mesmerizing for the next coming years. Go, Dot.
Most-Anticipated: Pusha T
There isn’t really any other answer that could apply when thinking about my number one album of 2015. One of the sharpest, densest and most thought-provoking records that we have seen since the last time King Kendrick graced the mic, this album will be remembered as a hallmark of our time, While my words are no different than those given by hundreds of other critics, they hold true. Lamar’s ability to take hip-hop to the level that he does is a rare gift, and one that makes this record the triumph that it is.
Most-Anticipated: Kanye West
Coated in sarcasm and subtle jabs at the quintessential American dream, Father John Misty gets honest about love and life in I Love You, Honeybear. Every single song on this album is a hit, but “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins),” “True Affection,” “I Love You, Honeybear,” and “Bored In The USA” are certainly standouts. I Love You, Honeybear is the kind of album that’s insanely enjoyable and appropriate for any and every moment of your life, and if you haven’t listened to it yet then do so ASAP.