It’s hard to write a great song, and it’s even harder to write a great album. The artist must pull together a collection of solid tunes that work together as one cohesive unit, holding the listener from beginning to end for 30-60 minutes.
Whenever we draw near the end of the year, I like to reflect on my favorite music from the past 12 months. Check out my picks for 2015 and listen to them via Spotify below!
Above photo: Sufjan Stevens by Jules Minus via Flickr
Carrie & Lowell
Quietly brilliant, this album will hypnotize with acoustics and whispered vocals. Not a good one to play at parties, but if you’re looking for an escape from the hectic and want some reflection time, this is your album of the year. It’s mine, anyway.
What Went Down
I’ve been following Foals for quite some time–loved some of their songs, felt ambivalent about others. On What Went Down, the band finds their best balance yet of booming arena rock, intricate guitar pieces and sing-along anthems. Beyond the excellent singles, my favorites are “Night Swimmers,” which harks back to the tight guitar interplay from their debut LP, and “London Thunder,” a slow-building anthem that shows off a new power to tugs at the heart.
And now for something completely different. V is the perfect vitamin when you’re looking for an energy boost. Combining the upbeat shimmer of Blink-182 with the substance and sneering attitude of Green Day, Wavves is producing some of the best pop-punk since those golden 90’s. Turn it on and rock the f*** out!
Anthems for Doomed Youth
The boys in the band are back! After a decade hiatus, I wasn’t sure Pete Doherty and Carl Barât would ever reunite. Doherty is a brilliant artist who seems to effortlessly write hooks but has a tendency to get distracted by drugs. Barât is a master of tight, no-nonsense tunes who brings out his partner’s strengths while reining in his nonsense. On Anthems for Doomed Youth, we see that dynamic working just like it did in the early 2000s, only now with the addition of road-worn maturity.
Weird Little Birthday
Fans of Pavement, Yuck and Earlimart, take note–this is your new jam. Happyness effortlessly gets your head nodding with a blend of mellow guitar rock and fast-and-loud alternative. They’ve also really got a knack for singing catchy lyrics about the sad and disturbing. Take “Naked Patients,” which opens with: “There’s something so funny about a sick body and the things that it does that it shouldn’t do.” Yes, it’s nice to see the alt-rock spirit of the 90’s still alive and well.
What are your favorite albums this year? Sound off in the comments below!