Feature Article, List, Music

panda bear


Here we are again! Another year gone, another review of the best music that soundtracked our lives. To me, it seems the industry as a whole has gone through changes, but a lot of which point to previous decades. Not too long ago, I was having a discussion with someone as to what this decade’s musical identity sounds like. It’s easy to pinpoint sounds from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, even perhaps the 90’s, but what kind of identifiable sound have we cultivated from 2010-2015? It’s hard to say because so many artists have culled their audible sheen from decades long past. Hell, Taylor Swift rebuilt her latest aesthetic after the sounds of the 80’s and has been wearing it as a badge of honor. Have we become more nostalgic as a culture? Although I’m sure every generation has their fair share of “back-in-my-day” fist shaking, the current population seems very intent on revisiting a known-good well of entertainment.

You can even look at our movie landscape as an example: two of the biggest hits of the year came from continuations of Jurassic Park and Star Wars. When listening to music, it seems that a lot is snatched from the steely sounds of the 80’s along with R&B/Neo-soul of the 90’s. Everyone seems to be looking back in some sort of way. What decades will the next few years pull from? Will it advance into the future? I don’t know, obviously, and this subject could turn into an entire article itself.

To step away from the aesthetic stylings of the music, I want to touch on the attitudes of the public as a whole. I’ve probably said it before that I really hate it when someone exclaims “there’s no good music being made anymore” because it’s A.) completely untrue and B.) downright lazy. There is SO much music being put out now, there is an album for every niche and need you can think of. To further illustrate the point though, I want to talk a bit about my own personal listening habits. See, this year, I tried to keep track of how many albums I listened to. Here is my final calculation:

  • 180 albums (that I managed to track. There may be more I didn’t track)
  • 80+ albums I didn’t have time to get around to (that are in my queue)

Keep in mind that all of those albums above are recommendations or have great reviews. Meaning, those are the BEST of the BEST from each month! More than 250 albums and those are ranging from mid-level indie to major label. Who knows how many great small label/local albums were released that were barely promoted.

My point is, there is no excuse for not listening to great music. There is an abundance of it released every year and all you have to do is check for it. While streaming services like Spotify, Tidal and the like are still controversial, they make it easier for you, as a listener, to discover great music. Need a few places to start? I recommend looking at Allmusic.com’s Editors Choice, Pitchfork’s Best New Albums, and Stereogum’s Heavy Rotation.

Alright, enough babbling and philosophizing. You didn’t come here for my words! You came here for the LIST! Here it is below, in all it’s glory:


50.) The Cribs – For All My Sisters

49.) Wilco – Star Wars

48.) Lower Dens – Escape from Evil

47.) Earl Sweatshirt – I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside

46.) Mark Ronson – Uptown Special

45.) Holly Herndon – Platform

44.) Miley Cyrus – Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz

43.) Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

42.) A$AP Rocky – At.Long.Last.A$AP

41.) Tyler, the Creator – Cherry Bomb

40.) Sam Prekop – The Republic

39.) Skylar Spence – Prom King

38.) Wavves –  V

37.) Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

36.) CHVRCHES – Every Eye Open

35.) Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

34.) Belle &  Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

33.) Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit & Think and Sometimes I just sit

32.) Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again

31.) The Amazing – Picture You

30.) Destroyer – Poison Season

29.) Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams

28.) Grimes – Art Angels

27.) Milo Greene – Save Yourself

26.) Madeon – Adventure

25.) Tobias Jesso Jr – goon

24.) The Go! Team – The Scene Between

23.) FKA Twigs – M3LL155X

22.) Miguel – Wildheart

21.) Beach House – Depression Cherry

20.) Tame Impala – Currents

19.) Toro y Moi – What For?

18.) Blur – Magic Whip

17.) Deerhunter – Fading Frontier

16.) Deafheaven –  New Bermuda

15.) Arca – Mutant

14.) Kamasi Washington – The Epic

13.) Baroness – Purple

12.) Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear

11.) Neon Indian – Vega Intl. Night School

10.) FFS – FFS

9.) Dr.  Dre – Compton

8.) Jamie XX – In Color

7.) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

6.) Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

5.) Florence + the machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

4.) Panda Bear – Panda Bear vs the Grim Reaper

3.) Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete

2.) Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

1.) HEALTH – Death Magic

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