The 50 best albums of 2015
Way back in April we declared that the list of the best albums of 2015 was already better than last year’s top 50. Eight months on and it’s safe to say that not only has 2015 topped last year, but it has proved to be one of the best years for music in over a decade.
The striking thing about the last 12 months is that it hasn’t been defined by any one artist or sound, although that doesn’t mean that trends didn’t emerge. 2015 was the year that pop officially crossed over making it okay to love Justin Bieber, cry to Adele and listen to Sufjan Stevens. Pop also usurped indie with Grimes and The Weeknd shedding their weirdo roots in favour of a cleaner, glossier sound. Conversely, 2015 saw the return of the songwriter – especially those of the classic Californian tradition – with stunning debuts from Natalie Prass and Tobias Jesso Jr. While legends like Blur and Bjork produced some of the finest work of their esteemed careers.
And then there was the funk. From Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Multi-Love and Tame Impala’s Currents, funk weaved its way right back into the year’s most vital records. With the exception of Earl Sweatshirt’s introspective Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, hip-hop once again became a political force, records from Lamar, Dre and Vince Staples providing potent social commentary.
2015 will also be remembered as the year that Australian music truly made its mark on the world. Tame Impala cemented their position as one of the greatest bands of the decade with their third record Currents. Royal Headache returned with the achingly brilliant High. Twerps and Dick Diver produced their best records yet. And a 28 year-old from Melbourne took the globe by storm with an album so uniquely Australian it seemed like the most unlikely success story of all. 2016, you’ve got a hard act to follow.