I’m pretty sure no one listens to just one genre, and I’m not any different. I already rated my top 10 favorite hip-hop albums of 2015 and I gave a bit of a review for each, but for this list, I want to focus on other genres, and since we don’t really cover these, I won’t go too in depth about why I put these in the order they’re in, that way it’s more of a straight up list where you can check out my favorite tracks off the albums and maybe even start listening to someone new. So let’s get this list started! First, 2 honorable mentions.
First honorable mention goes to Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who come through with a great psychedelic pop/soul album. Favorite Tracks: “Multi-Love”, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”, “The World Is Crowded”.
Last honorable mention goes to Poison Season by Destroyer whose music sounds nothing like what you think would sound from a band called “Destroyer”. Really solid folk album infused with the poetry of Dan Bejar, the lead singer. Favorite Tracks: “Dream Lover”, “Times Square”, “Forces From Above”.
Top 15 List
15. Kelela – Hallucinogen
Kelela brings her own take on R&B in this EP with some spacey instrumentals and her great voice to go along with it. Favorite Tracks: “Rewind”, “All The Way Down”.
14. Adele – 25
I mean, what can you say? The woman is a super talented writer and maybe even a more talented singer. Hello makes you get in the feels from the first piano note. Favorite Tracks: “Hello”, “When We Were Young”, “Million Years Ago”.
13. Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness
The instrumentation on this album is so heavenly and Julia’s voice is soft but a real great companion to the music. Favorite Tracks: “Feel You”, “Sea Calls Me Home”, “Everytime Boots”, “Betsy On The Roof”.
12. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie And Lowell
Sufjan Stevens comes through with a really sad and personal album with Carrie & Lowell, and the vocals really back up this mood throughout the album. Favorite Tracks: “Death With Dignity”, “Should Have Known Better”, “Fourth Of July”, “All Of Me Wants All Of You”.
11. Alabama Shakes – Sound And Color
A really great all around rock album with a bit of soul and a southern taste in each song. Favorite Tracks: “Sound And Color”, “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Gimme All Your Love”, “Future People”.
10. Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars
One of the 2 albums Beach House dropped this year, this one was more of a surprise, but both give a really great dream pop feel which they have made famous. Favorite Tracks: “Majorette”, “All Your Yeahs”, “One Thing”, “The Traveller”, “Elegy To The Void”.
9. Thundercat – The Beyond / Where Giants Roam
LA native (and fucking amazing bass player) Thundercat gives us a taste of what is to come from him in the near future in this EP. Favorite Tracks: “Them Changes”, “Lone Wolf and Cub”, “Hard Times”.
8. Kacy Hill – Bloo
Yes, I know the EP is only like 5 songs, but Kacy can sing! No wonder Kanye signed her to G.O.O.D. Plus, her feature in “90210” is amazing. Favorite Tracks: “Arm’s Length”, “Shades Of Blue”, “Foreign Fields”.
7. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Florence’s chilling voice has always brought me back to her music, and the emotions she gives off with her voice are no different on this album. Favorite Tracks: “Ship To Wreck”, “What Kind Of Man”, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”, “Delilah”, “Long & Lost”.
6. James Bay – Chaos And The Calm
James’ EPs before this debut album are what really brought me to him. His guitar playing and his voice continue to be prevalent in this album. Favorite Tracks: “Craving”, “Hold Back The River”, “Let It Go”, “If You Ever Want To Be In Love”, “Need The Sun To Break”, “Scars”.
5. FKA Twigs – M3LL155X
FKA Twigs comes through with a really great EP where we see her take on R&B progress even more. Favorite Tracks: “In Time”, “Figure 8”, “Glass & Patron”.
4. Tame Impala – Currents
Just listen to the opening track. Seriously. You’re set after that. Favorite Tracks: “Let It Happen”, “The Less I Know The Better”, “Eventually”, “Cause I’m A Man”.
3. Jamie xx – In Colour
One-fourth of the band The xx, Jamie xx released this solo project this year which sees him exploring into the house genre (plus, his track with Young Thug is awesome). Favorite Tracks: “Gosh”, “SeeSaw”, “Obvs”, “Loud Places”, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”.
2. Beach House – Depression Cherry
Probably the album I most anticipated in 2015, and one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to. Also, “Levitation” takes you on a really amazing ride. Favorite Tracks: “Levitation”, “Sparks”, “Space Song”, “Beyond Love”, “10:37”, “PPP”, “Days Of Candy”.
1. Kamasi Washington – The Epic
Kamasi had a great appearance in Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly this year, but he also had a hell of an album that I really enjoyed in The Epic. The album is exactly what the title says it is: epic. Also, I went to his show a couple weeks back and it was an amazing experience. Live jazz can be so amazing. Favorite Tracks: “Change Of The Guard”, “Final Thought”, “The Next Step”, “The Rhythm Changes”, “Miss Understanding”, “Leroy and Lanisha”, “Re Run”, “Henrietta Our Hero”, “Re Run Home”, “Clair de Lune”, “Malcolm’s Theme”.
There ya have it. Top 15 non-hip hop list. Just like the hip hop list, maybe some of our picks will match, some won’t, but that’s the great thing about music. Here’s to much more music in 2016!