I guess this year finally marked the end of my album listening behaviour. Spotify’s Discover and Daily Mix features were the one-two punch that knocked it out. In addition I somehow stopped scrobbling to Last.fm in March. It’s switched back on now but the damage is done.
So the data I do have is incomplete. I did still deliberately put on a number of albums this year. But I won’t post them in order of listens like I did last year. This is subjective, unsorted and hand-picked. I will even sneak in a few albums that were published towards the end of 2015.
My sources included Pitchfork’s list of best new albums which used to be how I discovered new music and still wields some influence. I cross-referenced with Spotify’s top songs of 2016.
So first Spotify tells me what to listen to and then it gives me a list of things I actually listened to. This is getting weird…
Anyway, here they are. A * marks a particular favourite.
- A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… *
- Solange – A Seat At the Table
- Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
- The Avalanches – Wildflower *
- Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
- Whitney – Light Upon the Lake
- Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial *
- Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book *
- ANOHNI – HOPELESSNESS
- Moodymann – DJ-Kicks *
- Grimes – Art Angels *
- Floating Points – Elaenia
- The Range – Potential *
- Sepalcure – Folding Time
- Jamila Woods – HEAVN
Here’s a playlist which includes a couple of more albums if you want to have a listen.
Well what do you know, a blog post. Because looking back is the thing people do this time of year and I actually have the luxury of time to look back for a change, I thought I’d compile a list of albums I enjoyed listening to in 2015 that were also released in 2015.
There were quite a few albums I listened to this year that weren’t released in 2015. Those don’t show up here. If you’re curious, there is always Last.fm. Most notably, I discovered The Hold Steady through BEE and got seriously hooked on ‘Boys And Girls In America’. Some of the best rock music made this side of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, if you ask me.
Anyway, here is a list of the 15 albums from 2015 that I listened to the most, in order of number of plays. A ❤️ denotes a particular favourite. If you want to have a listen, here’s a Spotify playlist.
- DJ Koze – DJ Kicks ❤️ (Just a flawless mix of delightful tunes that lift the spirit.)
- Blur – The Magic Whip ❤️ (Lyrically interesting, sonically a kind of review or repetition of their whole oeuvre. Atmospherically I think they captured the spirit of the times quite well.)
- Tame Impala – Currents (The falsetto gets on my nerves some times, but the opening tracks have an irresistible groove to them.)
- Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit ❤️ (Strong contender for album of the year. Funny, imaginative lyrics and music that simply rocks.)
- Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… ❤️ (It is kind of amazing to me how Vile keeps churning out one great record after an other. This is his most optimistic to date.)
- Jamie XX – In Colour (There are a few letdowns on this one preventing it to be the kind of dance music album you play on repeat.)
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (All over the place. I dig the nods to P‑Funk.)
- Everything Everything – Get To Heaven (I binged on this in July and have hardly listened to it since because of the love hate relationship with the singer’s voice. But this remains delightfully eclectic and energetic.)
- Dr. Dre – Compton (Not available on Spotify but I mention it here because I enjoyed the return to uncomplicated west side hiphop it offers.)
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion (Obligatory guilty pleasure. Each year I get hooked on one of these female pop stars. This was Carly Rae’s year.)
- Miguel – Wildheart (Easily the best R&B album of the year. Versatile, sexy, musically interesting.)
- Royal Headache – High (Great throwback to punk that sounds fresh at the same time. Great lyrics.)
- Destroyer – Poison Season (Wasn’t so sure about this one until seeing them live (again) at Le Guess Who? and now that I’ve heard the songs live I understand what they’re trying to do here. These songs are meant to sound BIG.)
- Deerhunter – Fading Frontier ❤️ (Another album of the year hopeful. Most accessible album of a band that continues to fascinate. Musically and lyrically imaginative and exciting.)
- Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone? (I return to this for its intimate atmosphere.)
I should have listened to these more but somehow didn’t. Here they are in no particular order.
- Lower Dens – Escape From Evil
- Ought – Sun Coming Down
- Beach House – Depression Cherry
- Kelela – Hallucinogen
- FKA twigs – M3LL155X
- Ratking – 700 Fill