Top 15 tracks of 2015

2015 was a magnificent year for all genres of music.

While many may be skeptical of modern pop markets, other genres are not only flourishing, but are collaborating to craft tunes that redefine present notions of production.

2016’s releases look promising, between waiting for Frank Ocean’s new project, new tunes from The Shins and the highly anticipated Run The Jewels’s “RTJ3.”

However, in the mean time, it is important to reflect upon the gifts given in the past year, which we can jam to as we patiently await new music.

Who knows, maybe you missed some of the best tracks of the year?

 

“In Color” – Jamie xx

English music producer and DJ Jamie xx did not disappoint with “In Color.”

Known for his more ambient style of mixing and music as part of the London-based band The xx, this new album features some higher BPM tracks that are sure to get any house party going.

Through masterfully mixed samples and depth of emotion in each track makes this piece one of the most compelling albums of the year.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Jamiexx-InColour

 

“The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam” – Thundercat

This bass-wielding, off-the-wall Flying Lotus collaborator never ceases to produce jazzy tunes to light up your life.

Beautiful bass lines contrast some seriously heavy FlyLo electronic influences to craft an experience for any attentive listener.

This album is great for cross-country drives or a rainy day in, and either way, you’ll get lost in the magic of Thundercat’s musical talent.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - The Beyond - Thundercat

 

“But You Caint Use My Phone (Mixtape)” – Erykah Badu

There is something magical and other-worldy about Erykah Badu’s music.

Badu has made legendary music for decades, and somehow continues to produce hits in ever-progressing mainstream music.

This mixtape includes Badu’s entrancing cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”, called “Cel U Lar Device.”

Every track on this mixtape is innovative – between the Drake samples, artsy interludes, and Badu’s classic vocal style, “But You Caint Use My Phone” is worthy of praise.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - But You Caint... - Erykah Badu

 

“Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper” – Panda Bear

Experimental pop producer and founding member of Animal Collective released one of the coolest albums of 2015.

Its cool factor stems from Panda Bear’s masterful mix of trancy keyboards and deceivingly complex beats that showcase his skill and understanding of his craft.

Noah Lennox (also known as Panda Bear) is a legend of our time, and his music is translated as a form of performance art.

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“The Powers That B” – Death Grips

Kings of the Internet, meme-worthy chaos makers, legendary rock stars – experimental hip hop group Death Grips may be the most underground, yet hyped-up band of 2015.

After two years of waiting, cancelled shows, and the supposed break up, fans begged for new Death Grips online and in the streets.

“The Powers That B” is a double album, whose second half, “Jenny Death,” leaked online in March. The leak led to mass hysteria, with every fan taking to the web to scream their joy into computer screens.

The hype that led up to this album’s release rivaled the anticipation of any hit pop album, leading to a widespread shift in the culture of releases in the indie and underground genres.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - The Powers That B - Death Grips

 

“Aureate Gloom” – Of Montreal

This new album by Of Montreal features everything that there is to love about the Athens, Georgia based rock band.

Upbeat music contrasted with underlying pessimism in the lyrics makes for a surprisingly delightful experience.

Tracks like “Bassem Sambry” contrast frontman Kevin Barnes’ dreamy falsetto with spacey guitar to make your walk home anything but mundane.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Aureate Gloom - of Montreal

 

“No Cities To Love” – Sleater Kinney

Come through, angsty dreams of the 90s!

While “No Cities To Love” may seem out of the prime era of punk, the riot grrrrls of Sleater Kinney are anything but a thing of the past.

This album is fun, moody and lively.

Not to mention, the unbelievably cool music video for track “A New Wave” featured “Bob’s Burgers” characters, which was one of the most exciting crossovers in music of all time.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - No Cities to Love - Sleater Kinney

 

“Depression Cherry” – Beach House

“Depression Cherry” is nothing short of magical.

Beach House blessed the world with two marvelous pieces of work this year (honorable mention goes to “Thank Your Lucky Stars”), expanding their discography in the most wonderful way possible.

Dream pop duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally formed in Baltimore in 2004, and have perfected their craft over the past decade.

Their new album features both everything there is to love about Beach House and candidly new sounds.

Listening to “Depression Cherry” is a must, and an experience you can only craft by listening to it yourself.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Depression Cherry - Beach House

 

“A New Place 2 Drown” – Archy Marshall

Archy Marshall, the frontman of King Krule, released his first side project during the first week of December, and made cross-genre waves.

Heavy beats and masterful electro-influences cover listeners like a thick blanket, warming you from the outside in.

Themes of loneliness, love, and longing for artistic freedom emanate from each track.

“A New Place 2 Drown” is perfect for your next gloomy night in or rainy day activities.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - A New Place 2 Drown - Archy Marshall

 

“Caracal” – Disclosure

Breakout electronic duo Disclosure’s “Caracal” is arguably the most slept on album of the year.

Following the internationally recognized pop success of their first album “Settle” in 2013, the brothers spent time producing tracks with pop icon Sam Smith, and kept the progress of their new album under wraps until 2014.

“Caracal” features powerful collaborations with British vocalist, including LIONBABE, Gregory Porter, and Lorde.

This album is a great soundtrack to your next poppin’ house party, or to wake you up on your walk to early morning classes.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Caracal - Disclosure

 

“Sound & Color” – Alabama Shakes

It’s difficult to put Alabama Shakes’ music into a genre box.

However, their music seems to be universally lovable, whether it be because of lead singer Brittany Howard’s soulful crooning or because of the way their music breathes life into any grey day.

Blues rock blends with Southern rock influences to create the band’s dynamically powerful sound.

Howard describes some of the tracks to have space-age, aeronautical influences, making the “Sound & Color” experience of another dimension of time and space.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Sound and Color - Alabama Shakes

 

“Another One” – Mac Demarco

The goofy Mac Demarco put out a rather serious album this year, flaunting themes of love and loss throughout the quick, yet profound, 23-minute piece.

Mac’s traditional jangle pop influences can be found in every track, but something about “Another One” seems matured, or more sentimental, than his previous work.

The last track of the album calls fans to come to Mac’s Brooklyn apartment for some coffee, causing a stir among fans internationally.

This album is beyond worth the listen for any fan of Mac or those looking to expand their indie music base.

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“To Pimp a Butterfly” – Kendrick Lamar

Widely acclaimed, list topping, and revolution-inspired “To Pimp A Butterfly” is a career-defining masterpiece for neo-rapper Kendrick Lamar.

This album is more than hit-worthy; it is music to fuel public consciousness.

Following a lifetime of exposure to violence and the recent resurgence of movements like #BlackLivesMatter, Lamar lets his wounds bleed through the course of this masterpiece.

The music effortlessly fuses the neo-soul, hip hop, rock, jazz, and electronic genres with the help of producer Flying Lotus, making “To Pimp A Butterfly” one of the most technically compelling albums of the year.

Compelling music, gut-wrenchingly powerful lyrics, and artistic interludes compose the core of this contemporary piece of musical art.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

 

“I Love You, Honeybear” – Father John Misty

Sappy, ironic, sarcastic: Father John Misty takes on new perspectives on American materialism, marriage, and youth in “I Love You, Honeybear.”

Saccharine lyrics and simple guitar riffs might lead unassuming listeners to believe this album to be overly sentimental, but upon deeper analysis, anyone can see that this new Father John Misty is the perfect soundtrack to your quarter-life crisis.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - I love You HoneyBear - FJM

 

Currents – Tame Impala

“Currents” serves as a window into the soul of the introverted Tame Impala frontman, Kevin Parker.

As a textbook definition of a breakup album, Parker seems to breakaway from both loves lost and anything that holds him back from happiness (or self-managed misery).

Parker comes across as young, inspired, and admittedly self-centered. He prompts us to “Let It Happen” and and contends “The Less I Know The Better.”

It’s this selective blindness to the truth amid intrinsically-driven motivation that makes every track so remarkably impactful. The music in this album is revolutionary.

The techniques implemented to merge electronic, dream pop, rock, and neo-psychedelia are unheard of, combining the techniques used by music greats like The Beatles, DJs like Jamie xx and icons like Kanye West.

Parker’s creativity and musical abilities unveil no bounds on “Currents.”

This album is life-changing, inspirational and will keep you moving. While many view “Currents” to be a transition album for Tame Impala, it is important to note that like this band’s popularity, life has its own ebbs and flows.

Kevin Parker’s music mimics canons of the quarter-life, and the music to come will likely reflect the vibes of your next phase of life.

38448-59347 - Wohl Meredith - Apr 14, 2016 215 PM - Currents - Tame Impala

 

by Meredith Wohl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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