Over the last 12 months, I have tried to keep track of the new music releases that I have listened to at least once in order to create a comprehensive best of list of my tastes. That task became daunting when I quickly realized I’m busy a lot and quite enjoy to put things off indefinitely. However I was able to somehow look through my somewhat well organized music collection and streaming record to settle on what looks like an accurate number of albums I listed to in 2015. 122 albums. Yup, 122, give or take an album or so that I have listened to and somehow slipped through my cataloging. There are also a few EPs, short split releases, and a mix tape or two included in the list that won’t count towards the best album list, but are on there because reasons.
Now, that number is made up a decent , although not greatly varied musical genres. Specifically lacking is the jazz, country, and especially classical. Its not that I don’t like those genres, its just that they are not as strong on my radar as say indie rock or singer songwriters.
Over the next few days I will be posting a series of articles detailing my musical journey. The lists will not have scores or any particular order for the most part, just enough framing devices to make the posts not incredibly long or incredibly short. There may even be an extra article or two mixed in before the end of the year (let’s be honest, probably not.)
- Monday: Trends I Enjoyed (this post)
- Tuesday: Top 5 favorite songs of the year
- Wednesday: Selections From #11-20, where I will talk on a few of these albums and why they deserve to be listened to
- Thursday: Selections From My Top 10, where I will once again speak to their quality
The list of albums I listened to and wanted to listen to this year can be found here. Here’s to a pretty decent year in music.
Albums that could have been…
During the four year long wait between Era Extrana and VEGA INTL. Night School, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian lost an entire album in a weird way. Apparently he fell asleep on his friend stoop with his computer beside him, only to awake with the computer having been stolen. It makes the wait understandable, but man does it suck that we lost something that could have been great to a nap.
Helvetia lost their album to a computer crash. However, while they did record and release an entirely new album, large portions of the original record were able to be recovered and were able to be released as a companion album. Definitely not the worst of outcomes, and more music is always better.
Grimes‘ album wasn’t so much lost as it was scrapped. There was a lot of negatively thrown at her single “Go”, a collab with Blood Diamonds that was originally supposed to be a Rhianna song, and could likely be the reason as to why Grimes decided to start from scratch (It’s at the very least a part of it). Luckily what she came up in the interim is the best pop record in a year of amazing pop records. Oh, spoilers.
Fuck it, let’s go electric
Mumford and Sons ditched the banjo, picked up an electric guitar on Wilder Mind and were happy pretty about it. Maybe a little too happy considering how they have talked about their past albums’ sound. Depending on how you look at the band, they either hated the music they were making or just felt trapped by it and need something new. I like ‘em, so I’ll go with the latter.
Laura Marling, a former cohort of Marcus Mumford, also went a little more electric with her latest album Short Movie. Unlike Mumford and Sons, the change was much more subtle and transitory. All beauty and tenderness of Marling’s early albums were still incredibly apparent. The electronic guitars and production enhanced what was already there, they didn’t completely change it.
Let’s just call it a comeback
Dr. Dre hasn’t really been gone, but a few verses here and there and production credits for credits sake honestly aren’t enough. With the release of Compton, Dr. Dre showed he can still pull out some good songs, albeit the quality is heightened thanks to his place in hip hop history (oh, nostalgia) rather that explicitly tight skills. Its good, but its not the mythological beast that is Detox (its never happening, just give up).
I saw Giorgio Moroder at 2015’s Pitchfork Music Festival and probably had the most fun I have ever had dancing to 80s hits. The 70+ year old waved his arms and bounce along with the crowd, showing that his age wasn’t going to stop him. While his first album in decades, Déjà Vu, wasn’t perfect, it’s still nice to see that Giorgio can pull out a few good tracks.
No one was expecting a Missy Elliot comeback. Hell, I’m not even sure if I really wanted one, what she did in the past was good enough. A sort of leaving while your on top kind of thing. But after her single “WTF (Where They From)” dropped, the good side of nostalgia showed its face. The song was just energetic and catchy. It’s the best case of coming back with a natural progression from where you were.
After over a decade sprinkled with one off random reunions, Blur finally got together and recorded and new album. Its not the revelation of other returning artists, but it’s definitely a manageable and entertaining album. It seems like Damon Albarn will continue to reunite former projects seeing that he and Jamie Hewlitt are returning to Gorillaz in the coming year (hopefully it doesn’t take as long as Blur did).
When Sleater Kinney went on hiatus, I felt defeated. I hadn’t seen them live and their last album The Woods was an intense change up from their tried and true sound that gave me chills (the good kind). I was losing one of my favorite bands without much warning. This year, they returned with No Cities to Love, a return to form that brushes off all the typical pratfalls of reuniting bands. I got the opportunity to see them live three times. Life is good, but its definitely better with Sleater Kinney around.