You might be asking yourself, “Damn, does Dago ever get tired of no one reading his lists?” The obvious answer is “No.” I’m back after a year away from my beloved, shitty blog dedicated to my distaste for candy and fear of El Cucuy.
If you didn’t know, every year I write a lil bloggy-poo about my favorite albums/releases of the year. The list isn’t ever too long. This year, it’s 20 releases by a really diverse set of artists, if I do say so myself.
On a personal note, 2015 was a really difficult year for me. Music was a big part of me getting through a lot of the stress related to my mom’s situation and a new job. It gave me something to look forward to and lose myself in, while everything around felt like it was crumbling down. That being said, this is just a list of my favorite. This isn’t the BEST list or the ONLY list out there. Let me know what some of your favorites were in the comments or on Twitter.
Check out lists from 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014
Alright. For the sake of brevity, I made a Spotify playlist for y’all to subscribe to. It contains a single song from every album I mention here. The playlist is located right under this text. You can just listen to the playlist and forego the whole reading my explanation/feelings about each release.
I think every adult I know now doesn’t like Rae Sremmurd, but that’s too bad because that just means MORE. RAE. SREMMURD. FOR. ME. Also, how dare you?
It took me about 9 months to be able to say their name correctly. Despite their stupid name, Rae Sremmurd are one of my favorite rap groups/duos at the moment. They’re fun as hell and their energy shines through on stage and on wax.
They gave us so many quotable tracks that it’s hard to pick just one to pick out as the best, but my personal favorite is “Wear my hat to the front, yea, like I drive a truck.” BARS. They single-handedly revitalized the trucking industry. God bless Mike WiLL Made-It. (Released January 6)
I was a reluctant Drake fan at first, I swear, y’all, but you can’t argue the hits. Even Drake’s “throwaway” songs and beats are a cultural marker these days. If You’re Reading This… took a lot of getting used to musically. It was a departure from Nothing Was the Same, but after a few listens, I found myself softly murmuring “runnin through the 6 with my woes” while walking around the office. (Released February 13)
Adventures is one of my favorite bands to make their debut in the last 5 years. This, their debut full-length album, is a great representation of their evolution as a band over the past few years. They run the post-hardcore gamut in 10 songs. From aggressive highs to pensive lows, Supersonic Home has just about everything you’d want a record to have. (Released February 17)
For me, this is the most important album of 2015. To Pimp a Butterfly (TPAB) is a look into the mind of a man at the height of his artistic powers trying to find a way to send a message of love and hope to a community facing violence and discrimination, while he is struggling with bouts of self-loathing and doubt. TPAB is a complex, heartbreaking, and empowering album that perfectly captures a moment in time when frustration over systemic violence and racism was boiling over into the streets.
Aside from its important emotional and political power, TPAB set itself apart from other widely popular rap albums at the time. Gone was the production of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (GKMC). TPAB works in a lot more jazz influence and live instruments. This sound may have ben off-putting to a lot of the fans that he picked up during GKMC, but this album wasn’t for them. It was for him. It was for a community. (Released March 15)
This is the only EP on this list, and it makes me SO ANGRY THAT THIS ISN’T AN ALBUM. Okay, not really, but it’s a gorgeous project that blends both sweet and powerful female-led vocals over expertly crafted pop punk. (Released April 7)
Being 💯 I didn’t like Alabama Shakes before this record. I don’t know why I didn’t. It didn’t make sense. I started doubting myself. I gave Sound and Color a try because of peer pressure. This time around, it clicked. Brittany Howard is a force to be reckoned with, and this album is a dynamic piece of music that doesn’t get ambitious to the point of losing the listener. Musically, it’s nestled nicely in a pocket where Brittany can deliver her beautiful, powerful voice and story. (Released April 21)
I’m very stupid and had a grudge against Braids because once they tricked me into thinking BRAID was going to be at SXSW in like 2012 or something. I was like, “Oh, shit, they misspelled BRAID, that’ll be fixed, and we can live happily ever after with this reunion tour thingie.” But it wasn’t a mistake, and it was BraidS after all. I was so mad. (Released April 28)
If not for K. Dot, this would be my favorite album of the year. It feels like Sorority Noise came out of nowhere with this album. Their last album Forgettable was solid, but it lacked Joy, Departed‘s cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is a feat considering this is one of the most stylistically diverse emo records I’ve heard in a while. (Released June 16)
This might be the real surprise pick in this whole group of albums.
Reasons why I shouldn’t like this album
1) It’s County/Western music (is that what it’s called idk)
2-5) Reason 1 over and over again.
Reasons why I did like this album
1) Kacey Musgraves has BARS.
2) K-Gravy has the voice of a Texan angel that just told me that everything is going to be alright and handed me a Lone Star.
3) Willie Nelson fucks with her, and I live in Austin. So, like, I have to.
4) She’s from Texas. Uh duh.
5) She’s got a powerful message that a lot of people need to hear. “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy.”
(Released June 23)
As a lot of you already know, I really love the Internet. From “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” to crying Jordan face, the Internet is pretty great. What’s also pretty great is the band that they named the Internet after — The Internet — put out another wonderful album this year. This album is full of sexy, hypnotic tracks that would be perfect for you to play as background music to your sexyyyyy voicemail greeting. (Released June 26)
Future – DS2
All four Canonical Gospels state that during Future’s Best Year Ever with his disciples, Future predicted that Dago would deny knowledge of him, stating that Dago would disown him before DS2 dropped that summer. Following the success of Future, Dago denied knowing him thrice (Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights) , but after the third denial, Dago heard DS2 and recalled the prediction as Future turned to look at him. Dago then began to cry bitterly. This final incident is known as the Repentance of Dago. (Source: Wikipedia)
(Released July 17)
If someone asked me what I like about the current state of punk, I would hand them this album. This project does circus tricks stylistically. It goes from teen-friendly pop punk to stoner metal seamlessly in the blink of an eye without becoming a boring exercise or forced. (Released July 31)
Lianne La Havas – Blood
I’m notorious for not caring what someone’s voice sounds like, but Lianne La Havas has one of my new favorite voices in the game right now. Her voice can jump from vulnerable to empowered in a split second, and the emotion she pours into her music shines through in her gorgeously arranged music. (Released July 31)
I’m not a scientist, but radio waves containing WATTBA are hurtling through space to unknown planets and galaxies right now. One day, other life on the other side of our dying universe will hear “Jumpman” and “Diamonds Dancing.” These intelligent beings will build spacecraft and search through galaxies for the origins of these transmissions. They will find us. They will land their ships on our planet. They will open their doors, and their first words to us earthlings will most likely be a high-pitched “I don’t want no liquor cause I been drinking that dirty.” All earthlings will respond with “Sensational.” (Released September 20)
The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness
I might be the only person on Earth that thinks The World is… have a dope name. Harmlessness takes the personalities of it’s 2,000 members and combines them into a polished, sophisticated album that is entirely unique and digestible. It’s hard to imagine this is the same band that released Formlessness some 5 years ago. I fucking love this record. (Released September 25)
There is almost no metal on this list compared to years past, and I don’t know what to say to that except that Deafheaven is the only metal band that has stuck out to me this year as exceptional. (Released October 2)
This album is so sexy. I’m getting uncomfortable looking at the title. OMG I HAVE TO GO (Released October 2)
This is an album I would hand someone if they were going through a tough time. The songwriting on Dealer is serious without being cheesy. The album sonically accompanies the sincerity and pain in the lyrics beautifully. It’s warm and welcomes you in like an old friend. No one else sounds like Foxing. (Released October 30)
Beach Slang sounds like if the Gin Blossoms and Jawbreaker had a cute baby that everyone wanted to play with. (Released October 30)
GUYS, THIS ACTUALLY ISN’T A TRUE STORY EARTH IS NOT DEAD AND WE ARE NOT TRAVELING THE GALAXY IN SPACESHIPS ATM. The Incredible True Story is an ambitious sci-fi, hip-hop hybrid thing that turned out to be a pretty great concept album from a guy that’s finally getting noticed for his rapping ability and the great songs he’s putting together. Under Pressure might be one of my favorite rap albums of the past few years, and The Incredible True Story might be just as good. (Released November 13)