Best Albums of 2015
Best Albums of 2015 (according to my very subjective and arguably uneducated yet entirely valid opinion)
1. Pentatonix by Pentatonix
Pop music is pop music, but when it comes to Pentatonix there is a a bit of a different purpose for their music. Since their songs are all woven together with voices (amazingly talented voices!) they have the unique task of making sure the words that they say are more than boring oohs and aahs. This means that they have the burden of excellent lyricism, and they accomplish it splendidly. Their songs take on different topics like suicide, bullying, finding your voice in society, and focusing on lasting things like depth of character and humility. They knew the world would be paying attention to the words they said, and made sure they were words worth listening to. A great album on many sides of the coin.
2. Dear Wormwood by The Oh Hellos
This brother/sister band has become synonymous for me with the sounds of campfires, large canyon views, and internal battles with yourself. Their artistry is uniquely theirs, and their wide range of instruments lends itself to a pleasing listening experience. They present a very educated and thoughtful take on the themes in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I love their courageousness in approaching the book from within their genre. Their song Soldier, Poet, King is my favourite, with such a dichotomy of cheerful drumbeats and intensely gruesome lyricism.
3. Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly
One of the most enjoyable experiences of my life was this album. There is not a song on it that doesn't make me excited, and I can tie each one to a memory that I cherish. Tori's undeniable talent shines so brightly through her music, and I am blown away by the ways she has used her voice to construct melodies and riffs that take me away to different places. Her sweet heart is enclosed in these songs, and she has worked so hard to get to where she is. Her music reflects this spirit. It's so enjoyable to listen to.
4. Mobile Orchestra by Owl City
Another extension of his talent, Adam Young put out Mobile Orchestra this year and gave us all a glimpse into his versatility. He exploded through a country-style song, a throwback 90s kid hit, and three songs about his faith in God. There are so many things I love about this album and the way Adam Young can give listeners an educated and thoughtful pop album without losing his spontaneity or depth. He moves through so many complicated rhythms and never overcomplicates what must be kept simple. His soft introvert heart can be heard through each melody, and I am inspired by his constant pursuit of good art.
5. Of This I'm Sure - Jenny and Tyler
These two individuals have created a piece of art that picks and chooses the best parts of a person's heart and puts them to music. A large focus in their lyricism is their daughter, and the way she changed their lives for good. This gentle theme, interwoven with delicate lullaby-worthy harmonies makes for a collection of songs that tell the story of a marriage and series of trials that resulted in glimpses of the most beautiful things in live. Jenny and Tyler's ability to combine the powerful plea and the heartfelt smile into a record has been so enjoyable to encounter.
6. Home by Josh Garrels
This artist is one of my favorites because of his crazy vocal range. He can bounce back from one scale to another with ease, and I am very enthralled by his choice of melodies. This album includes movements of love and sweetness like Heaven's Knife, as well as intense declarations like Born Again. He never fails to deliver music that is intentional, unique, and deliberately spontaneous. His sound is thoughtful and easy, and it doesn't let you slide by without taking a moment to soak it in.
7. 25 by Adele
No Top 2015 list would be complete without this music industry monopolist. She came back onto the stage at a time when everyone started asking "Wait, where did Adele go?" Her eloquent prose is paired with her talented vocal range, and she has a unique sense of audacity with the decisions she makes in her melodies. I love how she can tie her songs to significant and specific points in the past few years, sometimes to the day. Her soul and deep emotion is poured out into this album, and if you haven't heard the whole thing yet, I encourage you to. My favorites are When We Were Young and River Lea.
8. Trading Change by Jeremy Loops
This album took me by surprise and then took me on an adventure. Jeremy Loops has such crazy ideas for what can work for a good folk song, and he totally pulls it off. His banjo mixes well with the harmonica, and his rusted voice lends itself to the theme. Gang vocals and toe-tapping bass notes reminisce of Mumford and Sons but Jeremy Loops pulls into unique territory with Killer Killer and the insane Gypsy Opera. I would like to see him live, not only for his insane fingerpicking on guitar, but also his lovely man bun. Bless you, Jeremy Loops.
Made in the AM by One Direction (Very awesome but artistically bare of ingenuity)
Our Own House by Misterwives (Feminism and sick beats!)
Emotion by Carly Rae Jepson (Good for jamming in the car but not much else)
ARCHIS by ARCHIS (An EP but full of good art nonetheless)
Know-It-All by Alessia Cara (I couldn't love all the songs on the album, but Stone and Overdose have been on repeat for a while now. This girl is so talented!)
A Head Full Of Dreams by Coldplay (Although not as great as some of their other stuff, I can be into it.)
That's it, I guess. Happy New Year! I hope 2016 brings us all a bunch more albums to enjoy :)