My Year In Music 2015

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2015 was the year that music became my obsession (hopefully in a good way). I’ve loved keeping up with as many new releases as possible throughout the year and listening to more music than I ever have before. I’ve experimented with various ways to consume music, including the dreaded Pitchfork and way too many music writers’ Twitter accounts (shoutout Craig Jenkins, Ian Cohen, Meaghan Garvey, and Paul Thompson for being the real ones).

I tried a lot of music and maybe went about my listening the wrong way. I sometimes had trouble separating my opinions on an album from its critical reception. Maybe I listened to too many different artists and spread myself thin. Who knows? There was a lot of trial and error and I’m fine-tuning my approach constantly. But here at the end of the year, I like some music more than I like other music and that’s what this post is about.

So I made a bunch of lists of the music I listened to during the past year. I tried to put aside outside opinions and choose the albums and songs that had the biggest impact on me in 2015.

Oh, and go download Cymbal for your iPhone.

My favorite albums that came out in 2015

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1. Ought – Sun Coming Down

Ought became my favorite band this year. I was late to the party on them but quickly got addicted to their debut album this summer and lucky for me, Sun Coming Down was released a few months later. It doesn’t feel like particularly happy or sad music, but it’s strong music that is so sonically tight and creative that I can’t help but bang my head and smile. Seeing them live in Boston cemented my love for them as I screamed all the words and had a stupid grin on my face for an hour straight. This is my favorite album of 2015.

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2. Young Thug – Barter 6

This album gave me one of my most distinct musical *moments* of the year. On the day it was released, I had a two-minute walk from track practice to the dining hall and I put on the first track of the album to try it out. I was familiar with Thug and “4 Eva Bloody” was maybe my favorite song last year, but I wasn’t a diehard fan and didn’t have super high expectations for Barter 6, with all its title controversy and such. But as “Constantly Hating” played, it washed over me with its chilled-out vibe and I stopped and stood outside the dining hall until the song finished. I had never heard rap like this album before. The feel of this album is unique and unequaled on either of the Slime Season installments that followed. The mood of the album hits you first and the (often insane) lyrics hit you later, but they’re both worth your time.

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3. The Internet – Ego Death

This was a summer album that transcended the summer and stuck with me all year. It all feels so effortless and smooth, between Syd’s passionate vocals and the lush backing instrumentation. It’s kind of hard to describe but this album always hits the spot. In the words of DJ Khaled, “it’s that vibe”.

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4. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside

I honestly think I might like Earl’s production (nine out of ten songs) more than the actual rapping on this album. Which is not to take away from the #bars, because Earl is the most talented lyricist out there. There’s a dark, intense feeling throughout the album and Earl’s lyrics match that tone. I find myself digging the instrumental half of “AM // Radio” as much as Wiki and Earl’s verses. The album reaches its peak on “DNA” when Na’kel raps about his friend’s death, which he found out about literally minutes before recording his verse. Rap can be powerful and introspective and therapeutic and that’s all captured in the raw moments of this album.

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5. Alex G – Beach Music

Beach Music is fuzzy and catchy and creative all at the same time. This is the album that I felt like I could relate to the most this year. Its October release date made it the appropriate soundtrack for grey days and feeling overwhelmed when school sucks. It’s not big music but it still feels important.

6. Hop Along – Painted Shut

7. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

8. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style

9. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

10. Grimes – Art Angels

11. Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden of Delete

12. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

13. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife

14. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment – Surf

15. Pusha T – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

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16. Dogs on Acid – Dogs on Acid

17. Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

18. Elvis Depressedly – New Alhambra

19. Bully – Feels Like

20. Cavanaugh – Time & Materials

21. Wiki – Lil Me

22. Miguel – Wildheart

23. Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp

24. Martin Courtney – Many Moons

25. Beach House – Depression Cherry

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And now, an even longer list…

My favorite songs that came out in 2015 (one per artist)

Courtney Barnett: 'In interviews I feel like a bit of a doofus.'

1. Courtney Barnett – Depreston

2. Father John Misty – Holy Sh*t

3. Chance the Rapper feat. Noname Gypsy – Israel (Sparring)

4. Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places

5. Girlpool – Cut Your Bangs (Radiator Hospital cover) 

6. Youth Lagoon – Highway Patrol Stun Gun

7. Grimes – Flesh Without Blood

8. Frankie Cosmos – Young

9. Elvis Depressedly – Wastes of Time

10. Eskimeaux – Broken Necks

American Eagle Outfitters Celebrates The Budweiser Made In America Music Festival - Philadelphia, PA - Day 2

11. Hop Along – Powerful Man

12. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment feat. King Louie and Quavo – Familiar

13. Future – Slave Master

14. Earl Sweatshirt feat. Na’kel – DNA

15. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

16. Milo feat. Hemlock Ernst – Souvenir

17. Spencer Radcliffe – Mia

18. Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out

19. Ronnie Stone & The Lonely Riders – Ronnie’s Lullaby

20. Waxahatchee – Summer of Love

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21. Desaparecidos – Te Amo Camila Vallejo

22. Tobias Jesso Jr. – The Wait

23. Vince Staples – Loca

24. Rae Sremmurd – This Could Be Us

25. Tame Impala – Disciples

26. Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

27. A$AP Rocky – Lord Pretty Flacko Joyde 2

28. Young Thug – Best Friend

29. Travi$ Scott feat. Swae Lee and Chief Keef – Nightcrawler

30. The Internet – Something’s Missing

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31. Ty Dolla $ign – Bring It Out Of Me

32. Alex G – Brite Boy

33. D.R.A.M. feat. Donnie Trumpet – $

34. Drake feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR – Preach

35. Shy Glizzy feat. Jeezy – Funeral (Remix)

36. Dogs On Acid – The Prick

37. Tate Kobang – Bank Rolls (Remix)

38. U.S. Girls – Window Shades

39. Kendrick Lamar feat. George Clinton and Thundercat – Wesley’s Theory

40. Diet Cig – Harvard

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41. EL VY – Return to the Moon

42. Car Seat Headrest – Times to Die

43. Wiki feat. Sporting Life and Skepta – God Bless Me

44. Beach House – All Your Yeahs

45. Jeremih feat. Ty Dolla $ign – Impatient

46. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

47. Kodak Black – Ran Up A Check

48. Nicolas Jaar – Fight

49. Open Mike Eagle – Dark Late Comedy Show

50. Pusha T – Crutches, Crosses, Caskets

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Spotify playlist (minus a few that I linked above)

 

Ten non-2015 albums I’m thankful I found in 2015

  • The National – High Violet
  • Built to Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
  • Ought – More Than Any Other Day
  • Deerhunter – Microcastle
  • Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy
  • Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
  • Lil Ugly Mane – Mista Thug Isolation
  • Four Tet – There Is Love In You
  • M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts

Three disappointing albums from 2015

  • Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful
  • Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
  • Heems – Eat Pray Thug

Ten worst rappers ranked (from worst to “best”)

  1. Lil Dicky
  2. Lil Dicky
  3. Lil Dicky
  4. Lil Dicky
  5. Lil Dicky
  6. Lil Dicky
  7. Lil Dicky
  8. Lil Dicky
  9. Big Sean
  10. J. Cole

I saw a lot of great concerts in 2015

The Dodos, Sufjan Stevens, The Replacements, Waxahatchee, Courtney Barnett, Alvvays, The Internet, Ought, Chance the Rapper, Big Boi

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Ought and Big Boi were my favorites, but they were all super fun besides Sufjan honestly, who I know isn’t supposed to be fun, but I love Carrie & Lowell and found him to be pretty boring and underwhelming (sorry Suf, I still love you).

Five artists I need to hear from in 2016

  • Frank Ocean
  • Danny Brown
  • Japandroids
  • James Blake
  • MF Doom

Ten of my favorite rap lyrics from 2015

“Every time I dress myself it go motherf*ckin’ viral” – Young Thug – Halftime

“If this b*tch from Paris, then Paris is terrible” – King Louie – Familiar

“Long live A$AP Yams, long live A$AP Yams / Long live A$AP Yams, I’m on that codeine right now” – Future – Slave Master

“I’m counting up nothing but Benjamins right now…MONEY!” – Quavo – Oh My Dis Side

“Take them boys to school, swagonometry” – Young Thug – Best Friend

“Listen to Vespertine at noon then again at midnight / Repeat for a fortnight, the dork’s right” – Scallops Hotel (aka Milo) – Tense Present

“Cut class cause it wasn’t ’bout cash / School wasn’t no fun, couldn’t bring my gun” – Vince Staples – Norf Norf

“Richer than white people with black kids / Scarier than black people with ideas” – Kanye West – Smuckers

“Hot sauce in my cup of noodles / You taught me that / I ain’t seen us in years / And this news right here almost made me have a heart attack / Your momma heart intact / We just spoke, I couldn’t stomach that” – Na’kel – DNA

“North Korea’s got practice missiles / And I see check Yahoo because we both got attachment issues” – Open Mike Eagle – Dark Comedy Late Show

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‘Til next year…

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My Year In Music 2015