Wednesday 23 December 2015

2015 in Review: Favorite Albums

Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho

American Beauty/American Psycho was the first album to strike a chord with me this year. Released all the way back in January, the album is probably one of Fall Out Boy's strongest cuts till date. It is one of those rare albums that hits the ground running, and doesn't lose steam by the end. Highlights include Centuries, Fourth of July, Favorite Record, and Immortals.

Madeon - Adventure

Adventure is the debut album of French DJ, Hugo Pierre Leclercq, who is better known by his stage name, Madeon. The most remarkable thing about Hugo is his relatively tender age of 21. Don't let his age fool you though, because this kid has got some mad skills, and the evidence just happens to be one of my favorite albums of the year. Highlights include You're On, La Lune, Pay No Mind and Technicolor.

Zedd - True Colors

Three years ago, I had included Zedd's debut album, Clarity, in my rundown of favorite albums for 2012. And earlier this year, I had dedicated one of my rare music reviews to his second album, True Colors. So needless to say, I am a fan of his music, and including that music in my list of favorite albums once again was a bit of a no-brainer. Highlights include Papercut, Daisy and Illusion.

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

2015 is generally considered a great year for Canadian musicians, with the likes of Drake, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd all scoring hit singles and albums. But the year is perhaps most significant for The Weeknd, because it was this year that he finally found the mainstream success he truly deserves. His second album, Beauty Behind the Madness, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts, and it has thus far produced four hit singles. Highlights include Often, Shameless, In the Night and Prisoner.

Years & Years - Communion

Years & Years released their debut album, Communion, in July of this year, following the success of their hit single, King, which as you can remember was also featured in my list of favorite songs yesterday. The album itself was well-received by fans and critics alike, debuting at #1 in the UK, where it became the fastest selling debut record ever. Highlights include Shine, Take Shelter, and Worship.

Fetty Wap - Fetty Wap

While Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly might be considered the best hip-hop record released in the past year, there is no denying the pleasures to be found while listening to Fetty Wap's eponymous debut album. The album elevates the New Jersey rapper past the level of one-hit wonder, even though most of the songs adhere to the same formula that made Trap Queen such a hit in the first place. The most remarkable thing about the album is a lack of big name collaborators, with the guest spots being reserved for his crew mates. Highlights include Trap Queen, My Way, No Days Off and Rewind.

Disclosure - Caracal

For their highly-anticipated followup to their 2013 album, Settle, the UK duo of brothers known as Disclosure chose to swap out the previous album's heavy reliance on deep house and garage, drawing influence from R&B. The result is a more downtempo album, with each track tailored to fit the various guest vocalists that were featured. Highlights include Omen, Holding On, Good Intentions, Echoes and Molecules.

Justin Bieber - Purpose

As far as comebacks go, there wasn't any more impressive in 2015 than the one made by Justin Bieber. Here was an artist who many had written off following a string of bad press and a prolonged hiatus. But following the success of Where Are U Now, my favorite song for 2015, he had not only scored his first ever #1 single on the Billboard 100 with What Do You Mean, but also put out one of the finest albums of the year. Other highlights include Sorry, Been You and Get Used to Me.

Adele - 25

It is no secret that Adele's 25 had been the most anticipated album this past year. This was especially true following the breakaway success of her previous album, 21. So when the album became the fastest selling in the history of music, pretty much everyone and their grandmothers saw it coming. But the album itself is every bit deserving of all the success and praise, being a more than worthy successor to her previous work. Highlights include Hello, I Miss You and Water Under The Bridge.

Troye Sivan - Blue Neighborhood

Troye Sivan is an Australian actor and musician that is perhaps best known for hosting a successful YouTube channel. His incredible voice first came to my attention earlier this year in the ZEDD song, Papercut. His debut album, Blue Neighborhood, just released earlier this month, and it is packed full of potential hits. Highlights include WILD, THE QUIET, TALK ME DOWN and COOL.

And the winner is...

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

I've been a fan of The Weeknd long before he became a mainstream success. His beautiful falsetto and mature lyrics were two things that made his music catch my attention. In Beauty Behind the Madness, both those things are on showcase throughout, but packaged in such a way that embraces his just attained mass appeal. Put simply, this is what Michael Jackson would've sounded like if he'd started making music today, and I can't think of an artist more worthy of that comparison.