The Best Albums of 2015

A look back at the best music of the year

Some of 2015’s best albums. Clockwise from top-left: “Froot” (Marina and the Diamonds), “To Pimp a Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar), “American Candy” (The Maine), “Pageant Material” (Kacey Musgraves).

2015 was one of music’s best years in recent history, with solid albums created by rappers, pop stars, and electronic artists alike. Thus, this year’s picks for the Best Albums of the Year are an extremely diverse bunch. Carly Rae Jepsen and some of her peers wowed while Kendrick Lamar and more continued to impress. Below are the 5 picks for 2015’s best albums, in no particular order.

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly: Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar followed up his critically acclaimed Good Kid, m.A.A.d City with a set of songs that was even better; a work that was hailed as legendary on release. To Pimp a Butterfly is a seamless blend of musical genres and eras, from rap to jazz to spoken word. Despite the seeming inconsistency of these genres, Lamar manages to make every track fade perfectly into the next, creating an album whose songs fit together into one single piece as opposed to a collection of singles. Butterfly is truly timeless. Download: The slinky “These Walls.”

Marina and the Diamonds, Froot: Marina and the Diamonds has always been a pro at turning out cohesive pop albums with a central theme and sound. Froot is no exception, and in fact, is her best work yet. Released back in March, Froot saw Marina trading her pop-banger persona for a more subdued sound. There’s a song on here for everyone, and each polished track features lyrics more mature and relatable than those she’s ever written. Overall, Froot comes together as an album that can be listened to again and again. Download: The charged, prophetic “Savages.”

The Maine, American Candy: American Candy is one of those perfect albums that pops up out of the blue when least expected. Coming from rock group The Maine, Candy is a collection of 10 upbeat, perfectly crafted indie pop-rock songs with a laid-back summer vibe and an unmatched energy. The lyrics of many songs (see: “Same Suit,” “My Hair”) don’t deal with serious topics, but this only furthers the album’s impact as a chill body of music to listen to and have fun. Each melody seems to develop perfectly, and the album’s short length keeps the listener satisfied while wanting just a little more. Download: The fun, carefree “English Girls.”

Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material: Country music’s new queen is changing the genre for the better with her newest release. Just as country seemed to have lost its charm (the increasingly popular “bro-country” is notorious for becoming more and more like pop with blander and blander lyrics about hot girls and trucks), Musgraves decided to spin country back to its roots. Her vintage-style sound paired with her witty lyrics — “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy” is definitely one of the most clever lines in the history of songwriting — makes Pageant Material one of the releases of 2015 that never fails to please, listen after listen. Download: The sassy, autobiographical “Pageant Material.”

Carly Rae Jepsen, Emotion: 2015’s biggest shocker came in the form of Carly Rae Jepsen, whose Emotion consistently delivered pop hits that were more mature than her past work, and just as fun. In a world where it has become rarer and rarer to see a solid pop album, Jepsen has taken her time and it paid off; Emotion is easily the best pop album of the year. Each song is fun and catchy while still remaining touching and- you guessed it- emotional. Casual listeners will love Emotion for its energy while music connoisseurs will appreciate it for its mastery of the pop genre. No matter who’s listening, Emotion is guaranteed to not disappoint. Download: The romantic and anthemic “Run Away With Me.”

Happy listening!

Stay tuned for my pick for Best Song of the Year!

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