AllMusic 2015 Year In Review

AllMusic Best of 2015 -

 This year brought long-awaited returns, introduced incredible new talent, and allowed veterans to justify their longevity. Over the next three weeks, we'll be bringing you the highlights of the year in music, beginning with our editors' overall list of the best albums of 2015.
Sirope

Alejandro Sanz

Sirope

The Spanish singer and songwriter pushes many musical boundaries in a provocative, breathtaking new collection.

The Blade

Ashley Monroe

The Blade

On her sterling second album, Ashley Monroe broadens her view and sharpens her skills, resulting in an exquisite, alluring listen.

In Another Life

Bilal

In Another Life

The soul dynamo's most stimulating work yet, produced entirely by psychedelic soul specialist Adrian Younge.

Vulnicura

Björk

Vulnicura

An immersion in the total devastation of heartbreak, this is some of Björk's bravest and most challenging music.

E-MO-TION

Carly Rae Jepsen

E-MO-TION

The "Call Me Maybe" singer/songwriter returns with heartfelt, stylish songs that prove there's more to her music than her smash hit.

Time to Go Home

Chastity Belt

Time to Go Home

Second album from this Seattle group that blends beguiling, mysterious guitar songs with sharply funny lyrical themes.

Captain of None

Colleen

Captain of None

Drawing from influences as wide-ranging as dub and '50s pop, the artist's fifth album is some of her boldest, most eclectic music yet.

LP [2015]

Container

LP [2015]

Ren Schofield's third full-length as Container is his most concentrated burst of industrial-strength noise-techno yet.

Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Courtney Barnett

Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.

Invigorating, compelling debut from the wry and furious Australian singer/songwriter.

For One to Love

Cécile McLorin Salvant

For One to Love

Salvant dazzles your ears while breaking your heart on this romantic, virtuosic follow-up to WomanChild.

Fading Frontier

Deerhunter

Fading Frontier

Recorded in the wake of an accident that hospitalized Bradford Cox, the band's meditations on seizing the moment are some of their finest music yet.

Poison Season

Destroyer

Poison Season

A cohesive, intensely wistful, strings- and horns-washed epic exploration of New York city life from the bewildering Dan Bejar.

Dornik

Dornik

Dornik

Dazzling debut of sensitive yet durable R&B from a former Jessie Ware associate.

Full Communism

Downtown Boys

Full Communism

Sax-enriched punk rock band cooks with righteous rage and inspiring joy on their first full album.

Compton

Dr. Dre

Compton

After 16 years the veteran producer returns with an excellent album that was inspired by the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Mr. Misunderstood

Eric Church

Mr. Misunderstood

Shorn of excess, this surprise album from Eric Church is a muscular, moving record.

Calling Out

EZTV

Calling Out

Full of breezily bittersweet power pop, the Brooklyn trio's debut feels like a long-lost classic.

I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty

I Love You, Honeybear

Caustic retro-pop confectioner Josh Tilmann finds true love on his second outing under the Father John Misty moniker.

Elaenia

Floating Points

Elaenia

Sam Shepherd and supporting players' exacting yet free-flowing cross between modern creative jazz and ambient techno.

All Are Saved

Fred Thomas

All Are Saved

Eclectic and intelligent solo effort from the Saturday Looks Good to Me founder, embracing the personal as well as the global.

Hoy Más Fuerte

Gerardo Ortíz

Hoy Más Fuerte

The great songwriter and accordionist greatly ups his own creative ante with this excellent 26-track album.

Meliora

Ghost

Meliora

Ghost look toward world domination with their most accessible and expertly executed meld of pop, rock, and metal yet.

Before the World Was Big

Girlpool

Before the World Was Big

Using just electric guitar and bass, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad deliver an appealingly direct and wonderfully human debut.

Detroit's Son

Guilty Simpson

Detroit's Son

The veteran underground MC teams with Australian producer Katalyst for his most varied effort to date.

Choose Your Weapon

Hiatus Kaiyote

Choose Your Weapon

A double dose of dizzying brilliance from Erykah Badu's and Prince's favorite Australian avant-R&B band.

Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jake Xerxes Fussell

The North Carolina blues/folk singer's wonderfully understated debut is full of personality and charm.

In Colour

Jamie xx

In Colour

The producer's debut album expands on his nostalgic yet forward-looking updates on classic U.K. dance music.

Reality Show

Jazmine Sullivan

Reality Show

A wholly pleasing, relatively contemporary set from one of the planet's greatest multidimensional R&B talents.

A Year With 13 Moons

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

A Year With 13 Moons

A massive step forward for this abstract sound artist, incorporating minimal rhythms into his textural shoegaze pieces.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

John Grant

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

The singer/songwriter's third album is some of his angriest, saddest, funniest, and most adventurous music.

Have You in My Wilderness

Julia Holter

Have You in My Wilderness

A more intimate work, the singer/composer's fourth album is the most approachable example of her brilliance yet.

The Epic

Kamasi Washington

The Epic

A massive, accessible, revelatory debut by the veteran L.A. saxophonist, his large band (with Thundercat), strings, and a choir.

To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp a Butterfly

Not the sophomore slump, but another LP of elevated excellence, the Compton rapper offers a dark and deep journey on this epic release.

B'lieve I'm Goin Down...

Kurt Vile

B'lieve I'm Goin Down...

The singer/songwriter trades electric guitars for acoustics, banjos, and pianos, whittling away excess while retaining eccentricity.

The Incredible True Story

Logic

The Incredible True Story

The one they call Young Sinatra returns with an excellent sophomore LP that doubles as a sci-fi concept album.

Hi Honey

Low Cut Connie

Hi Honey

Low Cut Connie's second album is a rowdy revival tent that preaches the gospel of rock & roll sleaze.

Start Here

Maddie & Tae

Start Here

Smart and sentimental, bright and lively, the debut from Maddie & Tae is a fresh, dynamic debut that captures the sound of modern country in 2015.

Are You Alone?

Majical Cloudz

Are You Alone?

A second album of unfailingly beautiful, relentlessly longing, sparse electronic song from the Montreal duo.

Somnaphoria

Matchess

Somnaphoria

Chicago-based experimental musician Whitney Johnson expands her otherworldly, hypnotic sound on her second LP as Matchess.

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

A gorgeous fusion of Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter folk and Southern soul on this impressive debut from the former Jenny Lewis sidewoman.

Sibelius: The Symphonies

Okko Kamu / Lahti Symphony Orchestra

Sibelius: The Symphonies

Sibelius' complete symphonies are presented in an exceptionally clear and coherent survey by Okku Kamu and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

The Longest River

Olivia Chaney

The Longest River

Impressive, accomplished debut from a U.K. singer and songwriter equally comfortable with traditional and original material.

Garden of Delete

Oneohtrix Point Never

Garden of Delete

A dense, dizzying masterwork that imbues the producer's flair for nostalgia with powerful emotions.

Communion

Rabit

Communion

The producer's debut addresses corruption and violation in violent, haunting tracks that shatter grime's boundaries.

The Clearing

Rachel Grimes

The Clearing

The composer and pianist returns with 11 outstanding new pieces that honor the joys and terrors of the world outside.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: Rosary Sonatas

Rachel Podger

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: Rosary Sonatas

For this double SACD, Rachel Podger plays the Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber in authentic Baroque style.

Hairless Toys

Róisín Murphy

Hairless Toys

The former Moloko frontwoman's first album in eight years takes a tender, personal approach that's all the more powerful for its subtlety.

Ratchet

Shamir Bailey / Shamir / Nick Sylvester

Ratchet

The Las Vegas-based artist's debut album expands on the vibrant, genre-defying charm of his early singles.

Fear and Lies

Sick Sad World

Fear and Lies

Super-hooky scruff pop from Seattle delivered with tuneful swagger and introspection, like a leather-clad Beach Boys or a sweater-wearing JAMC.

Bruckner: Sinfonie Nr. 5

Simone Young / Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg

Bruckner: Sinfonie Nr. 5

Simone Young's recording of Bruckner's Fifth brings to a close her live audiophile cycle of the symphonies on Oehms Classics.

Carrie and Lowell

Sufjan Stevens

Carrie and Lowell

The acclaimed singer/songwriter confronts the death of his mother with this powerful song cycle of memory and loss.

Ego Death

The Internet

Ego Death

One of 2015's best noncommercial (and band-oriented) R&B albums, a broad mix of romantic emotions conveyed in succinct, understated style.

This Is the Sonics

The Sonics

This Is the Sonics

The manic Pacific Northwest garage band returns to the studio and delivers an album that lives up to their furious legend.

Summertime '06

Vince Staples

Summertime '06

With Clams Casino and No ID, the West Coast rapper makes his official debut an excellent double LP.

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe (Complete Ballet); Pavane

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe (Complete Ballet); Pavane

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra perform Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé in a superb multichannel recording.