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My Best of 2015

For starters, I'd like to introduce this by stating it's not going to be overly elaborate or ornate; I'm not even going to Google anything if I don't have to (!!!). I'm sure once I finish writing this up, I'll think of several bands/musicians I should have included, but I'm running out of time, so to paraphrase Allen Ginsberg: "First thought, best thought."

Music From 2015 (or just about that) That I Enjoyed in 2015

I'll try to leave out Irina's picks. I'm not huge on redundancy, except on my social media updates.

Big Grams
Big Boi + Phantogram = Surprising greatness! I was a bit skeptical when I heard about this collaboration, but it was more or less seamlessly executed. There are a few cringeworthy moments on their debut album - Sarah's rapping is endearing but awkward and Skrillex managed to pull off what sounds like an audio panic attack, but other than that, Big Grams should have been our summer soundtrack ... it was just released too late.
Although not quite as catchy as her previous EP with Richard X - a little too hard on the '90s-inspired techno for my liking - "Cara Mia" is probably my favorite song in the Annie canon. It's flawless, ethereal, beautiful, icy yet warm. "Out of Reach" follows suit, and even a song like "Dadaday" works for a run. Annie is queen; why aren't other people paying attention in the second decade of her career? IDK man.
Sleater-Kinney made their welcome comeback this year. And man! This album was relatively flawless. One of the best rock albums of the year made by a group of awesome women. Sleater-Kinney are basically legends and after a decade of pined-over separation, they made a triumphant return. Not everybody can accomplish that guys. Think about Bush for a second.
Jamie Xx

I will be pretty honest with you - I skidded through most of this album. "Gosh" was hypnotic and something of a grower track; "Girl" was well-done, but not something I could ever listen to on a regular basis. "Loud Places" though? "Loud Places" is a masterpiece. On a connected note, The Xx are back in the studio. I overplayed their 2012 effort so much that I can't even bring myself to listen to the whole thing years later.
Sufjan Stevens

"Carrie and Lowell" hit close to home for me. Like, way too close to home. I've sort of been burnt out on Sufjan the past few years - the more experimental he becomes, the more apprehensive I react - but when he returned to his stripped-down roots and very God-heavy lyrics, he became sincere and beautiful again. Every song on that album aches, and Sufjan redeems himself artistically through the loss of his estranged mother.
Soren Bryce

I just discovered her last month, and I think I'm a lifelong fan. This girl is 18 and has taught herself to play six instruments. Her EP has all the makings of a future pop star. Her music is catchy yet intelligent. Her lyrics are really far beyond her years. I listened to the EP 200 times in a few weeks, so that goes to show you something. I never do that.
Ryan Adams

At first, his Taylor Swift cover EP seemed like a novelty or a gimmick. But then! Then. I listened to it. The Springsteen influences are obvious; there are nods to The Smiths, but they are sparse at best. What's incredible is how much genuine emotion he packed into this. I read in an interview he began working on it as his marriage fell apart, and I think that pain is pretty evident throughout the album. Especially the waltzy "Out of the Woods," which (to me) is fairly painful to listen to.
Carly Rae Jepsen

I'm being serious - this is some slick 1980s pop. I thought she was a one-trick pony with the "Call Me Maybe" craze, but DAMN. "Emotion" is one good pop album. I didn't give it a chance until recently, and w-o-w. It rivals "1989" (IMHO) as the best pure pop album of late. You can almost imagine this being performed at an upscale mall, circa 1986. Like, I'm thinking one in Long Island? Or in California?
Class Actress

Promised no redundancy, but I delivered! Class Actress's EP - while not an exercise in perfection or timelessness - was just catchy, intoxicating, and pure synthpop bliss. "GFE" was her second single off it, and I heard it at H&M not so long ago. Which is a sign that this talented lady is going places. I find Class Actress very confidence-boosting. Give it a go if you haven't yet. "More Than You" was one of my favorite parts of 2015.
Gwen Stefani

Gwen's 2014 singles were kind of ... weak. "Baby Don't Lie" was a pretty okay pop song; "Spark the Fire" was forgettable. It seemed like she was trying to breathe new life into that same old machine that made her a mid-2000s solo pop star in the first place. But if heartbreak doesn't inspire greatness, then what does? Not saying this is one of her best tracks, but she certainly delivered some of her most powerful work since "Early Winter" or "Wonderful Life." 2016 promises to bring us a new Gwen Stefani album; she allegedly scrapped the previous one after thinking it didn't sound like her. And I welcome that, because I feel like this might be most one of her true-to-form pieces since she really came into her own.
That's all I have for now, folks. See you in 2016!


  1. I found the latest Annie + Richard X EP a little underwhelming too, the previous one was waaay better. Needless to say I loved Class Actress' EP as well, even though I've grown a bit tired of synthpop lately (yet half of my best-of list consisted of it lmao). Oh have you listened to the latest Ellie Goulding LP? Not her best, but it has some really good songs anyway. :)

    1. I actually love Ellie's new single! I really did not like "Love Me Like You Do," but daaaaamn if she isn't coming into her own as a pop star. Annie's previous EP was a MASTERPIECE. I feel like she's her best when she's diving into more ballady territory. Plus that EP was a little dark, you know?

    2. Gurrrl, "Love Me Like You Do" is perfection. I know it was everywhere this year (not quite like the boring, overrated "Hello"), but I sort of relate to the lyrics. The lead single gets tired really quickly, the album has waay better songs – "Something in the Way You Move," "The Greatest," "We Can't Move to This." Agreed, The A&R EP was so damn epic, it really had an underlying darkness to it. "Mixed Emotions" alone gives me all sorts of emotions. I found their latest EP a bit too fluffy and gooey. :/

    3. We gotta disagree, my sweet bb. But I'm glad it resonated with you. That's all that matters. I'll check out the album if you say it's good? Oh yes, DEFINITE fluff in places. I felt like it tried too hard to be club music. ANNIE I NEED MY STRONG SYNTHPOP BALLADS COME BACK


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