My Top Ten Albums of 2015 (Belated Best Of List)

No video this time around.

In 2015 I started listening to podcasts for the first time. I quickly became hooked. Do to this new found way of passing the time however I realized that I was listening to less music than I normally would. As the year came to end I looked at lists of top albums, favorite albums, etc and realized I never listened to several of the “top” releases. Then I was asked by a friend what albums I liked the most in 2015.

This all caused me to start thinking.

While I may have missed many of the albums that are found amongst the end of year lists I did listen to a few. I devoured these few. They were so good to me that they pulled me away from the podcasts.

The following list is top 10 of those albums in the order they were released.

Butch Walker – Afraid Of Ghosts                                                                         February 3, 2015                                                                                                                  I am unapologetically a fanboy of Butch. He may be best known for his producing credits, but for me he is a top singer songwriter. This was his 7th full length studio album. Released after the death of his father Butch used this album as his healing process. Gone is much of the pop rock that he so effortlessly creates and more of the mature folky pop that he has been crafting over his more recent releases. One thing that has not left is his incredible word play. Butch holds nothing back, but even the most blunt and taboo comes across in poetry. I feel like this album is extremely emotional and at times very beautiful. It was produced by Ryan Adams and has a community of well known guests appearing on it.

Lord Huron – Strange Trails                                                                                       April 7, 2015                                                                                                                         When I first heard Lord Huron it was on the debut release Lonesome Dreams. I discovered it and Father John Misty’s debut around the same time. I immediately drew a connection saying this band is a happier version of Misty. I was very excited for this second release and upon listening I was not disappointed. The album feels like going on an adventure. Every time I listen to it I travel to a distant place.

Local Honey – documentary/album                                                                        April 28, 2015                                                                                                                       This is a special project dear to my heart. Local Honey is a documentary about the history of Saint Augustine’s rich music scene as well as the creative process of 16 local musicians recording an album. The album is made up of the songs created by these artists over one week as they lived together recording and being filmed. I am friends with many of these artists. I believe in this project and I love the people that created it. Not only am I biased by what it is about, but with a listen it is easily one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Each track shows the skills and diverse sounds of our nations oldest cities’ talented musicians.

Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface                                                                                  May 19, 2015                                                                                                                         A few years back I was lucky enough to meet and hang out with the 2 members that make up this amazing band due to a good friend having grown up and remaining close friends with the singer and main writer, Tyler. I quickly was a fan of the poppy genre blurring sound and underlying deep message. So when Blurryface came out I was very much looking forward to it. Now many people all over the world know why I like it so much. It is all over the musical map going dark at moments and light the next. This release takes you on a rollercoaster that seems terrifying at times, but ends in true hope and joy.

Emery – You Were Never Alone                                                                                 May 19, 2015                                                                                                                        Another release for my fanboy collection. I have been a huge fan of this band since their first release. With this, their 6th studio album the band embarked new territory releasing it on their own label BadChristian. I might like this one more than any other of their releases. They show a lot of growth with tracks ranging from very heavy scream/posthardcore to more emotional rock on a softer side. A few months after their release on a podcast the lead singer let it be known that each track is his inspired telling of stories in the bible. Now when I listen with that information I find myself listening whole new level as I put the songs and the stories together in my mind.

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free                                                               July 17, 2015                                                                                                                        This album I listened to out curiosity. Jason Isbell was once a part of Drive By Truckers before striking out on his own a few years back. I have not really listened to any of previous releases, but the response they received put him on my radar. When I gave this a listen I quickly fell in love. This may very well be my favorite album of 2015. It is incredible. Call it Americana, call it country, call it whatever you want. This is a stunning release. I found myself stopping the needler on tracks and backing it up to listen to certain moments over and over. Phenomenal.

Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People                                            August 7, 2015                                                                                                                       Another one I was extremely excited for this year. Frank Turner fits perfectly in my wheelhouse. He is a punk rocker that blends folk and rock n roll. This album is also produced by Butch Walker, a decision Frank made against label advice, and his fingerprints are all over it. Mature writing with a roots feel and punk enthusiasm. I cannot stop singing along. He wrecks me, inspires me to teenager enthusiasm and at the end sets me back on a green meadow smiling. All of this is why a track from this album is my motto for the year and the inspiration for my previous post. I do not know if it is his best album, but it is one of them and a top of the year.

Lucero – All A Man Should Do                                                                          September 18, 2015                                                                                                            Lucero is a band I always mention when talking about music I love. They grow with every release. Punk rockers with southern sensibility. This album is said to sound like the album they have always wanted to create. Overall I find it softer than anything else they have done, but also the most cohesive in sound. Punk is hard to find in the music, but the attitude is still there. They tell stories and they show the fans who they are and where they come from. It is an album that had to grow on me at first, but I listen to it now and look forward to what they are going to do next. I think this is a turning of the page release for the band.

Ryan Adams – 1989                                                                                             September 21, 2015                                                                                                      Again this is a fanboy artist for me. I love Ryan Adams. When he announced this cover album of Taylor Swift’s I knew I had to listen. What he has done is give the album a whole different life. He makes her dance pop anthems his own americana soulful creations. One could listen and never fathom the songs were originally from a young lady. To take art and recreate it how he has with this is incredible to me. Sidenote: I recently came to realize the original by Ms. Swift is pretty darn good itself.

Beach Slang – The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us              October 30, 2015                                                                                                                 I saw Beach Slang life at a fest in Atlanta in August and holy cow did they get my attention. So much energy. Punk Rock n Roll is what I consider them to be. This album has been labeled a “banger” by it’s fans. I agree. It bangs alright. It is high energy and moving. I love it. I want to dance around and sing loudly when listening. They capture the live show I experienced very well. I dig it.

 

There it is, my belated top ten albums of 2015. Many of them may never find there way on a popular list, but each is very special to me. In a year where I listened to the least amount of music than I have in a very long time each of these grabbed me and held on to make a listening impression.

Honorable mention goes to Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear February 9, 2015                                                                                                                   Father John Misty has a style I find very intriguing. Like I mentioned earlier I discovered him and Lord Huron at the same time. He is the darker side of a similar style to me. I really liked this release and recommend it to anyone, but in the end I could not push aside any of those in my top ten to put it there. Maybe it ties with one of them. It is definitely a good one.

with hope,

Ward

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8 thoughts on “My Top Ten Albums of 2015 (Belated Best Of List)

  1. calebjoshua says:

    I like that Lord Huron album. I have heard that Twenty One Pilots album too. A lot of the students at E3 love Twenty One Pilots. I like it, but a lot of it is just a bit to hip hop for my taste. But I respect them as artist. I’ll have to check out some of the others.

    You have inspired me though to pick out my top 5 albums of 2015. I don’t know if I ran across 10 albums that really struck me this year, but I’m sure I can scrape up five.

      1. Ward says:

        Goes so deep in content dude. Both are strong believers. They take a song like Fairly Local that is so dark and twist it around to be a message of hope.

      2. calebjoshua says:

        Yeah I read a bit of there bio and notice the drummer was previously in House of Heroes. They seem like really cool dudes. Also it’s cool that they are such good influences when there’s so much… filth out there. That may make me sound like an old-fogy, but it’s true.

  2. calebjoshua says:

    Here are my top 5 from 2015.

    The Brilliance – Brother (February 17, 2015)
    Sufjan Steven – Carrie & Lowell (March 30, 2015)
    Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color (April 21, 2015)
    Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool (June 22, 2015)
    Cage The Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty (December 18, 2015)

    Honorable mention: Jon Foreman – The Wonderlands Project (March 26, 2015 – October 23, 2015)

    I may leave this on Facebook with a bit more of a description too.

  3. Ward says:

    I had not listened to all of those, but what I did listen to is really good. That Jon Foreman project is up there and brilliance are good, but I haven’t listen to just that album.

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