Here is the official Top 20 Greatest Albums of 2015 List as heard on Episode #158 of The Andy Derer Show. Andy omitted the #20 album during the recording but here it is. Be sure to go to Amazon, CLICK HERE FIRST, buy these amazing albums to support both the artist and our show!
1. Blur – The Magic Whip
Damon Albarn finally reunites with what brought him to the conversation 25 years ago, and the results are exactly what you want: A Blur album informed by what Damon has been up to in the intervening years. World music, hip hop, soul music, all rub up against Graham Coxon’s punk-Kinks guitar work.
2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
In the dark political climate of 2015, nothing spoke louder about the unrest than Kendrick’s opus To Pimp A Butterfly. Kendrick’s feverish poetry slam verbiage was hyper-intelligent while not upsetting the gangsta rap sect with it’s executive producer credit of Dr. Dre. Easily the most jazzy, out-there record Dre has ever been associated with.
3. Wilco – Star Wars
A glorious mid-year surprise, which cleverly rode on the back of the new Star Wars film, Wilco’s latest transmission was a fast, loud, collection that captured that moment when punk and singer-songwriters were brief bedfellows in the late 70s.
4. Dr. Dre – Compton A Soundtrack
When you wait 15 years to release your follow up, the smartest thing to do is to ditch that album and announce a brand new project. Dre and the Straight Outta Compton feature film announced a Dre as a comfortable elder of the rap game. The album captured everything from his 80s beginning, his 90s gangsta idol era, his 2000s executive producer era and heralded the new class with Kendrick Lamar and Andersen.Paak.
5. Kurt Vile – B’Lieve I’m Goin Down
Kurt Vile’s laconic drawl personified a certain political aspect of 2015. The opposite of aggression, Vile’s hip slackerdom captured a disinterest in the entire “system” complete with searing guitar leads and acoustic laments straight out of the Laurel Canyon playbook.
6. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
Early signifiers of the Riot Grrrl scene, S-K took the past decade off and Carrie Brownstein hit comedic gold with IFC’s Portlandia before returning with the blistering, intense set.
7. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness
The Weeknd aka Abel Tesfaye originally gained notoriety with a blissed out, deep house sound. This year he returned with an attempt at a pop crossover sound, and it worked.
8. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
What began as a freebie, turned into one of the year’s greatest sellers, which is a testament to the power of Drake. He is young, dripping with charisma and on this album he taps into lyricism he only previously hinted at.
9. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon
While her lyrics are x-rated commentaries on west coast social classism, Lana Del Rey delivers her vocals with an authentic, wide-screen flair unheard in pop music since the hey day of PJ Harvey. Though the rhythms barely crawl along on Honeymoon there is a gorgeous subtlety at work here.
10. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometime I Just Sit
A fresh new voice in rock, Kiwi singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett made a splash with this her second album. Sounding like a clean Courtney Love and looking like a well-groomed Patti Smith, this album easily set the table for her breakthrough.
11. Coldplay – A Head Full Of Dreams
A technicolor party from one of Britain’s more dour rock bands, A Head Full Of Dreams threatened to be Coldplay’s final album. However this energetic collection of experimentations felt more like a beginning.
12. New Order – Music Complete
Groundbreaking English dance-rockers lose their founding member Peter Hook to in-fighting and deliver their most dance floor-ready collection since the 80s.
13. Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect
A sly homage to the Reagan era of popular music, Brandon Flowers created a masterwork of stimulant-powered dance music and working class guitar anthems.
14. Tame Impala – Currents
Kevin Parker the mastermind behind Tame Impala ditched the guitars and creates a headphone opus more in debt to Eno’s stretch of 70s/80s classics than anything resembling any previous Tame Impala albums.
15. Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – The Monsanto Years
Another odd detour from the king of odd detours, The Monsanto Years found Young creating a polemic screed against genetically modified food business, however, backed by the Promise Of The Real, it was his loudest/funnest album in years.
16. Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart
This seasoned veteran returned in 2015 with a rough, bluesy collection of woozy rockers, reggae and dusky ballads.
17. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor
This tight collection of anthemic rock found the king of shock rock aging comfortably with songs catchier than anything he had done in a decade.
18. Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes
Mark Kozelek’s big mouth got the best of him in 2015 but this epic collection of psychedelic folk grunge found the songwriter finding endless new ways of expressing himself.
19. Local H – Hey, Killer
This dark & loud collection of meat & potatoes rock found Zion, IL’s favorite band in strong form. Who said aggression in rock & roll went out of style in the 1990s?
20. Failure – The Heart Is A Monster
A layered, epic tour de force, Failure’s first album in 19 years had the detail of a Pink Floyd concept album and the pure power of the grunge era.