Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fran's Top 10 Albums of 2015

For a year filled with new releases from artists that I love (Clutch, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Grace Potter, The Neighbourhood, etc.) my Top 10 list is filed with new artists and late arrivals.  This means I either listened to way too much new music this year or my tastes are changing.  Regardless, it's a great list.  Below are my Top 10 albums of the year, listed by release date.

Something Supernatural by Crobot - Let's bring back the riff rock!!!  With the exceptions of old standards like Clutch or new comers like Royal Blood there is a real void in that area.  Where are the Rage Against The Machines?  Where are the Soundgardens?  Crobot channels their inner Wolfmother and Priestess to hit us with this funky and riff heavy debut album all while making the case for being the hardest working band out there.  Make sure you catch them live if you have the chance.

Love Stuff by Elle King - Elle King is the Babe Ruth of music.  She has the swagger, the personality, the talent, and she hits nothing but home runs.  She lives life to the fullest and she lives it her way.  Elle is able to convey all of this through her music.  She puts on one hell of a life show to boot.  I hope given her current success that she can continue in this direction instead of sounding played out.

To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar - What can I say about this album that already hasn't been said.  It's been dissected, evaluated, and taught as a class.  All of that is good but mostly it should just be enjoyed.  Kendrick takes his craft very seriously and keeps pushing himself to greater heights.  He embraces elements of spoken word and beat to funk and jazz and his social commentary is well beyond his years.  Whether you are a fan of rap or not this release demands respect.  I'm sure Drake is somewhere crying.

How Do You Feel Now by Joywave - Upstate New York has been producing some fine Indie and Electronic music recently.  Joywave is no exception.  This album is full of catchy hooks and vibe.  On a trip this past summer with my son I listened to this album in it's entirety four times through while he was asleep.  That speaks volumes.  The same songs could also keep you continuously busy on a dance floor.  That is the making of a good album.

Something More Than Free by Jason Isbell - Take a song as good as "Cover Me Up" and make an entire album of that quality.  That is what Jason Isbell has done.  He continues to grow with every single release.  This time he has sculpted personal tales of life, love, redemption, and self worth into a number #1 album.  It deserves all of the accolades that it have achieved.  Besides incredible music he has one of the funniest Twitter pages out there.  He is just real.  That is hard to come by in this industry.

Currents by Tame Impala - I try not to show prejudice...but this is my favorite release of the year.  By far!  It oozes sex and ambiance.  It is sex.  But on the inside it's much deeper.  It deals with breakups and the pressures of fame and life in general.  It is the coming to terms with these issues.  A rebirth.  In another environment these song could be incredibly dark but instead they make life's struggles sexy.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats - This man was ready to call it quits just a few years ago.  Then a new band, a new directions, and the hit single "S.O.B." skyrocketed them to top 10 lists and sold out shows.  Nathaniel's brand of root rock/delta blues instantly makes you sway your hips. In my opinion, "S.O.B." isn't even close to the best song on the album.  Do yourself a favor and give the entire album a couple spins.

Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots - So many sophomore efforts disappointed me this year.  I really did not want to be disappointed by this one.  The band blew up on their last album and who knew how they would handle it.  Not only did they not disappoint, they blew me away!  The themes have shifted to dealing with success and their own struggles to play what they want yet remain relevant.  The songs have a different feel but it still feels like Twenty One Pilots.  They have actually managed to grow musically and their fan base at the same time.  This was easily my most listened to album of the year.

1989 by Ryan Adams - This was a ballsy move.  Taking a hit pop album and re-imagining it in its entirety while it is still at the top of the charts.  Ryan was shooting for a Smith's vibe and he pulled it off.  In fact, it went over so well that it debuted at number 7 on the Billboard Charts with Taylor Swift's 1989 a step below it at number 8.  Ryan had enough balls to do it and may have been the only one capable of pulling it off.

Tell Me I'm Pretty by Cage the Elephant - It is fun to watch the band progress.  Their latest is a pure homage to the 60's.  From psychedelic to beach music.  You can hear influences from The Zombies and Animals to the Beatles and Beach Boys.  Dan Auerbach's production has fingerprints all over this one.  In a good way.  He was the right man for this one.  From start to finish this one is solid.  It is a late entry but deserves the spot.

Honorable Mention - Purple by Baroness - At the time of writing this I had only given this one spin but it was killer!  The band's first recording since the accident with the new lineup is potent.  Nothing is left on the table and their boutique venue tour is inspiring.  I am sure had this come out earlier it would be in my Top 10.  It is all in the timing!

This is interactive my friends.  Let's here your Top 10.  I do believe a Reader's Revenge is in order.

See you when the needle drops!




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