I think 2015 has been my favorite year in music in my adult life so far and I started with a top 10 that grew into a top 50 that I’ve now scaled back down to a top 10 with much stress and pained squirming and whining sounds. I also am choosing to only rank my top 3 officially and the leave the rest in no particular order because I can’t handle the responsibility and I’m not even sure how to compare the things on this list to one another. Also, I know this seems silly to say but this list is comprised only of the things I heard this year so I can’t speak to releases that I didn’t spend any time with and I’m sure some of them would have made this list if I had. OMG here we go!
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late: Drake is the only fuckboy I have time or love for and I swear to god Lorde produced this record. Listen to “10 Bands,” “No Tellin’,” “Company”
Wavves – V: Nathan Williams makes me trust dudes again because he spans self-doubt and self-hate and romantic shit and creepy brain ooze while somehow making a middle part work and possessing not an ounce ego. Forever filling my quota of bratty dude noise. Listen to “Pony,” “Way Too Much, “My Head Hurts”
Best Coast – California Nights: My cosmic big sis blaming her problems on the moon, writing her own chapter in the greater female narrative and pissing off rock dudes every damn day. Listen to “Fine Without You,” “Jealousy,” “Run Through My Head”
Oddisee – The Good Fight: Wordy and anxious but full of chance and the plea to try. Listen to “That’s Love,” “Contradiction’s Maze,” “A List of Withouts”
Little Mix – Get Weird: I can’t be succinct about Little Mix. Listen to the whole thing and go see them on tour and thank whoever every day that we have them.
Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ: A study on fandom and heroes written by the nicest dude in the world, considered a hero by many. Listen to “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero,” “Heel Turn 2,” “Werewolf Gimmick”
Colleen Green – I Want to Grow Up: An exploration of the purgatory of young adulthood and how your narrative isn’t wrong just because it is different. Listen to “Deeper Than Love,” “Whatever I Want,” “Grind My Teeth”
- Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp: The soundtrack to the rise and fall of the most headfucking non-relationship of my life; the first time I’ve listened to sad music and liked it. Literate, poetic, a revival of southern charm and very reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor – shadowy, funny and very mean. Listen to “Breathless,” “Summer of Love,” “Poison,” “Grey Hair,” “Half Moon”
- Mac McCaughan – Non-Believers: The most romantic dude alive – his lyrics on relationships and life with another person make me miserable because I haven’t found that but also un-jades me with each listen. Mac has a soft heart and knows how to tell stories in the short space of a pop song. He is an overflow of technical skill and warmth – best all around and the true (humble) pinnacle of pop punk. Listen to “Box Batteries,” “Real Darkness,” “Lost Again,” “Wet Leaves,” “Only Do”
- Grimes – Art Angels: The pop student and pop scholar – the most comprehensive understanding of what pop music is and can be, Grimes is the surgeon extraordinaire who stitched together this Frankenstein mosaic with glitter thread and sweated over every documented sound on this record. This is the opposite of découpé and the fatalistic approach to creation, the opposite of white dude William S. Burroughs and his druggy brilliance – this is talent and a true representation of kaleidoscopic psychedelia. I said this about M.I.A.’s Matangi in 2013 and want to echo that now – this is the best top 40 pop record that isn’t actually top 40 pop. Grimes is not human – she is an alien sprite in a cowboy hat, a savant and the most well-read contributor to popular music and popular media we have. Listen to “Flesh without Blood,” “Kill V. Maim,” “Easily,” “REALiTi,” “Venus Fly”