2015, A Year in Review

Man, there were a LOT of ups and downs in music this last year. We were teased with promises of new albums from bands like TOOL (but Maynard decided to release another Puscifer album instead) as well as from my favorite Indie band The Wrens (who have said the album will instead be released in 2016). We lost icons like Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver) and recently Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead). And then there’s Drake, whose single “Hotling Bling” spawned the largest variety of memes since Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”

As 2016 looms just mere hours away, I’d like to take a moment to share with you my personal Top 5 favorite albums of 2015.

5. Wilco “Star Wars”

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First off, allow me to state that the fact that the album shares it’s name with one of my all-time favorite movies (“Empire Strikes Back” specifically) in no way effected my decision in adding it to the list. It’s just a happy coincidence. Heavily acoustic, genuine, and all-around catchy, “Star Wars” quickly became one of my favorite Wilco albums to date. And as icing on the figurative cake, the band released this album FOR FREE on iTunes, which is another way of them giving the middle finger to record labels. Even though the album is really good, they thankfully didn’t auto-download it for you, which is more than what U2 can say.

4. The Decemberists “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

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I would go as far as saying that this is probably my favorite album from The Decemberists thus far. Again, more on the acoustic side, their unique harmonies and foreboding lyrics definitely make them a staple in the modern rock genre. “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World” is very much an interesting listen from beginning to end, and one I definitely recommend checking out.

3. Big Noble “First Light”

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Big Noble is the side project from Interpol guitarist Daniel K and audio engineer Joseph Fraioli. Very atmospheric and exploratory, “First Light” proved to be a very bold and artsy move for Daniel K, and I think he pulled it off well. Surprisingly enough, Daniel K wasn’t the first to branch off from Interpol to release a side album. In fact, he’s the last one to do so. Frontman Paul Banks already has two different solo albums under his belt (one under the guise of Julian Plenti) and even drummer Sam Fogarino released two albums with Magnetic Morning. Even though Interpol remains my favorite, I’d say Big Noble would be my first pick as far as the side projects go. If you’re in the market for an instrumental album, or interested in checking out something a bit different, I highly recommend giving “First Light” a try.

2. Senses Fail “Pull The Thorns Out From Your Heart.”

 

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Listening to this album and seeing them live in concert, you would never had guessed that not too long ago they were part of the emo/screamo movement of the early 00’s. What can only be defined, at least in my opinion, as a true honest effort, lead singer Buddy Nielson clearly poured his heart out into this album.  Maintaining the hard edge the band debuted with, they’ve since ditched ditched the emo theme for a more genuine and uplifting tone like that of The Color Morale. I had the opportunity of seeing them perform at this past Vans Warped Tour, and they were easily one of the best sets. Nielson even shared with the crowd the struggles he’s gone through throughout his life, and what brought him the be the man he is today. It was very endearing, and made for a genuine experience.

“Pull The Thorns Out From Your Heart” was actually going to be my number one on this list, but then this album came out:

1. Ghost “Meliora”

 

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Ask any metal head about this album, and you’ll see an immediate excitement appear on their face. I have yet to hear a single negative thing said about the mysterious Swedish metal band’s latest effort, and for good reason. Keeping with the ominous tones of their previous albums, “Meliora” takes Ghost to a whole new level with the foreboding tones, intricate guitars, and the eerily soothing tone of lead singer Papa Emeritus’ voice. I mean, did you catch their amazing performance of “Ciricie” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? They literally had the audience spellbound! (and yes, I know it was part of the act, but shush!). For a solid two weeks after it’s release, this was the only album I was listening to, and it’s still in regular rotation. I an’t recommend this album enough, even if you’re not into traditional metal music. Well, unless of course you’re very religious, then Ghost maybe isn’t the best idea. But I digress…

Well, there you have it. My Top 5 personal favorites from 2015. What do you think? Not bad huh? I’d love to see what your favorites from this last year are! Be sure to comment your list below, or share on Twitter at @TheMusicJunkie8 !

I’ve got some exciting things coming your way for 2016, so make sure to give us “Like” over on Facebook and follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date as things progress!