Among all the things I could say about 2015, I’ll just go with the fact that this year was an absolute big year for the music scene. There were tons of new music released, debut albums, EP’s and what not. Last year, I had no problem at all picking my top 5 albums (it wasn’t easy, though, don’t get me wrong), this year as you’ll see the list has gotten bigger, and trust me picking these albums was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do all year.
In 2015 I listened to lots of music, went to a lot of gigs and caught some cool live acts during a couple festivals; also my favorite band released a new album, I gave new bands and artists I’d never heard before a chance and fell in love with a ton of them. Personally speaking, there’s been a lot of thinking for me during this year, and during any kind of situation I had songs, and albums to get me through it. That’s basically the line I followed in order to pick what albums got me through the year and while some may look predictable, I think what matters here is how much they mean to me and the experiences I collected along the musical journey of 2015.
It’s always hard for me to narrow a list below 10 items. I tried to do 5 but I couldn’t leave just 1 behind, so this list is about the 6 albums I wasn’t able to stop listening to. (Editors note: She’s a rebel. I like it) Some honorable mentions need to go to All Time Low’s Future Hearts, This Century’s Soul Sucker, Smallpools’ LOVETAP! and Walk The Moon’s Talking Is Hard.
In retrospect, my 2015 felt like a time of reflection and thoughtfulness and in these albums I find the exact right words to put those feelings and thoughts into shape, the only ones I can think about to sum up perfectly how my year felt…and here they go:
6. The Technicolors – Ultraviolet Disguise EP (Deluxe Edition)
The fact that I’m talking about an EP that happens to be a deluxe edition might sound quite rare for a couple of you, but to prove a point, how many times have you heard about an artist who releases a deluxe edition of their own EP? Not many, right? Though this band may be only at the start, they managed to get me hooked right from the first chord. This EP has fueled my year not only because I dig what I hear from them, but mainly because they’re very different and talented and the pretty fresh sound I was kinda craving for from a while back. Influenced by the 90’s alt-rock vibes this EP is one of the best things I’ve heard during 2015. The Technicolors are the band I want to keep listening to, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Top tracks: “Feels Like Trouble,” “Tonight You Are Mine” and “Please Don’t Say You Told Me So”
Get Ultraviolet Disguise here.
5. Halsey – Badlands
I must admit, and hopefully y’all won’t hate me for it, that I didn’t quite understand what the hype for Halsey was – at least not until I first listened to her debut album and then I felt a bit ashamed of myself for not giving her a chance sooner. Rightfully, I made up for my misjudgment and now here I am picking it out to be one of my favorite albums of the year. This one’s also one of my favorite debuts from 2015. Halsey’s a very young woman, but with a powerful voice and message that I’m sure is what has got her right where she needs to be right now. Probably what I love the most about this album is its conceptual nature. It’s full of truths and human situations and that’s what makes it so pure and honest.
Top tracks: “Drive,” “Colors,” “Ghost” and “I Walk The Line”
Get Badlands here.
4. Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface
If you were to ask me what’s exactly the reason why I happen to like this band so much, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to find the words to explain myself. Even since I first heard them a couple years back, I haven’t been able to stop listening to them. Their essence as a band and the message they want to send their fans and listeners is pretty clear, and this album is no different. Blurryface is all about relating, about being human and having natural insecurities as well as stress issues. The lyrics represent some kind of relief knowing that you’re not the only one who’s insecure or scared of whatever you’re facing. Definitely one of my favorite things about this record is how well it blends and nails a variety of music genres, reflecting the experimental nature of the band.
Top tracks: “Stressed Out,” “Goner” and “Doubt”
Get Blurryface here.
3. James Bay – Chaos and The Calm
This was definitely one of my favorite debut albums over the course of this year. The first word that comes to my mind when asked how I feel towards this album is intimacy. Not quite sure if it’s the depth and the feeling of the lyrics contained in each one of the songs, or whether if I relate it to a certain experience of my own. I always have and always will be a sucker for sentimental stuff, and if it’s music that’s way better. This album felt like my source of calm when my mind was total chaos. Guitar strings and acoustic chords, lyrics full of all the feels and James Bay’s charming and beautiful vocals are definitely the perfect combination to fall for…and that’s exactly why this album made it to my list.
Top tracks: “Craving,” “Let It Go” and “Best Fake Smile”
Get Chaos and The Calm here.
2. Kodaline – Coming Up For Air
Proving one of my previous statements, I’m a sucker for sentimental music and Kodaline has a way of keeping things beautiful and sensitive. This is the Irish band’s sophomore album, and without trying to be punny here, to me it represents something I tried so hard to keep with me throughout this year that is ‘coming up for air.’ I’m saying this because I tend to over-stress myself with the stupidest things – I try not to, but that’s how I am and sometimes I do hate it a lot so whenever I needed a record to make myself forget about everything else, I found myself coming back to this one and sure I always got lost in its beautiful and sensible tracks. This album is another one that came at the right place and right time for me. I had the pleasure and luck to catch a live show this year in Austin, and hearing the songs and experimenting the live performance of many of them really ignited something in me that, to this day, I can’t really quite put in words.
Top tracks: “Honest,” “Love Will Set You Free” and “Unclear”
Get Coming Up For Air here.
1. The Maine – American Candy
The amount of times I’ve played this album on repeat is probably ridiculously insane. After two years since the release of their previous, dark-scented material Forever Halloween, I think it’s safe to say that The Maine nailed the perfect comeback. One of my favourite things about this band is that I feel and I’ve actually been growing up and maturing with them. What this album means to me, is better, simply and beautifully explained in vocalist’s John O’Callaghan words simply because this man has always been one to have a precise way to explain – […] an escape of the mind. Not to be confused with the idea that everything is perfect, but to be digested as a distraction from the chaos of life and a simple reminder to breathe.
There’s always one album (even a couple of them) that comes at the right place and right time. To me, this one happened to be exactly that. The essence of the record is so brutally honest and true, in a good way. Being absolutely honest, there’s not a track in this record where you’ll hit the skip button, because it’s THAT good. My favorite tracks include “Miles Away,” “Same Suit, Different Tie,” title track “American Candy” and “(Un)Lost” – the latter being one with the lyrics that definitely stuck with me the most: “Control what you can, confront what you cant” that’s quite a reminder, right?
I guess there’s not much else I can tell you about this album. The Maine has got themselves a pretty long list of reasons why I’m very fond of them: they’re all about staying true to yourself. They’re passionate, and they do the things they do because they love what they do, otherwise I don’t think they would’ve done an absolute FREE tour around the U.S, would’ve they? This album is the perfect getaway, would be my #1 suggestion for a long car ride, so you can find yourself “miles away” from anything and everything.
Get American Candy here.
Stay tuned for more staff picks!