I’ve finally decided to assemble a short list of my favorite albums of the year. I’ve always wanted to and there was some really good stuff this past year, so here it is.
Note: I don’t have any formal music training; I’m really just going by what I like. I’m looking for albums that pull a reaction out of me or makes me move, not necessarily one that lives up to hype, is musically sound, or is good compared to previous work.
10 - Kaleidoscope Dream - Miguel
I’ll start the list off with a really great R&B album. I might like Miguel’s first album better (maybe), but this one is too good to pass up. I love the sound and voice Miguel brings.
Favorite Track: Arch & Point
9 - Boys & Girls - Alabama Shakes
I really dig the southern blues-y feel of the album. It definitely hit the spot this summer on a hot day. (Yeah, I’ll admit it, I had no idea the lead singer was female until about my 5th listen.)
Favorite Track: Be Mine
8 - 4eva N a Day - Big K.R.I.T.
This was a really tough choice over Live From the Underground. Either way, Big K.R.I.T. definitely earned a spot on my list this year.
Favorite Track: Me and My Old School
7 - Myth - Geographer
Geographer brings the most chill/beep-boop-y album of the list, and makes me wonder why they’re still a relative unknown. While it’s not the shortest album on the list, ending with a song like Kites sure makes me want more.
Favorite Track: Lover’s Game
6 - The Slumdon Bridge EP - Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf
This kind of came out of nowhere for me and ended up being one of my favorites of the year. I had never heard of Ed Sheeran before, but the team up with Yelawolf seems like a good one. The only problem I have is that it’s too short.
Favorite Track: You Don’t Know (For Fuck’s Sake)
5 - Celebration Rock - Japandroids
Really solid indie rock album that I will likely be listening to for years to come. The duo’s no-frills approach always gets my leg hopping.
Favorite Track: The House That Heaven Built
4 - Nocturne - Wild Nothing
Wild Nothing came through with a dreamy album that managed to really hook me with the guitar on tracks like Disappear Always and Nocturne. It can easily sit in the background while I’m coding or keep me awake on a late-night drive.
Favorite Track: Disappear Always
3 - Attack on Memory - Cloud Nothings
I loved this album from first listen. It sounds very raw to me and some elements remind me of a new-school Nirvana album (maybe a stretch, but I’ll stand by that).
Favorite Track: Wasted Days
2 - good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar
This was tough for me to not put at # 1. While some of the content may seem a bit derivative, it’s really telling a story and makes the stereotypical hip-hop references work. That said, I would prefer an album without skits any day.
Favorite Track: Money Trees
1 - channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean
As a big fan of nostalgia, ULTRA., this album had a lot to live up to for me. I think I’ve listened to this album about 20 times and it just doesn’t get old. It’s fun, catchy, and has a lot my favorite elements of the new-school R&B movement.
Favorite Track: Pyramids
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list. Hit me up on Twitter (@rdonnelly) or reblog/leave me a comment if you get a chance.