5 Albums That Defined 2015

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3. In Colour by Jamie xx

Album art via Young Turks

After spending time helping craft emotive, minimalist indie rock beats with The xx, Jamie xx has made the most evocative record of the year with In Colour. Beginning with the thunderous rave-inspired track ‘Gosh’ Jamie xx builds an entire world around whiplash beats timed between a schizophrenic stream of distorted voices that inevitably erupt into a storm of humming bass lines and whirring synths before breaking it right back down to its basic form. “Sleep Sound” and “The Rest Is Noise” entice you with chiming bleeps and shifting rhythms, guiding the you deeper into Jamie xx’s musical landscape. “Hold Tight” scuttles with a foreboding menace, hinting that just beyond this gorgeous paradise lies something far less enticing. “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” promises the same escapism found on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” opening with a sample of an a capella intro, then breaking down it a Young Thug helmed dance odyssey. The apex of the album comes on “Loud Places” where fellow xx-er Romy Madley Croft proclaims “I will take you higher” setting up the song’s euphoric chorus “I see music in your eyes/I have never reached such heights.” Combining deft sample deployment and manipulation with brilliant musical development, In Colour explores a wide spectrum of sound that it endows it with an introspective nature. An experience or interpretation of this album becomes unique to the individual, however, Jamie xx has made a record that regardless of the time, place, or mindset, will make you feel.

2. I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty

Album art via Sub Pop

There’s something about Josh Tillman’s Father John Misty that is simultaneously arrogant and vulnerable. On I Love You, Honeybear Tillman tackles the milieu of modern romance through the story of his marriage to his wife, Emma. “True Affections” is built around a warm bed of loops, snapping beats and synths with Tillman’s voice wondering wistfully, “When can we talk with the face instead of using all these strange devices?” alluding to their relationship beginning on the dating app, Tinder. What keeps Honeybear grounded and real is Tillman acknowledging the good and the bad. One moment he’s admiring the regal way Emma eats bread and butter, the next he’s annoyed by her “petty, vague ideas” and her misuse of “malaprop.” It’s not just about Emma as Tillman puts their relationship in the context of the time. “Bored In The USA”, a jaded ballad to modern anxiety and mediocrity that would make Springsteen proud, trying to cope in whatever way he can to “kind of deal.” Father John Misty is a self-described “aimless, fake drifter… Horny man child momma’s boy,” but finds peace with the knowledge that he’s at least found the woman who loves him in spite of his flaws. It’s a love that transcends passion, peeves, and insecurities. A love that is neither perfect or blind by any stretch. A love that provides validation and self-acceptance. “To truly see and be seen.” That’s the gospel of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear.

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  1. Lauren S

    January 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with all of these! Although I do think Sufjan Stevens deserves an honorable mention for Carrie & Lowell.

  2. William Miller

    January 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

    It’s perfect.

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