Healthy, strong and active, the heart of good music continues to beat. Some years strong as a young adult on top of the world, others, like one sick in bed. Even though modern music is possibly all, mostly a copy of something created from something written in the past, it still sounds rather glorious; if clear influences don’t ruin new emergencies for you. The live circuit continues to be exciting overall, even though this author thinks major Music Festivals peaked in 2013 and since 2014 and on are slowly on a declivity. Top U.S festivals from 2007-2013 were electrifying, fresh and exciting, and have worsened little by little in all sorts of ways. More repetition, less reunion acts, less exciting bookings to those looking for rarities or different names than usual lead to yawn inducing lineups. The festival BRAND NAME is selling out the fest in some cases more than the actual lineup is. As more festivals emerge, the talent gets spread out, and thus the eclectic wealth of a sole lineup isn’t what it used to be. As a 500+ concert man, a music lover and a live music aficionado, festivals are running out of lineups that cater to the author, acts wise, so if you’re new to the live music scene, don’t let those words of wisdom scare you off. Go where you want to go for live experiences. Experiences and tastes are all subjective anyway. Always remember to “Live And Let Live” too with different tastes and opinions. Getting to the delicious meal that is the subject of this article, 2015’s strongest records. The major drawback of this list is not being able to include great records from 2014 that I would love to list here such as Royal Blood by Royal Blood, Morning Phase by Beck, This Is All Yours by Alt-J, Snapshot by The Strypes, Run The Jewels 2 by Run The Jewels, Talking Is Hard by Walk The Moon, etc. That aside, 2015 was quite rich. The author has listened to all of these records and plenty others also before making decisions on what made the cut and where it ought to be place. Without further ado, as of this point in time, here are the quintessential recordings (of magnificence) of 2015:
Honorable mentions: Caracal by Disclosure, Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey, and Dodge And Burn by The Dead Weathers. All three records have massive potential to be on best of the year lists and look great. Though due to not being released yet, are not eligible to be ranked or analyzed in this list. Hoping they prove to be great.
24. In Colour by Jamie XX – The XX band member takes a break from the band to release a solo LP and tour it. This record being his first record outside The XX, is a SOLID effort. It has a consistently intriguing wall of sound to it; and that’s the highest compliment this author will pay it. The author half thinks that, and the other half of what the author thinks: what a DULL electronic record compared to so many peers, and a HO HUM single to anchor it. Hence its position of LAST in what the author would classify as a magnificent recording. It’s still much stronger than plenty of other music released this year. The XX is good live; Jamie XX, ehhhh, pass.
23. Beauty Behind The Madness by The Weekend – The Weeknd has quickly become very famous. The two most likely factors: Abel Tesfaye’s majestic voice, and his perverse alluring lyrics. With a loyal fan base, #1 hits, and his voice, he’s on top of the world, musically, and will likely stay there for a long time. Sadly, this record is yet another R & B BORE. Thank goodness for the hits “Can’t Feel My Face”, and “The Hills”, as they catapult the album to at least halfway decent. Everyone on the internet reps this guys stuff. He’s got the voice, the lyrics, and the popularity. Lets see if he can write an album more than just tunes to doze off from a lap dance to. This record DOES NOT prove otherwise.
22. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + The Machine – Musical force that she is, both in the studio and live (seen her live twice), Florence has dropped her POOREST effort to date. Considering her first two major studio releases, were SUPERB, it seemed unlikely, she’d create 3 flawless albums in a row. Well this one is flawed. It’s blander, and lacks the same magic that past hits had. Running out of genius writing Florence? Perfectly understandable. You’re still a top female fronted alternative act who continues to take the world by storm, and it was way nasty when you got injured and kept touring. Florence rules, just did not with this album. Still a good enough album to make this list.
21. Compton by Dr. Dre – Welcome back Dre . Since becoming a billionaire, it makes perfect sense Dre’s been all quiet on the rap front. He kindly released this piece, with guests galore, and its actually quite good. Glad yet another Compton cornerstone is out there in this Straight Outta Compton sales frenzy. Dre’s still all about money. Solid effort here.
20. Magnifique by Ratatat – Silent as a rat shredders return. This time with an odd, eccentric, TV-themed, mixed with usual instrumentals album. It has some clear standout aces “Cream On Chrome” and “Nightclub Amnesia”, and tracks like “Rome”, “Abrasive”, etc, also finish strong. Overall, a great alternative/electronica record.
19. True Colors by Zedd – The electrifying, smash hit producing superstar returns. Back with a solid effort, this one doesn’t exceed its predecessor. Its very good though. Anchored by the massive singles “Addicted To A Memory”, “I Want You To Know”, “Beautiful Now” and the lovely “Papercut”. This record shines, just not as bright as Zedds first studio full length album. That one had more rave like tracks, party tracks, and consistent quality throughout. Still worthy of a nod. Just a shame the author can’t hear/see the colors he does.
18. Peace Is The Mission by Major Lazer – A good record, though laughable also. Diplo implements a tiny bit of humor into his EDM tracks, and he hasn’t quit that manner yet, as its indubitably in this album. Lifted by extreme popularity, songs like Lean On, help make this a decent effort from Major Lazer.
17. Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied by The Fratellis – This album starts with a epic statement that is “Me And The Devil” (an amazing song), and goes downhill from there. Though the song “Thief” deserves high success, and ought to be on the radio. As does the first song I mentioned. Two incredible songs, and the return of a great alternative act, slaps a satisfied smile on the authors face. This record is rich in texture too.
16. Dream Your Life Away by Vance Joy – This record is perfect for what it is: either 1. An album to listen to while holding onto your girlfriend lovingly, or 2. A tear-jerker. Lifted by its two massive singles “Mess Is Mine” and “Riptide”, and many other peaceful tear inducing acoustic pieces, Vance Joy released a good piece of music here. He’s decent live too. The author recommends an intimate setting though, as seeing him in a giant field at a festival, didn’t feel right.
15. Born In The Echoes by The Chemical Brothers – Chemical Brothers deliver a consistently good throughout piece. Plenty of sick beats to jam to from the EDM pioneers. Still, only a couple songs stick out “Just Bang”, “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted” and “Go”. Its great, forgettable though. Nonetheless, The legends didn’t disappoint.
14. How Do You Feel Now? by Joywave – That’s a great question for Joywave to ask after you’ve listened to their album best “Destruction”. DESTRUCTION. Put that song on Full Blast. The songs mixes Disney quotes, with sound check esque computer BLAST(s), as its intro. Other songs to compliment the quality of the album: “Tongues”, “Now” and “Somebody New”. Daniel Armbruster is a live force, and this band will continue to stomp their way to greatness. Joywave made an excellent record and major thumbs up to them.