The Best Albums of 2015 – End of 1st Quarter Update


George Ezra, Wanted On Voyage © Columbia

It is now April 2015 and the first quarter of the year has elapsed? How many big-time albums have been dropped between January 2015 and the end of March? The answer is several notable albums, with the top five definitely producing the heat. Here are 14 of the best albums of 2015 as of the conclusion of the first quarter! 

1) Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly 

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly © Aftermath : Interscope

It is rare that an album’s sophomore album is as consistent – if not more so – as his first. To Pimp A Butterfly is yet another masterpiece by Kendrick Lamar, arguably the hottest rapper of modern times. Among standouts include “King Kunta,” “The Blacker The Berry,” and of course “i.”

2) Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear © SubpopAs previously stated: “Holy S**t” it’s so good! It’s even better “When You’re Smiling and Astride,” particularly since “I’ve got nothing to hid from you / kissing my brother in my dreams or finding God knows what in my jeans.” Just know though, that “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” and that “I Went to the Store One Day.” 

3) Björk, Vulnicura

Björk, Vulnicura © One Little Indian

Is there much more epic than “Black Lake” where Björk goes in on Matthew Barney – ten minutes worth to be exact? The main reason it sits at number three is that we expect eccentric genius from Björk and while she outdoes herself, Kendrick Lamar and Father John Misty truly overachieve on their respective albums.

4) Lupe Fiasco, Tetsuo & Youth

Lupe Fiasco , Tetsuo & Youth © Atlantic

As previously stated: Sales have been dismal, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lupe Fiasco recorded his best album in years that arguably gives his debut Food & Liquor a run for its money. Whether he’s rapping about “Choppers,” “Madonna,” or “Adoration of the Magi,” Lupe is ON (if you know what I mean).

5) Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Drake, If You're Reading This You're Too Late © Cash MoneyAs previously stated: Has much changed about Drake’s flow on his surprise fourth album? Arguably not, but when Drake drops an album, it’s “not kind of a big deal” it’s “definitely a big deal.” Drizzy definitely reps for Toronto, proclaiming himself to be the “6 God.” Like Lupe, Drake is always ON.

7) Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show

Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show © RCAAs previously stated: Is there a more commanding contralto in R&B music right now? “Forever Don’t Last” may be a true statement, but Sullivan’s voice is definitely timeless and classic. The album’s not too shabby itself!

8) George Ezra, Wanted On Voyage

George Ezra, Wanted On Voyage © Columbia

As previously stated: Is there anything much more fun out than “Listen To The Man” peeps? Of course there isn’t. That superb record is joined by hits the likes of “Budapest,” “Cassy O’,” and “Did You Hear The Rain.” Oh, and how cool is it that Ezra has a legit baritone voice?

 9) Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, So Delicious

The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, So Delicious © Shanachie

There aren’t too many albums much more delicious than Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. First of all, if you are bold enough to include ‘damn’ in your band’s name, well you must be special. Indeed, So Delicious is truly a fun, energetic listen that contrasts everything released in 2015. Hey, can you blame the Rev for wanting to “Raise A Little Hell” to the competition? 

10) Mark Ronson, Uptown Special

Mark Ronson, Uptown Special © RCA

As previously stated: Of course it “Feel Right” that Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special makes the top ten. What’s any funkier than “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars? Throw Mystikal and Kevin Parker into the mix and Uptown Special truly is ‘special.’ 

11) Jeff Bradshaw, Home: A Special Night At The Kimmel Center Live

Jeff Bradshaw, Home- One Special Night At The Kimmel Center © ShanachieIt’s a rare feat that the live album gains a spot on a ‘best of’ albums list. Jeff Bradshaw’s truly special set Home deserves recognition. Bradshaw assembles a gifted crew of musicians who further expand their gifts to new heights. Among the guests are Marsha Ambrosius, Kim Burrell, and Bilal.

12) Madonna, Rebel Heart

Madonna, Rebel Heart © InterscopeYes, Madonna has fallen way short in the sales department, but Rebel Heart is among Madonna’s strongest albums in years. Sure MDNA opened with a bigger splash, but Rebel Heart is better rounded, led by standouts like “Living For Love,” “Devil Pray,” “Unapologetic Bitch,” and “Bitch I’m Madonna.” 

13) Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor

Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor © Loma Vista

Marilyn Manson is definitely less shocking at this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean he still isn’t hellish. The Pale Emperor was hellishly good, particularly opener “Killing Strangers.”

14) Raheem DeVaughn, Love Sex Passion

Raheem Devaughn, Love Sex Passion © Entertainment One

This could’ve been Charlie Wilson’s spot too (arguably), but Raheem DeVaughn is equally consistent and arguably even more underrated. Love Sex Passion isn’t an album that’ll “knock your socks off” per se, but it is sound from start to finish.

15) Take your pick…

Action Bronson, Mr. Wonderful © AtlanticThe fifteenth spot could be awarded to a number of solid albums including Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise, Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors, or Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty / American Psycho. Also don’t discount newbie James Bay whose debut Chaos And The Calm is solid from start to finish, though not without flaw.  And what about Action Bronson‘s Mr. Wonderful

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