Best Of The Rest: 45 Albums That Missed ‘25 Best Albums of 2015’


Melanie Martinez, Cry Baby © Atlantic

Recently, on Starpulse.com, I posted my 25 Best Albums of 2015. Ask any music critic/journalist – this is not an easy task selecting and the ranking a limited number of albums. It’s both subjective and objective to an extent. Reviews and ratings given to the albums selected are considered, BUT even a music critic’s views change and sometimes something that was great at the time fades, or something underrated gains value.

But this isn’t about the 25 best. It’s about the rest. On this list alone, there are 45 albums that were considered – probably more not listed here. That tells you how arduous the task of selecting albums are, as well as how many albums my ears have been privy to in 2015 (and these are just the respectable ones). Here are 45 albums that missed my ’25 Best Albums of 2015’ list. 

1) Mark Ronson, Uptown Special

Mark Ronson, Uptown Special © RCA

Favorites: “Summer Breaking,” “Feel Right,” “Uptown Funk” and “Daffodils” 

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

2) Bilal, In Another Life

Bilal, In Another Life © eOne

Favorites: “Sirens II,” “Open Up The Door,” “Satellites,” “Money Over Love,” “Holding It Back”

Rating: ★★★★½

Here’s the link to my track-by-track review (Brentmusicreviews.com).

3) Fall Out Boy, American Beauty/American Psycho

Fall Out Boy, American Beauty:American Psycho © Island

Favorites: “American Beauty/American Psycho,” “Centuries,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Uma Thurman” and “Immortals”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

4) Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor

Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor © Loma Vista

Favorites: “Killing Strangers,” “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge,” “Birds of Hell Awaiting,” and  “Cupid Carries A Gun”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my takeaways article/review (Starpulse.com) as well as my traditional review (brentmusicreviews.com). 

5) Janet Jackson, Unbreakable

Janet Jackson, Unbreakable © Rhythm Nation / BMG

Favorites: “Unbreakable,” “Burnitup!” “Broken Hearts Heal,” “No Sleeep” and “Black Eagle”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

6) Vivian Green, Vivid

Vivian Green, Vivid © Make Noise

Favorites: “I’m Not Broken,” “All I Want Is You,” “Get Right Back To My Baby” and “Disrespectful”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

7) G-Eazy, When It’s Dark Outside

G-Eazy, When It’s Dark Out © RCA

Favorites: “Me, Myself & I,” “One of Them,” “Drifting,” “Sad Boy,” and “Everything Will Be OK”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my takeaways article/review (Starpulse.com) as well as a traditional review (brentmusicreviews.com).

 8) Tamar Braxton, Calling All Lovers 

Tamar Braxton, Calling All Lovers © Epic

Referenced Highlights: “Simple Things,” “If I Don’t Have You,” “Raise The Bar” and “Free Fallin’”

Rating: ★★★★ 

I wrote quite a bit of commentary about Braxton’s Calling All Lovers. The full-length review appeared at Pop Matters. A short take review appeared on brentmusicreviews.com. A special article about Tamar’s recent success compared to her sister Toni’s success appeared on Starpulse.com.

 9) Jill Scott, Woman

Jill Scott, Woman © Atlantic

Favorites: “Prepared,” “Lighthouse,” “Fool’s Gold,” “Closure” and “You Don’t Know”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my full-length review (Starpulse.com) as well as a short take review (brentmusicreviews.com).

10) Ty Dolla $ign, Free TC

Ty Dolla $ign, Free TC © Atlantic

Favorites: “LA,” “Saved,” “Straight Up,” “Solid,” “When I See You” and “Blasé”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

11) Rick Ross, Black MarketRick Ross, Black Market © Def Jam 

Favorites: “Free Enterprise,” “Smile Mama, Smile,” “Crocodile Python,” “Ghostwriter” and “D.O.P.E.”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

12) A Great Big World, When The Morning Comes

A Great Big World, When The Morning Comes © Epic (2)

Favorites: “Kaleidoscope,” “Hold Each Other,” “Oasis,” “Won’t Stop Running” and “One Step Ahead”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

 13) Tyrese, Black RoseTyrese, Black Rose © Voltron Recordz 

Favorites: “Dumb Shit,” “Shame,” “Don’t Wanna Look Back,” “Prior To You” and “Without My Heart” 

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

14) Alessia Cara, Know-It-All

Alessia Cara, Know It All © Def Jam

Favorites: “Seventeen,” “Here,” “Four Pink Walls” and “Wild Things”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com). 

15) BØRNS, Dopamine

BØRNS, Dopamine © Interscope

Favorites: “Electric Love,” “American Money,” “Holy Ghost,” “Dopamine” and “Fool”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

16) Carrie Underwood, Storyteller

Carrie Underwood, Storyteller © Sony Music Nashville

Favorites: “Renegade Runaway,” “Dirty Laundry,” “Smoke Break,” “Choctaw County Affair” and “The Girl You Think I Am”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

17) Luke Bryan, Kill The Lights

Luke Bryan, Kill The Lights © Capitol Nashville (2)

Favorites: “Kick The Dust Up,” “Kill The Lights,” “Strip It Down,” “Home Tonight” and “Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

18) Drake & Future, What A Time To Be Alive

Drake & Future, What A Time To Be Alive © Cash Money:Epic

Favorites: “Big Rings,” “Diamond Dancing,” “Scholarships” and “I’m the Plug”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my takeaways article/review (Starpulse.com).

19) Game, The Documentary 2

Game, Documentary 2 © Blood Money : Entertainment One U.S.

Favorites: “On Me,” “Don’t Trip,” “Standing On Ferraris,” “Mula,” “The Documentary 2” and “100” 

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

 20) Game, The Documentary 2.5

The Game, The Documentary 2.5 © Entertainment One

Favorites: “From Adam,” “Last Time You Seen,” “My Flag/Da Homies,” “Life” and “El Chapo”

Rating: ★★★★ 

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

21) Jeezy, Church In These Streets

Jeezy, Church In These Streets © Def Jam (2)

Favorites: “Grind State,” “God,” “Church In These Streets, “Sweet Life,” “Scared of the Dark” and “Forgive Me”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

22) Chris Young, I’m Comin’ Over

Chris Young, I'm Comin' Over © Sony Nashville/RCA

Favorites: “I’m Comin’ Over,” “Think Of You,” “I Know A Guy” and “Sober Saturday Night”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

23) Angie Stone, Dream  

Angie Stone, Dream © Shanachie

Highlights: “Dolla Bill,” “Clothes Don’t Make The Man,” “Magnet” and “2 Bad Habits”

Rating: FAVORABLE (no star rating assigned)

Here’s the link to my original review (theurbanmusicscene.com).

24) One Direction, Made in the A.M.

One Direction, Made in the A.M. © Sony

Favorites: “Hey Angel,” “Drag Me Down,” “Perfect,” “End of the Day,” “Never Enough” and “Olivia” 

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

 25) Mac Demarco, Another One Mac Demarco, Another One © Captured Tracks 

Favorites: “The Way You’d Love Her,” “Another One,” “Just to Put Me Down” and “A Heart Like Hers”

Rating: ★★★★ 

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

26) Melanie Martinez, Dollhouse

Melanie Martinez, Cry Baby © Atlantic

Favorites: “Carousel,” “Soap,” “Pity Party” and “Tag You’re It”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

27) Mac Miller, GO:OD AM

Mac Miller, GO:OD am © Warner Bros

Favorites: “Brand Name,” “100 Grandkids,” “Time Flies,” “Break The Law” and “Ascension”

Rating: ★★★★

There was quite a bit of commentary about Miller’s new album. The original full-length review appeared on Starpulse.com. A lyrical analysis review appeared on brentmusicreviews.com. I also wrote a review about buzz single “100 Grandkids” prior to the release of GO:OD AM (brentmusicreviews.com). 

28) Andra Day, Cheers To The Fall

Andra Day, Cheers To The Fall © Buskin/Warner Bros

Favorites: “Forever Mine,” “Gold,” “Not Today,” “Gin & Juice (Let Go My Hand)” and “Rise Up” 

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

29) Brett Eldredge, Illinois

Brett Eldredge, Illinois © Atlantic Nashville

Favorites: “Fire,” “You Can’t Stop Me,” “Lose My Mind,” “Drunk On Your Love” and “Shadow”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

30) Stacey Barthe, BEcoming

Stacy Barthe, BEcoming © Motown

Favorites: “In My Head,” “Me Versus Me,” “Find It (Transitions),” “Flawed Beautiful Creatures” and “Hey You There”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

31) A$AP Rocky, AT. LONG. LAST. A$AP

A$AP Rocky, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP © RCA

Favorites: “Holy Ghost,” “L$D,” “Excuse Me,” “Jukebox Joints,” “Wavybone,” “M’$” and “Everyday”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com) as well as a lengthier track-by-track review (brentmusicreviews.com). 

32) Tech N9ne, Special Effects

Tech N9ne, Special Effects © Strange Music

Favorites: “Aw Yeah? (Intervention),” “Lacrimosa,” “Shroud,” “Psycho Bitch III,” “Wither,” “Hood Go Crazy,” “Yates” and “A Certain Comfort”

Rating: ★★★½

 Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

33) Nate Ruess, Grand Romantic

Nate Ruess, Grand Romantic © Fueled By Ramen

Favorites: “AhHa,” “Nothing Without Love,” “What This World Is Coming To,” “It Only Gets Much Worse” and “Brightside”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com). 

34) Babyface, Return of the Tender Lover  

Babyface, Return of the Tender Lover © Def Jam (2)

Favorites: “We’ve Got Love,” “Exceptional,” “Love and Devotion” and “Something Bout You”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

35) August Alsina, This Thing Called Life 

August Alsina, This Thing Called Life © Def Jam

Favorites: “Job,” “Why I Do It,” “Hip-Hop,” “Dreamer” and “Song Cry”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

36) Tamia, Love Life 

Tamia, Love Life © Def Jam

Favorites: “Chaise Lounge,” “Sandwich And A Soda,” “Red Lipstick” and “Like You Do”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

37) Tori Kelly, Unbreakable Smile

Tori Kelly, Unbreakable Smile © Capitol

Favorites: “Unbreakable Smile,” “Nobody Love,” “Expensive,” “Falling Slow” and “Anyway” 

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

38) Kelly Clarkson, Piece By Piece

Kelly Clarkson, Piece By Piece © RCA

Favorites: “Heartbeat Song,” “Invincible,” “Run Run Run,” “I Had A Dream” and “Nostalgia”

Rating: ★★★½

In contributed plenty of commentary around the time of the release of Piece By Piece. The original full-length review appeared on starpulse.com. In addition to the full-length review, a takeaways post about Clarkson’s success was featured. On brentmusicreviews.com, an evergreen article picking her career best songs was featured. 

39) Adam Lambert, The Original High 

Adam Lambert, The Original High © Warner Bros

Favorites: “Ghost Town,” “The Original High,” “Underground,” “There I Said It” and “Rumors”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

 40) Jadakiss, Top 5 Dead Or Alive

Jadakiss, Top 5 Dead Or Alive © Def Jam

Favorites: “You Can See,” “Y.O. (Youthful Offenders),” “Kill,” “Realest in the Game” and “Rain”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

41) Meghan Trainor, Title  

Meghan Trainor, Title © Epic

Favorites: “All About That Bass,” “Close Your Eyes,” “Walkashame” and “Lips Are Movin”

Rating: ★★★½

The original review of Title appeared on Starpulse.com. Also, a special article pitting Trainor head-to-head with R&B standout Jazmine Sullivan appeared as well.

42) Leon Bridges, Coming Home

Leon Bridges, Coming Home © Columbia

Favorites: “Coming Home,” “Brown Skin Girl,” “Lisa Sawyer” and “River”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (brentmusicreviews.com).

43) Meek Mill, Dreams Worth More Than Money

Meek Mill, Dreams Worth More Than Money © Atlantic

Favorites: “Lord Knows,” “Classic,” “The Trillest,” “R.I.C.O.” and “Ambitionz”

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com).

 44) Justin Bieber, Purpose

Justin Bieber, Purpose © Def Jam

Favorites: “What Do You Mean?” “Sorry,” “Life Is Worth Living,” “Were Are Ü Now,” “Purpose”; “Been You” (Deluxe Edition)

Rating: ★★★½

Here’s the link to my takeaways article/review (Starpulse.com) as well as a traditonal review (brentmusicreviews.com). 

45) Cee-Lo Green, Heart Blanche 

Cee Lo Green, Heart Blanche © Atlantic

Favorites: “Est. 1980s,” “Mother May I,” “Robin Williams,” “Sign of the Times” and “CeeLo Green Sings The Blues”

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s the link to my original review (Starpulse.com). 

Honorary Mentions

Haven’t heard them, but should’ve/want to:

1) Erykah Badu, But You Cain’t Use My Phone

2) The Internet, Ego Death

3) Kehlani, You Should Be Here

4) James Taylor, Before This World

5) Iron Maiden, Book Of Souls

6) Carly Rae Jepsen, E•MO•TION

7) Pusha T, King Push – Darkest Before Dawn

8) Grimes, Art Angels

9) Alan Jackson, Alcohol & Angels

10) Wolf Alice, My Love Is Cool

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