PressPLAYLIST: The Top 50 Albums of 2015

Alrighty, you’ve had our Hidden Gems of 2015, now it’s time for some serious business. Some people say the album is dead – to those people we say bore off, because there’s still nothing more satisfying than hearing a cohesive record, start to finish, that truly imparts something. As always, some of our choices may feel a bit leftfield, but if there’s a chance to shine more of a spotlight on an overlooked marvel then that’s what we’re here for. (And of course, you’ll find all the key tracks compiled into a handy playlist at the end.)

49. LA Priest – Inji

What we said: “So you’ve got your eight-plus minutes of skittering dance on Party Zute / Learning To Love. You’ve got more straightforward nocturnal pop stabs on Night Train. And you’ve got a heap of quirky instrumentals as Inji unfolds as a frantic, idiosyncratic, genre-bending record that deserves attention. If this what it’s like to go to the church of LA Priest, we’d happily be touched up by him any day.” [Full review]

48. Joy Williams – Venus

What we said: “Drum machines and held piano or string notes root the songs in steady rhythmic pulses, and the voice, often layered on itself, is central throughout. In her swooping melodies, delivered in alto, she sounds like a Scots or Irish folk singer (your Cara Dillon, your Julie Fowlis) but located in American roots music. Tori Amos or Fiona Apple without the angst would be a more apt musical setting, or one can imagine Lorde touching these heights some day.” [Full review]

47. Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood

What we said: “As always with a case like this – as in, a debut album coming pretty soon after – two things come to mind. Firstly, is this just a repetitive extension of a very successful EP? And even if it isn’t, can someone like Sivan sustain that level of quality for an entire full-length? As soon as we get to the first new track, Talk Me Down, the answer is pretty evident: Sivan’s trailer was just that. The full picture fleshes him out with panache, pop nuance, and the illustrative quality of an unlikely pop star.” [Full review]

46. Fleur East – Love, Sax and Flashbacks

What we said: “There isn’t a single dud on this debut album, and not even the remotest sense of ennui around the pace remaining relentlessly funky. Kitchen shows off East’s ability to riff a half-rap with a huge punch of a chorus, while Over Getting Over is like some sort of modern Donna Summer wonder we never thought we needed (but dear God, we do). We can carry on with the superlatives, but the sheer amount of sass on this record will speak for itself – drop everything, buy it now, and be first-hand witness to pop’s latest global star.” [Full review]

45. Ashley Monroe – The Blade

What we said: “The triumph of it all, however, is that Monroe doesn’t ever come across as a victim. At times she’s in circumstances of her own design but she owns that fact; elsewhere she’s very much bucking self-pity for very pointed barbs at an ex. For a genre that’s notoriously hard on its women, that’s some feat to pull off; while on the title track itself it’s a source of pain for Monroe, The Blade could be more appropriate a reference for the sharpness of her fuck-yous on a robust record.” [Full review]

44. Doe Paoro – After

What we said: “Still, it’s the easy delivery of lines like “I can’t find no eyes to lock with mine, nowhere we can thrive when the city is dying” in our standout track Walking Backwards that make you realise Paoro wants to convey messages about much wider issues than fairytale love and loss. Simply put, here is a lady who is writing lyrically sublime and clever music that hints at far greater things to come. It deserves to be noticed and celebrated as a showcase of great potential; this is music to lie in a field to, music to reminisce to, music to close your eyes to, as After seems to be coming before big things for this star.” [Full review]

43. Little Boots – Working Girl

What we said: “So is this a pop album? Or a dance album? Does it even matter? Hesketh has found her niche and she’s excellent at what she does. The issue is that of audience: mainstream pop fans have long lost interest in her music, leaving her to chase club goers who are probably busy following DJs instead. It’s a pity as Hesketh has huge potential that she may never reach. This working girl really does deserve to stay in business.” [Full review]

42. Dornik – Dornik

What we said: “More unusual than his stage name – a melding of his mother’s name, Dorothy, and his father’s name, Nikita – is the fact Dornik brings these threads of mellow jazz, faint techno and soulful R&B together in a manner that’s consistently luxurious. Rubber meets tarmac, white wine meets red lips and the past meets the future in this dreamlike debut from the UK’s breakout R&B prince. In time, this new age Casanova could cause a real stir for his US counterparts.” [Full review]

41. Zhala – Zhala

What we said: “These aren’t songs that will get easy radio play, that’s for sure, but they certainly herald the start of a career that seems way more bold and interesting than any of her peers – you only need to hear a snippet of a song called Me and My Borderline Friend In Trance to know that. Zhala’s debut is complicated, befuddling, but forever transfixing; we’re pretty sure Robyn wouldn’t have it any other way and, quite honestly, neither would we.” [Full review]

40. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

What we said: “Tillman has romance on his mind, that’s for sure. It might be a wanton, hedonistic kind of romance, but there is something a little bit endearing about listening to this tale of a man pinballing from one destructive situation to another. The title track is a winning yarn of instant attraction, while Chateau Lobby 4 (in C for Two Virgins) is by turns amusing – “I wanna take you in the kitchen/ lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in” – and a marvel in string-backed production.” [Full review]

39. Allie X – CollXtion I

What we said: “Hughes certainly knows her way round a pop chorus, that much is evident on the singles we’ve already heard. Catch, Prime, and Bitch all retain the spiky pop vigour that brought Allie X everyone’s attention, nicely balancing the turned-down power-balladry of Tumor (what a chorus though) and Good. All, of course, mounting evidence that a full-length would be a cakewalk for this newcomer.” [Full review]

38. Jack Ü – Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

What we said: “As the album careens through its relentless course with tracks named Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some Jack Ü (“in your butt”, apparently) and Febreze, it’s clear that the exaggerated smiley face on the cover is no accident. This is – in the best way – the sound of two overgrown teenagers throwing everything they can at a genre and having some fun with it. It explains the jumpy squawks of Beats Knockin and the roars of Jungle Bae (a title that, rather aptly, is very current-kitsch), and also justifies the myriad detours a song takes before it gets remotely close to where you expect it to go.” [Full review]

37. Gems – Kill The One You Love

What we said: “There’s a crowning moment where the GEMS ethos is realised on Empires Fall. “I can’t stop losing you,” the duo sing in echo of each other, immediately recognising the flaws of someone else while taking complete ownership of their own. But then that’s the joy of an album named Kill The One You Love – it sits comfortably in a place of both longing and despair but, whether the loved one is the self or another, retains the confident knowledge of doing what it needs to in order to survive.” [Full review]

36. Anna von Hausswolff – The Miraculous

What we said: “As album standout An Oath emerges, it reminds us of what Anna von Hausswolff says in the press notes aout the album. “It deals with the idealisation of a world that you yearn to know, and the fear and frustration that one might never be able to fully exploit that place due to physical and emotional limitations,” she explains. That makes a hell of a lot of sense in this context, as it almost feels like The Miraculous – like the title implies – is trying to surpass commercial constraints to aim for something much higher, something beyond corporeal. The miraculous thing here is that she actually does, and it remains ultimately jaw-dropping.” [Full review]

35. Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs

What we said: ““I hope you have some common sense/ Cos I’m gonna push you over the edge,” sings Norway’s Susanne Sundfør on the standout of Ten Love Songs, Delirious. Love, it becomes apparent, is a non-traditional term in this context. As mentioned in our recentinterview, Sundfør seems very much intent in exploring all the aspects brought with it: ecstasy, bitterness, and general gravel-in-the-knees level of grot. Clearly this is our kind of woman.” [Full review]

34. Marika Hackman – We Slept At Last

What we said: “The spirits have stirred. The medium? Marika Hackman, of course. Having collaborated with alt-J – touring with said indie behemoth as well as in her own right last year – the landing of her debut LP We Slept At Last has seen the chatter around the London-based songstress increasing from gentle murmurs to a dull roar.” – [Full review]

33. Denai Moore – Elsewhere

What we said: “Elsewhere is one of those records that feels like its title: as the record unfolds, we’re not present. We’re somewhere spacious, the mindscape of Denai Moore, with these songs slowly breathing around us as we take a tour through a life (even on the abrupt change of tack on the wholly guitar-picked Never Gone), reaching a denouement of magnitude on Let Me Go and Last Time. By the end of it, we’re very much under the skin of Moore’s personality and experiences, and the immediacy of rushing back to go through it all again, to pick out new layers and words, means only thing: Elsewhere is nowhere else but right here.” [Full review]

32. Wyles & Simpson – Wyles & Simpson

What we said: “The record opens strong with the singles, while the brooding bass-laden tones of Impermanence remind us of the pair’s ability to reach levels of pitch-perfect harmony with a haunting crescendo. Newcomers to the sounds of Wyles & Simpson will draw comparisons to the likes of Jessie Ware and London Grammar especially in the orchestral leaning of tracks like Metamorphosis and the magnetising Prophetise. These girls know what they’re doing, that’s for sure.” [Full review]

31. Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

What we said: “In that sense, Wolf Alice are a bit of an anomaly in a landscape of Bastille and Royal Blood. Primarily in the fact that they’re not laden with overbearing testosterone, but more in the feat they achieve by being one of the few, modern indie bands that can excite a tired genre (seriously, Rowsell is the feminist revelation that the UK scene needs). Even omissions from their earlier catalogue – such as Blush – make sense in their curation of one larger cohesive record, a fact that augurs well given My Love Is Cool will no doubt cement Wolf Alice’s status as piping hot property.” [Full review]

30. Rae Morris – Unguarded

What we said: “We love a good female singer-songwriter in this country. We are, after all, a nation that somehow made a star out of aural Ryvita Dido and of course Katie Melua, who makes euthanasia seem attractive. There’s now a rather large space for an accessible female voice to straddle the commercial and emotional, a household name in the making and ideally someone who doesn’t induce a medical coma. Unguarded confirms something we’ve known for quite some time: Rae Morris is that person.” [Full review]

29. Bob Moses – Days Gone By

What we said: “Journeying through the record is a dimly-lit affair, with openers Like It Or Notand Talk like a trip-hop underbelly we forgot. And it’s not just the little intimate flourishes that set these two apart (the karate yelps on Talk, the layers of vocal behind Tearing Me Up). It’s the fact that despite the usual constraints of their genre, they’ve broken free to make a hugely accessible chart record.” [Full review]

28. Nicole Dollanganger – Natural Born Losers

What we said: “But with that picture and self-perception comes the baring of darker thoughts and personal psychological insights that go beyond just shock value. “There’s nothing you could do to me I wouldn’t do to myself,” she sings on Mean, a haunting picture of what appears to be co-dependency and a victim’s folly. There’s an element of us that eventually feels worn out by Dollanganger’s one octave throughout the album, but then songs like You’re So Cool are delivered to beautifully that it’s easy to overlook the slightly swampy mid-section. Still, while we might all consider ourselves natural born losers at some juncture, it’s nice to have someone as unique and, well, downright affecting as Nicole Dollanganger repping for us all.” [Full review]

27. Jamie Woon – Making Time

What we said: “Woon’s passion and craft for the form are evident – at times this feels like very much a record for musicians, with care taken for instruments to sound intimate, each pluck of a note audible, each layer mixed with its own clarity. It can occasionally sound clinical, but Woon negates it with a balance of warmth on songs like Little Wonder or the gentle sway of Skin. They fill out the larger picture of a record that feels liberated in its own way, unfurling at its own pace and gaining richness with every repeat listen (Dedication‘s arrangement is a forest of wonder, for example). Make time for this, and it will reward you over and over again.” [Full review]

26. Kelela – Hallucinogen EP

What we said (and yes it’s an EP, but shush): “The degree of Kelela’s success doesn’t even feel like a question any more. Where others are tripping over trends or traversing a bridge far too close to pop or EDM, there’s someone here taking intelligent risks and carving out a place at the very summit of the genre. Hallucinogen is Kelela’s moment, and it’s worth taking this trip time and again to relive it.” – [Full review]

25. FKA twigs – M3LL155X

What we said (again technically an EP, but you shush again): “What twigs keeps doing with sound and genre is consistently awe-inspiring, and M3LL155X highlights just how important a figure she is – not just as the dextrous performer on pleasure/pain standout Glass & Patron, but as a reminder for how much we all need to go full Roman Tortoise around anyone subjected to vile abuse online. The way Mothercreep uses its electronics to sound like a monkey – one of the terms thrown at her by trolls – is an absolute source of shame for us all, though it does underline one thing: fuck with FKA twigs and, as those quotes at the top explain, she’ll turn even the most maddening things into an absolute marvel.” [Full review]

24. Future Brown – Future Brown

What we said: “If anyone has a lick of sense, they’ll be queuing up to work with Future Brown at the first possible moment. Dangerzone is the finest example of what puts Future Brown at the forefront of modern alternative-R&B: furtive, nocturnal beats that allow Kelela to take centre-stage in an absolute masterpiece of a slow-jam. This is everything the genre should be, and what people should frantically be taking lessons from. The future’s bright, people, and the future is most definitely an intense shade of Brown.” [Full review]

23. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye

What we said: “As Empty Threat resounds the twisted joy of Gun, there is a stability of style and an evident focus on Every Open Eye certified by their deserved critical succession. For a second effort, CHVRCHES’ emotional energy is both amplified and impossible to ignore, whether that’s in form or the fierce lyricism that seems partially a response to trolling issues they’ve been facing. But then this is beyond that one discussion – their narrative in that context is important but never defined by it, a resolute brushing-off before they continue down their own path.” [Full review]

22. Shamir – Ratchet

What we said: “Shamir is better than a song like that. He’s also better than discussions on gender identity and whatever category you’re trying to lump him into; in fact, the discussions on androgyny yield no further insight on this album than the realisation that this is the confident work of someone incredibly comfortable in their skin. And above all, Shamir is certainly better than this album’s fleeting colloquialism of a misnomer, describing someone that’s essentially a bit of a scrubber. On the evidence of this record, and whether he likes it or not, Ratchet is practically the opposite of everything a modern-day diva like Shamir Bailey is set to stand for.” [Full review]

21. Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

What we said: “As is the case with the other members of her youth-folk cabal, it does Baker a grave disservice to link her age to the gigantic strides she takes as a performer on a first record. Her experience is just as valid as anyone’s, and more to the point she’s expressing it in a deeper way than any of her peers. Sprained Ankle might seem like a slight album you could shrug off, but its pain is worth bearing for a lifetime.” [Full review]

20. Julio Bashmore – Knockin’ Boots

What we said: “That title is certainly no accident, as it happens, given how much of this album is indebted to the 70s disco scene. And, to keep in line with the theme, it’s a relief to see that Bashmore hasn’t spunked all his good stuff on other people. Instead, this debut LP is full of euphoric dance cuts that feel like they could have been both soundtracking an entire decade of blaxploitation or your last night out. Take Holding On, for example, a shining ’70s technicolour thumper that blooms and builds with beats to run alongside Sam Dew‘s effortless vocal, before morphing into a dancefloor smash. It ends up being one of the standout tracks of the year for the genre.” [Full review]

19. Soak – Before We Forgot How To Dream

What we said: “But that doesn’t take away how special Soak is as an artist. The command she has over both voice and narrative is beyond impressive – SHUVELS deals with broken friendships, Blud sears in its account of parental strife, and there’s heart in ever corner. In fact, it makes the Sheeran likeness on the album sleeve seem most incongruous. Soak is the anti-Sheeran, a singer-songwriter with profound merit who is only set to get even better.” [Full review]

18. Destroyer – Poison Season

What we said: “And the pleasure of it all is that nothing seems off-putting in Bejar’s hands. There’s no Ariel Pink knowing wink (we should probably trademark that phrase), and none of the ostentatious showmanship that comes with the genre. Like vintage Sufjan, everything sprouts organically and in logical directions, like he stumbled across the old-world charm of a song like Hell rather than it being a deliberate affectation. At the same time it’s never cloying or overwhelming, as themes get to breathe when Bejar appropriately shifts gear on a song like Bangkok. Much like his lone raspy drawl amid all this ostentatious brass, his feelings often mirror that sense of ill-fitting isolation in big, bustling cities (“Escape from New York, escape from LA… take it from me, leave London,” he sings on The River).” [Full review]

17. Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

What we said: “On this new album, everything has changed apart from Jepsen’s ability to create insidious earworm after insidious earworm. I Really Like You might well be up there for pop track of the year, a contender that takes the simplest of pop tropes and makes it appealing for practically everyone. And with input from quarters as varied as Sia, Ariel Rechtshaid, Dev Hynes, and Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij, it allows Jepsen to straddle a teenybop banger and heavier material without taking a breath.” [Full review]

16. Tove Styrke – Kiddo

What we said: “More importantly, as the album closes with the rousing Decay and the eastern melodies of Brag (“I don’t brag about my sweet life/ No need for me to spell it out”) we realise that Tove Styrke has left her TV past behind to emerge as a different kind of pop star. Hers is a more restrained approach, which may be at odds with the initial mission statement but still no less powerful as intelligent pop. The patriarchy might remain intact at the end of Kiddo but, like its cinematic namesake, it’s a sleekly-dressed example of how one female star can stand tall for the cause without ever selling herself short.” [Full review]

15. Empress Of – Me

What we said: “That’s not to say that Rodriguez is at pains to be worthy and impenetrable. Her songs are structured largely as pop – magnificent, intelligent pop, but pop all the same – and she unreservedly dips into the carnal on How Do You Do It or Make Up (“nothing comes between us but a piece of latex”). But the energy that remains is that of a song called Need Myself, an inventive independence jam that ditches any notion of apology or reliance on anything other than the self. That title is no mistake – it should be read “Empress Of Me”, because Rodriguez is an example of how incredible autonomy can be. ‘Me’ is all she needs, and Me is all we’ll need for quite some time to come.” [Full review]

14. Christine and the Queens – Christine and the Queens

What we said: “We say pop, but for some reason that term feels a bit reductive for the work of Héloïse Letissier. Opening with iT is the perfect example why, given it’s one of the year’s best songs for so many reasons. It’s a hugely intelligent jam on gender discussion – “I’m a man now,” she sings, while a whisper behind her says “she lies, she lies” – one of those songs an entire thesis could be written about. For all her confidence about stating she’s a man, never has a woman seemed more formidable.” [Full review]

13. Tame Impala – Currents

What we said: “We could go on: the ‘80s twist of Reality In Motion, the glimmers of Love/Paranoia, the dark and bubbling New Person, Same Old Mistakes. Sure, the lyrics are often incomprehensible and bleed into the overall textures, but from track to track the band have developed a continuous tapestry of warm summery goodness. It’s like a luminous watercolour painting of psychedelic sounds – stare too long and you might start hallucinating.” [Full review]

12. Braids – Deep In The Iris

What we said: “Something seems to have switched with Braids. The Montreal band, despite writing Deep In The The Iris at the same time as their last and more experimental album, are belting out perfect indie-pop on songs like Letting Go and Warm Like Summer. It’s almost as if some anti-commercial mentality has been dropped, as even words on difficult topics take flight on a soaring chorus that brings the trio into their own. Take the album standout Taste, for example. With its lines of “take me by the throat… spit all your hurt on me” and “I have these dreams of you laying it on me”, it’s a surprising ode to a relationship of consenting abuse and assented destruction, but weirdly one you can’t help but sing along with.” [Full review]

11. Jamie xx – In Colour

What we said: “The intricacies of Jamie xx’s talent are most evident on Hold Tight, where industrial sounds are interspersed with a gentle sampling of snippets that that so readily blend into the background of our everyday lives; sirens, conversations, the hum of the city. Sound-bites of reminiscent ravers only add to the beautiful sense of respect and celebration Jamie xx’s music has for the UK’s multicultural night-life traditions throughout the decades.” [Full review]

10. Nadia Reid – Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs

What we said: “Of course, with that acknowledgement of age will come the inevitable Marling comparisons, but Reid is complete and assured enough to shake that off in no time (“I don’t keep track of the time any more,” she sings on standout song Track Of The Time – you’re probably wise to do the same). But her largely-acoustic folk songs bear the same marks of depth and head-on tackling of even the darkest emotions, punctuated perfectly on songs like Just To Feel Alive (“how many call themselves lovers, when really creatures of the night?”) with perfect flecks of bluesy guitar.” [Full review]

9. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

What we said: “That there’s been appreciation from the likes of Questlove all the way to Taylor Swift speaks volumes about the legacy of Kendrick Lamar. He might still be maturing as an artist – and there are parts of this album that need to fit better to form an cohesive unit – but it’s very telling that the album ends with Lamar interviewing the ghost of Tupac. Sure, that might sound like a ridiculous sentence but, like it or not, he seems to be the only person in the current landscape that’s fit to have a conversation with legends.” [Full review]

8. The Staves – If I Was

What we said: “Straight-up: If I Was is The Staves‘ moment. Their debut album Dead & Born & Grown, while pleasant enough, now seems like the perfect building block for what’s in front of us here. With the help of Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon, The sister act have moved away from folk dipped in English whimsy to something more challenging and exciting, with harmonies so perfect they could only be forged by blood.” [Full review]

7. The Internet – Ego Death

What we said: “The Internet know exactly what they’re doing and how to do it, then. Something’s Missing continues that breathy, sensual style of soul above spaced-out production, Kaytranada-aided Girl stands out as not only the highlight of the album but the genre’s year; there’s distinctly less steam in the second half of the album, but it’s more than made up for everything gone before. Every time Syd coos, we melt. Every time an ego dies around The Internet, a genre feels reborn.” [Full review]

6. The Weather Station – Loyalty

What we said: “The rest of the album is seasoned with similar missives – At Full Height once again looks at the price of tacit faithfulness (“I’ve been free, but I’ve known not freedom”), and the title track again explores what that staunch and solemn figure on the sleeve might be thinking. It’s all held together with Lindeman’s rich, earnest voice and instrumentation that actually defines the meaning of loyalty, supporting its writer and producer perfectly. Needless to say, The Weather Station’s sky is just one shade of Blue away from continuing Joni’s legacy in a way none of us could have anticipated.” [Full review]

5. Ibeyi – Ibeyi

What we said: “Quite frankly, this is like nothing we’ve heard before in a mainstream realm. Franco-Cuban sister act Ibeyi take their name from the Orisha twins, one of many spiritual reflections of a deity in the Yoruba religion, so it is of course massively fitting that their record mines the depth of devotional music. It’s in the opening prayer for Eleggua, it’s in the submission to Oya, and it lovingly bursts from every pore of Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz.” [Full review]

4. Beach House – Depression Cherry

What we said: “But where Sufjan bared his diary and Bjork chose drama, Beach House complete this magnificent trilogy of heartbreak by taking us through the trance of pain and the dichotomy of emotion it brings. “They take the simple things inside you and put nightmares in your hands,” Beyond Love tells us. 10:37‘s organ feels both bridal and funereal at once. Bluebird – an album and career highlight – talks about a beautiful creature’s freedom potentially leading to the gallows. It’s that treacherous balance of light and shade, of sweetness and pain, that makes the title Depression Cherry seem so perfect. In one decisive swoop of a record (crystallised in the haunting choral finale Days of Candy), Beach House have yet again captured the fickle vagaries of human emotion better than anyone else we know.” [Full review]

3. Björk – Vulnicura

What we said: “It’s hard to fully explain the sensations Vulnicura inspires – it certainly feels like Björk’s journey through darkness and out, the aural therapy of healing a wound. At times we applaud her resilience, at times we relate to her flaws, at times we just weep with her. It might be one of her more straightforward records – well, straightforward for Björk – but in the notes adjoining the album, she hopes that it may be a crutch for those going through similar. That it most certainly is, in all its depth and density, and ultimately ends up being her most empathetic record to date.” [Full review]

2. Grimes – Art Angels

What we said: “For all that talk of weirdness, then, Art Angels takes perception and flips it on its head by being at once both a tribute to past influences while very much underlining the melting pot of pop today. The only misstep comes when Boucher enlists outside help from Janelle Monae, taking away from what is otherwise a relentlessly brilliant album. But it’s time to ditch that freak-flag tag when it comes to Grimes, because Art Angels comes from angles so accessible that it ought to be embraced on a wider scale. We are all in our own ways reflected in the squelching beats of Easily, we’re in the dour admissions of Realiti, and we’re certainly united in the ecstasy that comes with this being the finest pop album of the year.” [Full review]

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

What we said: “That’s just one layer in the rather profound depth of this album. Our preternatural affinity for Stevens aside, Carrie & Lowell is undoubtedly one of the richest records of its kind, and the reason this man’s name is so hallowed. Like another massive record about loss this year, this is a journey that confronts emotions uncomfortable and familiar; while mining the aftermath of death, somehow Sufjan Stevens has never sounded more life-affirming than he has on this masterpiece.” [Full review]

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PressPLAYLIST: The Top 50 Albums of 2015
PressPLAYLIST: The Top 50 Albums of 2015