2015 in Music: Our 30 Favorite Albums of the Year

2015 in Music
A month-by-month guide to the year's biggest music events.

What’s your favorite album of 2015? Here are 30 of ours.

Everyone’s favorite time of the year — ’tis the season for lists! — continues, here on Celebuzz dot com, with our highly-anticipated list of the year’s best album’s. (PITCHFORK, WHO?!) To compile our list, I asked each of our writers to send me their five favorite records of 2015. You’ll find a few crowd favorites from Kendrick Lamar, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Grimes, and more, but you might also discover something new and exciting by the likes of Susanne Sundfør or Shura! Find out what we came up with, in no particular order, below.

Susanne Sundfør – Ten Love Songs

I discovered this album purely by accident — mentioned in, of all places, a random comment on a music site — an event that renewed my faith in both fate and in internet commenting. From start to finish, it is a perfect album, full of soaring melodies, gorgeous instrumentation (and beats), dark lyrics, and sexy mystery. There are some strange moments, sure, but it’s also home to some of the best straightforward pop of 2015. (See “Delirious.”) – Matt

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Drake’s voice brings me back to simpler times in college when my “Miami girl” roommate would blast Take Care instead of writing papers about Proust. Though certainly not his danciest album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the audible equivalent to watching a lava lamp cycle around the glass. Plus, I enjoy playing a ‘Who’s Who’ of Drake’s sidepiece references, which are outlined in this handy guide here. – Mia

Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

How Big How Blue How Beautiful is a big departure from the sound of Lungs and Ceremonials. It is a slower and sadder album, featuring the first time Florence truly expressed her flaws. Florence is vulnerable throughout the entire album and weaves together a mix of melancholy, hope, and longing to create a masterpiece to cry to and to dance to. - Michael

Jame xx – In Colour

Jamie xx’s debut album In Colour is filling a void in my heart (The xx) by commanding all of my playlists right now. I especially love “Girl,” “SeeSaw” and “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – they’re the first songs I want to play in the morning and the last ones I want to hear before I go to sleep. – Kaitlyn

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Ask any music critic and they will name this album as the record of 2015. A follow-up to the 2012’s widely acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city, K-Dot’s latest opus hits harder — both musically and lyrically — than anything he’s ever done. Let’s just hope the Grammys won’t snub him again. – Gabi

Bryson Tiller – TRAPSOUL

The Kentucky native made a memorable debut with his 14 track album detailing his struggles, without the help of a single feature. TRAPSOUL is the perfect album for a laid back night in of Spotity and chill. – Jelani

Grimes – Art Angels

Grimes’ 2012 album, Oblivion, brought her to a new echelon of indie-pop stardom, and so expectations (and not just mine) were very high for the followup. I thought we were in trouble after hearing about scrapped albums and big delays, but everything turned out for the best. (Not that I was surprised.) Art Angels is the work of a singlular mind with a unique vision, and it is the strangest, most endearing pop album of 2015. – Matt

Disclosure – Caracal

Caracal is like a dance party with a bunch of artists that would never really hang out together, especially on the weekends, hadn’t it been for Disclosure. I, for one, never thought that Sam Smith would find his way onto my cardio playlist, but as Justin Bieber once said: “I will never say never”. – Mia

Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

Catchy and infectious. From “I Really Like You” to “Run Away With Me” to “Let’s Get Lost,” the album is a pop music lover’s dream. The songs have an updated ’80s feel and is consistently solid throughout. – Michael

Selena Gomez – Revival

Okay, to be honest I wasn’t a Selena fan until I listened to Revival all the way through as part of a geeky listening party with my Celebuzz coworkers, and enjoyed it so much that I listened to it over again. And again. So yeah, I’m a convert who has no shame in saying #BuyRevivalOniTunes. – Kaitlyn

Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect

Anyone who knows me knows that anything by The Killers is considered “my karaoke jam.” So naturally, I’m drawn to anything that Brandon Flowers puts out and The Desired Effect is no exception. Filled with lush, synth-pop sounds and grandiose lyrics, the album is like an ’80s dance party made for this generation. Fire up that karaoke machine. – Gabi

Kehlani – You Should Be Here

You Should Be Here was an amazing debut album for Kehlani. Her vocals are soothing, her lyrics are real and her Grammy nomination was well deserved. Looking forward to what she has in store for us next. – Jelani

Björk – Vulnicura

Vulnicura may be a difficult album to listen to — it is, after all, a meticulous documentation of the dissolution of Björk’s partnership with artist Matthew Barney — but it is her best album in 15 years (and one of her greatest of all time). On Vulnicura, Björk returns to her signature mix of strings (which she arranged herself) and beats, making it similar, on paper, to her classic album Homogenic. But instead of reflecting her native Iceland’s volcanic terrain, the music here speaks solely to the turbulence within her heart. – Matt

Angel Haze – Back to the Woods

I confess that I only knew of Angel Haze for the most banal reasons. I first learned of them from their public feud with Azealia Banks back in the day, and then slowly became intrigued in their relationship with Alec Baldwin’s daughter, Ireland Baldwin. It’s a gritty album. Their lyrics, inspired by spiritual awakening and heartbreak, travel to dark places from the artist’s past and hit you hard when set to deep beats. – Mia

Chvrches – Every Open Eye

I’m pleasantly surprised that Chvrches has actually gotten better on their sophomore album. Thrilling, soothing synth pop that rewards multiple listens. You may not have heard of Chvrches yet– but you will. – Michael

Marina and the Diamonds – FROOT

Music queen Marina Diamandis released one of my favorite albums of the year back in March, and I haven’t quit listening to it since. I love the dreamy quality to her pop songs that don’t try to be bubble-gum pop, don’t shy away from being sad. She bares her vulnerable side and really, who isn’t soul-searching for a sense of happiness? – Kaitlyn

Death Cab for Cutie – Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the last LP to ever feature founding guitarist Chris Walla, who announced his departure from the band during the production of album. Though it doesn’t top my favorite Death Cab record of all time, it’s still a pretty solid swan song — or in this case, “swan album” — as a send-off on that era. – Gabi

Justin Bieber – Purpose

As much as I didn’t want to like the album, I couldn’t help it. All of the songs are catchy as hell (don’t even ask how many times I’ve listened to “Love Yourself”) and most importantly, reminded everyone just how talented Bieber is. – Jelani

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

There was no better way to kick off 2015 than with the first Sleater-Kinney album in a decade. And these women didn’t get back together just for the sake of a money-milking nostalgia tour; No Cities to Love proves they’re as good as they’ve ever been (and we’ve been missing them more than we realized). – Matt

The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness

The Trilogy remains my favorite compilation from Mr. Abel Tesfaye, but Beauty Behind the Madness still does the job of getting you in the mood for any and all late-night debauchery. The album introduced me to a sultry side of Ed Sheeran that I wasn’t quite ready to see, which makes me grateful for his recent cleanse from my social media feed. – Mia

Leon Bridges – Coming Home

This is not a lost soul record from the mid-Sixties, but it definitely could be. The wondrous lack of auto tune allowed Leon Bridges to take us back to a raw, clean, decent time when one persons voice was the intrinsic value that showed a sold quality that we called music. – Michael

Miguel – Wildheart

Ah, Miguel. Call him erotic, call him sexy, but overall, call him an amazing and lusty romantic who not only has a way with words, but also all the sound combinations to make you feel good. Talk about a solid, aesthetically pleasing album from start to finish. From “coffee” to “…goingtohell” to “Simple Things,” every track on Wildheart invites me in like a warm embrace. – Kaitlyn

City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You

While I’m a sucker of anything acoustic, I have to give it to Dallas Green for expanding his horizons and finding inspiration in more than just his six-string. Sure, fans of City and Colour’s more acoustic albums — namely Sometimes and Bring Me Your Love — may not be so keen on the newer sound, but I’m a staunch believer that an artist has to bring something different to the table with each new record. What’s the fun if every song sounds like a demo? – Gabi

Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise

Dark Sky Paradise is hands down Big Sean’s best album. The album tells a story making sure you don’t want to skip even one song. Every song is solid, and the collabs are memorable. – Jelani

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

After years of experimentation, my sweet angel Sufjan returned to the folksier sounds that made him an indie music superstar. And this time he brought the tears. Carrie & Lowell sees Sufjan exploring the complicated relationship he had with his mother both before and after her death. The result is a devastating, quiet, and beautifully poetic record about loss. – Matt

Adele – 25

Writing about why you love Adele is like explaining why your mom is the best person in the world. She guided us through the glum years of 19 and 21, and now, emerges on the other side with a record that sings of more than being burned by men. Dare I say that “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” feels more like a greeting to a refreshed Adele than “Hello”? Also, Lionel Richie: Let it go and let this woman have her moment. – Mia

Years and Years – Communion

I have been obsessed with this band since I heard their first single and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this album. Olly and the boys always deliver. Great purchase. Great music. Incredible band. – Michael

Shura – White Light

If Shura’s six-track EP is any stellar indication, whatever she does in 2016 is gonna be freaking amazing. I first fell in love with Shura when I saw the music video for “Touch.” The British songstress’ EP consists of three likewise great tracks, such as “White Light” and “Indecision” and a remix for each. – Kaitlyn

The Good Life – Everybody’s Coming Down

As someone who has yet to grow out of their “emo phase,” I absolutely adore Tim Kasher. It’s been almost a decade since The Good Life, Kasher’s side project away from Cursive, has put out an album. Though he experiments with different sonic styles on Everybody’s Coming Down, it’s clear that the gravelly Nebraskan has yet to move on from making self-deprecating music. Like an old friend, I welcome his angsty lyrics with open arms. #SadSongsForever. – Gabi

Drake and Future – What a Time to Be Alive

My favorite collaboration of the year! What a time to be alive, indeed. – Jelani