2015 was a huge year for Alternative music. We had comebacks, break-ups and killer releases. Music is the missing link between us and the rest of the world. It expresses our deepest fears, joys and triumphs. 2015 was the year of great comebacks, massive hooks and surprise collaborations. Alternative music is always surprising and brilliant.
Here are my picks for the top 10 Alternative Albums of 2015.
10. Let It Reign - Carl Barat and The Jackals
One of the most underrated indie releases of this year, Let It Reign is a stomper from start to finish. Showcasing the anger and madness Barat became famous for, while also coming off as an extremely nuanced look back at wilder days, this album is perfect for anyone going through the trenches. I took a lot of comfort in these songs, because it was like someone was singing my sorrow back to me. This album is ideal for front to back listening. No skips needed.
Even Carl Barat himself liked my sentiments on this record. YES for the ReTweet! (Scroll right to see!)
Essential Listens: "March of the Idle", "A Storm Is Coming", "Victory Gin"
9. Badlands - Halsey
If you put Sia, Lorde and Debby Harry into a blender, out comes Halsey. Badass, unique and fresh, her style and honesty injected pop and alternative with some much needed perspective. I remember listening to the single "New Americana" while I lived in Brooklyn, New York this summer. I'll never forget the memories associated with it. That's how you know a song or album is good. You can remember the exact time you listened to those tracks, and they transport you to that place. Her debut was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. We've got a lot to look forward to.
Essential Listens: "New Americana", "Ghost", "
8. Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool
Teenage reckless abandon is alive and well with Wolf Alice's "My Love Is Cool". Marketed and revered as grunge's next incarnation. After years of relentless touring without a full-length release there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the full length release. We were not disappointed. Unapologetic and taylor made for the festival circuit, Wolf Alice, is yet another UK indie act with the potential to take over the world.
Essential Listens: "Lisbon", "Soapy Water"
7. Sound & Color -Alabama Shakes
No voice rocked the world in 2105 like Brittany Howard's. Sometimes when you hear something so profound and unique, it just changes things. We felt the pain, joy and madness of this album through each note she sang. It doesn't hurt that this band is solid as a rock live, and even sounds better than the records. Alabama Shakes were relatively unknown prior to this year's release, and hopefully their star will keep rising, so we can get a little bit more of that home grown, soul-rock and roll.
Essential Listens: "Future People", "Don't Want To Fight", "Sound & Color"
6. Blur - The Magic Whip
2015 was really the year that Britrock came back. I mean four British bands made this list, and for good reason. Blur dropped off the map after a festival cancellation in 2013, but came back with magic to spare with 2015's "The Magic Whip". More fun and functional than most albums of this year, the album was a great comeback for one of Britain's most revered bands. Now, if only Oasis could give us an album like this. We'd be set.
Essential Listens: "I Broadcast", "Ghost Ship", "Go Out"
5. Grimes - Art Angel
Much like Halsey, Grimes turned pop music on its head this year. Bucking the notion that women are merely pawns in the grand scheme of pop music, Grimes is a testament to female empowerment. Catchy hooks, beats dripping with style and hipster-cred coupled with honest and provocative lyrics create one of my favorite albums of the year. Trust me, after a few listens you'll be questioning everything.
Essential Listens: "Flesh Without Blood", "Artangels", "California"
4. American Beauty / American Psycho - Fall Out Boy
A lot of hardcore fans didn't like this record. Whatever the reason, change in sound, more electronic vibes, samples, who knows. I on the other hand rocked out to this thing all year long. With quintessential tracks ranging from bittersweet (Fourth of July), to party ready (American Beauty/American Psycho, to haunting (Twin Skeletons (Hotel in NYC)), this album has something for everyone. If you're willing to give something new a chance, evolution is always good for rock and roll.
Essential Listens: "Centuries", "Twin Skeletons (Hotel in NYC), "Jet Pack Blues", "The Kids Aren't Alright"
3. Blurryface - Twenty One Pilots
I never really gave Twenty-One Pilots a chance. For some reason I aligned them with 5 Seconds of Summer as a virtually commercial outfit with little to no artistry involved. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to 2015's Blurryface, an honest, cold, often harsh look at post-adolescence and the emptiness that often comes with realizing that you're an adult. It hit home. I highly recommend this album for anyone coping with their doomed youth.
Essential Listens: "Stressed Out", "Ride", "Fairly Local"
2. The Desired Effect - Brandon Flowers
The Killers frontman took us back to the 80's with his second solo effort, The Desired Effect. It's one of those albums you can listen to all day and not even realize it. Diverse and surprising, Flowers generates all sorts of musical stylings from the Robert Palmer-esque "Lonely Town" to the rhythmic departure of "Can't Deny My Love", all the way to the heartland-rock inspired "Dreams Come True" we see the range of the singer's influences like never before. A true masterpiece in the art of pop music, The Desired Effect creates a soundscape on its own level. Retro, fabulous and honest, this is a top recommendation from 2015.
Essential Listens: "Dreams Come True", "Lonely Town", "Can't Deny My Love", "Digging Up The Heart"
1. Anthems For Doomed Youth - The Libertines
Of course the most unlikely and epic comeback of the year has to top my list. It's no secret that The Libertines are a band that changed my life. Rooted in dirty indie rock, with all the history of an epic novel, this album has been a long time coming, and a long shot to happen. After the messy break up of Britain's most exciting band, most thought the Libs would never come back. Surprise. 2015 was the year everything changed. With irreverent new tracks chronicling the struggles of history (Fame and Fortune), and old favorites finally seeing the light of day (You're My Waterloo) Anthems For Doomed Youth changed the lives of Libertines everywhere.
Essential Listens: "Gunga Din", "Heart of the Matter", "You're My Waterloo", "Iceman"
What were your favorite albums this year? Make sure to talk about them in the Alternative-Rock community! A totally bitchin' place for all things alternative.