Here it is, my 100th post for Mackens on Music. And what a better post to have the honor than a review of my favorite albums of 2015. This will probably be my last post on this WordPress site, so I hope you all enjoy it!
The following albums are listed in no particular ranking order. They are all worth listening to in equal measure.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
Josh Tillman is self-loathing, anti-consumerist, a selfless lover, a comedian, and a musician all rolled-into one. Just look to “Bored in the USA” and you can witness the cheeky lyrics juxtaposed with softer musical tones, a vibe that is apparent through the project. Combine that with the uber-specific liner notes included in the physical copy, and you have an album that is worth experiencing multiple times over. Read my full review here.
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
Normally, a double album with 20 tracks is a red flag for my musical attention span. But with Staples’ debut full-length, the Long Beach MC gets to showcase his lyricism at length without overstaying his welcome. The beats are both varied and interesting. Even with essentials such as “Norf Norf”, “Loca”, “Senorita”, and “Might Be Wrong” littered throughout the album, the final track “’06” (which cuts out early) was what left me the most excited for what Staples has in store for the future.
Thundercat – The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam
Clocking in at six tracks and 16 minutes, this EP is the perfect starter kit for discovering the Brainfeeder bassist and the label as a whole. Assisted by Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington, The Beyond is evidence enough of how this trio is bringing Jazz music back to the mainstream. If nothing else, the bass sounds too good to ignore.
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick couldn’t win the hearts of Grammy voters for his last and equally amazing project good kid, m.A.A.d city, so he just had to come harder and release (what could be) his Magnum Opus. I don’t need to talk about important this album is, and I agree with Justin Charity’s assessment that this album falls apart without “King Kunta” and “Alright”. From my lens, To Pimp a Butterfly is still a great album because of how it challenges the status quo both musically and lyrically. He tackles many of the same issues Vince Staples does, but with more complexity. He recruits the aforementioned Brainfeeder boys and funk legend George Clinton (among others) to intertwine Jazz with Hip Hop. Kendrick himself utilizes a spectrum of voices and flows throughout. The result is an album even more complete than GKMC, one that is now obligated to sweep any and all music awards shows, but means so much more than a collection of golden gramophones.
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
IFYRTITL is the ultimate Rap Boast Album. It screams, “I am awesome, and I will continue to be awesome.” Seriously, why would Meek Mill start a beef with this guy? He is only feeding the beast. I’ve never been a huge fan of him, but it took this album/mixtape bursting with confidence to make me sold on this living meme that is Drake.
Jamie xx – In Colour
The more and more I listen to music passively (while doing other things), the more I appreciate ‘electronic’ music and the variety of atmospheres it creates. In Colour goes above and beyond the genre’s moniker. Jamie incorporates sounds from every corner of the mind, bending the compositions to his will. It’s the most complete and varied electronic album I’ve heard, with features that are both timely and in good proportion. Looking back, I would lobby for a higher rating if I could. Read my full review here.
And that’s it! Thank you all again for your readership and interest in the site over the last couple of years. I always love when people ask for my musical suggestions and opinions. I will continue to write about music, but I imagine it is going to be more succinct (adapting to the world of immediacy we live in), and potentially Twitter Exclusive. I may even go back to tumblr. We’ll just have to wait and see what 2016 has in store. Until next time, keep your eyes peeled, your ears up, and your mind open!