My Favourite Albums of 2015

JPEG image-4CD4A65CB569-1Yes, boys and girls, it’s time for that annual ode to my self-indulgence, self-importance and self-exaltation – My Favorite Albums of 2015. This year’s theme is “U.K. genre busters.” More than ever, my interests went to music that is not easily classified because it blended genres. And that frequently drew me to U.K. artists who are blurring the distinctions of genre far more than their popular U.S. music counterparts. Nine of the albums in my list are by U.K. artists.

In no particular order . . .

Should Have Been on the List for 2014 But I Didn’t Hear Them Until 2015

Gorgon City Sirens A really cool blending of house and synthpop with the smooth beats carried by an assortment of marvelous U.K. singers such as Katy B[1] and Laura Welsh, and the inimitable Jennifer Hudson.

Jungle Jungle Sleek, groove-driven, 70s-style funk from the U.K with a new millennium vibe.

These Should Be Obvious

Adele 25[2]

Adam Lambert The Original High[3]

Only Available in the U.K.

Kwabs Love + War[4] If there is a baritone-voiced angel in the heavenly realms, Kwabs is what it sounds like. As to his style, Kwabs says it’s “ultimately soul . . . taking from the things I love and that I’ve been listening to all my life (Aretha, Ella, Stevie) while having a place in the future.”[5]

Ella Eyre Feline Think classic Motown 50 years later and you get this album.

The Rest of the Best

Leaves’ Eyes King of Kings A concept album whose focal point is the sagas of Norway’s first king Harold. Majestic symphonies; massive metal guitars; soaring, angelic female vocals – when the Norse do folk music, it’s hardly of your Peter, Paul and Mary variety.

Darlene Love Introducing Darlene Love She’s the unaccredited voice of The Crystals’ 1962 hit He’s a Rebel, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and one of the subjects of the documentary Fifty Feet From Stardom. After five decades in the business – and by the business I mean the industry[6] – she has created a spectacular display of African-American vocal music – soul, blues, gospel and an occasional nod to the 60s girl groups. No disrespect to any of the current crop of pop stars – or aging classic rockers even – but it’s improbable that ANY of them will be able to sing like this when they’re 74 years old.

Lianne La Havas Blood Is she Folk? Funk? Rock? Pop? All of the above with a killer voice, too.

Florence + The Machine How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful The one-time quintessential modern baroque pop[7] diva is now the quintessential modern rock/soul diva.

Melanie Martinez Cry Baby It’s like Lorde and Lana Del Rey got together and wrote catchy pop songs about dark, disturbing, deranged, depressing teenage fantasies.

Disclosure Caracal Another superb groove-driven album from the U.K. that draws on house, R&B, and synthpop featuring vocals by superstars such as Sam Smith, Lorde, Miguel and The Weeknd, as well as My Boy Kwabs.

Duran Duran Paper Gods 80s-style synthpop is making a modern comeback, so why shouldn’t there be a fantastic and fun new Duran Duran album?


[1] Her album Little Red was my favourite of 2014.

[2] See my review

[3] See my review

[4] I was in the U.K. in October. After my work was completed, I had one goal: return with two copies of this album – one for me; and one for My Daughter Diandra.


[6] Admit it. You were wondering when I was going to work that in.

[7] Think 60s bands like the Moody Blues; Blood Sweat and Tears; Procul Harum; or The Association.

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