Which albums had the largest effect on you this year? Looking at my compilation I can see a bit of a theme of female vocalists with a dramatic streak and male vocalists with a more subtle approach.
1. SUFJAN STEVENS CARRIE & LOWELL (Asthmatic Kitty Records)
Nothing hurt as deep. Nothing felt as much. Nothing was as grand and majestic. Yet. Nothing was as sparse, subtle and sensitive. Less is so much more when it comes to Carrie & Lowell, an album filled with songs, lyrics, arrangements and vocals that goes deeper, higher, wider and beyond what I ever could expect. Without any doubt the album of the year.
2. BJÖRK VULNICURA (One Little Indian)
Where she on her last several albums got lost in the technical aspects of her music, on Vulnicura she instead let the emotions dictate the terms and therefore she crushed me. Don’t get me wrong, her music is still technically exquisite, but this believable and honest she hasn’t been since her best-yet, Vespertine. Nothing short of a masterpiece.
3. RÓISIN MURPHY HAIRLESS TOYS (Play It Again Sam)
This truly is the fine dining of disco. Enthralling, gorgeously deviant with brilliant nuances and layers that keeps these songs lingering on longer than a mirrorball keeps turning. Once again, she’s overpowered me.
4. TITIYO 13 GÅRDEN (Telegram Records)
The Swedish songstress has never been as good as this, as she on her sixth album in 25 years turns to sing in her native tongue. This is so classy and so elegant, as she retrospectively glances into her past, but with a steady focus into the future. Simply outstanding.
5. SUSANNE SUNDFØR TEN LOVE SONGS (Sonnet Sound Limited)
When do you come across true pop with a natural flair for the 80’s dramatics without losing focus? Very rarely, but here it’s all about beautifully executed and gorgeously composed songs, that touches the deepest cores of me. Ten Love Songs is a true triumph.
6. MIGUEL WILDHEART (RCA/Sony)
Since Frank Ocean still, unfortunately, stays gone and The Weeknd was good, but not as good as before, thank God for Miguel. He delivered yet another brilliant album filled with extraordinary songs oozing as much of sexuality as of political awareness and everything in between.
7. FLORENCE + THE MACHINE HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL (Island/ Universal)
How beautiful, indeed. She finally nailed it on her third album, in a manner only pop royalty does. She balances the majestic theatrics with sensitive layers of air and subtlety, and totally knocks me out.
8. ADELE 25 (XL Recordings)
Much like her compratiot Florence Welch, third time’s the charm for Adele. Plenty of soul, warmth and nostalgia coats these beautifully crafted songs, which are her best to date and it’s no wonder that the whole world falls at her feet. Myself included.
9. MADONNA REBEL HEART (Live Nation/Interscope)
Not only did Björk come back with a venegance, it was aslo a relief that Ms. Ciccone still could deliver, after the truly disappointing and awful MDNA. Although she no longer is a front runner, she still knows the craft of great pop songs and this time she feels more relaxed and personal, which definitely is a good fit for Madge 2015.
10. JEREMIH LATE NIGHTS: THE ALBUM (Def Jam Recordings)
This tightly knitted, superbly balanced and heavily delayed album takes off where his magical 2012 mixtape Late Nights With Jeremih ended. (Please do look the mixtape up, it’s mesmerizing!) Beautiful R&B made with tiny gestures is rare, but Jeremih does it with such ease and elegance, that to surrender to it, that is all I can do.
And here we have a bunch of albums worthy of a honorable mentioning.
TROYE SIVAN Blue Neighbourhood, DRAKE If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, THE WEEKND Beauty Behind The Madness, AMASON Sky City, JONATHAN JOHANSSON Lebensraum!, KWABS Love & War, KENDRICK LAMAR To Pimp A Butterfly, JOHN GRANT Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, SEINABO SEY Pretend, BEACH HOUSE Thank Your Lucky Stars