Sound In The Signals - Best Albums Of 2015

Well it's that time again. Below is a list of Sound In The Signals best albums of 2015 with a small discussion about each of the top 55. As always I'm sure I forgot one or two, but I do pride us on having an extremely well thought out list this year! Also there are a couple "mixtape albums" on the list as well. Overall I thought 2015 was a great year for music. This is one of our larger lists coming in at 200 albums listed. That is a lot, but it was a good year for music and I kept adding to my list throughout the year and when it came time to number them a large list came out of it. The top 55 are the ones that are mainly focused on. The remaining part of the list is more to include albums that I thought were really good in an honorable mentions type way. I want readers to know that there was a huge difference between how much I enjoyed an album that would appear in the 60s versus in the 180s so I put them in order to properly let albums and artists shine.

As always some of the ones lower on the list that weren't discussed have potential to become favorited over others in the course of years to come. There is only so much time to listen to music and some things don't always get as many minutes to shine as other things for various reasons. So some of these may fall lower than their potential and may become more of a staple later on down the line.  It seems that there are always more than a few of the lower ones that turn out to be albums I thought should be in the top 50 or so by the middle or end of the next year. That all comes with spending more time with an album or if it just finally clicks with me on the level that takes it up a notch higher in my mind. Only time can tell with those.

A theme of the top four is that all four had huge expectations and doubts that they could top their previous fan loved material. I think all four stepped up their game, rose to the occasion, and crafted some of the best music of their careers. Enjoy the list!

*Note that:
- The top 25 are discussed and their album artwork is pictured
- 26-55 are discussed but no album artwork is pictured
- 56-200 are just listed

01.Beach Slang - The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
This band released two extremely solid EPs in 2014. They were number 1 and 2 on my EP of the year list last year. I almost wondered if the band could still have enough good songs in the tank for a debut album. My worries were put to rest when I heard the album. It's a short but sweet album packed full of captivating, well written songs. The Replacements influence, as well as various other post/punk influences on this album, is pretty evident and even with that the band carve out their own niche in their music. I really enjoy the production style, the way the songs come crashing in most of the time, and how the lyrics wear their heart on their sleeve in a thought provoking manner.  The band really performed on the album and you can hear the emotion in the vocals. It was everything I wanted from a debut Beach Slang album and it really didn't let me down in a single way.

02.Deafheaven - New Bermuda
The amount of success that Deafheaven had with Sunbather was unheard of for a band that incorporated elements of various genres including black metal, rock, and shoegaze. New Bermuda had such lofty expectations upon it that it would have been easy for most bands to crumble under. Deafheaven didn't do that and instead redefined their sound a little. The shoegaze elements are stripped away for more alternative rock influences. The vocals are a little clearer and a little nastier sounding on this album. It lived up to and really exceeded every expecation I had for the album. It's easily my favorite heavy album of the year.

03.Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
This is easily the biggest, best, beast of a standout hip hop/rap album this year. It has a lot of thought provoking content. Kendrick is an original with a flow that is easily reconizable and the production on this album was really nice. The concept woven throughout the album was also very interesting. It's hard to deny Kendrick might have a classic on his hands with this one. I can easily see people listening to this in 10 years with high regards.

04.The World Is A Beautiful Place... - Harmlessness
This band had huge expectations. Their previous album, Whenever If Ever, was one of the big starting points to the emo-revival and I thought it would be tough to follow-up. The World Is... went in a slightly different direction by heading more towards indie rock territory, but it totally worked. Vocally this is much more of a solid album than their previous album and about every aspect of the songwriting was stepped up.

05.The Wonder Years - No Closer To Heaven
The Wonder Years released another really solid album with No Closer To Heaven. This album didn't hit me quite as hard as The Greatest Generation (which captured my number 1 spot on my AOTY list in 2013), but the band showed they could continue and refine their sound in some places in a lot of ways. This album has more than a few great songs and a whole bunch of good ones. It's impressive that they continue to churn out quality releases, stay relevant, and stay at the forefront of their scene.

06.Third Eye Blind - Dopamine
Third Eye Blind only seem to drop an album every handful of years and I always really enjoy just about everything they release. The catchy, well crafted songs coupled with Jenkins' lyrical and vocal ability is just a game winning shot for me every time.

07.The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness
This is hit after hit of good solid songs. I've been a fan of The Weeknd since he first dropped House Of Balloons and the pop approach to this album really helped push him into slightly new territory. It definitely feels like he found a groove on this album and a way to work the qualities that made him so loved across the blogosphere into a sound that made him really well received in the mainstream. It really made his music more accessible to all listeners. I thought the music complimented and contrasted his vocal style and previous music really nicely.

08.Vince Staples - Summertime '06
Tackling the double disc album is hard. There are very few double disc albums that have consistently good material on both discs. It just seems like filler is unavoidable most of the time. Vince avoided those pitfalls and I feel like the lyrical content, production, and just overall quality control succeeded. I found very little about this album that I didn't enjoy and I really thought the content and concept worked out really nicely.

09.Travis $cott - Rodeo
I really liked $cott's previous releases and Days Before Rodeo was so good that I felt like Rodeo had a lot to live up to. Honestly it took a few listens to fully grasp whether I liked it as much as Days Before Rodeo. I knew I enjoyed a large chunk of it, but with more and more listens it really clicked and once it did there was no turning back and I've continuously listened to it since it came out.

10.Ghost Bath - Moonlover
Ghost Bath came under fire about their origin (no, they are not actually Chinese...so what!) as well as heavy comparsions to Deafheaven. All of that aside I just couldn't deny Moonlover. It's a great album. I returned to this one over and over last year. It's easily one of my favorite heavy albums and I think the band knocked it out of the park.

11.Knuckle Puck - Copacetic
The songs and vibe of the album is really good. This was easily one of my favorite pop/punk releases of the year and it lived up to a lot of the hype I had for this debut album. I kept coming back and listening to this because the songs are solid. The thing that hindered this album from making the top 10 was probably the production of the album. There were spots when the production hurt this album a little. That being said this is still a really good album.

12.Death Grips - The Powers That B
This is another solid double disc album. I will say, though, only Jenny Death is new and with the first album being released last year it played more like a re-release + a new album. Even with that both discs are really solid and Jenny Death lived up to a lot of the hype and was worth the wait. I think Jenny Death alone would make it high on my end of the year list.

13.Drake - If You’re Reading This Its Too Late
Drake continues to win big with all aspects from the production style, rap style, and lyrical content on this album. Yeah, some of it might have been ghostwritten and it certainly caused a lot of drama around that. Performance wise Drake continues to be one of, if not, the biggest artist in current rap music and this release continues the trend of showing why.

14.A$AP Rocky - At. Long. Last. A$AP
Rocky continued to build on his style and he did it with some nice flare on this album. This is a little more solidly produced and constructed than his debut album. 

15.Joey Bada$$ - B4.Da.$$
Joey had great delivery, lyrical content, and beat choices on this release. He felt like he stepped up his game and came with a really complete and interesting project.

16.Future - DS2
This album is 100% about the vibe and mood. It might not be the most super lyrical album, but beat wise and mood wise it's so infectious. At first this album didn't super impress me but over time I just kept coming back to it and it kept growing on me. Future really took big strides in defining himself as an artist in 2015. This album is a prime example of him presenting that. Keeping the features light also helped make sure he was the star of the project and the success rested pretty much on his vocal performance mixed with the strength of the production.

17.Jack Ü - Jack Ü
The Skrillex and Diplo collaboration album got a lot of love and hate from the EDM world in 2015. Despite all of that I just can't deny that I really enjoy a lot of songs from the album. The pair worked with a ton of artists to create an overall solid batch of songs. There are so many earworm singles on this one.

18.Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Sh*t I Don't Go Outside
This is a really moody, down-tempo affair for Earl and he really sold the vibe and the feeling both musically and lyrically. I might like his debut album slightly more, but I do think this album is better as a whole and much more thought out.

19.High Functioning Flesh - Definite Structure
This is easily one of the better electronic based EBM/Industrial albums of the year. It's a nice blend of early Skinny Puppy with kind of a punk rock edge. There is a lot of throwback late 80s, early nineties EBM/Industrial influence on the sound. This duo is phenominal. I enjoyed everything they had released prior and this album just solidified them as one of my current favorites of the genre.

20.Miguel - Wildheart
Miguel nailed it with this album. The songs have great vibes and flow nicely. His voice sounds great and the lyrical content kept me interested throughout.

21.Pinkshinyultrablast - Everything Else Matters
There was talk of a shoegaze revival earlier in the year and while that was probably more of a blip in the rock community Everything Else Matters was thrown into the conversation as proof. Even if shoegaze didn't quite conquor the underground like some proposed it would this album is still insanely well written, performed, and produced.

22.The Underachievers - Evermore The Art Of Duality 
This album split its' vibe down the middle and worked really well. I think the production was really good and the duo came in with a concept and executed it really nicely. There is a lot of really good rapping all over the project. I think this album might be the group's most focused, well performed release.

23.Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden Of Delete
This is Oneohtrix Point Never's big rock album and quite possibly my favorite thing Daniel Lopatin has ever done. There is a lot of neat stuff going on production wise with this album and it flows really interestingly. Lopatin has a way of working with sounds to create some really interesting textures and landscapes with his music. It can sound minimal and epic at times.

24.Spraynard - Mable
This is one of the more underrated emo/pop/punk albums of the year. I thought this band returned and nailed it in every single way. There are so many good songs on this album. It's the perfect follow-up to their previous material. It's mature while still maintaining its sense of youthful energy.

25.Jay Rock - 90059
TDE had a big year this year and Kendrick may have been king of hip hop in 2015, but I think it's important not to forget Jay Rock and his fantastic 90059 album. Jay Rock's sophomore album is a huge step up from his previous material. He switched up his flow and style a lot and it paid off huge. The album is leaps and bounds better than his debut. I think from the sound and vibe of this album Jay Rock rocketed to the front of the TDE camp with his rapping ability as well as just how good the beat selection was for this album.
26.Logic - The Incredible True Story
Logic stepped it up big time with this album. I think he's starting to define who he is as an artist in a nice way. I thought this album was more original than some of his prior music. He's a pretty lyrical rapper and his flow throughout the album is nice. I really like the astronaut theme of the album and I thought the concept was done really nicely and worked really well.
27.Adele - 25
It's Adele. She released music. She ruled the industry. She sings with phenomenal grace. She's pretty much the queen. 'Nuff said.
28.Title Fight - Hyperview
The band took a left turn with this album and it paid off in a really great way. The mixture of emo rock, indie rock, and shoegaze created a really nice sound. I really enjoy the vibe of the album. It took me a few listens to get into it, but it grew on me and I really enjoy it.
29.Pusha T - King Push Darkest Before Dawn (The Prelude)
King Push came legit with this prelude to his next album late in the year and honestly it's some of my favorite stuff he's done to date. Lyrically it's intelligent and I love the criticism of the current rap climate from him. The beat selection is fantastic. There are so many good stand out beats on this album and they are pretty infectious, as well.
30.Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic
Once I got around the fact that I might rather hear a Fun. album as opposed to a solo album from Nate Ruess I really enjoyed this project. It's not quite as of a big feeling project as some previous projects he's been involved with, but for a first solo outing I enjoyed a lot of the songs and he has an undeniably great voice.
31.All Time Low - Future Hearts
While this album didn't hit me quite as hard as past ATL releases had I still think that it's one of their most solidly written, produced, and performed albums to date. This is peak ATL and I think it's probably about as good as you'll ever hear them sound. It's a great pop/rock album with some slight punk tinges.
32.Hop Along - Painted Shut
This was a super well performed album. I really enjoyed the flow of it. The vocal performance on the album is really great. I thought this band really nailed it on all fronts musically and it easily stuck out to me as one of the best vocal performances from a female singer in the emo/punk world this year.
33.Sorority Noise - Joy, Departed
This is a big step up for Sorority Noise. It's more mature than their debut album, more focused, and I really like the direction of the songwriting both musically and lyrically. This band easily made one of the better emo/punk albums of the year.
34.Sublime With Rome - Sirens
This band gets a lot of praise as well as criticism. Some people really like the second generation of Sublime and others feel that using the Sublime name is blasphemous. I tend to really like Sublime with Rome and I was ecstatic to get the first album from the group as I didn't think any version of Sublime would ever release another album. Now to get a second album, and one that I think better fits that original Sublime sound, I found myself really enjoying this one. I thought the overall production on this album was better than their debut. Song wise it's somewhat on par with the debut. Yeah, Bud might be out and I've heard the argument that there isn't much Sublime left with just one original Sublime member (Eric on bass). I still can't deny that I really enjoyed the album. I have a soft spot for Sublime and I just really like to hear this new incarnation of the band continue to release music that I really enjoy a lot.
35.Ty Dolla $ign - Free TC
This album could have been higher on my list if it didn't have a few weak spots. Despite the weaknesses, this album still had a ton of great hip hop flavored R&B. The first half of this album is really strong and is a pretty impressive debut from Ty. It starts really strong. The first song is super infectious and is a great introduction to the album. The first half rolls really strong. The second half has a couple weak spots, but it also has some cool, more radio friendly tracks.
36.Jeff Rosenstock - We Cool?
This is a great alternative/punk album. How Say Anything ...Is A Real Boy was for late teens to early 20s was, this is almost like that for late 20 to early 30 somethings. Rosenstock's vocal performance sticks out nicely. Some of these lyrics can have down trodden themes, but the songs mostly maintain a peppiness which is really cool.
37.The Story So Far - The Story So Far
I really liked this album a lot. In a way I expected this to land in my top 20 when the band announced it, due to the fact What You Don't See, the band's last album, had scored my number 2 spot on my AOTY list the year it was released. Sadly this album just didn't land that high. I think some of it was the excitement factor wasn't there like it had been on the band's prior albums. The music on the album is par for the course for TSSF and they created an insanely solid album, but it wasn't as standout in their discography as I would have liked for it to have been. It sounded too similar to What You Don't See in almost every aspect for it to be as immediately standout as that album was. However, It did have some big moments and like I said it was super solid and it was not a decline in quality, it's just more of the same.
38.All Around The Dinner Table - From The Mouths Of Shepherds
Brandon Miles finally finished his long awaited album and it was a super interesting listening experience. There are some really good lyrics on this one and I really like the vibe of the album. I think the production and song writing was top notch on this release.
39.Father John Misty - Love You Honeybear
It's a tongue-in-cheek love album. The songs on here can come off as both earnest and comical just depending on how you look at it and what you know about the project. Regardless this captured something really interesting and I enjoyed it a lot.
40.As It Is - Never Happy, Ever After
This is a really solid debut album for a pop/punk band. It has some really standout single worthy songs and is just a fun summer sing-along type of album.
41.Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit
This album has a lot of charm, solid vocals, and a lot of well written songs. I also thought the album title was super eye catching and really just makes you give this one a solid listen. I was treated to some great songs when I did.
42.Turnover - Peripheral Vision
It's a kind of surprisingly great indie rock record. This band made some huge strides and really stuck out for the genre in 2015.

43.Whitey Morgan - Sonic Church
This is the best country album of the year. Hands down. No competition. It's a must listen album.
44.Justin Bieber - Purpose
I honestly never would have thought I'd enjoy a Justin Bieber album to the extent that it'd end up on any AOTY list. I'm not buying the cleaned up image he's peddling these days, but the music on the album is pretty well constructed and honestly this is the first thing he's done that is really notable for anyone over the age of 14. I thought the album had some pretty good songwriting and overall solid singles. This album had some misses. The earworms stuck with me on this one.
45.Kamasi Washington - The Epic
This is the jazz album of the year. No others really even competed. It's a fantastically, super solid listen. I dare you not to dig this!
46.Young Thug - Barter 6
The Carter Barter 6 was a drama fueled release that encountered a name change after a Lil Wayne lawsuit. Aside from name drama this is Young Thug's most cohessively well thought out project and it has a ton of his patented style done the best I've heard him do it yet.
47.Turnstile - Nonstop Feeling
I am such a fan of this band's EPs and while the album didn't hit quite as hard as the EPs it is super solid and kind of feels like the most realized version of this band. It's super solid, kind of groove driven, hardcore punk.
48.Action Bronson - Mr. Wonderful
The biggest and most controversial year for Mr. Bronson saw him releasing a pretty solid album. I'm just a big fan of his rapping and writing style. It's serious at times but also doesn't take itself too seriously. There are some hilarious lines on this album. Overall I really like the vibe. There is a track here or there that didn't hit me as hard, which kind of kept this album from being in my top 30. It's still a pretty good album.
49.Sleater Kinney - No Cities To Love
There are no cities. No cities to love! Sing those lyrics at the top of your lungs and enjoy! What a great comeback album. This band is good, but honestly it was a big surprise that this album was as good as it is...at least to me it was.
50.WDNG Crshrs - Utdinfiniti
This is one of the better duo rap releases I've heard in a while. Quentin Miller came to a lot of people's knowledge as being the Drake ghostwriter. Even though it seems to be true, at least for some Drake songs, WDNG Crshrs put out a really quality project that stands on its own. The production and the flow is good. Even with Miller's name in a lot of people's ears due to all the Drake controversy, his duo partner the Cool Is Mac and producer Nick Miles are just as notable on the release.
51.Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood
Here's another really solid batch of songs from Mr. Church. This album wasn't as good as The Outsiders by a long shot, but I still found a lot to really enjoy on this album. It's easily my second favorite country album this year.
52.Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo & Youth
This album was a soft comeback for Lupe. It's some of his best music in years since The Cool in my opinion (which was the only Lupe album I've 100% enjoyed). I say soft comeback because although it was a comeback to better music, it didn't really impact the music industry the way a full fledged comeback should. All that aside this a solid album.
53.The Front Bottoms - Back On Top
The Front Bottoms really cleaned it up and went more towards the direction of the sound you might hear on the All American Rejects album in terms of accessibility and production style, in my opinion. It didn't work in every aspect, but I thought there were more than a few standout tracks.
54.Grimes - Art Angels
I really liked the pop direction Grimes took with this album. It really added a lot to her discography and was a little bit of a surprise in terms of sound. There's lots of good instrumentation and solid vocal performances on the album.

55.Matoma - Hakuna Matoma
Tropical House was one of the hot genres in 2015 in the EDM world and Matoma does the style better than most. This album is more like an ever expanding playlist of originals and remixes that can be added to over time.  The current incarnation of the album really showcased the sound and how well it could be done.
56.Migos - YRN The Album
57.Carly Rae Jepsen - E•MO•TION
58.Seasons Change - Please Don't Leave
59.Myrkur - M
60.Halsey - Badlands
61.Seaway - Colour Blind
62.Frank Turner - Positive Songs for Negative People
63.Drake & Future - What A Time To Be Alive
64.The Money Pit-The Money Pit
65.Lil Uzi Vert - LUV Is Rage
66.Injury Reserve - The Dentist Office
67.Sun Kil Moon - Universal Themes
68.Good Old War - Broken Into Better Shape
69.5 Seconds Of Summer - Sounds Good Feels Good
70.The Tallest Man On Earth - Dark Bird Is Home
71.Noah Gundersen - Carry The Ghost
72.Neck Deep - Life's Not Out To Get You
73.The Mountain Goats - Beat the Champ
74.Foxing - Dealer
75.The Game - Documentary 2 & 2.5
76.Future – Beast Mode
77.Ghost - Meliora
78.Clarence Clarity - No Now
79.G Herbo - Ballin' Like I'm Kobe
80.Flosstradamus - HDYNATION RADIO
81.Chvrches - Every Open Eye
82.Freddie Gibbs - Shadow Of A Doubt
83.Butch Walker - Afraid Of Ghosts
84.Hotel Books - Run Wild, Young Beauty
85.An Autumn For Crippled Children - The Long Goodbye
86.Robb Bank$ - Year of the Savage
87.Bones - HermitOfEastGrandRiver
88.Better Off - Milk
89.Demi Lavato - Confident
90.Jermih - Late Nights
91.Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment - Surf
92.Yelawolf - Love Story
93.Pyramids - A Northern Meadow
94.Liturgy - The Ark Work
95.G-Eazy - When It's Dark Out
96.Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
97.Man Overboard - Heavy Love
98.One Direction - Made In The A.M.
99.Izah - Sistere
100.Stick Together - Stick Together
101.Old Again - Grey Sky State of Mind
102.Tyler The Creator - Cherry Bomb
103.Curren$y - Pilot Talk 3
104.Chuck Inglish - Everybodys Big Brother
105.The Maine - American Candy
106.Virgin Forest - VF3
107.ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) - Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt?.?3 Penance
108.Tribulation - The Children Of The Night
109.Tenement - Predatory Headlights
110.Refused - Freedom
111.Alessia Cara - Know-It-All
112.State Champs - Around the World and Back
113.Michael Christmas - What A Weird Day
114.Twenty-One Pilots - Blurryface
115.Runaway Brother - Mother
116.Citizen - Everybody Is Going To Heaven
117.Superheaven - Ours Is Chrome
118.Future – 56 Nights
119.Wavves - V
120.Bones - Powder
121.Dr. Dre - Compton
122.Pentimento – I, No Longer
123.Galantis - Pharmacy
124.Neon Indian - Vega Intl. Night School
125.Desaparecidos - Payola
126.Julien Baker - Sprained Ankle
127.Tsjuder - Antiliv
128.Meek Mill - Dreams Worth More Than Money
129.Bryson Tiller - Trapsoul
130.Selena Gomez - Revival
131.Chief Keef - Bang 3
132.Arca - Mutant
133.The Traditional - How To Live Without Blood
134.HEALTH - Death Magic
135.Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
136.Lydia - Run Wild
137.Hit The Lights - Summer Bones
138.Four Year Strong - Four Year Strong
139.Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho
140.Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi
141.Faith No More - Sol Invictus
142.xRepentancex - The Sickness Of Eden
143.The Obsessives - Heck No, Nancy
144.Bob Wayne - Hits The Hits
145.Chris Stapleton - Traveller
146.Mumford & Sons - Wilder Minds
147.The Chemical Brothers - Born In The Echoes
148.Sufjan Stevens - Carrie And Lowell
149.Milo - So The Flies Don't Come
150.Ellie Goulding - Delirium
151.Beach House - Depression Chrry
152.The Early November - Imbue
153.Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool
154.The Knux - Eleven
155.Everclear - Black Is The New Black
156.brandUn Deshay - goldUn Child
157.Motion City Soundtrack – Panic Stations
158.Semi Hendrix - Breakfast at Banksy's
158.Joanna Newsom - Divers
160.Major Lazer - Peace Is The Mission
161.Laura Stevenson - Cocksure
162.Baroness - Purple
163.Cheatahs - Mythologies
164.Goth Money - Trillionares
165.Sworn In - The Lovers/The Devil
166.Soak - Before We Forgot How to Dream
167.Fashawn - The Ecology
168.Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife
169.Raury - All We Need
170.Marietta - As It Were
171.Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
172.Jamie xx - In Colour
173.Light Years - I'll See You When I See You
174.Big Sean - Dark Sky Paradise
175.Dom Kennedy - By Dom Kennedy
176.Wale - The Album About Nothing
177.Bjork - Vulnicura
178.Violent Reaction - Marching On
179.Casey Veggies - Live & Grow
180.Mewithoutyou - Pale Horses
181.Senses Fail - Pull the Thorns from Your Heart
182.The Libertines - Anthems for Doomed Youth
183.The Prodigy - The Day Is My Enemy
184.Daisyhead - The Smallest Light
185.Dance Gavin Dance - Instant Gratification
186.Mike Zombie – Rebel Without a Cause
187.Zac Brown Band - Jekyll + Hyde
188.Alex Wiley - Village Party 2: Heaven's Gate
189.Modestep - London Road
190.H20 - Use Your Voice
191.Slug Chirst - Plant Mentality 2
192.Hudson Mohawke - Lantern
193.Best Coast - California Nights
194.Zedd - True Colors
195.Chon - Grow
196.Rick Ross - Black Market
197.Crywolf - Cataclasm
198.Da Mafia 6ix - Watch What U Wish
199.Kane Grocerys - Trap Goth
200.Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

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