Because I’m lazy, this is gonna be a straight up callback to an entry from last year. In case the thought of clicking a link is unfathomable (what are you? Some kind of rube?), I did a run down of albums I’d love to see happen in 2015. How did my predictions go? Did I make any on the money picks? Gaping misses? Was my hope in vain? Well wait one fucking paragraph won’t you? Geez, fucking entitled snake people generation.
Firstly, the James Blake and Radiohead albums never eventuated, so they’ll pass on to next year. I never bothered to listen to Decemberists‘ 2015 effort What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World through a combination of forgetfulness and average critical reception. I probably owe it at least one revolution (unintentional pun. It’s a goodie) for old time’s sake. Dan Deacon‘s album Gliss Riffer was fine, fun (and brought with it a jubilant live tour), but still a far cry from the brilliance of 2009’s Bromst. Grimes‘ album Art Angels was a late game masterpiece. Swooping down like a vengeant spirit, it crammed delicate introspection, immaculate glistening pop and primal aggression into a phenomenal package. I’ve had this on rotation for weeks and it shows no sign of letting up. Check out this track SCREAM featuring badass Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes.
Anyway, those were the expected albums. How about my 16 predictions from last year?
- Battles: La Di Da Di felt a little ho hum. Okay, so I was pretty attached to the vocoder blender ethos. Without a retro-future singer you’ve just got a band of insanely talented music nerds making unpredictible and inimitable noiserock. Wait, in retrospect this still kicked all sorts of ass. I’m 1/1 so far.
- CHVRCHES: This album got a pretty favourable pass around, but I found it sort of passé. It’s fine, but shows little sign of evolution. Really it’s more of the same and if you’re into that you’ve got nothing to complain about. There’s nothing that caught my breath me with the tenacity of Lungs, but there’s nothing wrong with this album. I’m going 2/2.
- Dirty Projectors: Alas no. I’m 2/3.
- Fang Island: And I was just listening to their debut this morning. They may have aptly described their sound as “everyone high-fiving everyone”, but their lack of a follow up has left me hanging. A sadfaced 2/4.
- Fleet Foxes: Nope. BUT WAIT. We did get a release from former Fleet Foxes drummer Father John Misty. Can that count? Because it’s possibly my favourite album of the year. Misanthropic and jaded lyrics dripping with wit, I can’t tell how many times I’ve replayed The Night Josh Tillerman Came To Our Apartment. It’s a fucking hilarious retelling of an awful one night stand with an insufferable narcissist (by the sounds of it, coming from one himself). I’ve fallen in love with so many of his lines, whether it’s describing his partner’s writing prowess as “she blackens pages like a Russian romantic” or “Mascara blood, ash and cum, on the Rorschach sheets where we make love”. I’ve probably listened to the album 2-3 times a week since I heard it. For me that’s unthinkable. I’m giving myself a mark here. 3/5 so far.
- Frank Ocean: I don’t want to talk about it. 3/6.
- Girl Talk: 3/7.
- Grizzly Bear: 3/8.
- Japandroids: 3/9
- M83: 3/10.
- MSTRKRFT: 3/11.
- Passion Pit: Holy subpar follow-up, Batman. The definition of mediocre. It’s like they distilled the things that made them popular and resolved not to stray or challenge anything. I find this actively uninteresting to listen to. A total fucking shame, there was a time I loved this band. 4/12, but that doesn’t make me happy.
- Purity Ring: The same boat as CHVRCHES, but I possibly preferred this one to theirs. Some poor lyrical choices don’t dampen the fact that it’s a bouncy, quite listenable record. It’s no Shrines, but did we really expect that much? I’m 5/13.
- Sant(i/o)gold: 5/14.
- Sufjan Stevens: Wait, that was this year? An impeccable album from a gifted songwriter. It’s an immensely personal, heart-wrenching listen from a matured Sufjan. The specificity entailed in the lyrics makes it impossible to walk away unscathed. “The man who taught me to swim, he couldn’t quite say my first name” he says of the father figure who raised him. The contrasting glut and dearth of love in his life from such a young age is compelling and relatable. I’ve yet to get through the album without crying at least once and I’ve listened often. Potentially his best album yet. 6/15.
- The xx: Jamie xx‘s solo project In Colour does indeed feature his former The xx partner Romy, so I’m giving myself this one. The record is a banger from the moment the needle drops. It’s balanced and spacious, with a stack of irresistible dance floor fillers amongst more contemplative swelling tracks. It’s a fucking stonking album that feels like a total gift. 7/16.
I called 7 albums (if I’m being nice to myself), at least 3 of which I’m gonna have in heavy rotation for years to come. 2015 was an outstanding year for music. Aussie songwriter Courtney Bartnett‘s album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is punchy, clever and quaint. Kelela‘s Hallucinogen EP and F.K.A Twigs‘ M3LL155X felt like two sides of the same R&B coin. The former more synth based, the latter darker and brooding. Both enjoyably seductive listens. I also feel like I’ve dropped the ball this year and failed to stay on top of things. Inevitably all the Best Of lists are on their way and I’ll pick up a stack of albums for the new year.
Of course, sometimes Christmas comes early.