(So, um, yeah. I’m a little late with this. I never quite finished it up last year, but I need to get it out there before this year’s end-of-year wrap-up sneaks up on me. I never quite finished all my commentary, but I figured it was time to just post it and I’ll fill it in later… someday.)

Since 2007, I’ve posted a year-end music wrap up that serves mainly as a reference for myself and a few other folks that like to see what I enjoyed (I wish more friends would do the same). I try to stick to new music, no re-releases. Here is this year’s.

Everything’s sorted in alphabetical order. (Note: My general rule of thumb is to try and link to the album at the location the artist will get the most money (Bandcamp, their label’s site), but there are still a few Amazon mp3 store links in there (and they’re affiliate links).

(See also: all previous years-in-review.)

Best of 2015

  • Abstract Rude: Keep the Feel: A Legacy of Hip-Hop Soul
    Solid grown-ass man hip-hop. “The Solution” with Brother Ali and Slug is excellent, as is “I Lived in a Time.” There are several massive posse cuts, large enough to be well beyond what you normally see in 2015.
  • Alborosie Meets King Jammy: Dub of Thrones
  • Aphex Twin: Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP
  • Barrington Levy: Acousticalevy
    Barrington sounds as good as he ever has, his voice indistinguishable from his prime in the 70s and 80s. Occasionally the songs go a touch long and of course I cringed hearing autotune on “Times Hard” and “Only You” but otherwise: what an album. Deserved the Grammy nomination it received. (And thankfully, he seems to be on the mend after contracting Dengue Fever midway through the year.)
  • billy woods: Today, I Wrote Nothing
  • Chłopcy Kontra Basia: O
    This Polish future-folk was my favorite find of the year.
  • Dokkerman & the Turkeying Fellaz: Illegal Move
  • Fabiano do Nascimento: Dança dos Tempos
  • Guilty Simpson: Detroit’s Son
  • Ibeyi: Ibeyi
    An early-year contender for album of the year, the French-Cuban musical twin sisters create a ghostly masterpiece of minimalist soul. Beautiful.
  • Josa Peit: Constellation EP
    One of my favorite vocalists dropped this abstract gem of an EP this year. Hoping she’s at work on a full-length LP for 2016.
  • Kamasi Washington: The Epic
    The appropriately titled hours-long jazz project that goes from spiritual to free to funky and sounds solid no matter the subgenre. I love that music like this is still being made.
  • L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae: The Night Took Us In Like Family
  • Myka 9 & Factor: Famous Future Time Travel
  • DJ Ragz: Seasoned Bee Shark Steaks
    My mellow my man with his first solo release. Dope beats, dope guests, and, of course, plenty of zigga-ziggas.
  • Sadat X: Never Left
    Out of all the emcees that have been around since the 80s, Sadat’s got to be one of the most continually active of them. He does guest spots everywhere and still drops frequent solo albums. Never Left was an early year dose of classic hip-hop from one of the best and most distinctively unique voices hip-hop’s known. Super solid pairings with the UMC’s (both of them!!) and Dres from Black Sheep.
  • Scarface: Deeply Rooted
    30 years into the game and Face still puts out some of the most engaging solo albums out there. A solid listen from start to finish with no filler.
  • DJ Spooky & The Kronos Quartet: Rebirth of a Nation
  • Supastition: Gold Standard

Almost Best of 2015

  • AKD & Deepstar: Universal Language
    Darkish late-90s steez in this London/Australia long-distance collabo.
  • B. Dolan: Kill the Wolf
  • Curtis Fuller: The Good and the Ugly
  • eMC: The Tonite Show
  • Indigo Girls: One Lost Day
  • Joey Bada$$: B4.DA.$$
  • John Carpenter: Lost Themes
  • Natalia Lafourcade: Hasta La Raíz
  • Red Pill: Look What This World Did To Us
  • Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love
  • Zarelli: Soft Rains

Best of 2014 I missed until 2015

  • Anna Webber: Simple [released 2014?]
  • Otis Brown III: The Thought of You
  • R.esistance in Dub Meets Mad Professor: R.EChONSTRUCTION

My Daughter’s Favorite Tracks This Year

My daughter, now nine, has shifted into full pop gear. Which is fine because every so often she’ll obsess over something awesome like the original “Sweet Dreams.”

  • Adam Lambert: "Ghost Town"
  • Adele: "Hello"
  • Alicia Keys: "Girl on Fire"
  • Andy Grammer: "Honey, I'm Good."
  • The Black Eyed Peas: "I Gotta Feeling"
  • Boom Masters: "It's Always a Good Time"
  • Bruno Mars: "Locked Out Of Heaven"
  • Charli XCX: "Boom Clap"
  • DJ Snake, Lil Jon: "Turn Down for What"
  • Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, Sarah Jeffrey, Jeff Lewis: "Set it Off"
  • Ed Sheeran: "Thinking Out Loud"
  • Ed Sheeran: "The A Team"
  • Eurythmics: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
  • Flo Rida: "Whistle"
  • I U 1 D C: "Im The Man"
  • Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX: "Fancy"
  • Imagine Dragons: "Demons"
  • Imagine Dragons: "I Bet My Life"
  • Imagine Dragons: "Warriors"
  • Ingrid Michaelson: "Girls Chase Boys"
  • James Bay: "Hold Back The River"
  • John Legend: "All of Me"
  • John Powell: "Coming Back Around"
  • John Powell: "Dragon Racing"
  • Juice Music: "YMCA"
  • Katy Perry: "Roar"
  • Katy Perry, Juicy J: "Dark Horse"
  • Kelly Clarkson, John Legend: "Run Run Run"
  • KONGOS: "Come with Me Now"
  • Kuana Torres Kahele, Napua Greig, James Ford Murphy: "Lava"
  • Lorde: "Royals"
  • Lorde: "Royals"
  • MAGIC!: "Rude"
  • Mario Bischin: "Macarena"
  • Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars: "Uptown Funk"
  • Maroon 5: "One More Night"
  • Maroon 5: "Sugar"
  • Maroon 5: "Maps"
  • Maroon 5: "Animals"
  • Maroon 5: "Sugar"
  • Michael Brun, Roy English: "Tongue Tied July"
  • Miley Cyrus: "Wrecking Ball"
  • OMI: "Cheerleader – Felix Jaehn Remix Radio Edit"
  • OMI: "Cheerleader – Felix Jaehn Remix Radio Edit"
  • One Direction: "Drag Me Down"
  • One Direction: "Story of My Life"
  • OneRepublic: "Counting Stars"
  • ortoPilot: "Sweet Dreams"
  • Owl City: "Shooting Star"
  • Owl City: "Fireflies"
  • Passenger: "Let Her Go"
  • Passenger: "Let Her Go"
  • PSY: "Gangnam Style (강남스타일)"
  • R. City, Adam Levine: "Locked Away"
  • Rachel Platten: "Fight Song"
  • Sam Smith: "Stay With Me"
  • Sam Smith: "I'm Not The Only One"
  • Say Hey to Single Life: "Geronimo"
  • Shawn Mendes: "Stitches"
  • Silentó: "Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)"
  • Soul Marathon: "Radio Active"
  • Survivor: "Eye of the Tiger"
  • Vance Joy: "Riptide"
  • Vance Joy: "Riptide"
  • WALK THE MOON: "Shut Up and Dance"
  • The Wanted: "Glad You Came"

My Son’s Favorite Tracks This Year

My son is three-and-a-half and this year started developing some favorite songs, so it’s time for him to get his own section.

  • The Emotions: “I Like It”
  • Natalia Lafourcade: “Hasta la Raíz”

Best Tracks of 2015

Here’s my list of favorite tracks of the year, along with a Spotify playlist of as many are available there. (Songs not available in the playlist are denoted with a * and a link is provided.)

Note that while the list below is sorted alphabetically, the Spotify playlist has been carefully organized to provide the Optimal, Cohesive Listening ExperienceTM.

  • A Place To Bury Strangers: “I’m so Clean”
  • A-F-R-O: “Definition Of A Rap Flow”
  • Abstract Rude: “The Solution (feat. Slug, Brother Ali)”
  • Aceyalone: “Ring Ding”
  • Afrobeat Orchestra: “Let It Flow Warsaw”
  • Alborosie: “Dub The Seven Kingdoms”
  • Anushka: “Kendrick (Too Hot Outside Edit)”
  • Ape the Grim: “Swipe da Funk (feat. Statik Selektah, Mr. Lif & Nabo Rawk)”
  • Apollo Brown: “Brass Tacks (feat. Chino XL & Finale)”
  • Atmosphere: “This Lonely Rose (feat. Blueprint & Aesop Rock)”
  • B. Dolan: “Stay Inspired”
  • Barrington Levy: “Here I Come”
  • billy woods: “Born Yesterday”
  • Blackalicious: “Blacka”
  • Brock Berrigan: “The Preacher”
  • Camp Lo: “Award Winning”
  • Cannibal Ox: “Blade: The Art of Ox (feat. Artifacts & U-God)”
  • Cassandra Wilson: “Good Morning Heartache”
  • Cattle Decapitation: “Mammals in Babylon”
  • Chłopcy Kontra Basia: “O Dziwożonie Zielarce”
  • Chill Rob G.: “Tell ’em (feat. R.A. the Rugged Man)”
  • Cicala Mvta: “Hi No Naka No Hi”
  • Claudio Simonetti: “Demon (Reprise) (Remixed by Leæther Strip)”
  • Congo Natty: “Jungle Is I and I (Hylu and Jago Future Dub Mix)”
  • Curtis Fuller: “Lyriste”
  • CZARFACE: “Sinister (Revenge of Yorgo Remix)”
  • D.Stroy: “Bravo (feat. Miri Ben-Ari & Clinton Sparks)”
  • Dizz1: “Mystify My Eye”
  • DJ EFN: “When I’m Dead”
  • DJ Krush: “Strange Light”
  • DJ Ragz: “Va Connect (feat. Tef Wesley, Mudd, Unown DC & Grussle)”
  • DJ Spooky: “Rebirth of a Nation: The Most Dangerous Woman in America”
  • Dokkerman & the Turkeying Fellaz: “La Casa En Llamas”
  • Duran Duran: “Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers)”
  • Dynas: “Who U?”
  • EMC: “The Monologue”
  • Erick Sermon: “Clutch”
  • Erykah Badu: “Dial’Afreaq”
  • Fashawn: “Confess”
  • Finale: “The Revival (feat. Invincible & Pierre Anthony)”
  • Fumaça Preta: “Apelo”
  • Georgia Anne Muldrow: “Ankles”
  • Ghostface Killah: “Death’s Invitation (feat. Scarub, Lyrics Born & Chino XL)”
  • Growbox: “O Tym Samym”
  • Guilty Simpson: “Radiation Burn”
  • GZA: “The Mexican”
  • Ibeyi: “River”
  • Illa J: “Perfect Game”
  • Indigo Girls: “Happy In The Sorrow Key”
  • J-Live: “Feel This”
  • Joey Bada$$: “Belly of the Beast (feat. Chronixx)”
  • John Brown’s Body: “Worldwide Dub (Mixed by Dubfader of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant)”
  • John Carpenter: “Night”
  • José James: “Strange Fruit”
  • Josa Peit: “Constellation”
  • Jr Thomas & The Volcanos: “Bumps In The Night”
  • JWP/BC: “Szaman”
  • Kamasi Washington: “Final Thought”
  • Kendrick Lamar: “How Much A Dollar Cost”
  • Kenn Starr: “Exodus (feat. Boog Brown)”
  • Kill Emil: “Out Of Town”
  • L’Orange: “Underworld”
  • Linda Oh: “Deeper Than Sad (feat. Dayna Stephens, Fabian Almazan, Rudy Royston & Jen Shyu)”
  • Mad Professor: “Cork Ball Dub”
  • Madchild: “Murder Mouth”
  • Maticulous: “The Same Way”
  • Meerenai Shim: “60.8% for bass flute and electronics” *
  • Method Man: “The Purple Tape (feat. Raekwon, Inspectah Deck)”
  • Milo: “Zen Scientist (feat. Myka 9)”
  • Mother Mother: “Get Out The Way”
  • Naru: “Heard Akua”
  • Natalia Lafourcade: “Hasta la Raíz”
  • New Kingston: “Conquer Dem (feat. Sister Carol)”
  • NTS: “Os Outros”
  • O.S.T.R.: “Ja Ty My Wy Oni feat. Sacha Vee”
  • Opio: “Tu Sabes”
  • PRhyme: “Wishin’ II (feat. Black Thought)”
  • Protoje: “Who Knows (feat. Chronixx)”
  • Quantic: “A New Constellation”
  • Red Pill: “Rap Game Cranky”
  • Redman: “Beastin’ (MCA)”
  • Run The Jewels: “Lie, Cheat, Meow (Prince Paul Remix)”
  • Sadat X: “Joe Frazier (feat. The UMC’s)”
  • Scarface: “Rooted (feat. Papa Reu)”
  • Scratch Bandits Crew: “Blank”
  • Sean Price: “Ni**erific”
  • Shawn Lov: “#FOH (feat. Pace Won)” *
  • Sleater-Kinney: “No Cities To Love”
  • Star Dexter Story: “Merkato”
  • STS: “Doin’ It Right”
  • Supastition: “Know My Worth”
  • SuperStefu: “Seksikkäin”
  • Talib Kweli: “Every Ghetto (feat. Rapsody)”
  • Tame One: “Hey DJ”
  • Tech N9ne: “Aw Yeah (Intervention)”
  • Tef Wesley: “Gametime”
  • Thao & The Get Down Stay Down: “Nobody Dies”
  • The Greg Foat Group: “The Eye of Horus”
  • The Polish Ambassador: “Crowd Control”
  • The Skints: “This Town (feat. Tippa Irie & Horseman)”
  • The Souljazz Orchestra: “Life Is What You Make It”
  • The Vaccines: “Dream Lover”
  • Your Old Droog: “Homicide”
  • Zarelli: “The Children’s Hour (feat. Leonard Nimoy)”
  • Zion I: “Lost In Translation”

My Top 15 Scrobbled Artists for 2015

1. Damu The Fudgemunk (85 plays)
2. Archie Shepp (83 plays)
3. Shawn Lov (68 plays)
4. Public Enemy (66 plays)
5. Lyrical Prophets (65 plays)
6. Dorothy Ashby (64 plays)
7. Rahsaan Roland Kirk (62 plays)
8. King Tubby (61 plays)
Charles Mingus (61 plays)
Half Pint (61 plays)
9. Ornette Coleman (60 plays)
10. Big Daddy Kane (57 plays)
11. Ibeyi (55 plays)
12. Eric Hofbauer (55 plays)
Common (55 plays)
Wayne Jarrett (55 plays)
Anitek (55 plays)
13. Ultramagnetic MC’s (53 plays)
J Dilla (53 plays)
Dennis Brown (53 plays)
14. Oddisee (52 plays)
15. Freddie Foxxx (50 plays)
Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet (50 plays)

Other Stats

Total tracks: 15142
Total unique tracks: 13309
Song Repetition: 1.14


Also published on Medium.