Ten great albums from 2015

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More than hit sin­gles, albums are works of art that move you to think, re­flect, dance and smile. Here are10 albums that did that in 2015, ac­cord­ing to As­so­ci­ated Press mu­sic ed­i­tor Mes­fin Fekadu.

1. “Blue Neigh­bor­hood,” Troye Sivan: Just as the bat­tle for al­bum of the year was go­ing down be­tween Ken­drick La­mar and Adele, en­ter a mul­ti­lay­ered, ex­per­i­men­tal pop record by a new­comer from South Africa by way of Aus­tralia. Re­leased on Dec. 4, Sivan’s “Blue Neigh­bor­hood” is re­mark­able from its open­ing num­ber, the cool midtempo jam “WILD,” to the other 15 tracks best de­scribed as broody pop mu­sic. Though Sivan is just 20 years old, his voice is ma­ture and strik­ing, and it serves as the an­chor for this col­lec­tion of epic songs.

2. “To Pimp a But­ter­fly,” Ken­drick La­mar: La­mar’s brave sto­ry­telling con­tin­ues to push the en­ve­lope, and his sopho­more al­bum not only pushes him ahead of his rap peers, but his pop and rock ones, too.

3. “25,” Adele: I don’t need to ex­plain this.

4. “Pur­pose,” Justin Bieber: Now, this I need to ex­plain. Bieber’s new al­bum is out­stand­ing and though he’s been singing for years, with “Pur­pose” he’s fi­nally ac­tu­ally say­ing some­thing.

5. “Rebel Heart,” Madonna: Most icons re­leas­ing albums in 2015 are misses, but Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” is a con­tem­po­rary clas­sic that puts albums from other fe­male artists half her age to shame. It’s un­for­tu­nate that Top 40 ra­dio sta­tions didn’t play the many hits this al­bum could have pro­vided, from “Bitch I’m Madonna” to “Joan of Arc.”

6. “Car­rie & Low­ell,” Suf­jan Stevens: Stevens’ i ndie f olk ad­ven­ture dubbed “Car­rie & Low­ell” is a must-lis­ten that is high­lighted by his vo­cals.

7. “Hamil­ton (Orig­i­nal Broad­way Cast Record­ing),” var­i­ous artists: The Broad­way play “Hamil­ton,” writ­ten by Lin-Manuel Mi­randa, tells the story of Found­ing Fa­ther Alexan­der Hamil­ton through rap songs, R&B jams and pop bal­lads. It’s pure heaven.

8. “Sound & Color,” Alabama Shakes: Front­woman Brit­tany Howard is such a pow­er­house, both with her voice and with the pen. Songs such as “Don’t Wanna Fight” and the un­touch­able “Gimme All Your Love” are ground­break­ing and en­joy­able.

9. “Re­al­ity Show,” Jazmine Sul­li­van: In her first al­bum in five years, Sul­li­van re­turns with a con­fi­dent R&B ef­fort that is just as strong as her pre­vi­ous re­leases, thanks to groovy tracks such as “Mas­cara” and “Let It Burn.”

10. “Un­break­able,” Janet Jackson: Miss Jackson’s re­turn to mu­sic in­cluded a killer tour and an al­bum full of upbeat and touch­ing songs that will make you dance and cry.


"Blue Neigh­bor­hood" is the lat­est release by Troye Sivan.

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