Greetings everyone, I was hoping to go with something a little different today and so here goes nothing. I thought I would review the year 2015 since everybody and their dog has already released a fresh 2016 list. Remember 2015? No? Well, that’s because there wasn’t a whole lot of exciting music coming out that year. Regardless, somebody has to be in charge of creating a “best of” list from this mostly dismal year. So, it shall be done. Without further ado, I present to you what are, in my opinion, the ten best records of 2015.
- ‘The Monsanto Years’- Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Neil Young rides his political conscience hard on this release. Promise of the Real sound lean and tight backing Young’s condemnation of corporate greed. This record sounds pretty fresh and vital, even if it isn’t perfect. This will be too preachy for some, especially those who don’t share Young’s views.
- ‘Chasing Yesterday’- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher’s post-Oasis project has some of the traces that made that band so special, while adding touches that make it unique in its own right. It’s nice to hear Gallagher this focused and relaxed on this record. After all, it’s no secret that he and his brother Liam aren’t exactly the best of friends. You can hear Noel’s freedom shining through on this record.
- ‘Sound & Color’- Alabama Shakes
This band has some genuine spark. It’s so genuine, in fact, that even the Grammys took notice. When they’ve cleaned their ears out enough to catch onto something, you know something in the air is shifting. Rough, tough American rock n’ roll at its absolute finest. No substantial complaints here.
- ‘The Pale Emperor’- Marilyn Manson
Manson has definitely settled into his new role as a calmer, middle-aged cryptic figure as opposed to his “public enemy #1” persona that he wore so well in his youth. The new role works for him. He’s charting new territories and doing so while becoming quite revered, something that he never was too much of in the past. Don’t worry, he’s still more dangerous than the average modern “rock” band.
- ‘What the World Needs Now…”- Public Image Ltd.
John Lydon is still upset. About everything. On this albeit spotty release, some of PiL’s best moments in years can be found. This record’s best moments serve as a testimony to their legacy as one of the great post-punk bands and prove that they haven’t lost even the slightest bit of their edge.
- ‘The Book of Souls’- Iron Maiden
Maiden returned with what is arguably their most ambitious record since ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ and they for the most part nail it. This band really can do no wrong. They have consistently been one of the greatest bands on the planet and are arguably metal’s greatest ambassadors in the eyes of the general public (Sorry, Metallica).
- ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’- Steven Wilson
Steven Wilson and Opeth are progressive rock’s greatest practitioners in the 21st century. This record is proof that Wilson is currently at the top of his game. He is able to craft highly complex music that is at once artsy, moving, and thoughtful. Perhaps his best overall record as a solo artist.
- ‘Under the Red Cloud’- Amorphis
At the risk of sounding immature, the obvious must be stated: Amorphis are fuckin’ awesome. There isn’t another metal band that is better at merging the melodic with the metallic than these guys. This record proves this once again. They’re a force of consistency. When is the last time they put out a poor record?
- ‘Bad Magic’- Motörhead
Lemmy’s farewell. One of the best records of the band’s storied career. Never do they sound old or tired. Lemmy stared into the eyes of death and declared victory. An absolutely ripping record. It’s in a word, ancestral. Long live Motörhead, the original power trio from Hell.
…And finally…the best record of 2015…
- ‘Meliora’- Ghost
Is anyone really shocked? I’ve made my love for this band and this record quite public. They’re the best band in the world at this moment, in my opinion. They have momentum pushing them forward and they have the most unique shtick that popular culture has seen in quite some time. Looking forward to much more from this band in the future.
Well, there you have it! Stay tuned for more. I’ll be back with you sooner rather than later.