Best of 2015: 20 - 16

I doubled down on rigor in 2015. Taking my systemic approach from 2014 coupled with the key learning from 2013 to be a little more choosy, I've come to my Best of 2015. While the algorithm is secret, the inputs are not. In getting to my best of 2015, I reviewed 1,125 songs and just shy of 80 hours of music.

I feel really good about what remains. So, without further ado, here are my Best Albums of 2015 from 20th place to 16th place:

20 Joey Bada$$ B4.DA.$$ 

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Standout Tracks: Belly of the Beast, Paper Trail$
Joey Bada$$ came out this year with a really decent hip hop album that reminded me of some sort of less political chilled out Aesop Rock. I found myself humming the hooks and enjoying the jams to this Brooklyn DJ's tunes. So take a second to sit back and enjoy "Belly of the Beast":

19 Ratatat Magnifique 

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Standout Tracks: Drift, Primetime, Abrasive
Ratatat makes slidey keyboard jams with nice synth beats. And five albums in, they've locked into their niche and although some may get bored hearing five albums of similarly styled music, Ratatat somehow manages to not get old. Here's a handdrawn video for their song, "Abrasive":

18 Ben Folds So There

Hometown: Nashville, TN
Standout Tracks: Long Way to Go
Ben Folds has been around for quite a while. He's piano rock at its finest. And this latest album from Ben Folds splits time between straight-forward and mostly brilliant songs like "Long Way to Go" and a full concerto. The concerto is quite good and worth checking out, but while you are looking it up, please enjoy this video for "Long Way to Go" live from Bonnaroo:

17 Brandon Flowers The Desired Effect

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Standout Tracks: Never Get You Right, The Way It's Always Been, Lonely Town

Brandon Flowers is best known by his other job as the frontman for the Killers. His voice is excellent and he is becoming quite the troubadour these days. This album shows him eschewing the swirling guitars in favor of vocal-forward ballads, and it suits him well. Here's a really great live performance of "Lonely Town":

16 Miguel Wildheart
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Standout Tracks: a beautiful exit, coffee, the valley
Miguel brings the guitars to his sweet R&B tones on this album and it is a welcome addition. He retains the style he developed on his debut album and seems to really push out the walls on his follow-up, Wildheart. Check out this performance of "coffee" for BBC:

Stay tuned. The 15th - the 11th best albums are coming soon.

11:17 PM