20 – Little Boots – Working Girl
19 – A$AP Rocky – AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
18 – Karin Park – Apocalypse Pop
17 – Ellie Goulding – Delirium
16 – The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn
15 – Peaches – RUB
14 – The Dø – Shake, Shook, Shaken
13 – Years & Years – Communion
12 – Kali Ulchis – Por Vida
11 – Bjork – Vulnicura
10 – Troye Sivan – Blue Neighborhood
9- Carly Ray Jespen – E*MO*TION
8 – Halsey – BADLANDS
7 – Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
6 – Empress Of – Me
On her stunning debut, Lorely Rodriguez aka Empress Of delivers one of the most personal and engrossing electronic albums released this year. After moving from Brooklyn to a remote town in Mexico; Rodriguez wrote, recorded, and produced Me entirely on her own. Her time in isolation is greatly reflected on the album’s minimalist dance sound and deeply personal lyrics. Every song on this record feels like a page torn from her diary; with vivid verses that capture intense moments of love, sex (“Nothing comes between us/ But a piece of latex/ When you tear my clothes off/ Like I was a paycheck”), breakup (“You’re just a heart to break / Easy to manipulate / I want to care much more / But I’m feeling less and less.”) to intimate moments of doubt and self reflection. This album isn’t just a showcase of great songwriting craftsmanship; but also, a brilliant display of innovated, emotionally-driven, DIY dance-music.
5 – Shamir – Ratchet
Although Shamir’s debut title might suggest an “obscene” or “sloppy” (for lack of a better word) musical inclination; nothing could be farther from the truth. There’s nothing Ratchet about this glorious release by the talented 20-year-old Shamir Bailey. With his electric-falsetto and sassy vocals; along with productions that varied from Funk, R&B, Disco to 80s-electropop; the album offers plenty of brilliant, unexpected dance moments that contrasts the electropop perfectionism of Hot Chip and the funky, gender-fluidity of Prince. Simply put— a FUN, FUN, FUN, FUNKY record!
4 – Miguel – Wildheart
Miguel’s third album Wildheart could be greatly considered as an exploration of soul-searching by way of pure sexual hedonism. From the sleek and bold sexual ride of “The Valley” to the R&B seduction of “Coffee” and “Flesh” to the desolate moments of “what’s normal anyway”; Miguel masterly blurs the lines between love, sex and solitude on this dreamy, psychedelic ride for self-acceptance and discovery. Much like the steamy, color-melting blend of the album’s artwork, the sound of Wildheart is a sultry mixture of funky-electronica, trippy-guitar riffs over broody, R&B soundscapes. An absolutely incredible record!
3 – Roisin Murphy – Hairless Toys
Hairless Toys was not the pop record we were expecting after an 8-year absence; instead the divine Ms. Roisin Murphy blessed us with a regal musical piece that showcased her artistry extending far beyond the confining limits of pop —musically and visually (watch the videos!!). The sultry, Italo-disco groove of “Gone Fishing”, the Jazzy, synth-mutations of “Exploitation” and the funky, glimmering-pop beats of “Evil Eyes” are pinnacles that highlight her bravery, technicality, innovation and uncompromising, ever-evolving musical brilliance. Bravo, Ms. Murphy!
2 – ABRA – Rose
Undeniably, ABRA’s Rose is one of the best DIY records released this year! The self-proclaimed “darkwave duchess” emerged early in 2015 with a sleek brand of gloomy, dance-jams that fused elements of house, nu-wave, R&B and 90s-electronica. Although most of the tracks are built around samples, low-key rhythms and snare drums; the self-produced artist manages to boast a lustrous musical space that’s sensually alluring and technically innovated at every turn. Her bald, lingering lyrics and sexy, honey-combs vocals add a layer of female empowerment and sensual confidence to the record that’s on par with Rihanna and FKA twigs. ABRA is yet to fully bloom; but we can already see the exciting potential behind every single petal of this captivating, electric Rose. BUY THIS!
1 – Grimes – Art Angels
There something indescribable about the music of Art Angles that is truly captivating. It has elements of dance, hip-hop, shoegaze, new wave, industrial, alt-rock and trip-hop… to try to pin-point its root genre is practically impossible. And yet, we can all agree that it’s a pop record. A pop record unlike any other. A pop record with a message. ‘Cause underneath it’s dazzling, shimmering pop concoctions lies commentary on current social issues; subjects like the treatment of female musicians in the industry (“California”), global warming (“Butterfly”) and environmental change (“Life In The Vivid Dream”). Grimes wrote, composed, performed, recorded, produced, and engineered the album in its entirety; a trade we’re seeing more and more these days with new female artist ( See above; ABRA, Empress Of) but one that is hardly ever publicize. So, Art Angels’ message isn’t simply on prevailing social issues, but a highlight of female empowerment, technical artistry and purveyance of innovation. A truly defining moment for female musicians; but most importantly, for pop music.