The most notable international albums of 2015.
10 Most Notable Albums of 2015
BY :NICO NOVITO
DECEMBER 07, 2015
Jakarta. In this age of music streaming, singles have become one of the defining factors of a musician's success. It's as if every singers and bands were constantly trying to produce the most viral song for the masses.
Simply take a look at pop superstar Taylor Swift who dominated the first half of this year, thanks to addictive singles — which were further enhanced with cinematically produced music videos — from her 2014 record "1989."
And yet, albums still define the number of overall sales for these musicians, hence their relevance still continues. Even fans of Kanye West and Rihanna — who only launched singles this year — are still waiting for their idols to drop their imminent full-length records.
As such, we have compiled ten notable albums from 2015 below — all by international musicians of various genres that have made their own indelible cultural impacts this year.
1. Adele, "25"
After setting unprecedented achievements with her mega-selling record "21," Adele said hello again to her fans with a new album that is less melancholic but still packed with her powerful voice. Working together with the best producers in the music industry right now, from Max Martin and Shellback to Ariel Rechtsaid, the English singer-songwriter successfully turned "25" into yet another gigantic success with stand-out tracks like "Hello," "When We Were Young" and an unexpectedly peppy "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)." But a forlorn Adele is still the singer at her best — in the piano ballad "All I Ask," she sings of one last night with a lover. "Cause what if I never love again?" she croons, breaking hearts everywhere.
2. Kendrick Lamar, "To Pimp a Butterfly"
American rapper Kendrick Lamar showed his amazing range in his third album. He seamlessly infuses "To Pimp a Butterfly" with elements of funk, spoken word and jazz, while navigating topical issues such as racial inequality toward African-Americans in the United States. Forceful tracks like "King Kunta" and "Alright" reflect Lamar's strength as one of the best lyricists of our time.
3. The Weeknd, "Beauty Behind the Madness"
Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, cast a spell last summer with his ubiquitous single "Can't Feel My Face" — but there is more to this Canadian R&B musician. In "Beauty Behind the Madness," he evokes raw sensuality and dark themes via ballads like "The Hills" and "Earned It." His music — and explosive live performance — has been compared to the likes of Michael Jackson, and who knows what the future holds for him?
4. Drake, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"
Way before his dance-worthy music video of "Hotline Bling" became a GIF-able sensation, Drake already dazzled his fans with this self-proclaimed mixtape. Through tracks like "Legend" and "Energy" — in which he raps complaints about many things like his own record label — Drake is further establishing his place in the hip-hop genre: at the top.
5. Jamie XX, "In Colour"
A member of the indie pop group the XX, Jamie XX striked out on his own for this full-length solo debut. The English producer's nuanced record is full of electronic tracks that range from moody to shimmery, employing various musical effects like synthesizer solo. In "Loud Places," he collaborates with his bandmate, Romy Madley Croft, who lends her deep voice. The most memorable track, though, is the reggae-influenced "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)." Featuring rapper Young Thug and vocalist Popcaan, the song will continue to be a must-play in parties for the coming year.
6. Grimes, "Art Angels"
Grimes emerged in the music scene three years ago with her psychedelic song, "Genesis." But the singer and producer — real name Claire Boucher — showed her impressive quality as an all-around producer in her new album "Art Angels." Combining every part of her interests, from dream pop to R&B to electronic music, Grimes sings out tracks like "Flesh Without Blood" with conviction. She also collaborated with Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes in "SCREAM," a testament to Grimes's truly diverse influences, which she employed to instantly revitalize the pop scene of 2015.
7. Disclosure, "Caracal"
The London duo Disclosure did ask many musicians to contribute to their second album — a decision that made "Caracal" such an enjoyable electronic record. Sam Smith once again made an appearance in the post-breakup track "Omen," while Lorde lends her signature vocal to "Magnets," one of the most powerful songs in the record. Another great track is "Holding On," in which American jazz musician Gregory Porter lends his deep vocals to the Lawrence brothers' infectious dance beats.
8. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Emotion"
"Call Me Maybe" might be the bubbly song that launched her into a viral phenomenon, but Carly Rae Jepsen sounds more grown up in "Emotion." Taking cues from '80s musicians like Cyndi Lauper and Prince, Jepsen has concocted a beautiful, at times heartrending, album. In smoldering slow jam "All That" and the synth-filled "Your Type," she unveils her darker side. But at the same time, she still has flirtatious fun in this record, as evident in the earworm-inducing "I Really Like You."
9. Madonna, "Rebel Heart"
Madonna fearlessly proves that age is merely a number as the pop queen released her thirteenth album "Rebel Heart" back in March. As usual, she explores her multifaceted persona in this record. In "B***h, I'm Madonna," which features rapper Nicki Minaj, she imbues the contemporary sound of EDM (electronic dance music) into her taunting lyrics. In turn, she sounds wistful in ballads like "Ghosttown" and "Joan of Arc." As she successfully stages concert after sold-out concert in her current tour, it's clear that the Madgesty still reigns supreme.
10. Justin Bieber, "Purpose"
It has been five years since a 16-year-old Justin Bieber first released his sweet-sounding "Baby" to hysterical shrieks from his teenage fans. Fast-forward through his mental breakdown and various misbehavior cases, the singer now seeks for redemption in "Purpose." In the album, he collaborates with the EDM dynamic duo, Skrillex and Diplo, for the current hit "Where Are Ü Now" and becomes pensive in "I'll Show You." But one track in which he appears to apologize for his past mistakes — while simultaneously winning new fans — is definitely the tropical-house banger "Sorry."