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Andrew Unterberger’s 25 Best Albums of 2015

To finish out the year, we’re offering the top 25 albums from various SPIN staffers. Here we have Associate Editor Andrew Unterberger.

My prevailing memory of being a music writer in 2015 will undoubtedly involve me arguing with the rest of the SPIN office about whether we should’ve given our first perfect ten score in years to Courtney Barnett, Kendrick Lamar, both, or neither. I said Courtney, they said Kendrick — I was several thousand miles away at SXSW and was ultimately outvoted. Eventually, the Kendrick album grew on me enough that today I’d probably say both. Or just Kendrick. Or neither. Or maybe that rewarding albums numerical grades is meaningless and that we’d all be much happier only sharing our opinions on the year’s biggest albums through meaningful glances with our loved ones during moments of deep personal connection. But almost definitely Courtney. That album’s great.

Elsewhere, I finally connected with a couple of indie-rock institutions that I’d long shrugged at with Tame Impala and Deerhunter (and a third, Elliot Smith, through my much more profound love for spiritual quasi-successor Alex G). I had my most visceral listening experiences either through back-to-basics rock acts that channeled Paul Westerberg (Beach Slang and Dyke Drama) or sonically violent electronic acts that channeled the bile they felt coursing through their veins (Rabit and Prurient). I stepped outside with Vince Staples and shut the blinds with Earl Sweatshirt. I listened to The Most Lamentable Tragedy enough that I could probably adapt the album’s feature screenplay at this point. Rami Malek would probably make a solid Patrick Stickles.

Looking forward to the view from 2016.

25. RP Boo, Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoes

24. Destroyer, Poison Season

23. Young Guv, Ripe 4 Luv

22. Colleen Green, I Want to Grow Up

21. Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon

20. Action Bronson, Mr. Wonderful

19. Prurient, Frozen Niagara Falls

18. Quarterbacks, Quarterbacks

17. Juan Wauters, Who Me?

16. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp

15. Royal Headache, High

14. Dyke Drama, Tender Resignation EP

13. Protomartyr, The Agent Intellect

12. Childbirth, Women’s Rights

11. SOPHIE, Product

10. Beach Slang, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us

9. Deerhunter, Fading Frontier

8. Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t Go Outside

7. Rabit, Communion

6. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06

5. Titus Andronicus, The Most Lamentable Tragedy

4. Alex G, Beach Music

3. Tame Impala, Currents

2. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

1. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit

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