To finish out the year, we’re offering the top 25 albums from various SPIN staffers. Here we have News Editor Brennan Carley.
To be completely upfront, there were records I loved this year that didn’t make my Top 25 list simply because I decided to be honest with myself here and only highlight the records I listened to over and over and over — ones that inspired me to go to shows and dance all night in the comfort of my bedroom.
It was a year filled with music — especially pop — that tread new and unexpected paths. Christine and the Queens made me constantly question what I needed from a pop star; Seinabo Sey’s Pretend made me feel emotions Adele could only dream of. Ty Dolla $ign blurred barriers between rap, R&B, and pop with Free TC, an album that continues to grow stronger and weirder and more intricately fascinating with each listen. Fifth Harmony had me shouting louder and sweating harder at each of their highly technical shows.
Best of all, though, Kacey Musgraves and Pageant Material brought a heaping dosage of reality I so desired. Unflinching in her convictions and fascinating in person — far and away the most rewarding day of my young career was the one I spent shadowing her the week of her album’s release — Musgraves proved you don’t need to go fancy to be utterly fantastic.
25. Ryn Weaver, The Fool
24. Best Coast, California Nights
23. The Knocks, So Classic EP
22. Marina & the Diamonds, Froot
21. Disclosure, Caracal
20. Fleur East, Love, Sax and Flashbacks
19. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
18. Tame Impala, Currents
17. Future, DS2
16. Melanie Martinez, Cry Baby
15. Christine and the Queens, Christine and the Queens
14. Brandon Flowers, The Desired Effect
13. Justin Bieber, Purpose
12. Shamir, Ratchet
11. CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye
10. Ty Dolla Sign, Free TC
9. Ellie Goulding, Delirium
8. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06
7. Seinabo Sey, Pretend
6. Tove Styrke, Kiddo
5. Selena Gomez, Revival
4. Kate Boy, One
3. Fifth Harmony, Reflection
2. Carly Rae Jepsen, E•MO•TION
1. Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material