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Dan Weiss’ 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 Dan Weiss.

What a year. Rap regained… well, whatever it had to regain, in all arenas. It became Drakier and Futurier of course, as their many admirers have noted, and for us slight detractors, there was also the acerbic anger of Vince Staples and Heems, the unsettled panaceas of Kendrick Lamar and byline-rejecting Chance the Rapper. Then there was R&B, whose auteurs got weirder (D?WN, Miguel) and solider (Jill Scott, Bilal). Afropop retained its elastic, unlike-anywhere-else grooves (Bassekou Kouyate, Tal National and the interplanetary Mbongwana Star), as did indie’s reliable chug (say hello to the Paranoid Style, welcome back the Go! Team).

But 2015 metal surprised me most for reasons I couldn’t tell you as an outsider. I just know I appreciated the fearsome (and occasionally gorgeous) constructions of VHÖL, Deafheaven, Torche, High on Fire, Krallice and the Duane Allman-conjuring Baroness more than anything else I’ve downed by the genre since my trip to Ozzfest as a high-school freshman. The fact that there wasn’t enough room for all of these in the top 25 below only means it was a stupendous 12 months for the aural arts.

And let’s not forget to pour some out for the incredible one-shots that didn’t come with an album as strong as SOPHIE’s or Jason Derulo’s: “Cool for the Summer,” “Hands to Myself,” “Awoo,” “What Do You Mean?,” and, of course, Death Team’s instantly immortal “F**king Bitches in the Hood.” (Sorry Carly, I really really really really really really liked you better the first time.) To 2016: hey, what’s up, etc.

25. Torche, Restarter

24. The Mountain Goats, Beat the Champ

23. VHÖL, Deeper Than Sky

22. Childbirth, Women’s Rights

21. Hop Along, Painted Shut

20. Rae Sremmurd, SremmLife

19. Shamir, Ratchet

18. The Go! Team, The Scene Between

17. Joanna Gruesome, Peanut Butter

16. Miguel, WILDHEART

15. Tal National, Zoy Zoy

14. Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp

13. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, Surf

12. Jamie xx, In Colour

11. Mbongwana Star, From Kinshasa

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

9. Pusha T, King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

8. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love

7. Jason Derulo, Everything Is 4

6. Young Fathers, White Men Are Black Men Too

5. The Paranoid Style, Rock and Roll Just Can’t Recall EP

4. Heems, Eat Pray Thug

3. D?WN, Blackheart

2. SOPHIE, PRODUCT

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

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