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Year-End Lists

James Grebey’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 Staff Writer James Grebey.

For most of the past year, a battle has been waged within the SPIN staff. A battle between my fellow Staff Writer, Colin Joyce — a fan of all things avant — and myself, an unrepentant synth-pop stan. No two employees had a bigger gulf between their musical tastes, and our vicious snipes at each others’ playlists verged, at times, on conduct that someone probably should’ve let HR know about. Whoops.

But the best thing about 2015 is that there were plenty of great albums that we could use to annoy the other with through the office speakers — and, wonderfully, music that we both could love. On my bubbly, electronic front, personal favorite Passion Pit and newcomers HOLYCHILD and Ryn Weaver led the high-octave charge, while the Knocks’ EP (mostly) softened the blow of their delayed debut album. Jamie xx and Dan Deacon embodied order and chaos, respectively; Kacey Musgraves proved it was “High Time” for a change in country’s bro-heavy sound. Colin and I, meanwhile, found a common ground with Alex G’s melancholy musings, Sufjan Stevens’ painful history, and Grimes, because there apparently isn’t a music writer alive who didn’t fall prey to her Art Angels. 

A final note: While 2015 was hands-down an objectively an amazing year for hip-hop, I’m at best a casual fan of lot of the biggest names this year — especially Drake and Future. So while their albums were good, I didn’t listen to them all that much in my personal time because I am a shameful creature of habit with a soft spot for Matt & Kim and Run the Jewels’ extended cat jokes. I… regret… NOTHING.

25. Matt & Kim, New Glow
24. Run the Jewels, Meow the Jewels
23. Blur, The Magic Whip
22. Jack Ü, Jack Ü
21. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Ba Power
20. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
19.  Carly Rae Jepsen, E•MO•TION
18. Jason Derulo, Everything Is 4
17. Seinabo Sey, Pretend
15. Battles, La Di Da Di
14. Alex G, Beach Music
13. Shamir, Ratchet
12. BAIO, The Names
11. Best Coast, California Nights
10. Grimes, Art Angels
9. The Knocks, So Classic EP
8. Passion Pit, Kindred
7. Ryn Weaver, The Fool
6. CHVRCHES, Every Open Eye
5. HOLYCHILD, The Shape of Brat Pop to Come
4. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
3. Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer
2. Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
1. Jamie xx, In Colour