Now the Pazz & Jop is out, so I can check for albums from early in the year that I’d forgotten. Here’s my best-of list, in which compared to the nominal P&J critic I overvalue sonic beauty and timbre, production and engineering, and harmony; undervalue lyrics, melody. (For reference: 2013 and 2012)
Best-of 2015 (version 3)
- Punch Brothers, best of the year, of which every time I listened I think of someone to whom I could drop-ship a copy.
- Joanna Newsom, almost as good as Have One on Me, maybe better if you appreciate the efficiency of packing as much into a single-album package.
- Sufjan Stevens, took a while to grow on me, unusual in serving equally well as background music or listening music
- Low, my favorite of all the Lows so far, just the right mix of spooky and something else
- Dave Rawlings Machine, is not a Gillian Welch record, but as close as we get is still a really engrossing listen
- Sturgill Simpson, like everyone else who liked this album, I don’t much like country, but I keep listening for that vocal tone and will file it away between Bill Callahan and Nick Cave
- Torres, rockous and catchy in the same way that Metric used to be
- Metric, rockous and catchy almost in the same way that Metric used to be
- Decemberists, slowest burner of the year (as was The King is Dead) but now pop-easy to listen to and hum along