It’s that time of the year again where team HTF have a big argument over which of this years albums is going to receive the title of HTF’s Album Of The Year.
2015 saw a whole host of incredible releases from all corners of the music world and, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we are finally ready to release our list of the top 20 releases of 2015 and name our winner!
Check out the video for our top 10 and check out the entire top 20 list below!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
20 – One Direction – Made In The A.M.
2015 has been quite the year for the world’s biggest boyband. Not only did One Direction tour the world once more, they lost a member too. But most importantly, despite all the drama, they still managed to release one of our favourite albums of the year.
The band have said they went about writing Made in the ‘AM in a different way to usual because they knew they wouldn’t be touring it during their hiatus. This certainly shows in the record’s chilled out vibe but the tracks give us a chance to fully appreciate their brilliant vocals and group harmonies. Charming lyrics and addictive melodies flow through the entire album, particularly in ‘AM’ and ‘Olivia’. Whilst the record breaks no boundaries musically, it demonstrates the boys’ strong song writing abilities and gives fans an excellent collection of songs to tide them over until they decide to come back. And for that, it certainly deserves a place in our top 20. – Claire Rollins
19 – Jess Glynne – I Cry When I Laugh
Jess Glynne’s debut album is easily one of the UK’s breakthrough albums of the year. With the album containing 5 UK #1’s before the album was even released, the record 100% lives up to its expectations. This very positive album is definitely one to put you in a good mood and explores many genre’s from pop, r&b, soul and even house! – Fabio Magnocavallo
18 – Halsey – Badlands
To many, Halsey seems to have come out of nowhere, but you do not reach number 2 on Billboard charts on the first week of sales when you come out of nowhere. Halsey has been active in the music scene for two years now, and has an army of girls, and boys, who are truly devoted to her and her electro-pop sound. With her sultry voice, and amazing backing tracks, Badlands is exactly the direction pop music should be going. The single, ‘New Americana’, is a song you can imagine backing a teen revolution against the man, and honestly if Halsey is leading this revolution, sign us up. Badlands is the angsty pop album this decade was missing and truly needed. – Sara Feigin
17 – Travis Scott – Rodeo
After years of waiting, rap’s wonder-kid producer Travis Scott finally released his debut album Rodeo. The Houston rapper embraced the Atlanta sound and produced one of the most coherent rap albums in 2015. Unlike most albums that have a heavy trap influence, La Flame managed to create variety within the niche sound.
Singles like ‘Antidote’, as well as ‘3500’ featuring Future and 2 Chainz, lead the charge to success. However, it was the album gems like ‘Piss On Your Grave’ featuring Kanye West and ‘Maria I’m Drunk’ featuring Justin Bieber and Young Thug that won over his critics and fans. – Josh Pratt
16. Tame Impala – Currents
Tame Impala’s frontman and lead songwriter, Kevin Parker has made a career out of being lonely. Their breakout sophomore album, Lonerism capitalised Parker’s loneliness through a scope of 60s psychedelia that sounded both haunting and beautiful.
On Currents the waves of change are washing over both Kevin Parker’s personal life and the band’s sound, which has basically been crafted by Parker for a while. Parker details how he is overcoming certain hurdles that he never could have before, learning from the ever changing series of events that is life, and talks of how others around him change as well. Life is a constant clashing of events and opinions that shapes the course of everyone and this album details that. With the change of attitude comes a change of sound – the band embrace the more synthetic side of their sound crafting both some of their most intimate sonic experiences such as ‘Yes I’m Changing’ and their most full force such as the hulking monolith, ‘Let It Happen’. – Jack Keating
15 | Florence And The Machine – How Big How Blue How Beautiful
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is the band’s third album and is easily worthy of being in our top 20. Most people will be familiar with lead tracks ‘Ship To Wreck’ and ‘What Kind Of Man’, both of which are incredibly anthemic and catchy, but listen beyond the singles and you’ll soon discover the rest of the album is just as good. Florence’s vocals are consistently strong, swooping between powerful and ethereal at just the right moments and the albums production is glorious, particularly on the title track. Other stand-outs include the groovy ‘Delilah’, on which Florence falsettos spectacularly, and the euphoric, festival-ready ‘Third Eye’. As melodramatic as ever, you’d be a fool to give this album a miss. – Hannah Dix
14 | Years & Years – Communion
As the band who won this year’s BBC Sound of 2015 award, it could almost be too easy to place Years & Years’ debut album Communion in our countdown. However, it just so happens that the record is full of electro-pop goodness. Everyone in the world (probably) has heard and loved singles ‘King’ and ‘Desire’ but there are many other gems on the album too.
Tracks such as ‘Eyes Shut’ and ‘Ties’ are particular highlights, showing off a different side to the trio’s talents. Olly Alexander’s distinctive vocals complement their down-tempo tracks as well as their huge pop bangers perfectly, creating an instantly likeable record. The album more than justifies their ‘Sound Of’ accolade, and perhaps most importantly a spot on our list. – Claire Rollins
13 | Circa Waves – Young Chasers
If you are after just a straight up rocking, great pop album then look no further than Circa Waves debut album Young Chasers. For all you box-tickers out there, get ticking as the record has great song after great song, fast slow, medium – it will satisfy Goldilocks and the three bears in equal measures. OK, it isn’t ground-breaking in any way, but does every album have to? This is the sound of four young men from the the north-west of England, having a great time and writing some modern classics. Listen to ‘Stuck in my Teeth’ or ‘Young Chasers‘ as just two examples of the indie gold on offer! – Francis Jolley
12 | Foals – What Went Down
Filled with tunes that have more angst than a hungry teenager, Foals came back this year with a bang. Despite the fact that this album was a far cry away from their usual energetic Indie, it’s a risk the band should be glad they’ve taken and anthemic stadium fillers such as ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Mountain At My Gates’ complement well alongside the less in your face, ‘Give it all’ and ‘Night Swimmers’ .
It’s impossible to deny that this album is an outstanding effort from one of Britain’s best surviving bands – Georgia Williams
11 | Jamie XX – In Colour
The XX’s producer, Jamie xx, has given glimpses of his solo work over the years, but nothing can compare to this year’s album, In Colour.
This atmospheric piece of art uses fluent sounds to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and single ‘I Know there’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, will be remembered by many as this years summer anthem. However, songs like ‘Gosh’, ‘Loud Places’ and ‘Seesaw‘, both featuring Romy, all serve as the true testaments to this albums greatness. – Josh Pratt
10 | Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Sufjan Stevens’ impeccable career as a songwriter has gained him the accolade of one of Indie’s darlings. He’s a man capable of writing albums with illustrious instrumentation about several states in America (Michigan, Illinois) and crafting stories about the others around him. One thing he never did until this year was write about himself.
‘Carrie & Lowell’ saw Sufjan Stevens taking his most stripped back approach to his music yet going back to his more acoustic roots. It also saw him diving into his own life in the depth that made his material so powerful when he spoke about other people’s lives. ‘Carrie & Lowell’ is named after Stevens’ mother and stepfather and sees him reflecting on his childhood – including very specific memories such as swimming lessons and checking texts – and the way it’s affected him later in life in the most heartbreaking ways. This album is an emotional exorcism and one of the most beautiful albums of the year. – Jack Keating
9 | Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
We first fell in love with Courtney Barnett back in 2013 when the song ‘Avant Gardner’ hit constant rotation among the indie-heads in the know. Using the same self-effacing lyrical wit that made that song such a breakthrough, Barnett sculpted an album fun of eclectic but playful indie that took off on flights of imagination that covered the important, abstract and insignificant with equal wonder and humour. Some might call it slacker rock, but that would be doing her music a great disservice. After all, it’s not like you can write tunes like ‘Depreston’ (Then I see the handrail in the shower, a collection of those canisters for coffee, tea and flour / And a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam’) without a little hard work. Tunes like the aforementioned ‘Depreston’, ‘An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NY)’ and ‘Dead Fox’ easily rank up among the best indie tracks of 2015. The best bit yet? This is potentially only an early footnote in what could be a great career for the burgeoning singer-songwriter! – Martin Mcdonnell
8 | JME – Integrity>
Whilst 2014 was the year that Grime music started to spark interest the other side of the Atlantic, 2015 was the year that Grime reaffirmed its rightful place at the top of the urban music echelon – and no album represented it better than JME’s ‘Integrity>’. A purely DIY based project records and written over the course of a couple of years, there was no record label backing, no PR campaigns, no nothing. A firmly grass roots project which staggeringly managed to land at No.12 in the UK album charts. Whilst featuring some incredible instrumentals and production by a multitude of contributors, it was JME’s intelligent, rapid fire lyricism and vocal skills that shone brightest – particularly on songs such as ‘Pulse 8’, ‘Work’, ‘Man Don’t Care’, and the scathing ‘Integrity’. A truly inspiring yet surprising underground success, which in turn happened to be the most punk as fuck non-punk album release of 2015. Outstanding. – James Matthews
7 | The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness
Beauty Behind The Madness is The Weeknd’s second album release, but the first since his rise to worldwide fame. The record undoubtedly deserves its seventh position in our chart, featuring hit after hit. While you’ll almost certainly know his ‘Earned It’, made famous by 50 Shades of Grey, and fan favourites ‘The Hills’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, the album offers so much more beyond the tracks that were commercially successful. Beauty Behind The Madness includes strong collaborations in the form of Labrinth on smooth ‘Tell Your Friends’ (produced by Kanye West), the solemn but beautiful ‘Dark Times‘ with Ed Sheeran, and Lana Del Rey for the darker side of dream-pop’s ‘Prisoner’. Dominating the R’n’B/pop field, with the album peaking at the top spot in both the US and UK, 2016 is likely to be an even bigger year for The Weeknd. – Hannah Dix
6 | Adele – 25
It is a true blessing to have artists like Adele dominating today’s music industry. With her powerhouse vocals, genuine disposition, and poignant lyrics, her music is raising the bar to a new high for pop musicians. Adele’s third album, 25, is not only an international success; it’s the epitome of hard-work paying off. During the writing process, Adele suffered writer’s block and had many fruitless sessions with various producers. She told BBC that she had even wrote an album on motherhood but scrapped it because it was “too boring.” However after an arduous process, 25 was born, a beautifully crafted album exploring nostalgia, regret and a yearning for lost time. Notable tracks: Send My Love (To Your New Lover), Sweetest Devotion – Izzy Ahrbeck
5 | Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
2015 was the year Drake went from being the hottest rapper in the game to a pop culture phenom. And it all started when he decided to drop his sort-of-not-really mixtape ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ out of nowhere. Full Beyonce. Zero promo, no singles and despite that, it was the first album of 2015 to sell a million copies. This was Drake’s first album with zero compromise. And no this doesn’t mean hard hitting bangers about the trap, but it does mean pure indulgence as and the most ‘Drake’ project yet. And the reason why Drake keeps winning? Because even at his most indulgent, he makes appealing music. Take ‘Know Yourself’, a song absolutely no one else but Drake could’ve made a hit. The song has no real catchy elements and the songs appeal pretty much rests on a drop- but that didn’t stop it becoming one of the biggest songs of the year. Cliché that the ‘Midas touch’ is , with his latest project Drake has made 17 hits and called it an album. – Aaron Page
4 | Justin Bieber – Purpose
It’s was impossible for us to ignore this one. 2015 marked the year where even the most stubborn pop music hater admitted to liking Justin Bieber’s music and there was times when the top 10 looked like Bieber’s album track listing. The album Purpose was released in November, but it’s previously released singles ‘What Do You Mean’ and ‘Sorry’ lent themselves to the hype that surrounded the album. The latest single ‘Love Yourself’ is proving just as popular as it is currently storming all the charts. Purpose is infectious and brilliantly produced, and certainly deserves a spot in HTFs top 10. – Char Di Placido
3 | Carly Rae Jepsen – E.MO.TION
If like a lot of people you have yet to the hear this album, you will probably be thinking right now, “WTF? That ‘Call Me Maybe’ girl at number 3?!”
What you may not have realised is, despite the lack of promotion, sales and touring for this album, that Carly Rae actually managed to release easily the best pop album of this year. It’s lack of commercial success aside (we will let Noisey explain that), Carly Rae proved to the world she was far from a one hit wonder with an album full of incredible 80’s tinged pop that should have seen her set 2015 on fire.
Her first single, ‘I Really Like You’, obviously proved she had more to give than ‘Call Me Maybe’ but it’s her more recent singles such as ‘Your Type’ and album tracks such as ‘Making The Most Of The Night’ and the Prince-esque ‘All That’ where Carly has really come with the goods as she takes a more mature edge and really raises the bar. How Carly Rae was not one of the biggest pop stars of 2015 is almost criminal.
E.MO.TION is by far the hidden gem in this years album list. Remember the time you discovered an album before your friends and you wanted to tell everyone but also keep it for yourself? This is that album. – Chris Hines
2 | Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
I’m sure many people will be surprised to see this turn up at number two. There may be an outcry, torches could be lit and pitchforks could potentially be raised. Yet it’s very simple why this album is here. It’s here because it’s fucking incredible. So rarely does an album come out that unites people from a huge spectrum of music tastes together in the massive way that BMTH have managed to achieve with this outing. Breathtaking production, excellent songwriting and an altogether brilliant execution have rocketed the band into the world of mega-stardom. It’s the start of a new chapter for Oliver Sykes and crew, with the metalcore of their past becoming but a distant memory, replaced by a refreshing blend of rock and electronica. Here’s hoping 2016 see more from these guys. – Mitch Emery
1 | Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar dropped one of the most important albums of the year. ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was the highly anticipated follow up to his instant classic ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’. This album eschewed any ‘singles’ and instead created an immersive look at not just hip-hop but black music in general. Using everything from his trademark dense lyricism to spoken word. The album chronicles the black experience from a street level without being condescending or outdated. Never an afterschool special and at times even daring to remove cultural bias lyrically the album is unlike anything the mainstream has seen for years. With ‘Good Kid…’ Kendrick raised the bar for hip hop, with ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ he raises the bar for himself. – Aaron Page