WPGU’s Top Albums of 2015: Staff Picks

These are albums from 2015 that we loved, but that did not make it onto our Top 50 list.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

When Carly Rae Jepsen rolled in three years post “Call Me Maybe,” it was clear from the get-go that this was more than her not wanting to be a one hit wonder. This was her showing the world that she isn’t a one hit wonder — regardless of what anyone wants. She may have released a pop album, but to discount pop is unfair — we must give credit where credit is due, and where credit is due is Emotion. The songs are jazzy and soulful with their fair share of featured saxophone. Her bubblegum style from her first album isn’t abdicated, but revolutionized into something Taylor Swift and Katy Perry should be envious of. It’s the 1980s pop our parents got sick of because they liked it so much, especially in “When I Needed You.” She shattered the belief that one hit was all she could do and avoided the sophomore slump in favor of a sophomore upward slope instead. -Emma Goodwin

One Direction – Made in the A.M.

While everyone raves over Purpose (which I have to admit is an amazing album), I would like to take this moment to bring Made in the A.M. to the forefront of everyone’s mind. It’s worth approaching One Direction with an open mind, forgetting “What Makes You Beautiful” like we’ve collectively forgotten “Baby.” Because they’ve changed into a foursome taking inspiration from the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon instead of the new N*SYNC people thought they started as. “Home” (a single that didn’t make the album) is reminiscent of “Yellow Ledbetter’s” intro; “Walking in the Wind” was modeled after the album Graceland and is a perfect representation of how Horan, Payne, Tomlinson and Styles have developed as songwriters; their vocals have only grown in range. Their sweeter songs are more genuine, the rock songs are heavier, the pop songs are more complex. But on the whole, they’ve grown up and deserve a second chance for it. -Emma Goodwin

Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Going out on weekends, you cannot hide from the vocal stylings of Drake. I myself must admit that it wasn’t until “Hotline Bling” and its widely known meme that I became a fan of Drake. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late has those classic well known hooks and vampy vocals that make you sway and nod your head. Songs like “10 Bands” and “Energy” only makes us want to give a standing ovation for Jimmy Brooks when he started from the bottom at Degrassi. -Julia Antonson

Skrillex and Diplo – Skrillex and Diplo present Jack U

When two EDM superstars Skrillex and Diplo come together, you know they are going to create something that you don’t want to miss. Each song synths Skrillex’s heavy monoliths and Diplo’s trap style. What makes this album great is that each song is molded to the voice artist that featured in it making it unique throughout. Some definite favorites are “Take U There” and “Where Are U Now.” -Julia Antonson

Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes

Mark Kozelek is one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever heard recorded. Saying he tells things in a matter-of-fact way only puts a dim light on what it is that he does. He picks subjects that lie perfectly on the line between the concrete and the metaphorical. He tells you the story of how he killed a possum today, but the details he chooses to tell you, and the way he keeps coming back to it even as the story progresses, let your mind connect the dots on how significant it is and why it’s significant. He tells them in a stream of consciousness way, and you begin to think of them as your own memories. This was often my go-to for contemplative late-night drives/walks in 2015. -Mateo Muro

Made In Heights – Without My Enemy What Would I Do

Singer/songwriter, Kelsey Bulkin, and producer, Sabzi, joined forces as Made In Heights for their their sophomore album together, Without My Enemy What Would I Do. Their trademark style of electronic and hip-hop beats with soft female vocals combine to create a beautiful, trip hop album. Some top hits off the album include, “Murakami,” “Pirouette,” and “Slow Burn.” -Allison Henreid


Myke Bogan – Casino Carpet

Myke Bogan released the album Casino Carpet on August 21, 2015. He has created 5 albums altogether. Bogan made this album available to listeners for free via Bandcamp. Bogan raps about everyday, relatable things like being broke, chilling with friends, playing vinyl, and drinking PBR. Bogan is going to make it big one day with his smooth flow and his ear for catchy beats and choruses. Some of the top songs on Casino Carpet are “6 Beers,” “Aye Aye,” and “Pink Cocaine.” -Allison Henreid

Wiki – Lil Me

Straight out of New York City, rapper Wiki produced his debut solo album Lil Me. Wiki has been rapping in the the hip-hop group Ratking since 2011, with rapper Hak, and producer/rapper Sporting Life. Lil Me gives us a realistic glimpse in Wiki’s life. His raps consist of the cost of living in New York and how he keeps busy in the city. Wiki flew back and forth from New York to London to produce this album. The album features Skepta, English rapper and Kaytranada, Haitian-Canadian producer, as well as many others. Some of the top tracks on this album are “Living with My Moms,” “God Bless Me,” and “Club Shit.” -Allison Henreid

Logic – The Incredible True Story

In the year 2115, long after humans have destroyed earth, two space pilots go on a journey in search of a planet called Paradise. Along the way, the two swoon to Logic’s true to hip hop beats and lyrical bluntness with the help of Thalia, the ship’s navigation system. The Maryland rapper’s sophomore album is consistent with his cinematic style of producing story-telling tracks and smooth integration of jazz and blues sounds, creating a down to earth dome of both sweet and hard beat vibes. The mixture of synths, guitar riffs, and French horns into hip hop brings Logic up to produce a piece different from its kind, and a step up from his first studio album, Under Pressure. More than just versatility in flow execution, Logic continuously exhibits his message of “Peace, Love, and Positivity” and expands it into finding the deeper meaning in search of Planet Paradise. -Kayla Martinez

f(x) – 4 Walls

It wouldn’t be my staff pick without this year’s best Kpop album. As someone who keeps up with almost every Kpop album release, I have to say this one was a little difficult. The band f(x) has gotten a lot of international press, especially after performing at SXSW a couple years ago. After adored member Sulli left the group, there were a lot of questions as to how the band would be promoted as a now-four person group. But they came back by the power of a great marketing team or something, because this album, 4 Walls, kills it. There’s electric pop and even some 8bit action, which is my weakness. The dreamy title track, of the same name, “4 Walls,” does not disappoint with its house beats and even better choreography. Check out the music video but also some live performances! -Emma Kelley

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