A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
2015 started strong with the return of Sleater-Kinney, and it stayed strong all the way through the release of the Hamilton cast recording. That said, the list goes through quite a number of changes, consolidating some stragglers and bouncing a few titles off.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical
- Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
- Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
- Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
- Torche, Restarter
- Björk, Vulnicura
- Deebs and Jarell Perry, Shift
- Steve Grand, All-American Boy
- Janet Jackson, Unbreakable
- Gaytheist/Rabbits, Gay*Bits
Other favorites from the year:
- Software Giant, We Are Overcome
- Miguel, Wildheart
- Madonna, Rebel Heart
- Duran Duran, Paper Gods
- Enya, Dark Sky Island
- The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
- Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
- ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Wonder Future
- Andrew Norman, Play
- Troye Sivan, Blue Neighborhood
The Favorite 10 sees one title switched out — Gaytheist and Rabbit’s split EP for Miguel’s Wildheart. Father John Misty, Takaakira Goto, Seattle Symphony and Kronos Quartet make way for Andrew Norman, Troye Sivan and Software Giant.
Eight years into 2010s, 2015 is so far turning out to be my favorite year for the decade. The hierarchy of the list gives a false sense of preference — some of the albums outside of the Favorite 10 got as much play time as those at the top of the list.
Duran Duran and Enya could have occupied spots in the Favorite 10 if the field weren’t so crowded.
Tags: andrew norman, asian kung-fu generation, bjork, courtney barnett, deebs, duran duran, enya, favorite edition, gaytheist, jarell perry, jason isbell, kendrick lamar, lin-manuel miranda, madonna, miguel, rabbits, rewind, sleater-kinney, software giant, steve grand, the weeknd, torche, troye sivan
I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.
Labor Day sales at thrift stores are a dangerous combination.
- Blood Orange, Negro Swan
- Troye Sivan, Bloom
- Molotov, MTV Unplugged: El Disconecte
- Santigold, I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions
- Anonymous 4, Love’s Illusion
- Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
- Boris, Akuma no Uta
- Edgard Varèse, The Complete Works
- Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
- Giovanni Palestrina, Palestrina Masses (Tallis Scholars)
- Iron and Wine, Around the Well
- Jayne Cortez, Everywhere Drums
- John Coltrane, Soultrane
- Joni Mitchell, Hejira
- Loretta Lynn, Country Music Hall of Fame
- McCoy Tyner, Echoes of a Friend
- Midnight Oil, Scream In Blue
- Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain
- Moby, Everything Is Wrong
- Semisonic, All About Chemistry
- The Books, The Lemon of Pink
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love
- Various Artists, If I Were a Carpenter
- Various Composers, la Quinta essentia (Huelgas-Ensemble)
- Various Composers, Musica Nova (Consort Veneto)
- Vivian Green, A Love Story
- Bananarama, True Confessions
- Giovanni Palestrina, Missa “De Beata Virgine” (Chorus “Jeunesses Musicales”)
- Madonna, You Can Dance
- Rupert Holmes, Partners in Crime
Tags: anonymous 4, bananarama, blood orange, bob marley, edgard varese, fleet foxes, giovanni palestrina, iron and wine, jayne cortez, jimi hendrix, john coltrane, joni mitchell, loretta lynn, mccoy tyner, midnight oil, miles davis, moby, molotov, purchase log, rupert holmes, santigold, semisonic, the books, troye sivan, various artists, various composers, vivian green
So many gay male artists are releasing new music this summer, it makes me wonder why they all didn’t put everything out in June. But muses can’t be rushed. Nor marketing plans.
Steve Grand, Not the End of Me, July 6
I listen to a lot of really serious music. I need Steve Grand to stop me from being too melancholy.
Luciano Berio, Sinfonia (Roomful of Teeth, Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot), July 20
I went to the Saturday performance of this piece on the recommendation of my music theory professor.
Jake Shears, Jake Shears, Aug. 10
I’ve never really cottoned to Scissor Sisters, even though they seem to be in my wheelhouse.
Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You for Today, Aug. 17
The first two albums of Death Cab’s major label of phase made me wonder if they would follow R.E.M.’s downward creative trajectory in a similar fashion, but Codes and Keys and Kintsugi actually stemmed that tide. I’m not encouraged by the band’s comparison of this new album to Narrow Stairs, however.
Julee Cruise, Three Demos, Aug. 17
I loved Floating Into the Night, so I’m curious to hear these early drafts. A reissue of The Voice of Love also arrives the same day.
Troye Sivan, Bloom, Aug. 31
I was nowhere near the target market for Blue Neighborhood, but I liked it anyway.
Craig Armstrong, Sun on You, Sept. 7
Craig Armstrong is known more for his film scores, mostly because few of his studio albums get US releases. Here’s hoping a streaming release makes up for that drought.
Renée Fleming, Broadway, Sept. 7
A Broadway album? With Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Tell Me on a Sunday”? And a song from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music that isn’t “Send in the Clowns”? OK, Renée Fleming, I’ll bite.
Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983, Sept. 14
Sure, I’m curious enough to check out this set of demos, but what I’d like to know is when the vinyl reissue campaign will get to the Love Symbol album.
U2, Achtung Baby, July 27
U2, Zooropa, July 27
Zooropa is an odd album in the U2 canon, recorded in a spontaneous rush with experiments that work (“Numb”) and some that fail (“Lemon”). Despite a lavish repackaging, Achtung Baby had not yet been reissued in stand-alone black vinyl.
Tags: craig armstrong, death cab for cutie, jake shears, julee cruise, looking ahead, prince, steve grand, troye sivan