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Best Music Of 2015

Bob Boilen's Top 10 Albums Of 2015

Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen's favorite album of 2015.
Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of the artist

2015 was a year for lyricists to excel and express. And with one exception, all the albums at the top of my personal heap were perfect examples of that richness:

Courtney Barnett is my favorite lyricist. Her words are smart, funny and memorable. Sufjan Stevens came to terms with the loss of his mother so eloquently. Björk's open-chested treatise on betrayal and heart regarding the end of her relationship with artist Matthew Barney is likely the best record ever to document such loss and broken spirit. Three bands made albums that brilliantly chronicled the awkward transition from youth to adult: Ireland's SOAK, Brooklyn's Eskimeaux and Philadelphia's Girlpool. Torres (MacKenzie Scott) made an electric record of existential musings. The twins of Ibeyi made a record in the shadow of losing their older sister; the music, wrapped in their Afro-Cuban heritage, was somehow filled hope and gratitude. The tone paintings of Joan Shelley are so beautifully expressed by the pure grace of her voice laid on a soft bed of guitars, including that of Nathan Salsburg. The one instrumental record that I loved was a reimagining of Chopin by Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott that's both ambient and intimate.

These were my favorite records, the ones I returned to over and over again. Not to say there weren't other brilliant records (Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly or Beauty Pill's Describes Things As They Are or Kamasi Washington's The Epic or Joanna Newsom's Divers and Car Seat Headrest's Teens of Style or Asaf Avidan's Gold Shadow). But the ten records here, listed in order, starting with my favorite of the year, are the ones I returned to over and over again. There is no "best" in music, just ones we love. There is no right or wrong, just ones that fuel our soul. That's what my list is filled with.

Bob Boilen's Top 10 Albums Of 2015

Cover for Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit [LP]

1. Courtney Barnett, 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit'

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Song
Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit [LP]
Album
Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit [LP]
Artist
Courtney Barnett
Label
Mom + Pop Music
Released
2015

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2. Sufjan Stevens, 'Carrie & Lowell'

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Song
Carrie & Lowell
Album
Carrie & Lowell
Artist
Sufjan Stevens
Label
Asthmatic Kitty Records
Released
2015

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3. Eskimeaux, 'O.K.'

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4. Joan Shelley, 'Over And Even'

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Song
Over And Even
Album
Over And Even
Artist
Joan Shelley
Label
No Quarter
Released
2015

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5. Torres, 'Sprinter'

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Song
Sprinter
Album
Sprinter
Artist
Torres
Label
Partisan Records
Released
2015

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6. Björk, 'Vulnicura'

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7. SOAK, 'Before We Forgot How To Dream'

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Song
Before We Forgot How To Dream
Album
Before We Forgot How To Dream
Artist
SOAK
Label
Rough Trade
Released
2015

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8. Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott, 'The Chopin Project'

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Song
The Chopin Project
Album
The Chopin Project
Artist
Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott
Label
Mercury Classics
Released
2015

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9. Girlpool, 'Before The World Was Big'

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Before The World Was Big
Album
Before The World Was Big
Artist
Girlpool

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10. Ibeyi, 'Ibeyi'

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Song
Ibeyi
Album
Ibeyi
Artist
Ibeyi
Label
XL Recordings
Released
2015

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