Monday, December 21, 2015

The Music Maven's Music Monday #44: The Music Maven’s Top 10 Albums of 2015

Where did this year go?! 2015 went by in a flash! Thankfully, we had some great music to get us through the year.  Here are my Top 10 Albums – these are the albums that sound tracked my 2015.

10. Stages by Josh Groban: This album is my guilty pleasure – it’s SO not rock n’ roll.  I love all kinds of music, and I love Broadway musicals and the classics from the American songbook. Stages is such a beautiful compilation of some of my favorite songs including two songs from Les Miserables, and a medley from Into The Woods and Sweeney Todd.  If you’re not a fan of Josh Groban now, you will be after listening to this album. Music Maven Approved Tracks: Bring Him Home, Children Will Listen/Not While I’m Around
9.  Dopamine by Borns: Borns had me with his first single Electric Love – I think I listened to it about a thousand times straight.  His EP was just as good and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his debut LP – Dopamine didn’t disappoint.  It’s synth-y, dancey, and harmonic. Music Maven Approved Tracks: 10,000 Emerald Pools, Electric Love, Dopamine

8. South/Bashful Creatures by Hippo Campus: Okay, I’m kinda breaking the rules here, but I’m obsessed with this band, and they just had to have a spot on this list even though their releases this year were EP’s and not full length albums. I love the interesting rhythms that are layered throughout their songs – it’s really difficult to sit still when you’re listening to Hippo Campus. I need a full length release from this band SOON! Music Maven Approved Tracks: South, Suicide Saturday, Little Grace

7. And the Wave Has Two Sides by On An On: I love this three piece band. The first time I saw them it was me and about 3 of my friends – that’s it – in the whole venue. Oh, wait, there was a random drunk guy…but I don’t think he had a clue who was on stage.  That kinda depressing show didn’t dampen my interest or love of On An On’s music, and I was so glad when I saw them again this year that there was a great crowd that showed the band a lot of love. I’m sure their latest album has a lot to do with their growing following – And the Wave Has Two Sides is moody, atmospheric, and a steady listen from start to finish. Music Maven Approved Tracks: Drifting, Icon Love, Wait for the Kill
6. Chaos and the Calm by James Bay: Longtime Nerdy Girlie readers know that I have a thing for UK singer/songwriters – I just can’t help myself.  James Bay’s debut album Chaos and the Calm is an incredible debut album. He sings with a lot of maturity that some of his fellow British troubadours just don’t have.  Music Maven Approved Tracks: Hold Back The River, Let It Go, Move Together

5. What’s Real by MisterWives: MisterWives just make me happy. Their singles Our Own House and Reflections were my jams this year – I cannot listen to those songs without starting a one woman dance party.  What’s Real was the album that I most frequently had on blast this year. Music Maven Approved Tracks: Our Own House, Reflections, Best I Can Do
4. Smoke + Mirrors by Imagine Dragons: This is an album that really didn’t become a favorite until I saw it performed live.  My first impressions of the album left me feeling like it was a victim of over-production, but beneath it all there’s still everything I love about Imagine Dragons: deeply personal lyrics, vulnerability, and solid musicianship. We saw the Smoke + Mirrors tour in Denver at the Pepsi Center, and even with a sold out crowd of 20,000, Imagine Dragons still managed to make it feel personal and intimate.  Music Maven Approved Tracks: Shots, Polaroid, The Fall

3. Story of an Immigrant by Civil Twilight: According to Spotify, Civil Twilight was my most played artist this year.  I love this band because they just don’t seem to follow a formula when it comes to their songwriting and arrangements – I feel like I hear something new and interesting every time I listen to Civil Twilight.  Music Maven Approved Tracks: Holy Dove, Story of an Immigrant, River Child
2. Hold My Home by Cold War Kids: It seems like 2015 was the year of Cold War Kids – I don’t remember hearing their music on mainstream radio more than I did this year. It’s about time that everyone woke up to the wonder of CWK – longtime fans are excited to see this band take off and get the recognition they deserve. Music Maven Approved Tracks: All This Could Be Yours, First, Hear My Baby Call
1. A Silent Film by A Silent Film: I know. I know. Nerdy Girlie readers were expecting this…A Silent Film owns our music loving hearts.  Despite our complete loyalty to A Silent Film, this self-titled album stands on its own merit. The opening songs, Something To Believe In and Lightning Strike, are radio-friendly – there is no denying Robert Stevenson and Spencer Walker know how to write a great pop hook.  The album is rounded out by the 80’s tinged tracks including Paralysed with a sing-a-long worthy chorus.  Lake Swimming is my personal favorite – I saw it performed live several years ago and I’m so happy to finally have a quality recorded version that I can listen to on repeat. And I really can’t talk about A Silent Film without talking about the ballads that they do so well – Lavender Fields and Where Snowbirds Have Flown just make my heart ache.  I was dying with anticipation for this album and A Silent Film didn’t let me down.  Music Maven Approved Tracks: Something To Believe In, Lake Swimming, Lavender Fields

And there you have it – my Top 10 Albums of 2015. It was a very good year to be a music lover!  Don’t forget to tell me your favorite albums of the year in the comments below!  See you in 2016!


  1. Tillie I love your list - I'm going to have to listen to a few of your faves who are new to me but you haven't steered me wrong so far!!

  2. I couldn't agree more with the Borns and James Bay choices! Their albums are both in my top 10 as well most likely. I still can't believe they were both debuts they seem like such seasoned artists already!

  3. I gotta say the inclusion of Groan made my day! Especially, since "Bring Him Home" was recommended!
    Reggie sings that song beautifully! It makes me swoon every time he sings it!