Fashionably-Early’s Top 50 Albums of 2015

10. Miguel – Wildheart

Miguel Wildheart

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

I had never listened to Miguel before Wildheart, and I am not sure what got me to start with this album but I’m sure glad I did. Wildheart is an album you can immediately tell is timeless and uninfluenced by any current musical trends. Miguel sounds pure, honest and mindful to his own values on Wildheart, more so than any other album released in 2015. While Wildheart is R&B, it’s instrumentals feel genreless, almost shapeshifting to Miguel’s mood and lyrics. The variety of sounds that manage to sound cohesive yet are actually completely different are a testament to Miguel’s artistry and vocals.

The relaxed yet energy-filled ‘waves’ proved to be the perfect summer joint with currently 123 plays in my iTunes, and ‘NWA (feat. Kurupt)’ is an abrasive yet vocally smooth song with a cool 16 from Kurupt, both highlights from the album. Both display Miguel’s ability to create diverse records that he is able to control effortlessly. – Tommy

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9. Goldlink – And After That, We Didn’t Talk

and after that we didnt talk

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (MP3, Vinyl)

GoldLink’s And After That, We Didn’t Talk quickly became one of my most anticipated albums of the year and while it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it still ended up being one of my favorite albums of the year. I’m a huge fan of the Soulection sound and the overall Soundcloud beat scene of hip hop based productions that also dabble in electronic, dance and other genres. So off the bat, I knew his beat selection was going to be exquisite but GoldLink’s debut album wasn’t quite as groovy as his older music. The album’s primarily a story about a past love, specifically, it’s about Kali Uchis, who you may know from her own music. They dated for a while and GoldLink had a lot of feelings to put on record following the romantic relationship. Because it’s an album about a girl, it’s not the most upbeat record. GoldLink does a lot of singing of his own hooks and some of the beats are a lot more minimal than usual but GoldLink’s flow and melodic flow hasn’t really changed. It’s the same guy that made The God Complex but through the album, he’s shifting through different emotions. – Trixx

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8. Pusha T – King Push: Darkest Before Dawn – The Prelude

Pusha T DBD

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3)

Crazy to me that this isn’t really being called an album. It’s a prelude to King Push but it doesn’t need to be diminished in such a way because this is a great piece of work on its own. This album resembles the Pusha T that we all know and love, the meanly delivered flow paired with tight lyrics. It’s a continuation of Push’s legacy and it has a couple of Push’s hardest songs to date. “Untouchable” lives to its title with Timbaland’s exquisite use of a Biggie sample to make a kind of spacey instrumental sound hard. The project takes a bit of a dive after the first two tracks and I proceed to sit more flatly in my chair but still, I’m enthralled by the rest, just not in the same headbanging fashion. The album’s short stature leaves a yearning for more, while annoying now, it seems like its setting up King Push quite nicely. – Trixx

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7. Ty Dolla Sign – FreeTC

free tc

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3)

After numerous delays, Ty Dolla $ign’s Free TC was finally released late 2015, despite low first week sales. Sales aside, Free TC is easily Ty Dolla’s best, most mature project yet. Ty abandons his ratchet club sound for the majority of the project, allowing him to focus on vocals and melodies played with the guitar. When Ty does decide to make a few club songs, they come out fresh like on ‘Saved (feat. E-40)’ and full of energy like on ‘Blase (feat. Future & Rae Sremmurd).’ Despite a few weaknesses like the boring ‘Credit (feat. Sevyn Streeter)’, unimpressive ‘Finale (feat. SA-RA & PJ)’ and generic ‘Only Right (feat. YG, Joe Moses & TeeCee4800)’ Ty delivered a project full of progress and proof he is more than an artist capable of making songs like ‘Or Nah’ and ‘Paranoid.’ – Tommy

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6. Travis Scott – Rodeo

rodeo

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

Travis Scott has grown in popularity and sound with each release since his debut mixtape, Owl Pharaoh, in 2013. Rodeo continued that pattern of success with his biggest single yet, ‘Antidote’ and massive collaborations with Kanye West, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber. Sonically, Rodeo is Travis’s most refined and executed project yet, with more variety than Days Before Rodeo and more execution than Owl Pharaoh. The album combined massive bangers like ‘3500 (feat. Future & 2 Chainz)’ and turnup anthems such as ‘Nightcrawler (feat. Swae Lee & Chief Keef) with artrap masterpieces like ‘90210’, giving each track a distinct sound that never came close to replicating another. While Travis never gets as personal as I would have liked, he blends many popular and creative sounds together with his own twist to create an album unlike any other. – Tommy

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