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Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums Of 2015-Annotated And Graded

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I can’t say I am particularly thrilled by this lot… no Sufjan Stevens or Titus Andronicus, Dej Loaf or Hudson Thames -all of who made my Top 10. What a bland slice of please all the PR folks and Jann Wenner all the time… This is what happens when you have opinions without having convictions.

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly – It certainly has its moments and his rap and rhyme skills are unparalleled but his pop instincts aren’t unparalleled- A-

2. Adele – 25 – Five great tracks does not a masterpiece make, but as social phenom it is sure a social phenom – B+

3. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – What happens when your mixtape is better than your album – A

4. D’Angelo – Black Messiah  – Sure, that Apollo gig was the best of the year… but the album lacked consistency – B+

5. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness – Modern soul masterpiece about fucking and drugs, not necessarily in that order – A

6. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Yeah yeah yeah, she’ll do us some origami honey – B-

7. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free – Oh please, what a disappointment. A mediocre follow up to a great work – B+

8. Various Artists – Hamilton: Original Broadway Soundtrack – I didn’t like it, but my sense is you had to be there – C

9. The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily – Nothing special from a Black Key – C+

10. Blur – The Magic Whip – Ho hum, a coupla good tracks but nothing much else – C+

11. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love – Nice update by the beloved riot grrrls – A-

12. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon – Sure, “High By The Beach” was killer, but unless you’re a 20 something chick with an eating disorder, the album wore off too fast – B+

13. Tame Impala – Currents – Yeah, you had to be there and I was and I liked it  live but recorded? Meh – C+

14. Wilco – Star Wars – As a nonfan, I was pleasantly surprised by how good this Americanan guitar album was – B+

15. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear – This guy is nowhere near as cute as he thinks he is – C

16. Jack U – SKrillex and Diplo Present Jack U – Not crazy about either guy, and wasn’t crazy about their New Year’s Eve gig, but this has its moments and not just the Justin Bieber track – B-

17. Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart – Except for the Gregory Isaacs cover, completely awful – C-

18. Boz Scaggs – A Fool to Care – I liked it enough to catch him live on the strength of it, and disliked him live enough to have lost interest in this mediocre blues — C+

19. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… – One good song and the rest is this guys weirdo schtick as per usual – C-

20. Don Henley – Cass County – The absolute worse and by a long shot – D

21. Chris Stapleton – Traveller – Pretty good and the man can write a song, true, but who paid off who for this windfall of publicity? – B+

22. Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – How blah – B-

23. Mark Knopfler – Tracker – Hasn’t lost a step in 20 years… hasn’t added one either – C+

24. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf – A Chance The Rapper band, personally I’m waiting for the his solo debut – C+

25. Darlene Love – Introducing Darlene Love – A disaster of epic proportions – C

26. Future – DS2 – I quite liked this when it dropped but he was so terrible on stage, I’ve gone off him – C+

27. Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood – I am no fan, but this is a fine low key country album – B+

28. Miguel – WIldheart – Prince wannabe… in a good way – A

29. Joanna Newsom – Divers – Come back Sarah McLaughlin, all is forgiven – C-

30. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style – Pretty good indie rockers a la the Front Bottoms -who didn’t make it here – B

31. Leon Bridges – Coming Home – People are so hungry for soul they’ll even listen to this – C

32. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show – Diva soul better than anything on Empire – B+

33. Beach House – Depression Cherry – Dreary indie ambient – C

34. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor – His moment came and went ten years ago, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still do it – B+

35. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 – Vince can’t do it live but on record he aint scared of nothing but the poh leese – A

36. Hop Along – Painted Shut – Excuse me for doubting Roplling Stones sincerity, name checking this pleasant enough indie pop and missing A$AP Rocky’s masterpiece – B

37. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color – Not very good live, this has moments on record – B

38. Ashley Monroe – The Blade – Ho hum important country – C+

39. Muse – Drones – The absolute pits, an awful hard rock album – D

40. Songhoy Blues – Music in Exile – Mali rock. I’ve heard worse – B

41. Kamasi Washington – The Epic – Three hours of jazz instrumentals, on Kendrick’s label – B-

42. Bjork – Vulnicura – Breaking up is hard to do – A

43. Selena Gomez – Revival – Boring EDM pop – C

44. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife – Youthful rap – B-

45. Madonna – Rebel Heart – Her bet album since Music, along with her best tour ever  – A

46. Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn – Masterful soul Americana – A

47. James Taylor – Before This World – One of his very best albums, a late career masterpiece – A

48. Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion – Carly Rae gets serious, to very limited effect – C+

49. Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night – Sublime rearranged American standards – A

50. Bomba Estereo – Amanecer – Pan American goes EDM – B-

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