Entertainment,  Reviews

Jon ALi Presents: The Top 50 Albums of 2015


If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve already worked my way through my Top 20 EP’s Of 2015 and my Top 50 Singles Of 2015. So now, without any further ado – it’s time for the finale: The Top 50 Albums of 2015!

This list is usually my favorite because its much easier to rank my love for an album based on if I can get through the whole thing from start to finish without killing myself. WITH THAT SAID: That doesn’t mean album #39 is any more or less tolerable than the ones before or after it so please bore someone else with your disagreements. I love music. You love music. We love music! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

As always, let me know what you think and feel free to comment below with your own list!

50. Major Lazer – Peace Is The Mission
49. Jamie XX – In Colour
48. Madeon – Adventure
47. Ryn Weaver – The Fool
46. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special
45. Fleur East – Love, Sax and Flashbacks
44. Hurts – Surrender
43. Carrie Underwood – Storyteller
42. Galantis – Pharmacy
41. Purity Ring – another eternity
40. Demi Lovato – Confident
39. Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise
38. Travi$ Scott – Rodeo
37. Ciara – Jackie
36. Adam Lambert – The Original High
35. Katharine McPhee – Hysteria
34. V V Brown – Glitch
33. Giorgio Moroder – Déjà Vu
32. Hilary Duff – Breathe In. Breathe Out.
31. Jess Glynne – I Cry When I Laugh
30. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye
29. Little Mix – Get Weird
28. Alessia Cara – Know-It-All
27. The Internet – Ego Death
26. Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
25. dumblonde – dumblonde
24. Little Boots – Working Girl
23. Fifth Harmony – Reflection
22. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
21. Jack Ü – Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü
20. Adele – 25
19. Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece
18. Disclosure – Caracal
17. Say Lou Lou – Lucid Dreaming
16. Selena Gomez – Revival
15. Janet Jackson – Unbreakable
14. Marina & The Diamonds – Froot
13. Ellie Goulding – Delirium
12. Justin Bieber – Purpose
11. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon

10. MiguelWildheart. 2012’s Kaleidoscope DreamMiguel‘s sophomore effort – saw this R&B crooner master the early versatility he displayed on his debut All I Want Is You, showcasing a playful-yet-wise mix of pop, funk and soul that rocked my world. Wildheart is a more refined and ambitious move: an addictive master class in futurist hypersexual R&B that’s also packed with a whole lot of substance and soul. Miguel is more confident than ever on Wildheart and the fact that he only continues to refine within himself is what makes him such a necessary presence in today’s musicical landscape. Highlights:Coffee,” “Hollywood Dreams,” “Waves” and “Simple Things“.

BUY Miguel’s third studio album Wildheart on iTunes now!

9. The WeekndBeauty Behind the Madness. Like most of The Weeknd‘s back catalog, his second studio LP Beauty Behind the Madness revolves around some expected lyrical themes: Women, sex, drugs, money and varying levels of sadness, isolation and lust. But Beauty Behind the Madness strives as a much bigger deal than anything he’s done before, it’s his “official” transition into a genuine mainstream pop player. And with production from the likes of Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Kanye West and features from Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, there was already little doubt that Abel would come through strong. But, make no mistake: It was the Canadian native’s very own signature moody styling that made this record a win from start to finish. Highlights:Often,” “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Earned It” and “Prisoner“.

BUY The Weeknd’s second studio album Beauty Behind the Madness on iTunes now!

8. Jazmine SullivanReality Show. After four years away from the spotlight, Jazzy Jaz finally made her long-awaited return with the release of her third studio LP, Reality Show! Just as powerful and ever-lasting as her debut Fearless and 2010’s Love Me Back, Reality Show completes one of the more impressive first-three-album runs, as she delivers a purely R&B album that could have been a breakthrough R&B record in the late 90’s/early 2000, but still sounds just as fresh today. Highlights:Mascara,” “Let It Burn,” “Forever Don’t Last,” “Stanley” and “Masterpiece (Mona Lisa)“.

BUY Jazmine Sullivan’s third studio album Reality Show on iTunes now!

7. Florence + the MachineHow Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. In today’s current state of high-gloss pop-stars, who are all about taking things to the next level, there is something about hearing someone like Florence Welch going slightly smaller with her sound that is very comforting. But, don’t get it twisted: No matter how raw and stripped-down, the Florence & The Machine heard on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is still a fearless and powerful one. In fact, she’s reached a whole new level of self-awareness and the lyrical craftsmanship, it’s better than ever. Were you expecting anything less though? Highlights:Ship To Wreck,” “Queen of Peace,” “Long & Lost” and “St Jude“.

BUY Florence + the Machine’s latest studio album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful on iTunes now!

6. Brandon FlowersThe Desired Effect. The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has always had a knack for supplying supremely singalong-able hooks, even if The Killers sound veered more toward indie-rock territory. But not this time around: Teaming up with pop production superstar Ariel Rechtshaid, solo Brandon suddenly became an unstoppable pop force, beginning with his epic stadium anthem of a lead single, “Can’t Deny My Love.” In true Brandon Killers style, the album’s packed full of pop-rock burnished with huge choruses and vivid storytelling, all wrapped up neatly in Rechtshaid‘s signature buoyant ’80’s-influenced production style, giving him more mainstream appeal than ever. The result is exactly what a great pop album made by a rock star should be. Highlights:I Can Change,” “Still Want You,” “Lonely Town” and “Never Get You Right.”

BUY Brandon Flowers’ second solo studio album The Desired Effect on iTunes now!

5. MadonnaRebel Heart. This album was set-up to fail, everything from the insane leaks to Madge falling down those damn stairs made it all feel hopeless. And yet, Rebel Heart is easily her best work in years! The 19-track, lyrically-driven, electric pop album is as ambitious as it is personal. From start to finish, the album creates a great picture of where Madonna‘s career has been and where it is now. There’s a certain maturity in her vision that we haven’t seen in recent efforts MDNA and Hard Candy; thematically, Rebel Heart feels like a return to form. What really keeps the record feeling cohesive is the lyrical content; Songs like “Ghosttown,” “Devil Pray,” “Joan Of Arc,” and even “Living For Love” – the Heart side – come off surprisingly relatable from someone who truly has experienced much more than your average Joe. She might be an “Unapologetic Bitch,” but she’s human just like us. Of course, this is Madonna, so there’s still plenty of provocative fun to be had throughout with songs like “Holy Water” “Body Shop,” and “S.E.X.” – the Rebel side. It is by no means perfect with all of its sonic variations, but Rebel Heart is undeniably one of Madonna‘s finest moments and it should remembered as just that. Highlights:Living For Love,” “Ghosttown,” “Hold Tight,” “Body Shop” and “Rebel Heart.”

BUY Madonna’s latest studio album Rebel Heart (Deluxe) on iTunes now!

4. Troye SivanBlue Neighbourhood. It’s not everyday a YouTube personality becomes a global rising superstar – Oh wait, that totally happens now. In all seriousness though, even if Troye Sivan is indeed an openly gay 20-year-old internet phenomenon who sings about boys, he is still very much for everyone and so is his stunning debut Blue Neighbourhood – A wonderfully cohesive set of intimate, featherlight (and sometimes haunting) electronic pop gems, brimming with dreamy synthesizers and tripping drum loops galore. If you love the sounds of BROODS – who he collaborates with on “EASE” – and Lorde then Troye is totally your cup of tea. Start paying attention now folks, this is just the beginning for this very talented little gay-icon-in-the-making. Highlights:WILD,” “YOUTH,” “TALK ME DOWN” and “COOL“.

BUY Troye Sivan’s debut studio album Blue Neighbourhood on iTunes now!

3. Years & YearsCommunion. This breakout British electro-pop trio, comprised of lead singer and keyboardist Olly Alexander (gay), bassist Mikey Goldsworthy and synth player Emre Turkmen, mixes a deeply original sound (think house meets R&B meets electro pop meets Bangerz in like the tiniest way) with intuitive, clearly soul-searched lyrics that make you want to scream: “YOU GET ME” when you’re alone or with other people. I don’t know your life. It doesn’t matter. This band makes you want to emote and their debut album Communion, is a cerebral fuckfest of synthetic melodies and melt-in-your-mouth hooks meticulously served with a side of heartbreak and remorse. Highlights:King,” “Take Shelter,” “Ties,” “Desire” and “1977“.

BUY Years & Years’ debut studio album Communion on iTunes now!

2. GrimesArt Angels. I’ll be the first to admit that I totally slept on Grimes years ago. She won me over with 2012’s Visions – her third record as Grimes – and with her latest output Art Angels, she’s truly sealed the deal. The 27-year-old Canadian musical genius has meticulously created an entirely weird and magical experience in these fourteen songs. Loaded with crunching industrial beats, infectious electro-pop, skittering drum patterns, and dreamy vocal looping, Art Angels offers up a new journey with every listen. It’s easily one of 2015’s most unique, ambitious and intriguing records. I’m still in awe of it all. Highlights:Flesh Without Blood,” “Kill V. Maim,” “REALiTi,” “Venus Fly” and “Butterfly“.

BUY Grimes’ latest studio album Art Angels on iTunes now!

1. Carly Rae JepsenE•MO•TION. I think you all saw this one coming. Instead of dwelling on the fact that her 2012 sophomore album Kiss was criminally underrated – thanks to her 2012 inescapable breakout hit “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen decided to move forward and make a record she would be truly proud of – that record turned out to be E•MO•TION, the best pop record of 2015. The LP revels in neon-lit ’80s-inspired textures, from the dreamy Dev Hynes-produced “All That” to the sugary-sweet title track to the flaw free “Run Away With Me” and the amazingly weird “Warm Blood.” The low record sales or Grammy snubs don’t matter because there’s simply not a single dud in this entire set. Not one! Highlights: ALL OF IT!

BUY Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest studio album E•MO•TION on iTunes now!

 Honorable Mentions (aka – other albums I really, really liked): Coldplay – A Head Full Of Dreams, Hot Chip – Why Make Sense?, Tori Kelly – Unbreakable Smile, Mika – No Place In Heaven, Jason Derulo – Everything Is 4, Melanie Martinez – Cry Baby, One Direction – Made In The AM, Miley Cyrus – Мiley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, Will Young – 85% Proof, One Direction – Made In The AM, Leon Bridges – Coming Home, and Halsey – Badlands.




  • Sam S.

    Great recap of the year in pop. So many good albums (and some left to explore). I just heard the Jazmine Sullivan song you featured on your Top 50 singles and I can’t wait to dive into the whole album. Glad to see Carly get more justice. It’s the album I go back to most over the year. Florence, Years & Years both delivered standout sets for me, too. But Carly’s seriously transports me when I listen to it. Your Type is probably my personal song of the year. So good.

    Thanks for all the hard work this year, Jon. Both for keeping me in the loop on my favs and introducing me to new acts to obsess over. Cheers!

  • Sara

    Love this list but my personal favorite from the year is Melanie Martinez – Cry Baby. The most unique and captivating album I have ever heard. One other I wish was on this list is Tamia – Love Life. What a great year of music!

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