Staff Picks: BEST ALBUMS OF 2015

Summer's Picks

Senny's Picks

Alexandra's Picks

Bryson Tiller- Trapsoul

Trapsoul not only is an amazing debut and freshman album for Tiller, but also a sign that his future is looking bright as hell. Tiller croons about his emotional turmoil and girl troubles over soulful beats with hard hitting hooks. This album has been on my rotation since it was released in October. Without a doubt, he's destined to be a staple in R&B/ Hip-Hop music next year.

my picks: "Exchange" "Don't" & "Sorry Not Sorry"



Troye Sivan- Blue Neighbourhood

The Youtube personality has created a masterpiece debut album. Initially, I had doubted his talent due to his attempt to cross over from the Youtube realm and into the music scene. I was astounded that not only Troye has an amazing voice, but also a distinct sound that will be making waves in the states soon enough, and not just in his native Australia.

my picks: "DKlA" "for him." & "Youth"



Joss Stone- Water For Your Soul

Water For Your Soul is Stone's first original album since 2011's LP1. Unlike her past albums, Stone worked with Damien Marley to create an album that is audibly influenced by reggae. It wasn't much of a surprise to me to hear how her well her soulful voice meshes with the reggae and R&B infused beats. This album was one of the year's biggest surprises since I haven't heard any new material from her in several years; this was the comeback I had been hoping for since her legal battle and departure from EMI.

my picks: "Harry's Symphony" "The Answer" & "Let me Breathe"

Rudimental- We the Generation

We the Generation is the sophomore follow up to Rudimental's debut album Home. Considering Home was an incredibly succinct and fluid album, I was doubtful that Rudimental could do it once again. But of course they did. Collaborating with top UK singers such as Ed Sheeran, Ella Eyre, MNEK, and Lianne La Havas, this album might be the album that helps them break into the American music scene at last.

my picks: "Treading on Water" "Rumour Mill" & "Common Emotion"


Miguel- Wildheart

Since hitting the R&B circuit, Miguel has been making waves with his music. Wildheart successfully straddles the line between R&B/Soul and Rock music. This album is sincerely hard to place a genre on due to its fluctuating genres with every song. This albums makes me curious as to what Miguel will do next and where his sound will go in the foreseeable future.

my picks: "Waves" "gfg" & "What's normal anyway"



Logic- The Incredible True Story

The entire premise of this album is amazing and the story-telling that is used throughout to tie everything together had me listening to the album from start to finish. If anyone wasn't a fan or doubted Logic before, this album will definitely change your mind.

my picks: "Fade Away" "i am the greatest" & "run it"



Justin Bieber- Purpose

Many can debate the personality and nature of Bieber, but his talent is undeniable. The minute I heard he was working with Diplo and Skrillex, I had no doubt in my mind that Purpose was inevitably going to be a hit; not only with his superfans, but also with those who have a somewhat negative connotation associated with all things Bieber. He proved that he is done with the days singing meaningless, superficial pop tunes and is now ushering in a new era of becoming vulnerable & exposing more of himself for his fans.

my picks: "Company" "Children" & "Love Yourself"

Kehlani- You Should Be Here

Even though this is technically a mixtape, this made my list because, to put it simply, it sounds like an album. Complimenting the brilliantly produced tracks, Kehlani put a piece of her soul into each and every song. To solidify YSBH as a must-listen to mixtape, it recently was nominated for a Grammy. 2015 was Kehlani's year and YSBH helped get her there.

my picks: "Alive" "Be Alright" & "You should be here"


Big Grams- Big Grams

I personally was shocked to find out that Big Boi and Phantogram joined forces to form Big Grams. This album was everything I didn't know I needed nor wanted. Big Boi's raps flow perfectly over Phantogram's eclectic electronic rock beats and Sarah's voice compliments Big Boi's. I can't wait to see this threesome in action next year; big things are coming for Big Grams.

my picks: "Put it on her" "Born to shine" & "Drum machine"





Cloakroom- Further Out

favorite songs: "Paperweight" "Starchild skull" & "Moonchild"






Lomo Prieta- Self Portrait

favorite songs: "Love" "Nostalgia" & "Satellite"







Turnstile- Nonstop Feeling

favorite songs: "Gravity" "Fazed Out" & "Blue by you"






Turnover- Peripheral Vision

favorite songs: "New scream" "hello Euphoria" & "dizzy on the comedown"







Superheaven- Ours is Chrome

favorite songs: "i've been bored" "next to nothing" & "all the pain"







Demi Lovato- Confident

Demi shed her Disney channel roots for her fifth studio album and first since 2013. Blending dance beats and emotional, stripped-down tracks, the record shows her growth and maturity. Several songs delve into painful experiences she has experienced and overcome, and her lyrics continue to be very relatable to fans. If it wasn’t clear before, this record showcases Demi’s range and versatility. What kind of “Confident” women doesn’t love a good ladies power anthem?

Favorite Songs: "confident" "Stone Cold" & "Father"


Fortunate Youth-Don't Think Twice

Reggae music is all about good vibes you can skank to and Fortunate Youth’s newest album delivers with catchy lyrics and groovy beats. The upbeat album features collaborations with fellow artists The Expanders and The Green and is an all around good time. It’s hard not to imagine yourself on the beach in Hawaii with a pina colada in hand, dancing the night away when listening to this record.

favorite songs: "My love" "midnight lover" & "all night"

Chris Carmack- Pieces of You

If you haven’t seen the ABC hit “Nashville”, you probably haven’t heard of up-and-coming crooner Chris Carmack. On the show, the 34-year-old plays gay country artist Will Lexington, who makes girls and guys swoon with his voice. “Pieces of You” is the singer’s first studio effort composed of his own music and it proves that he has just as much talent as he does on screen. The record is a departure from what he performs on the show, slowing it down and focusing on his vocals. One thing is for sure; it’s only a matter of time before we hear Chris on country radio.

favorite songs: "Pieces of you" "being Alone" & "always mine"

Adele- 25

When Adele shocked the world and released “Hello” on social media, it sent shockwaves among her fans. The anticipation the song built for her new album was clear when it dropped, shattering numerous records both in the US and UK within the first week.  “25” is a journey through the vocal powerhouse’s life, delving into regret, lost love and vanished time. Though her voice is otherworldly, her lyrics are extremely relatable. A box of tissues and a bottle of wine are musts when listening to the album.

Favorite songs: "Hello" "when we were young" & "all i ask"

Thrive- Thrive EP

Thrive, a local reggae band from Santa Cruz, is all about preaching positivity despite the personal tribulations the band has been through. The self-titled EP, their first record since losing a fellow band mate to cancer, addresses the importance of equality, taking care of the world and pursuing your dreams. Though there are only 6 tracks, it shows the group’s versatility with reggae, rock and hip-hop influences. If you are looking for inspiration, their lyrics have a way of reminding you what’s important. “Everyone of us has a reason to be thankful, so why not be grateful for what you got.”

Favorite songs: "one" "listen" & "better Day"