As 2015 has come to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to look back on the past year while thinking about something I am passionate about—music. With that said, here are some of my absolute favorite albums that came out of 2015. Every album is equipped with a Spotify link to the album to make listening to the album easier after reading this list!

  1. Mutemath -  Vitals
    • Music Genre: Alternative Rock/Synth-Dance
    • Best Track: “Best of Intentions”
    • Why The Album is Important: “Vitals” deals with everything from crises in faith, doubts, and moving on from damaging relationships. This album is helpful when dealing with difficult times, as well as wanting to get down to some tasty bass lines. With Mutemath's intricate music and boosting bass tones, this album is the perfect soundtrack for late night drives, runs, or waking up in the morning.
  2. City and Colour - If I Should Go Before You
    • Music Genre: Singer/Songwriter
    • Best Track: “Blood”
    • Why The Album is Important: “If I Should Go Before You” deals with a concept that everyone fears the most—death. While this may come off as a morbid subject, Dallas Green shows us that death may not be something to fear, but something to drive us to love our loved ones deeply, work hard, and strive for greatness. The lighter side of life is also tackled with songs like "Lover Come Back" and "Map of the World". After all, in the words of the last (and my favorite) track of the album, “there is beauty buried in me.” With Dallas Green's powerful voice and ambient guitar, this album is a perfect soundtrack to a night in, or a date-night with that special someone.
  3. Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell*
    • Music Genre: Singer/Songwriter
    • Best Track: “John My Beloved”
    • Why The Album is Important: “Carrie and Lowell” is an album of utter honesty, with Psalmist-like prayers and cries to God from a man who is struggling with sin and the loss of a loved one. Sufjan shows us that worship music can be honest, and we shouldn’t be afraid to show our sin and darkness to The One who calls out to us. With Sufjan's powerful and honest lyrics and simple, thought-out melodies, this album is a perfect soundtrack for a devotional time (while there is some language), or early morning drives while the sun rises.
  4. Armon Jay - Del Rio
    • Music Genre: Indie Rock
    • Best Track: “Clean Break”
    • Why The Album is Important: This album shows us a man who is moving on from a broken relationship, dealing with the “what if”s of what happened, and striving towards God throughout his troubles. With Armon Jay's powerful lyrics and melodic guitar rhythms, this album is great for a night in or writing novels or blog-posts like this one.
  5. Noah Gundersen - Carry the Ghost*
    • Music Genre: Singer/Songwriter
    • Best Track: “Blossom”
    • Why The Album is Important: “Carry the Ghost” deals with heartbreak, searching to truth, and Noah Gundersen’s faith journey, as he thinks through his agnosticism. With Noah's great harmonies and uses of analogies, this is a great album to put on while reading, enjoying a nice relaxing night at home, or background music for a small get-together with friends.
  6. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly*
    • Music Genre: Hip-Hop
    • Best Track: “Complexion (A Zulu Love)”
    • Why The Album is Important: “To Pimp a Butterfly” deals with a large issue in America, racial tension. Not only this, but “To Pimp a Butterfly” shows Kendrick’s journey to faith in Jesus Christ, as well as showing the hypocrisy in gang involvement. While most hip-hop is glorifying the over-sexualization of women and drug use, Kendrick Lamar’s album shows the deeper side of hip-hop, as well as gives us things to think about after listening to the album. With Kendrick's hard-hitting baselines and lyrics, this album is perfect for lifting weights, running, or late night drives home.
  7. The Lone Bellow - Then Came the Morning
    • Music Genre: Acoustic Americana
    • Best Track: “Take My Love”
    • Why The Album is Important: “Then Came the Morning” deals with heartbreak, but overcoming it and finding hope in something greater than mere romantic love, as well as being in love. With The Lone Bellow's incredible harmonies and excellent story-telling, this is a great album to listen to while reading a book, cooking for that special someone, or a nice relaxing evening in.
  8. We Are The City - Above Club
    • Music Genre: Electronica/Alternative Rock
    • Best Track: "Lovers in All Things"
    • Why The Album is Important: "Above Club" paints a portrait of a man struggling with sin, his faith, and his attempts to overcome his feelings of emptiness as he lives it up at clubs, parties, while he knows what he is doing is harming him. If you have ever dealt with sin (which I'm 100% certain you have if you're reading this), I would HIGHLY recommend this album. Not only this, but the album has an open-ended ending to the story of the man, which I love. With We Are The City's electronica vibes, this is a great album to put on while running, working out, cleaning, driving, repenting from sin, or writing papers.
  9. Leon Bridges - Coming Home
    • Music Genre: Rhythm & Blues
    • Best Track: "Shine"
    • Why The Album is Important: "Coming Home" is about coming home to a loving Heavenly Father, with some songs about how good life is on earth, with songs about love, friends, and how it feels when you see a pretty girl. Leon Bridges captures the human experience extremely well, and gives us a few excellent tracks of worship music. With Bridge's velvety smooth vocals, this album is a sure-fire way to relax and have a great evening to.
  10. Coin - Coin
    • Music Genre: Alternative Rock
    • Best Track: "It's a Trap"
    • Why The Album is Important: Coin's self titled debut album deals with being single in this day and age, being put on a pedestal and having people think more of you than Jesus, and getting over bad situations. With Coin's pop-infused music, it's a great album to put on during long drives, or wanting to dance away your problems.

*there is explicit language and content in this album