Anna McMillan

Top 10 Albums of 2015

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2015 is almost at an end and what a year it has been in terms of music!

From Madonna and her cape malfunction, to Drake’s questionable ‘Hotline Bling’ dance, we’ve seen it all – but it hasn’t all been a disaster; even if One Direction did announce they were going on a ‘break’.

Sam Smith finally became the first artist to reach number one with a James Bond theme song.

We witnessed Adele’s spectacular comeback with her long awaited number one selling single, Hello.

And suddenly the whole world became a Belieber after Justin Bieber released his fourth studio album, Purpose!

But what were Northern Lights favourite albums of the year?

Here is our top 10 albums of 2015…

1)  The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness


A photo posted by The Weeknd (@abelxo) on

After releasing his second studio album in August, Beauty Behind The Madness brought The Weeknd massive chart success with both, ‘The Hills’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ reaching number one on the Billboard 100. The RnB singer shot to fame after another single off the album ‘Earned it’ was released as the lead track from the soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey, in late December last year. With guest appearances from Ed sheeran, Labrinth and Lana Del Rey, the wacky haired singer was destined to storm the charts in 2015 and hopefully this is just the start.


2) Sufjan Stevens -Carrie and Lowell 


Who’s excited for the new album by Sufjan, coming March 31 (us), CARRIE & LOWELL #sufjanstevens #carrieandlowell A photo posted by @sufjanstevens_ on

Channelling his inner Elliott Smith with this release, Stevens released an album prettier and more personal than anything he’d worked on previously in June this year. With the instrumentation stripped to the bare minimum throughout, Stevens crafts beautifully dream-like melodies behind introspective and heart wrenching lyrics. His hushed vocals are particularly haunting, but provide a nice an elegant touch to an album overflowing with themes of loss and love. It’s a must listen for the year, no matter your musical inclinations.

3) Ratatat – Magnifique

Ratatat released their fifth studio album Magnifique in July this year. The Brooklyn rocktronica duo released their first single from the album in April called ‘Cream on Chrome’ which they debuted just a few hours before their closing set at Coachella in April this year. The album also consisted of a cover of the 1971 Springwater single ‘I Will Return’. The album is said to have ‘a playful mishmash of Brian May-style guitar fireworks, searing synthesizers and tightly wound beats.’ The five minute plus tracks of the album bring a sense of adventure to the music, tracks like ‘Nightclub Amnesia’ and ‘Rome.’


4) Justin Bieber – Purpose


A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

November saw the release of Justin Bieber’s fourth studio album Purpose and no one could have predicted how successful the album would be. The once highly criticised ‘Baby’ singer converted everyone into a Belieber this year after Bieber broke records by selling 522,000 copies of the album in its first week of release. Not only that, he reached number one several times with house tracks like ‘What Do U Mean’ and romanticised tracks like ‘Love Yourself,’ and he even knocked Adele off the top spot after realising the tropical dance track ‘Sorry.’ The transition from cheesy pop artist has made for a successful year for the Canadian singer. We can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for the Biebs.


5) Ed Sheeran – Multiply Wembley edition


Wembley Edition of ‘x’ out today, includes my film Jumpers For Goalposts & five extra tracks, go get it as an early stocking filler x A photo posted by @teddysphotos on

Originally Ed released Multiply in mid 2014 but has just re-released a Wembley Edition with footage from his tour DVD – Jumpers for Goalposts, just in time for Christmas. Multiply was Ed’s second studio album and brought the soulful ginger singer much chart success after reaching number one with the dance track ‘Sing’ and the beautiful ‘Thinking Out Loud.’ ‘Thinking Out Loud’ portrayed another side of Sheeran as the singer actually learnt how to ballroom dance to accompany the romanticised, cutsie track. The song spent a massive 19 weeks in the chart, selling over 1 million copies in the UK alone. The singer songwriter has gone from strength to strength over the years since the release of +. Maybe next year we will see – or /, who knows?


6) Tame Impala – Currents

Album release day! FINALLY! Thanks for waiting. Special shout out to the legendary Robert Beatty @edsunspot for his wizardry on the cover and layout. Go and get it physically or digitally or however you like to do it. Just listen to it loud a couple of times ok? YAY

A photo posted by Tame Impala (@tame__impala) on

The Australian psychedelic rock act Tame Impala released their third studio album in July this year. Kevin Parker, one member produced the whole thing from writing the tracks to recording and production! Unsurprisingly, the albums release was delayed by two months. A personal transformation is the evident theme throughout the album which for Tame Impala is a big change from their usual psychedelic rock sound. Currents has more of a dance orientated sound. After releasing singles from the album like ‘Let It Happen’ and ‘Cause I’m A Man,’ the album reached the top of the Australian charts and hit three in the UK. They were also awarded Best Rock Album and Album of the Year at the 2015 ARIA Music Awards. ____________________________________________________________________________________

7) James Bay – Chaos And The Calm


AUSTRALIA YOU BUNCH OF CHAMPIONS!!! Thanks for the double platinum Let It Go, triple platinum Hold Back The River & GOLD ALBUM! 🇦🇺 X A photo posted by James Bay (@jamesbaymusic) on

2015 saw the rise of chart newcomer James Bay after realising his debut album Chaos And The Calm. Reaching number one in the UK, the long haired guitarist was voted the critics choice at the Brit awards and received three Grammy Award nominations, including Best Newcomer. Realising his first single from the album, ‘Hold Back The River,’ Bay received his first number 2. Before fully releasing his album, Bay released a track off the album in 2014 called ‘Let It Go.’ No, it’s not the Frozen theme song! The husky soulful sound of the track brought about a new sound of 2015 and who would’ve known that a year on it could reach the top 10 in he UK chart. This success is hopefully just the beginning for the newcomer.


8) Jess Glynne – I Cry When I Laugh 

US! 🇺🇸 I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be hitting the road this winter on the “I Cry When I Laugh” tour. I’m also pleased to announce @conradofficial is my special guest. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am. For more information check out See you all soon!

A photo posted by Jess Glynne (@jessglynne) on

I Cry When I Laugh was the debut album for chart topper Jess Glynne released earlier this year. The British singer- songwriter has seen much chart success since she emerged onto the scene in 2014 after featuring on the track ‘Rather Be’ with Clean Bandit which reached number one in the UK. Released in August this year, I Cry When I Laugh peaked at number one after the 3 years it took for Glynne to produce it. It was worth the wait however as it brought about many top 10 hits for the red head with tracks like ‘Hold My Hand’ and ‘Don’t Be To Hard’ reaching the top of the charts earlier in the year.


9) Death Grips -The Powers That Be


The first half of this album was actually released last year, and while it may remain the better half of the album, with heavy yet creative use of vocals provided by Bjork forming the foundations for the instrumentation. The second half returns to the more rock oriented stylings found in their earliest works, though with a bit more intelligence and nuance than those.  Stylistically it is a lot more varied but still undeniably DG, and whether Burnett is being backed by a wall of noise, booming bass, a waltz, shoulder popping disco beat or a motorbike revving up, his presence is felt. This album has a bit of everything from their previous releases and some, and even some catchy hooks that will satisfy the more casual fans. On GP is an emotional surprise which caps off a stellar double album, if you ignore Death Grip 2.0, that is.


10) Adele – 25

25 out November 20th

A photo posted by @adele on

We finally experienced the much awaited return of the queen of pop music Adele, after her three-year hiatus in November when she released her third studio album, 25. Soaring to number one, the album broke first week sale records whilst battling it out with Justin Bieber’s Purpose. Adele announced her much awaited return in October this year after releasing a heartfelt Facebook message, informing her fans it was a make up record about letting go of her past. Teasing us, she released a snippet of her first released single off the album, ‘Hello’, a melodic power ballad which definitely restarted Adele’s music career with a bang. You can’t turn the radio on without hearing ‘hello from the other side,’ coming out of the speakers. Adele has definitely ended the year on a high so 2016 can only get better for her now!


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