Monday, December 07, 2015

Woke Up an Optimist: The Best Albums, Songs and Shows of 2015

The 50 Top Albums of 2015 (Spotify playlist)

1. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly
2. Jill Scott- Woman
3. Rudresh Mahanthappa- Bird Calls
4. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Live in Kansas City
5. Vince Staples- Summertime ‘06
6. Valentina Lisitsa- Plays Philip Glass
7. Ghostface Killah and Badbadnotgood- Sour Soul
8. Torche- Restarter
9. Lalah Hathaway- Live
10. Tech N9ne- Special Effects

11. Bilal- In Another Life
12. Marc Cary- Rhodes Ahead, Vol. 2
13. Mark Ronson- Uptown Special
14. Young Fathers- White Men Are Black Men Too
15. Jodeci- The Past, The Present, The Future
16. Mbongwana Star- From Kinshasa
17. Matthew Shipp Trio- The Conduct of Jazz
18. Jazmine Sullivan- Reality Show
19. Action Bronson- Mr. Wonderful
20. Alabama Shakes- Sound & Vision

21. Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba- Ba Power
22. The Game- The Documentary 2 and The Documentary 2.5
23. J.D. McPherson- Let the Good Times Roll
24. Downtown Boys- Full Communism
25. Bob Dylan- Shadows In the Night
26. Viet Cong- Viet Cong
27. Charles Gayle Trio- Christ Everlasting
28. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment- Surf
29. Donny McCaslin- Fast Future
30. Dead Sara- Pleasure to Meet You

31. Charlie Hunter- Let the Bells Ring On
32. Matt Kane & the Kansas City Generations Sextet- Acknowledgement
33. Carlos Vives- Más Corazón Profundo Tour: En Vivo Desde La Bahía De Santa Marta
34. Miguel- Wildheart
35. Dwight Yoakam- Second Hand Heart
36. Seattle Symphony- Dutilleux 2
37. Thunderbitch- Thunderbitch
38. Chris Stapleton- Traveller
39. Angie Stone- Dream
40. Dominique Sanders- A True Story Based On…

41. Myra Melford- Snowy Egret
42. The Grisly Hand- Flesh & Gold
43. Omar Souleyman- Bahdeni Nami
44. The Cox Family- Gone Like the Cotton
45. Earl Sweatshirt- I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside
46. Deafheaven- New Bermuda
47. Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap- The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
48. Kamasi Washington- The Epic
49. Samantha Fish- Wild Heart
50. Wilco- Star Wars

The Five Top EPs of 2015
1. Thundercat- Beyond/Where the Giants Roam
2. Myra Melford- Live At the Stone
3. Bummer- Spank
4. Ces Cru- Recession Proof
5. Wondaland Presents: The Eephus

The Five Top Reissues and Compilations of 2015
1. The Supreme Jubilees- It’ll All Be Over
2. Miles Davis- At Newport: 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
3. Next Stop Soweto: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco and Mbaqanga 1975-1985
4. Bob Dylan- The Cutting Edge 1965-1966
5. Thomas Mapfumo- Lion Songs: Essential Tracks in the Making of Zimbabwe

The 50 Top Songs of 2015 (Spotify playlist)

1. Kendrick Lamar- “Alright”
2. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment- “Sunday Candy”
3. Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney- “FourFiveSeconds”
4. Tyrese- “Shame”
5. Tyler, the Creator with Kanye West and Lil Wayne- “Smuckers”
6. Lila Downs- “Balas y Chocolate”
7. Butch Walker- “21+”
8. Mark Ronson with Mystikal- “Feel Right”
9. Future- “Commas”
10. The Popper- “I’m KC”

11. Kenny Lattimore and Lalah Hathaway- “Nothing Like You”
12. Action Bronson with Chance the Rapper- “Baby Blue”
13. Bomba Estéreo- “Fiesta”
14. John Moreland- “Cherokee”
15. Courtney Barnett- “Dead Fox”
16. Venom- “Long Haired Punks”
17. Kanye West- “All Day”
18. Charlie Wilson- “Touched By an Angel”
19. Joywave- “Nice House”
20. Chedda Da Connect- “Flicka Da Wrist”

21. Miguel- “Coffee”
22. The Weeknd- “Can’t Feel My Face”
23. Big Sean with Drake and Kanye West- “Blessings”
24. Kim Burrell- “Thank You Jesus (That’s What He’s Done)”
25. The Go! Team- “The Scene Between”
26. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear- “Silent Movies”
27. Chris Stapleton- “Whiskey and You”
28. Yelawolf- “Whiskey in a Bottle”
29. Fetty Wap- “My Way”
30. Lyfe Jennings- “#Hashtag”

31. Missy Elliott- “WTF (Where They From)”
32. E-40- “Choices (Yup)”
33. Youth Lagoon- “Highway Patrol Stun Gun”
34. Emily King- “Distance”
35. Ryan Bingham- “Fear and Saturday Night”
36. La Maquinaria Norteña- "Para Qué Amarte"
37. Father John Misty- “The Ideal Husband”
38. Dr*ke and Future- “Diamonds Dancing”
39. David Banner- “My Uzi”
40. Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Diplo- "Where Are Ü Now" 

41. Rihanna- “B*tch Better Have My Money”
42. Wolf Alice- “You’re a Germ”
43. Radkey- “Le Song”
44. Sleater-Kinney- “Bury Our Friends”
45. Beach Slang- “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas”
46. José James- “Lover Man”
47. Sarah Ross- “Shotgun”
48. Young Thug with Birdman- “Constantly Hating”
49. Alan Jackson- “Angels and Alcohol”
50. Pops Staples- “Better Home”

The 50 Top Shows of 2015

1. Miguel- Midland theater
2. Chance the Rapper- Midland theater
3. Mark Dresser, Myra Melford and Matt Wilson- Take Five Coffee + Bar
4. Charlie Wilson- Sprint Center
5. Lee Konitz with the Dave Douglas Quintet- Jazz Standard (NYC)
6. Juan Gabriel- Sprint Center
7. The Rolling Stones- Arrowhead Stadium
8. Sufjan Stevens- Midland theater
9. Bobby Watson Quartet- Folly Theater
10. Tech N9ne- Rockfest at Penn Valley Park

11. Joyce DiDonato with the Philadelphia Orchestra- Carnegie Hall (NYC)
12. Merle Haggard- Uptown Theater
13. Tropicalisimo Apache- Barney Allis Plaza
14. Teddy Riley- Starlight Theatre, opening for Keith Sweat
15. Chris Brown- Sprint Center
16. Wichita Grand Opera’s Turnadot- Yardley Hall
17. Helmet- RecordBar
18. Diana Krall- Midland
19. Lauren Krum with the Project H- Westport Coffee House
20. Sleater-Kinney- Uptown Theater

21. Four Fists- Riot Room
22. Julian Davis- Living Room
23. Avishai Cohen, Tal Mashiach and Nasheet Waits- Take Five Coffee + Bar
24. Max Raabe and Palast Orchester- Helzberg Hall
25. Crobots- Rockfest at Penn Valley Park
26. Luke Bell- Riot Room patio
27. Ben Miller Band- Uptown Theater, opening for Blackberry Smoke
28. Bill Frisell- White Theatre
29. Peter Schlamb’s Electric Tinks- RecordBar
30. Hellyeah- Midland theater

31. Maroon 5- Sprint Center
32. Counterparts- Aftershock
33. Ebony Tusks- Riot Room patio
34. Delbert McClinton- Paola Roots Fest
35. Failure- Liberty Hall
36. Doug E. Fresh- Municipal Auditorium, for opening for Guy
37. Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7- Green Lady Lounge
38. Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Take Five Coffee + Bar
39. John Doe- Knuckleheads
40. Boots- Midland theater, opening for Run the Jewels

41. Noah Preminger Quartet- 55 Club (NYC)
42. Kansas City Symphony with Yafim Bronfman- Helzberg Hall
43. Duncan Burnett and the Ministry- Riot Room patio
44. Gregg Allman- Ameristar Casino
45. Radradriot- Records With Merritt
46. People’s Liberation Big Band- RecordBar
47. Smashing Pumpkins- Midland theater
48. Robert Randolph & the Family Band- Town Center Plaza
49. Todd Rundgren- VooDoo
50. Drop a Grand- The Brick

I compiled composed similar lists in 2014, 2013 (albums, songs and shows), 2012 (albums and songs and shows), 2011 (albums and songs and shows), 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 (albums, songs and shows) and 2006.

(Original image of Juan Gabriel by There Stands the Glass.)


bgo said...

You always COMPOSE such interesting year end lists. 2015 is better than previous years. Keep on keeping on.


Happy In Bag said...

I SUPPOSE you're correct, BGO. Thanks.

bigsteveno said...

Thanks for posting your full list. Even though it's low on the list, you induced me finally to give Kamasi Washington's album a go, and I've been digging it (though I could do without the vocal tracks). I went ahead and got the Omar Souleyman and Alabama Shakes albums too, and I really shouldn't have resisted so long.

I liked that Viet Cong album, but it seemed a little undercooked, like they should have waited a little longer to record. And the Miguel album was disappointing to me, though intermittently arresting. I think he needs to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up.

I'm a dedicated album listener, so your Top Songs list means nothing to me, but I should probably break down and get that Thundercat ep, if you rate it that high. It seems like the kind of thing I'd like.

My Top 40 Albums list isn't quite ready yet, but the Dam-Funk album, which I know you didn't like, will definitely be on it. I also liked the Christian Scott album more than you did, even though that seems up your alley. I know you turned me on to his Christian aTunde Adjuah album a couple of years ago. Have you heard Hieroglyphic Being? I'm totally into his We Are Not the First album, which is definitely in the Sun Ra tradition.

In any case thanks for helping to guide my listening this past year.

Happy In Bag said...

I didn't think much of the first Alabama Shakes album. The band wins my "most improved" award for 2015. The artistic regression of Christian Scott's Stretch Music takes the prize for "biggest disappointment."

Unflattering confession- my affection for Viet Cong is based entirely on my nostalgia for the "new wave" of the early '80s.

It's clear to me that Miguel wants to Prince circa 1985. And he's almost there.

Warning- the Thundercat EP is "hazy."

I imagine that context is everything with Dam-Funk. I need to hear it in a public setting.

The low ranking of Kamasi reflects my mixed feelings. Let's see if any us are still listening to The Epic in 2020.

Thanks for the tip on Hieroglyphic Being. That's what Kansas City's Black Crack Revue used to sound like.

I'm surprised to learn that you're not the person who tipped me off to the Omar Souleyman album in the first place. A significant portion of my the stuff that enters my ears is is culled from your weekly lists.