Best Music of 2015 – The Critics’ Picks

I found over 20 lists of “Best Music of 2015” on the Internet and combined them into one meta-list.  The results are below – every recording on two or more of the original source lists.  To assist those who may be unfamiliar with the myriad music genres and subgenres, I have included some parenthetical guidance from Wikipedia.

On 19 Lists
Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly (hip hop)

15 Lists
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell (indie folk; baroque pop)

14
Tame ImpalaCurrents (psychedelic rock)

12
Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear (indie rock; folk rock)

11
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (indie rock)

9
Jamie XX In Colour (electronica; post-dubstep)

8
Sleater-KinneyNo Cities To Love (riot grrrl; indie rock)
Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic (jazz)

7
Björk – Vulnicura (art pop; alternative dance)
Kurt VileB’lieve I’m Going Down… (indie rock; low-fi)
GrimesArt Angels (synthpop; dream pop)
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (hip hop)

6
DrakeIf You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late (hip hop; R&B)
Miguel – Wildheart (R&B; neo soul)
DeerhunterFading Frontier (indie rock; shoegaze)
Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color (roots rock; blues rock)
Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Southern rock; alternative country)
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion (pop rock; electropop)

5
Dr. DreCompton: A Soundtrack (hip hop; g-funk)
ChvrchesEvery Open Eye (synthpop; indietronica)
Unknown Mortal OrchestraMulti-Love (psychedelic pop; garage rock)
Maria Schneider OrchestraThe Thompson Fields (jazz)
Future DS2 (hip hop; R&B)
Joanna Newsom – Divers (indie folk; avant-garde)
Chris Stapleton – Traveller (country; Southern rock)

4
New Order
Music Complete (post-punk; synthpop)
Natalie PrassNatalie Prass (folk-rock; singer-songwriter)
Julia HolterHave You In My Wilderness (art pop; ambient)
Blur – The Magic Whip (alternative rock; indie rock)
Beach House – Depression Cherry (dream pop; indie rock)
Adele – 25 (blue-eyed soul; R&B)
Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf (jazz fusion; neo soul)
Leon Bridges – Coming Home (R&B; gospel)
Laura MarlingShort Movie (folk; folk rock)
Songhoy Blues – Music In Exile (world; desert blues)
Rudresh MahanthappaBird Calls (jazz)
Henry Threadgill ZooidIn For A Penny, In For A Pound (jazz; avant-garde jazz)
José James – Yesterday I Had The Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday (jazz; neo soul)
The InternetEgo Death (trip hop; acid jazz)
Various ArtistsHamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (hip hop; R&B)
Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (indie rock; indie pop)
TorresSprinter (alt rock; folk)

3
Janet JacksonUnbreakable (pop; dance)
Lana Del Ray – Honeymoon (dream pop; trip hop)
RP BooFingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints (footwork; ghetto house)
D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah (soul; jazz-funk)
Majical CloudzAre You Alone? (indie pop; electronic)
Rae Sremmurd – Sremmlife (hip hop; trap)
Oneohtrix Point NeverGarden of Delete (drone; vaporwave)
DeafheavenNew Bermuda (black metal; blackgaze)
DestroyerPoison Season (indie rock; baroque pop)
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness (PBR&B; pop)
Allison MoorerDown To Believing (country; folk)
Alexander Von Schlippenbach TrioFeatures (jazz)
Bob DylanShadows in the Night (traditional pop)
Katie ThirouxIntroducing Katie Thiroux (jazz)
Amir ElSaffar Crisis (jazz; world)
J.D. AllenGraffiti (jazz; hard bop)
Wilco – Star Wars (indie rock; alternative country)
Hop Along – Painted Shut (indie folk-rock; freak folk)
ProtomartyrThe Agent Intellect (post-punk; noise rock)
Mbongwana StarFrom Kinshasa (world)
GirlpoolBefore The World Was Big (folk punk)
Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn (folk; blues)
Kacey MusgravesPageant Material (outlaw country; Americana)
Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show (R&B; soul)
Vijay IyerBreak Stuff (jazz)
Igot LevitPiano Works of Bach, Beethoven and Rzewiski (classical)

2
Holly HerndonPlatform (experimental; electronic)
The Dead Weather Dodge And Burn (blues rock; garage rock)
Tobias Jesso Jr.Goon (indie rock; baroque pop)
Titus AndronicusThe Most Lamentable Tragedy (indie rock; art punk)
Wolf AliceMy Love Is Cool (alternative rock; post-grunge)
Sleaford ModsKey Markets (minimalist; post-punk)
Tigran HamasysanLuys I Luso (jazz; world)
Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls (heavy metal)
RatatatMagnifique (rocktronica; neo-psychedelia)
DisclosureCaracal (deep house; future garage)
The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (indie folk; folk rock)
Lady LambAfter (indie rock; indie folk)
James McMurtryComplicated Game (Americana; country rock)
Chastity BeltTime To Go Home (indie rock)
FoalsWhat Went Down (indie rock; dance-punk)
The Foreign ExchangeTales from the Land of Milk and Honey (R&B, electronica)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (neo-soul; future soul)
Pete Oxley and Nicolas MeierChasing Tales (jazz)
Kenny WheelerSongs For Quintet (avant-garde jazz; post bop)
Jack DeJohnetteMade in Chicago (jazz fusion; new-age)
Kenny Werner Trio – The Melody (jazz)
Fred HerschSolo (jazz)
Brad Mehldau10 Years Solo Live (jazz)
Prism QuartetHeritage/Evolution, Vol. 1 (jazz)
Benjamin ClementineAt Least For Now (rock opera; chamber pop)
Dave Douglas QuintetBrazen Heat (free jazz; electronic music)
John Scofield – Past Present (jazz funk; nu jazz)
The Bad Plus And Joshua RedmanThe Bad Plus Joshua Redman (jazz)
Joey CalderazzoGoing Home (jazz)
Ashley Monroe – The Blade (country; outlaw country)
Bomba Estéreo – Amanecer (electro; cumbia)
The GameThe Documentary 2 (hip hop)
Earl SweatshirtI Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside (alternative hip hop)
Waxahatchee Ivy Tripp (indie rock; indie folk)
Andrew Norman – Play (Boston Modern Orchestra Project) (classical)
Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 10 (Boston Symphony Orchestra) (classical)
Anthony de Mare – Liaisons — Re-imagining Sondheim From The Piano (jazz; classical)
Anna Thorvaldsdottir In the Light of Air (International Contemporary Ensemble) (classical)