Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The 10 Best Albums of 2015

This is a very special Christmas Season here at Night Beat HQ. Not because we love Christmas, but because, for the first time in a while we have actually managed to put out a Top 10 List at the end of the year. That's what happens when you hand out roughly 50 perfect albums per year. It gets a bit crowded. (Full Disclosure: 2015 had 49). Looking for the "WOW" that struck me the first time got me down to 18. I gave it one more listen and came up with some sort of ranking. I ranked 1-10. 11-18 will be in an honorable mention with no emphasis on rank.

  • #10 - Falling Up, Falling Up - I grew up in the 80's, which happens to be the Best Decade of Music Ever, for both the Mainstream and Christian Music Scenes. A Band which I say is "my band" is The Choir, with its Chiming Guitars. Everything has an "ethereal sound". Falling up has always reminded me of them. Unfortunately, one of their best ever is also their last. I guess I will have to stay with The Choir.
  • #9 - One Love Revolution, Pillar - Personally tied for "Best Pillar Album Ever" with Fireproof. Yes the recording was sub par on that one, but the in your face rap core was refreshing. It is telling that the original lineup, which was on Fireproof, was on this album.
  • #8 - Come In, Children 18:3 - Another swan song. No you don't get a free pass when you break up. There were rumors that On The Run was going to be the final album, and while it was okay, it was bordering Pop, and that isn't what we look to this band for. This is one of the loudest album ever by the band.
  • #7 - Valitus, The Ember Days - I have been a fan since they were still doing Finger Painting. They have always been an Alternative Band which swerves into Modern Worship from time to time. It's Better than the other way around. The name means "A Wailing" , though It didn't seem depressed. It was my last perfect album of the year and one of the most satisfying.
  • #6 - II, Capital Kings - Our first representative from The Dance/Synthpop arena, or is it Electronic/Industrial. It is really hard to figure this time around. Once one of the pack of Synthpop bands, they moved into the front through both their remix album, and this their second album, which moved into a harder edged sound
  • #5 - This Is Not A Test, Toby Mac - Toby Mac is Back. His music has never been bad, it's just that for a while now he has simply fulfilled expectations. This is not a test Smashes them, with a little help from Capital Kings, I might Throw in.
  • #4 - Empire, Derek Minor - The Only Rap Album to Make the list, but only because I did my best to get down to ten. 4 Rap Albums made a Perfect 5 (6 if you include TobyMac and Rapture Ruckus). All hail the king and the Title cut get things on to an explosive start
  • #3 - Invader (Deluxe), Rapture Ruckus - This is one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I was not exactly impressed by the two invader EP's, but when he put it all together into an album, it was an entirely different matter.
  • #2 - Science Fiction, Jonathan Thulin - The Too Lean Brothers (that's the pronunciation) continue to mine Platinum). While EDM brother David takes to the Reconstruction of Radio, Jonathan has taken the Alternative Path, though he does simply Press Play and dance from time to time. Enough of the name drops. We Start out as a Time Traveler, dance with Jekyll and Hyde, and even go dark with Cry Wolf. The Picture is complete.
  • #1 - Of Beauty and Rage, RED - EPIC. Red has always been the master of the Symphonic. The Darkest Part is definitely Song of The Year Material. They say repentance is a sincere Change of Mind. They have definitely repented for Release The Panic, which only threw their fans into a Panic. If you love EPIC, soaring orchestration, ballads, and hard driving rock and can only afford to get one album, this is it.
That's the Top 10 of The Year 2015.  You can see that this was a great year. Here are the Albums that failed to make the top 10. But They Were Still Perfect. 
  • We Are, The City Harmonic
  • Floodplain, Sara Groves
  • Broken Temples (Deluxe), Kevin Max
  • Anxiety, NYVES
  • Exhale, Plumb
  • Renegades Never Die, Skrip
  • Echoes of Wonder, Salt of The Sound
  • Fallen, Stryper
I think you would agree that this would make an excellent list on its own. My List is up, now it is time for you all to take your shots. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply. Merry Christmas to All.