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May 24, 2015

2015 albums to check out

by Arthi Vijaykumar, Staff Writer
2015 is not even halfway over and already the year has been overwhelmed with fantastic albums, from several hyped and long-awaited releases to many impressive debuts. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Father John Misty released his sophomore album "I Love You Honeybear" this year. Courtesy of Reporter Magazine
Father John Misty released his sophomore album "I Love You Honeybear" this year.

Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear
"I Love You Honeybear" is the sophomore album of singer-songwriter Josh Tillman, known by his stage name Father John Misty, and a fantastic one at that. Tillman writes honest songs spanning the spectrum of entirely passionate to disillusioned in a witty and occasionally cynical manner. Tillman is as sardonic as he is sincere, and his album includes songs that range from "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment," in which he harshly criticizes a girl he spent the night with, to "I Went To The Store One Day," in which he describes first meeting his wife and falling in love with her. While the album seems all over the place in tone, it is as fulfilling and satisfying as it is emotionally conflicting.

Hot Chip - Why Make Sense?
"Why Make Sense?," English band Hot Chip's sixth studio album, is a fantastic album to kick off the summer. Each track is lively in its own right, taking influences from 70s funk and disco and melding them with clean, modern sounds and production. The album doesn't rely on just sound: it sports clever lyrics as well. "Why Make Sense?" is a catchy and energetic dance pop record that rewards its listeners.

Drake - If You're Reading This It's Too Late
Okay, so while Drake's latest release isn't actually an album (it's a mixtape), it's a release worth bending the rules for. "If You're Reading This…" is the newest addition to Drake's solid track record was met with equal amounts of surprise and acclaim because it was an unexpected release. With trap-influenced beats and dark instrumentals, and tracks like "Legend" and "Know Yourself" which have quickly become iconic, "If You're Reading This…" is perfect for a late night party.

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie and Lowell
Sufjan Stevens wrote his most recent album, "Carrie and Lowell," to mourn the passing of his mother, Carrie Stevens. Musically, the album is an incredibly intimate, simple, stripped-down folk affair, punctuated with segments of instrumentation that, while small, have a large impact on listeners. Lyrically, Stevens tells narratives of his mother and stepfather, opening up about his mother's schizophrenia and addictions as well as the way she treated her children. "Carrie and Lowell" is a heartbreaking record that makes one ache for Stevens.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
At almost 80 minutes long, "To Pimp a Butterfly" is a monster of an album. The album is one long narrative, equal parts introspective dialogue and societal statement remarking on the treatment and view of black Americans. In the wake of unsettlingly common reports of police brutality and racial profiling, Lamar puts himself at the head of a revolution in songs like "Mortal Man," the twelve-minute closer that's more of a poem than a song. The album is likely the most influential and important album of the year, and will remain a snapshot into this time period for decades to come.

Are there any albums we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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  • jfc on May 30, 2015 at 11:18 PM
    this is the most boring copy-pasted set of opinions I've seen in my life.
    if I wanted to listen the latest bnm's I'd be reading p4k, but opening this, I hoped sco would either talk about local releases from around silver spring/the dmv, or at least something fresh and interesting that hasn't been shown to me over and over by those flannel&vinyl toting pricks who like the idea of having "good taste in music" but don't like wasting time listening to potentially non-acclaimed music
    I wouldn't rip on this so much, but I found the set way too familiar and didn't want to condemn you without any proof, so I looked it up. You literally don't have your own opinions about these albums. On pitchfork's review of the first one, ILYH: (a yawnfest that half-heartedly rips off fleet foxes/crosby stills & nash compositions and vocal styles, and only swaps off of that for some of the most uninteresting electronic arrangements I've ever heard, imo)
    p4k: "an album by turns passionate and disillusioned, tender and angry, so cynical it's repulsive and so openhearted it hurts."
    you:"Tillman writes honest songs spanning the spectrum of entirely passionate to disillusioned in a witty and occasionally cynical manner."
    p4k:"Honeybear is conflicted music that leaves me with conflicted feelings"
    you:"While the album seems all over the place in tone, it is as fulfilling and satisfying as it is emotionally conflicting." (you forgot to ctrl-c/v what was emotionally conflicting for mike powell in here, he took issue with tillman's self-deprecation and inability to sincerely express himself positively without a punchline)
    either you referred to the review while writing to get a "respectable" opinion (a pretty huge issue of journalistic integrity given the degree of similarity, by the way), or after having initially read it/listened to the album, you didn't have your own feelings about the music and inadvertently remembered what you were supposed to think
    I can't decide which is sadder
    • are you serious on June 1, 2015 at 1:42 PM
      How dare you. People share opinions - okay?? So Arthi shares opinions with experts. Is that a bad thing? You need to rethink your words before making such blatantly ignorant comments.
    • cool it friend on June 1, 2015 at 5:09 PM
      jeez I think your comment is really harsh, mr. jfc. basically everyone calls fjm's music witty and cynical, so there's really no surprise there, and no one has a patent on the phrase "emotionally conflicting." I agree the two reviews seem pretty similar but people talk about music a lot and this has been a huge indie record -- opinions tend to converge when albums get very popular and are talked about a lot.
      take MBDTF as a more extreme example; it's now acclaimed as a masterpiece, irreprehensible in many circles to the point where people basically aren't allowed to feel like it wasn't perfect and don't even want to.
      people think the same thing about albums all the time, and a lot of the same words are thrown around when talking about them in reviews. i really don't think any crime was committed here.
    • What? on June 1, 2015 at 5:34 PM
      This is a high school newspaper: she isn't writing for an independent music publication. Many people probably haven't heard of Father John Misty, and he's pretty likeable so obviously he's a safe bet. Sorry these picks aren't experimental enough for you.
  • LOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL on June 1, 2015 at 5:32 PM
    HM!!!!!!!!! Mr. "jfc", I'd like to point out that Arthi has written another story on Blair groups:

    I like how you refuse to even show your identity because you are scared that the people who don't agree with you (which is, by the way, everyone) will come and criticize you. Stop being a guy who's always trying to be different - these are amazing albums that have been picked expertly.

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