Sorry, Adele: These Are 2015’s 10 Best Albums

Or so says our house music critic.

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Each year, Mother Jones‘ house critic browses through hundreds of new albums and pulls out maybe a couple hundred to review for the magazine and website. But only a few can make the final cut. Below, in no particular order save alphabetical, are Jon Young’s abbreviated write-ups of his 10 favorite albums in 2015. Feel free to heartily disagree and share your own faves in the comments.

1. Mose Allison, American Legend Live in California (Ibis): Sly, wry piano blues and jazz from a now-retired giant.

2. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom+Pop): Ramshackle, catchy Australian guitar pop capturing the absorbing minutiae of everyday life. (Extended review)

3. The Bottle Rockets, South Broadway Athletic Club (Bloodshot): Brian Henneman’s loose-jointed, empathetic roots-rock ages well. (Extended review)

4. D’Angelo, Black Messiah (RCA): Hazy, mind-bending funk of a long-lost maverick. (This one actually dropped in mid-December 2014, too late to make last year’s list, so we’re giving it rollover privileges.)

5. Bob Dylan, The Cutting Edge 1965-1966 (Columbia Legacy): The fascinating rough drafts of a genius at work. (Extended review)

6. Julia Holter, Have You in My Wilderness (Domino): Soothing and gently unsettling chamber pop, like a puzzling dream. (Extended review)

7. Noveller, Fantastic Planet (Fire): Pulsing, multicolored ambient soundscapes built from guitars and synths. (Extended review)

8. Speedy Ortiz, Foil Deer (Carpark): No sophomore slump for Sadie Dupuis’ loquacious, brainy guitar rock. (Extended review)

9. The Staple Singers, Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976 (Stax): The monumental gospel legacy of Roebuck “Pops” Staples, daughter Mavis, and family.

10. Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Under the Savage Sky (Bloodshot): Floor-shaking, lease-breaking R&B. Modern yet retro.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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