Staff Picks: Milly McMahon

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Best Albums of 2015

Jamie Woon – ‘Making Time’

A irreverent and experimental progression from his outstanding debut LP, Woon’s sophomore album is a life-enhancing experience. Fusing international rhythms and flavours, Woon invites his listeners to explore beyond the boundaries of what they have come to expect from chart music. Disregarding any musical trends or pre-determined expectations that may have affected his creative freedom, ‘Making Time’ is original and brave. Woon is an artist in every sense of the word.

Tame Impala – ‘Currents’

Creating music exciting and interesting enough to satisfy his die hard fans and those new to his expertly crafted sound, Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ album is Kevin Parker’s greatest to date. Representing just how magical his signature psychedelic aesthetic can feel, ‘Currents’ presses the pause button on time past and present, hypnotising and then guiding listeners softly away from reality.

Lana Del Rey – ‘Honeymoon’

The most exotic and timeless creature of current chart music coined an album more ethereal and ambitious than her previous three LPs for 2015. Including a Burnt Norton interlude from T S Eliot, the epic and opulent offering Salvatore, inspired by her Italian lover, and unforgettable High By The Beach, Del Rey reinstates herself as the pioneer of cinematic romance. Like some character from a dark David Lynch film, Lana fearlessly throws herself into a make believe world of sadness and seduction.

The Weeknd – ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’

Abel Tesfaye is unstoppable with his salacious, powerful R&B anthems. ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ paired him with Lana Del Rey, Sia and Ed Sheeran, introducing a more reflective and wide spanning arrangements of songs that reflect a confident sound engineered for a bigger audience. Still hedonistic as hell, I love Abel’s ability to say the most gnarly of things in the most beautiful of ways.

Florence and The Machine – ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’

If Foals created one of the best orchestral albums of the year with ‘What Went Down’ flame haired Flo most definitely created the most accomplished instrumental LP of 2015. Charged with a ferocious array of fury, angst and elation, Flo howls with elegant emotion on this quintessentially British compendium of crashing melodic tides. Conjuring an existential experience, ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’ is fuel for running, crying, kissing, screaming and just sitting quietly.

Best Songs of 2015

Selena Gomez feat. A$AP Rocky – Good For You

Selena steps up her game, collaborating with the illest rapper in the industry, the inimitable A$AP Rocky. Seductive and intriguing, the simple structure of Good For You builds with a distinct and sinister playfulness, capitalising on Selena’s innocence and Rocky’s uncensored sexual desire. The stripped-back sound and understated video make the song difficult to forget. Mesmeric and affecting, Good For You was a love it or hate it moment for the ex-Disney starlet. I LOVED it.

Drake – Hotline Bling

Arguably the best styled music video of the year, Drake’s Hotline Bling cast a magical spell over us all. Inspiring countless memes, copycat dances and slogan tees, Hotline Bling is Drake at his best, salsa-ing brazen in the face of his haters. Completely addictive, the lyrics run incessantly through the mind, on loop when experienced just once. Drake is a concept, a brand, a movement and so much more than just an artist. Hotline Bling epitomises his aesthetic, which is a luxe lifestyle we’re all busy buying into right now

Years and Years – Shine

Years & Years coined the most phenomenal pop album of 2015. Their debut LP ‘Communion’ is a truly brilliant body of work. Bursting with romantic optimism, Shine feels like a flash of melodic euphoria, dripping in colour and bursting with happiness. Transporting listeners to a place a of beauty, Shine is a serotonin-drenched gift of a track.

Foals – What Went Down

Stepping back up to the microphone to reclaim ownership of their vast international arena crowds, Foals unleashed a powerful thrash of a track in What Went Down. Unmatched by any other band attempting to rival their high octane productions, the poetic lyrics, deeply stirring vocal and instrumental arrangements are potent. The orchestra of anarchy Foals conjure is a dark, heady storm of provocative crescendos. This is fight music.

Adele – Hello

It is only good, right and true that the queen of hearts should return to our airwaves with a song so intense it quickly conjures memories of each profound moment our hearts have ever broken. Adele’s Hello tells the tragic story of romance wrecked and forgotten, the tear-stained losses we have all endured. Adele’s rich and bold vocal tones scream with passion, expressing the frustration we have all felt and struggled to repress. Adele liberates our hurt, with an effortless finesse so delicate it is truly masterful. Hello is the heart’s swan song, sung without fear that lovers past might hear.

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