Here it is….Everything Ecstatic’s 9th Annual Best Albums of the Year List. Shouts out to everyone who’s followed along over the years and I’m excited to share the spoils of another year in music witchas. This year, I had to abandon the one album a day for 20-30 days format of the past few years, cause there just weren’t enough hours in the days leading up to this post. But you can still see all of the archives from ’06 to ’13 here and 2014’s entries beginning here.
At any rate, this year’s list is 50 albums in one post, straight up. Each entry is brief, with some scattered notable videos, links and I made a playlist of all the albums at the bottom. Props to Abhi/Dijon, Drake and Bob Moses, who put out quality releases in 2015, but were the last 3 albums cut from the Top 50. Also, you won’t find D’Angelo on this list as Black Messiah was released on December 15th, 2014. I know some outlets are ranking it this year, but release dates are the only definitive indicator of what year an album belongs to. But ultimately, Black Messiah doesn’t need to be placed on an arbitrary list to validate it’s beauty and importance far beyond a musical context. You can read more of my thoughts on the first performance from D’Angelo’s renaissance here, and know that if it was a 2015 album, it’d be sitting at #2 on this list. With that, let us begin the annual ritual. Enjoy!
All the feels on this one. Hot Chip is on top of their game it seems. Their new album, Why Make Sense? is out on May 18th and the 2nd single just dropped with an epic video featuring frontman Alexis Taylor in an Eternal Sunshine-esque search for lost memories. No more words, just your beautiful moment of zen:
In Our Heads represents the moment when everything i want in music comes together in one package. The sublime confluence of rock and electronica. The English techno sound done right. Keyboard mastery and an epic beat. The nerdy singer who rocks like he belongs in a different body and is just plain cool as hell. The sound that pays homage to the 80’s, 90’s and beyond. It’s a band demonstrating that they haven’t fallen off on their 5th studio album. This was the sound i expected from Hot Chip on this go around and they delivered in a major way.
I remember when i first heard this album, i was sitting at my kitchen table and the sheer epicness of In Our Heads’ opening track, ‘Motion Sickness’ was fucking gripping:
What a way to start an album… What a way to come back from your first release in two years. I was hooked. I still am. This is the band that changed the dance rock game with the unforgettable ‘Over and Over’ …flipped it upside down and made it really fucking clear that this shit doesn’t need to be pop. They haven’t dropped off A SINGLE BIT.
There’s a certain pattern to a Hot Chip album that i’ve come to love and they executed it to a tee on In Our Heads. The slow jams you can’t quite shake, like ‘Look At Where We Are’, with the trippy re-verb droplet sound in the background….it’s the song that breaks you down early on the record and takes you away from their infectious dance beats..makes you wanna bring that someone closer…before resuming regularly scheduled dancing; With a classic upbeat love song in ‘These Chains,’ that borrows dubstep, old drum and bass beats and the signature Casio keys subtly placed in the background.
While Hot Chip warms you up with ‘These Chains,’ you’re violently eased (how that’s possible, i don’t know, but they pull it off) into the albums signature dance floor track, ‘Night and Day’:
LOVE the Reggie Watts cameo singing the very 80’s deep robot-o-tronic voice:
Let’s sweat, let’s sweat Let’s sweat, let’s sweat Let’s sweat, let’s sweat Let’s sweat, let’s sweat (You know I’m thinking about you) — Watts Night & day & night (You got me working) — Watts Night & day & night (You got me working) — Watts Night & day & night (You got me working) — Watts Night & day & night
But the most spectacular moment on In Our Heads is ‘Flutes’. The most perfectly repetitive track i’ve ever heard. You gotta know your shit to pull this off. It’s flawlessly progressive as Alexis Taylor’s sultry voice guides us through the beat into the impeccable grand finale…..“One day you might realize…………That you will need to open your eyes!”:
After seeing the video, i always feel like the room is spinning around me when i hear this song…and i love that feeling. Of getting lost in a song and just surrendering to the beat for a moment.
Can you tell that i LOVE this band? Full disclosure, i’m a huge fucking fan. (Almost as big of a fan as this girl is.) Largely because they never disappoint me. In fact, they’ve been not disappointing me since The Warningchanged the game in 2006. They’re one of the best damn bands on the planet, bar none…and they just put out my 2nd favorite album of 2012.