On this delightful Christmas Day, here is our Head of Music, Maihri Gill telling you about the albums that made her 2015!
Jamie Woon – Making Time
Jamie Woon came out of nowhere for me. This album was the first I’d heard of him, and I was instantly hooked. The album for me is elevator chill, in a good way. The tracks are mellow and comfortable, and with the effortless vocal creates the most chillin’ album of 2015, while bringing laid-back jazz a cool and modern twist. ‘Celebration’ is a jam – it’s quirky and soulful and gives me the feels. This is one of my favourite albums this year because it’s unlike anything I’ve heard before, and kept me calm during an especially horrible assignment.
Kwabs – Love + War
As a debut album, Love + War is standout. From small sessions in Youtube videos to touring and creating this record, Kwabs’ voice carries such soul and sentiment in every word he sings. He manages to perfectly pair his deep, husky voice and melt it over so many different sounds. His gospel ballads like ‘Cheating On Me’ and ‘Perfect Ruin’ are painfully honest and heartfelt, and his dark voice is a juxtaposition to any soft piano and slow rhythm. On the other hand, he can produce upbeat and funky tracks that are so catchy. ‘Fight For Love’ and ‘Make You Mine’ are so delicious. The 90’s influence is enough to make anyone want to dance. This album is such a mixed bag of soul and funk, it’s a brilliant debut.
Justin Bieber – Purpose
Justin Bieber has dominated 2015, and this album only came out in November?! It’s 19 tracks of Bieber-y goodness. I was a Belieber before, now it’s FOR LIFE. The record is fun, upbeat, and an emotional roller coaster at times. He came back with a point to prove, and he did just that; everyone is eating their words. Yes, there a few cringey tracks with longer-than-comfortable monologues, but once you get past that and really listen to it, it’s addictive. ‘Company’ and ‘Been You’ are the standout upbeat tracks, as well as ‘Sorry’ – obviously. A few tracks get lost in the line-up, but there’s enough absolute bangers to make up for it. Bieber, well done, and call me.
The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
What a comeback. The Maccabees returned with their fifth album this year, and it was not a disappointment. Title track ‘Marks To Prove It’ gave us an entrance into a more settled and confident record. The band ditched their rushed and manic flare and welcomed a chilled, comfortable musical setting for clever lyrics. The Maccabees have always been known for their change-up in pace throughout a song, demonstrated beautifully in ‘Something Like Happiness’. Orlando’s vocals are flawless throughout, and with the help of a female vocalist and string instruments in some tracks, the album has a higher, almost angelic feel. Standout track ‘Silence’ sang by guitarist Hugo White gives the album a wholly sentimental presence. Maybe I’ll stop talking about interviewing him in 2016. Probably not though.
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness
Out of the low-key R’n’B scene came the Weeknd. He’d always been there, making songs about naughty things, but this year made it all credible. He came from rough beginnings, but his emergence onto the music scene was substantial. Beauty Behind The Madness is a mixture of slow and sensual songs, and funky, bass-orientated tracks. Lyrically, the album is tormented and brutally honest, but with carefully selected and varied rhythms, the record is addictive. ‘Real Life’ and ‘Acquainted’ are standout tracks, as well as the undeniably catchy and timeless ‘Can’t Feel My Face’. There’s no doubt that 2016 has a lot in store for The Weeknd.