We’re an eclectic bunch at Box Office Prophets, and our opinions aren’t limited solely to movies and television. Our staff includes a number of fervent music lovers who enjoy artists from all genres (although we admittedly tend to favor indie rock), which always means that our top albums list is unique.
2016 Calvin Awards: Best Album
By Kim Hollis
February 22, 2016
Our choice for Best Album of 2015 is Every Open Eye, the second studio album from the Scottish synthpop band CHVRCHES. A follow-up to their beloved debut album The Bones of What You Believe (which just barely missed our top 10 a couple of years ago), the band recorded this album in a basement and self-produced it all the way to release. While a cursory listen would give a first impression as a danceable pop album, a more profound exploration reveals more emotional depths. This clever juxtaposition makes Every Open Eye a worthy winner in this category.
Only two points behind was Adele for her tour de force 25. She didn’t have quite the broad support that CHVRCHES did, but Adele did have three first place votes to CHVRCHES two. Of course, she’s probably not going to be too upset that she didn’t win, since the album has sold in excess of 15 million copies worldwide and appeared in the top three on numerous Best Album lists across the industry. You probably have a “Hello” earworm now, don’t you?
If thought-provoking hip hop is your thing, look no further than Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly Combining jazz and rap as he delivers a complex and ambitious production, this album is one of the most critically acclaimed creations of the year. If people didn’t know Lamar before this year’s Grammy Awards, where he both performed and received an award for Best Rap Album, they certainly do now.
Next up in fourth place is Australian Courtney Barnett for the marvelously titled Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I just Sit. An invigorating, raw album with a grand sense of humor, Barnett captured the attention of listeners through fabulous songs such “Elevator Operator” (a personal favorite) and “Dead Fox.”
For their first studio album in 10 years, Sleater-Kinney returned with a doozy. No Cities to Love is an energetic return to their post-punk form. Filled with quick, tempestuous three-minute tunes, the trio of Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss has bowled you over almost before you know it’s even begun.
Let it not be said that the BOP staff can’t appreciate a good (great) musical. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton makes our list by virtue of its absolute genius lyrics, which are rife with such varied references as Dr. Dre, Eminem, LL Cool J, Charles Dickens, ¡Three Amigos!, and so many more. There’s a reason this is the hardest ticket on Broadway to get, but at least we can listen to the album in the meantime.
Believe it or not, we’re actually slotting in the performer who gave us “Call Me Maybe” at number seven. The infectious tunes from her album Emotion gave us the perfect backdrop for summer. Carly Rae Jepsen is no one-hit wonder, and even if this album wasn’t the same success as Kiss financially, it secured her place in the heart of fans of pop music.
Florence + the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful sees the return of the indie band after an eight-year hiatus. Her introspective tunes vary from soulful to electro-pop, and the mixture of styles really works here for a complete, satisfying experience.
Indie folk artist Father John Misty comes in ninth place for his second album, I Love You Honeybear. We were impressed with how he was able to convey a range of disparate emotions from one song to the next, infusing a wit and sharpness that can’t be denied.
We close out our top 10 with Elle King’s Love Stuff, a raucous album that is responsible for the song you couldn’t escape in 2015, “Ex’s and Oh’s.” It’s a gritty, diverse album from an artist with a great deal of promise.
Just missing our list this year were Grimes (Art Angels), Alabama Shakes (Sound and Color), Jamie xx (In Colour), El Vy (Return to the Moon), and Best Coast (California Nights).
2016 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music