Music: A look at the top 5 albums of the year (so far)

Kendrick Lamar performs at Norwegian music festival Øyafestivalen in 2013. Lamar's latest album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” was one of the most anticipated albums of this year. (Jørund Føreland Pedersen/Wikimedia Commons)

Summer is not only the season of hot weather, but also the season of hot entertainment. Movie blockbusters have broken records at the box office, and millions of fans have traveled to venues all over the country to see their favorite artists on tour.

In the same way, summer is a prime season for artists to release new music. 2015 has been a big year so far across all genres, and with fall on the horizon, it's a perfect time to reflect on this year's most talked about offerings. I've put together a top 5 albums list for the first half of 2015, in no particular order.

Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”

Following “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” “To Pimp a Butterfly” was one of the most anticipated albums of 2015. Adrian Spinelli of Paste Magazine described it as “what thoughtful hip hop is supposed to sound like.”

She goes on to say it is “the product of a rapper who quickly rose to the upper echelon of hip hop and took a long hard look at the scope of the scene and more importantly, himself, before letting out a visceral, imaginative and musically ambitious production that demands your attention.”

Tame Impala, “Currents”

This is a personal favorite of mine, as I have not stopped listening to this album since its release. “Currents” immediately took the No.1 spot on Pitchfork’s Highest Rated Album list and No. 2 on “Spin’s.” According to Vulture, this album has it all: “Daft Punk–esque sheen ('Let It Happen'), soft-rock reveries ('Cause I’m a Man') and even the occasional crunching psych-metal riff ('Eventually')."

Courtney Barnett, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit”

Courtney Barnett's “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” is the debut album for this Aussie native. According to “Vulture,” “Barnett writes lyrics like nobody else out there right now; her songs are full of short-story-like description, droll humor and flashes of genuine insight.”

Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie & Lowell”

There has been a lot of buzz around Sufjan Steven since the release of “Carrie & Lowell.” The album is named after his mother and stepfather. Carrie was bipolar, schizophrenic and suffered from drug addiction and substance abuse. Lowell was married to Carrie for five years, but played a major role in Stevens’s life after his mother abandoned him as a child, according to a “Pitchfork” article. What makes “Carrie & Lowell” such a great album is how well crafted the lyrics are, in addition to the intense emotions packed into each song.

The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”

I could not make a top album’s of the year list without including The Weeknd. He’s spent all summer playing music festivals and filling the airwaves, and as a result, a lot of listeners cannot stop talking about him.

On May 27, he released the music video for the song “The Hills.” Following the release, it debuted at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, and later reached No. 5. On June 8, “Can’t Feel My Face” was officially released after being leaked early online, but the song debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 1 status shortly thereafter. Both songs held the top two spots on the Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart for the week of July 25.


Angie DeRosa is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at angelina.derosa@uconn.edu. She tweets @theangiederosa.