Best of 2015: Albums

5. Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic

So, I usually have a pretty good idea what my top albums of the year are. However, to be sure, I will skim through lists of what albums came out during the year. I was quickly scrolling through the list when something catches my eye, I unconsciously scroll upwards and overcorrect, I scroll down a bit, and there it is; Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic. How had this stayed off my radar?

I knew the band’s third album, the first one of theirs that I had ever purchased, was celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary year but somehow I failed to discover that they had a new album!

I have to admit, I still haven’t heard it all. I’m listening to it as I write this. Sure, it could be overhyped from just discovering the album, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The band whose Wikipedia page describes them as progressive metal doesn’t do them justice. Rock opera, the only label I can come up with doesn’t either. They mix elements of metal, rock, opera, and some of the most atmospheric sounds that you’ll ever hear together into an album that plays more like an Oscar winning movie than an album.

Coma Ecliptic is Between the Buried and Me’s third release since freeing themselves of Victory Records and like their two previous records on Metal Blade Records, it is a concept album. I haven’t even had a chance to study the lyrics, but I know it will bring me immense pleasure through the month of January.

Seriously, how awesome does this sound!?

The band has stated that the concept of Coma Ecliptic involves a man stuck in a coma, journeying through his past lives. It was added that the man faces a choice to either stay or move on to something better. Each song is its own episode in a sort of “The Twilight Zone-esque” fashion.

4. mewithoutYou – Pale Horses

Unlike Coma Ecliptic, Pale Horses was on my radar all year, and it didn’t let me down. The album draws from all the sounds of mewithoutYou’s 15-years of music making and wraps it up with a neat little bow.

3. Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves

Well, it only took eight years, but the follow-up to their 2007 album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (one of my favourite CD’s at the time of my graduation!) was released this spring, and it was one of my most listened to albums of the year.

The band’s sound hasn’t evolved a whole lot since their previous albums, but that was a plus for me. Strangers to Ourselves was chalked full of catchy, experimental and fun songs that I enjoyed all year long.

2. Punchline – Thrilled

I tried to temper my expectations for this album. Punchline’s 2012 EP, So Nice To Meet You, came at a perfect time in my life. It got me through so many tough times after the loss of my cousin. It reminded me of how great love can be. Their follow up full length, Thrilled, came out a few weeks ago.

Their sound had evolved since their previous work and I appreciated that. Some songs were catchier while others border lined on atmospheric. That said, nothing on the album was sticking with me on the level I was hoping for, but then the last song came on.

The album concludes with Green Hills. It is a beautiful song throughout, but I couldn’t help but feel sad while listening to it.

“Nothing’s ever gonna work out quite the way you think that it’s gonna work out … It’s gonna be different than you ever could have imagined,” the song’s chorus pronounces. As the song begins to fade out I was thinking to myself, man that’s hard having them end the album on such sad note, especially for a band that I associate with optimism and positivity. Then, as I thought it was over, everything changed.

The song comes back to life, and it’s bursting at the seams with feelings of hope and inspiration.

In the chorus, they say it’s going to be “different,” not good or bad, just different. Then they let the song define how we interpret what different means. In the beginning, I couldn’t help but think that different meant sadder. Sad things happen in life, and there is nothing we can do about it. Then when the whole song changes near the end, they remind us that there is beauty in that. Bad things may happen to us, but we can own them, they’re a part of our story, they help define who we are. Surrender, accept and try to appreciate what comes to you in this beautiful, miraculous thing we call life.

1. Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface

Blurryface was easily my most listened to album of the year and the soundtrack of my summer. I checked out the album after mildly enjoying it’s lead single, Tear In My Heart. I had no idea what to expect. My first thoughts listening to Heavydirtysoul were, “I had no idea these guys’ rapped.” Normally, this isn’t the sort of thing I’m into, but there was something about the song that I dug. Then I fell in love with the album’s second song, Stressed Out and enjoyed a few more of album’s upbeat songs as well. It was just such a fresh sound; no one song seemed too much like any other. I listened to Blurryface again, and again, and again. Each time, liking more songs until I could hardly choose between favourites.

I loved Blurryface, and it played during most of the big events of my year. I listened to it as I biked to worked during our gorgeous summer days. I listened to it driving to play in the slopitch league I joined this year. I listened to it on the way to the gym and during home workouts, I listened to it on my flight to Chicago and Kansas City. Basically, when anything big happened in 2015, this is what I was listening to.

What were your favourtite albums of this past year? Looking forward to anything this year? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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