All Songs Considered: The Year In Music 2015

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Clockwise from upper left: Bjork, Torres, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Courtney Barnett, Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Hamilton musical, Sufjan Stevens (Courtesy of the artists)
Clockwise from upper left: Bjork, Torres, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Courtney Barnett, Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Hamilton musical, Sufjan Stevens (Courtesy of the artists)

Bob loves it. He hates it. He's on the fence about it. Lyrics from Courtney Barnett's "Pedestrian At Best," from Bob Boilen's favorite album of 2015, could also stand in for his feelings about the music he listened to all year. But today we're here to celebrate the best of the bunch. On this week's All Songs Considered, hosts Bob and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson for an attempt to digest the entire year in music in just 90 minutes, in a discussion of the albums that stood out to them and the ones they just couldn't ignore.

Robin was thrilled with the return of some of his favorite artists. At the start of the year, Sleater-Kinney emerged from a 10-year hibernation with what might be their most accessible, confident record yet; near its end, Missy Elliott returned with a bangin' new single. Bob's biggest surprise, Girlpool, had the smallest sound (just two guitars and no drums) but the duo, teens when they made the record, make bare-knuckled songs. Bjork released a genre-blurring gift-of-an album that just keeps on giving and Joanna Newsom made Ann's year with the stunningly complex Divers. For Stephen, it was a great year for lyricists like Kendrick Lamar, whose resonant To Pimp A Butterfly hyped him up, and Joan Shelley, whose soothing, beautiful voice calmed him down. And 2015's biggest pop moment, Adele's 25, has its broad audience to thank for record-breaking sales just in time for the end of the year.

Hear the discussion and the rest of the songs on the show, and look out for NPR Music's list of our 50 favorite albums of 2015, coming soon.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

More Photos:

Cover art for Something More Than Free.

Cover art for Something More Than Free.

Cover art for Before The World Was Big.

Cover art for Before The World Was Big.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.