2015’s album of the year.
With 2015 coming to an end I decided that it was time to pick an album that stands tall above the rest. Now, I’m not going to pretend there isn’t an obvious choice… Of course I’m talking about Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” which has literally surpassed the best of 2015 lists and gone straight to the best albums of all time lists. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love that album, it’s masterful. But there is one album that was released this year that in my opinion gets overlooked by the masses. ‘I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt’.
Remember odd future? The Tyler, the Creator led group that explored controversial musical themes such as rape and murder? They broke up. This was a rumour that speculated for quite some time until eventually fans of the group just accepted it. No matter though, from the ashes of Odd Future came Earl’s latest effort which perfectly captures how in the last few years he has become older and wiser. Much wiser. From this change Earl has managed to release an outstanding album that feels more like an experience than just something to listen to.
The opening track “Heuy” is the perfect introduction to an album like this because of its short length and punchiness. The track is only a single verse which doesn’t focus on a particular theme or go into much depth but this works because it is as though it is preparing you for the rest of the album. This is then followed up by the track ‘Mantra” which deals with themes such as addiction, fame and the darkest part of broken relationships. These themes are consistent throughout the album and with each track you get further engulfed into Earl’s world and feelings.
One of the greatest things about this album is how genuine it is. Every track means something to Earl and they all seem to come from a really dark place. The albums first single ‘’Greif’’ is the best example of this. This song taps into the darkest part of addictions and loss of family members. The whole thing is relatable even if you have different problems to Earl. He gives the impression that he is howling at the moon hoping that somebody understands or just listens to him and this is where the relatability comes from. Everything about the track just works so well. The lyrics have true meaning and the beat utilises this water logged sound that engulfs me and gives the feeling of being at the bottom of the ocean. That’s how powerful it is.
The second half of the album contains features from Dash, Wiki, Na’kel Smith and Vince Staples. The strongest of these features is Na’kels verse on ‘’DNA’’. Again, it’s the honesty and the rawness Na’kel uses that is so prominent through the album. Na’kel takes us through his feelings after the death of his brother and even though he may not have the best rapping abilities but he is so open with us that this becomes overshadowed. I also think it is fitting to mention that Vince Staples work on ‘’Wool’’ is also incredibly notable as always.
Honestly, everyone has that one or so albums that will always stick with them and for me this is that album. There is not a bad word that I can say about it and I believe that everyone owes it to themselves to experience it. I don’t think there will ever be an album that has this kind of effect on me again, and that is why it is my pick for the best album of 2015.