I organized my top picks into three categories: top albums of the year, both ones that came out in 2015 and older albums I hadn't discovered until this year; my favorite songs that came out in 2015; and my favorite older songs that I found this year.
Top 5 Albums Released/Discovered in 2015
5. Beneath the Skin by Of Monsters and Men (2015)
After being slightly disappointed by a series of second albums, Of Monsters and Men finally pulled through and gave me something just as good as their first. If not better. It's ethereal yet upbeat, earthy yet mystical.
4. Smoke + Mirrors by Imagine Dragons (2015)
It's no Night Visions. I'm not sure Imagine Dragons can ever do better than that. It took me a long time to warm up to this second album, but it spent the year slowly working its way into me. It's lighter than Night Visions, but still has that same Imagine Dragons innovation.
3. 1989 by Taylor Swift (2014)
I became a huge Taylor Swift fan this year. (The new stuff, at least.) I'm not even sorry. She has completely reinvented herself, and it has paid off. Some tracks are "meh" for me (I've never been a fan of "How You Get The Girl") but when Taylor gets going, she steals the show.
2. American Beauty / American Psycho by Fall Out Boy (2015)
This album was my first introduction to Fall Out Boy. I would have never expected myself to be a Fall Out Boy fan, but given last year's foray into My Chemical Romance, I guess it was only natural. The awesome part about this album is that each song has a completely different style, yet they all fit together with a unified album sound.
1. Folie a Deux by Fall Out Boy (2008)
As if AB/AP wasn't good enough, I discovered the hidden gem of Fall Out Boy albums. It's more punk-rock and less pop-punk than their other albums, but the grittier sound suits them. It's telling intriguing stories, messing with its own structure, and referencing itself left and right.
Top 10 Songs Discovered in 2015 (released earlier)
10. "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift (1989, 2014)
9. "I Miss You" by blink-182 (blink-182, 2003)
8. "The (Shipped) Gold Standard" by Fall Out Boy (Folie a Deux, 2008)
7. "What A Catch, Donnie" by Fall Out Boy (Folie a Deux, 2008)
6. "Antichrist" by The 1975 (The 1975, 2014)
5. "Fake Your Death" by My Chemical Romance (May Death Never Stop You, 2014)
4. "CASTLE OF GLASS" by Linkin Park (LIVING THINGS 2012)
3. "Style" by Taylor Swift (1989, 2014)
2. "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes" by Fall Out Boy (Folie a Deux, 2008)
1. "Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet" by Fall Out Boy (Folie a Deux, 2008)
Top 10 Songs Released in 2015
10. "Army of One" by Coldplay (A Head Full of Dreams)
9. "Roman Holiday" by Halsey (BADLANDS)
8. "Renegades" by X Ambassadors (VHS)
7. "Dream" by Imagine Dragons (Smoke + Mirrors)
6. "Crystals" by Of Monsters and Men (Beneath the Skin)
5. "Summer" by Imagine Dragons (Smoke + Mirrors)
4. "Empire" by Of Monsters and Men (Beneath the Skin)
3. "Jet Pack Blues" by Fall Out Boy (American Beauty / American Psycho)
2. "Shots" by Imagine Dragons (Smoke + Mirrors)
1. "The Kids Aren't Alright" by Fall Out Boy (American Beauty / American Psycho)
Honorable mentions for both: "Irresistible" by Fall Out Boy, "Polaroid" by Imagine Dragons, "20 Dollar Nose Bleed" by Fall Out Boy, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift, "Save Rock and Roll" by Fall Out Boy feat. Elton John, "Just One Yesterday" by Fall Out Boy, "Goodnight Moon" by Go Radio, "Summertime" by My Chemical Romance, "Implicit Demand For Proof" by Twenty One Pilots
TL;DR; I just really, really like Fall Out Boy, guys.
In addition to digital music, I also saw Imagine Dragons live this summer. (Yes, I also saw them last year. Your point?) Halsey opened for them, and while I didn't care at the time, I'm now really excited that I got to see her, especially before her debut album. And Imagine Dragons themselves were amazing, of course. Though I still think I liked the Into the Night tour a little better.
Here's to another year of amazing music!
I leave you with my favorite music video of 2015:
What was your favorite music of 2015?