Best Albums of 2015 Tournament


The conversation of the year in music journalism starts at its end. Who dropped the best album in 2015? Subjectivity can’t be pried away from the debate, no matter how rigorous one’s standards for objectivity are. However, the conversation has become a circle jerk of sorts, where writers prime their pens with self-absorption. In an industry driven by the music of millennials, how could one not expect ego to play a part?

Yet, as a publication that prides itself on speaking honestly without fear of reproach, Mass Appeal prefers to encourage dialogue, rather than incite a riot by trolling from the pulpit. Accordingly, we’re taking a different approach to the best album of the year conversation by opening it up to our readers—and ultimately the Internet—offering a new way to visualize the debate using an age-old method.

The tournament bracket features 64 projects selected by the Mass Appeal editorial staff and seeded according to superiority, then region. The top spots were awarded to Kendrick Lamar, Future, Jamie xx, and Drake, who were placed in their regions accordingly. An album’s commercial success and cultural impact played in an important role in the seeding, but the overall quality of the project took priority. The remaining 60 projects were arranged following this formula and placed in their respective regions to illustrate the strength of specific areas, although occasionally seeding made that impossible. For example, the West Region features To Pimp a Butterfly, The Documentary 2, and Summertime ’06, as well as Ibeyi’s self-titled debut, although the twins hail from Cuba by way of Paris.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll open the tournament up to six individual rounds of voting. The final round of voting will take place on December 30, and the winner will be announced on December 31, just in time to close out the year, officially.

Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the tournament’s progress. And don’t be afraid to hit the comments section—located at the bottom of each bracket—to speak your mind on the selections.

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