Best Music Of 2015 Staff Picks – Sean Chin

How long have you been with Live in Limbo and what do you do for the site? Since 2009. I am the Publisher and Chief Editor.

What were your three favourite albums of 2015?

1.Drake  – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late 

I found this album to be incredibly refreshing. Drake has found this place in the music industry, and is at the top of the mountain. He is aware that many people are trying to either directly or indirectly knock him off that peak. But he won’t give in. He can do what ever he creatively feels like now without restraints. 

2. Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

This is a truly one of my favourite albums of the year. It has very solid, full, big moments that go well with live music festivals. Florence proved with this album that she and her band is here to stay and are future classics. 

3. Dr. Dre – Compton 

I did not forget about Dre. To be honest, if I remember correctly, I found out about Dre from Eminem when I was in elementary school. Anyways I’ve always liked his music and what he represented. I never thought I’d get to hear a brand new album of his. And as the smart artist and business man that he is, he capitalized on his success in selling Beats to Apple, and then released Compton. It’s actually a thoughtful retrospect of his life and career. 

What was the most underrated album of 2015?

Muse – Drones 

Apparently a lot of people really didn’t like this new offering from Muse. Especially Pitchfork. “Like their prog-pop predecessors Rush, Queensrÿche, and Pink Floyd, Muse will never be cool, but their subject matter will always be relevant” Ian Cohen begins his review with. I think he’s wrong. Like Southpark, being relevant and talking about real world issues and moving away from what is stereotypically “cool” is the new cool. 

Bonus: Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind

Screw what ever all the haters saw. I really enjoyed listening to this album top to bottom. Yes, the old Mumford sound people loved is gone, but if this is what the band feels comfortable playing, then try to embrace it. I did. And I this is a great album. 

What were your three favourite songs of 2015?

1. Major Lazer – “Lean On”
I know it’s an EDM track. But enigmatic producer Diplo made the perfect summer track. I hear this song in my head subconsciously at least 3 times a day. Apparently Diplo offered the vocals to Rihanna and Nicky Minaj first. But I’m glad they said no. Danish singer Mø is absolutely spot on for this track. Blow a kiss, fire a gun, all we need is someone to lean on! 

2. Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett

Well paced simple straight to the point rock jam of the summer. This track sounds great from your earphones, computer speakers, and amazing live. Got to see her perform this one at WayHome and shared the photo pit with her for Viet Cong. 

3. Drake – “Energy”
As mentioned before, I found Drake’s “I’m not taking shit no more” attitude this year inspiring. I saw his music video when it launched on Apple Music. In it, he poked fun at memes and other celebrities that kept getting in is way. In the song he details his rise to success and is totally aware of those who are trying to bring him down. They try to drain him of his energy and synergy. But Drake knows whats up.

How many concerts and/or festivals did you go to in 2015?

Around 30. 

What were your three favourite concerts of the year?

1.Taylor Swift @ Rogers Centre, October 2, 2015

There is very little explaining to be done here. She’s is the most influential artist on the planet in 2015. I thoroughly enjoy her music, personality, philosophy, and influence. Getting to photograph her a second time was a pure pleasure. 

2. Madonna @ Air Canada Centre, October 5, 2015

Who doesn’t like seeing music icons sell out one of the biggest venues in the city? And it happened just 2 days after the Taylor Swift show. At this performance, Madonna proved again why she is the queen of pop and still is. 

3. Arianna Grande @ Air Canada Centre, August, 9, 2015

Yes, even I can see a trend here. I certainly like my pop princesses. But c’mon Ariana may have had that bad run in with the donut shop, but she’s has a pretty decorated career for such young lady. Films, TV shows, and now hits in the music scene. It always goes well with pyro too.

Bonus: Sleater-Kinney at Sound Academy , March 2, 2015

I absolutely love SK. They represent all that is right, they have great stage presence, and rocking music. 

What was your favourite festival of the year?

WayHome – 3 days in the middle of nowhere (sorry Randall) with the likes of Neil Young, Kendrick Lamar, Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent, and Sam Smith was pretty fun. 

Who was your favourite festival headliner?

Neil Young and Kendrick Lamar at WayHome 

Bonus: Florence and the Machine at Bestival TO

Which artist or band won 2015?

Lana Del Rey 

What/who was the biggest musical disappointment for you?

No artist really disappointed me. But in the industry, Rdio filing for bankruptcy and getting its assets acquire by Pandora was kind of sad to see. I used Rdio for around 2 years before and I really enjoyed its service

In your opinion, what was the biggest music story?

– In general, Apple shakes the music industry again with Apple Music and Beats 1

– For LiL, the passing of Scott Weiland and our Dawn Hamilton conducting his last interview

What was your favourite new musical discovery of 2015?

Courtney Barnett, Melanie Martinez, and Milk & Bone. 

Who should we be looking out for in 2016?

Courtney Barnett, Melanie Martinez, Alessia Cara, Missy Elliot, Raury

Who do you hope goes on tour next year?

Radiohead! PJ Harvey, Daft Punk 

Who’s going to be headlining (or at least playing) all the 2016 festivals?

I hope Radiohead will be everywhere

Is there anything else you want to say about 2015 or predict about 2016?

2015 was a pretty solid year for music and the industry.

The streaming war isn’t over yet. Rdio may be gone, but we need to wait to see what Pandora does with it. Give Apple music another year and see their subscriber base grow to match that of Spotify . Data bandwidth is gradually becoming more affordable to the masses .

There is a bunch of young artist like Raury, Melanie Martinez and Alessia Cara who are going to be going to big places very soon.

About author

Chief Editor & Founder of Live in Limbo. Host & Producer of the Capsule Podcast. Sean is an award-winning photographer and Nikon Professional Services member. His work has appeared on the CBC, Pitchfork, and MUCH. He is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS) and has been involved in the Toronto music scene since 2005. He is also an endurance and CrossFit athlete. You should follow him on Twitter @SeanChin.