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45 Best Albums of 2015 So Far

From Kendrick to Kacey, the best LPs from the first six months

45 Best Albums

Bob Dylan's 'Shadows in the Night' and Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly.'

It's nearly half over, but the year of the dueling streaming services has already given us plenty of reasons to press play. Mumford went electric, Dylan went Rat Pack and Mark Ronson went to the top of the charts. D'Angelo made a huge impact on 2015 with his bold return (after 14 years without a new album), which was followed by comeback LPs from Faith No More (after 18 years) and the Sonics (49 years). And of course there has been no shortage of newcomers — indie wordsmith Courtney Barnett, hip-hop's giddy Rae Sremmurd, high-concept dance crew Future Brown — turned heads as well. Here's the best of 2015's first six months.

Chris Stapleton, 'Traveller'

Chris Stapleton, ‘Traveller’

We Say: Old-school country mixed with Southern rock, a voice like a soul singer and no flashy production. If Chris Stapleton's debut album Traveller feels old, well that's the point. "If somebody tells me it sounds dated, I'd say that's great, as long as the date is 1978," says the lauded songwriter with the impressive vocal range. From autobiographical weepers such as "Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore" to the soaring, arena-ready "Parachute," each of the album's 14 tracks go straight for the emotional jugular and give a glimpse inside a wildly introspective mind.

Learn More: Chris Stapleton on Why Stunning New Album 'Traveller' Isn't for Kids