After listening to what seems like over 100 different EDM albums in 2015, we have created a list below as to what we think are the top albums of the year based upon a wide variety of criteria, including the impact of live performances. This does not discredit the number of great singles that have been released, nor have we forgotten about some great albums that we were graced with in 2014, even ones that are still selling at the top of the dance/electronic charts today (i.e. Odesza’s In Return, Calvin Harris’ Motion, Porter Robinson’s Worlds, etc.).
The top 10 best electronic dance music albums of 2015
10. Avicii – Stories
- Release date: October 2, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 14
- Biggest Single: Waiting for Love
Avicii’s Stories is the follow up to his 2013 album “True” which saw a number of mixed reviews. Some claiming that he stepped way out of his boundaries while others say he is an innovator in the EDM scene. But no matter what anyone critiques of Avicii, you can’t take away the fact that he has his own sound that nobody has really replicated.
For Stories, he summons his traditional Swedish sounds and mixes them with a newer aged pop version of EDM that has been growing and becoming more apparent in 2015. His opening tack that he co wrote with Martin Garrix, “Waiting for Love” is a great example of this. Other tracks on this album have gained some critical reception as paying homages to Daft Punk, specifically “Talk to Myself”, “Touch Me” and “City Lights.”Avicii also kept his country influence that he had in True with “Broken Arrows” featuring Zac Brown.
If you’re an Avicii fan, then this album won’t disappoint you. He stays true to his sound and innovation techniques and continues to be a pioneer in the music industry.
9. Tiesto – Club Life: Volume 4 New York City
- Release date: May 18, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 18
- Biggest Single: Secrets featuring Vassy
Now I know what most of you are thinking, this isn’t even a Tiesto original album… Well that doesn’t matter. This album is a must listen if you want a very fine collection of EDM tracks to get you through your traffic filled commutes or when you’re trying to get a party going on the weekends.
Tiesto is certainly a legend and a master DJ. He knows exactly what to play to immerse a crowd into the experience of music. This album is a perfect example of his abilities to pick and choose the right tracks to feature even if they aren’t his own.
His single “Secrets” featuring Vassy was an instant classic debuting in the early part of 2015, which still finds itself getting played by a number of different DJ’s at EDM festivals. “The Only Way Is Up” is Tiesto’s first collaboration with Martin Garrix which has a very unique sound that certainly gets people off their feet and dancing in no time. His remix’s and edits of other tracks on this album such as “Home” and “Sky High” show his genius, as these originals songs get even better with his personal touch.
Most of these songs are featured in all his live performances in 2015, which makes them even a more must listen before you catch Tiesto on stage in the future.
8. Major Lazer – Peace is the Mission
- Release date: June 1, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 9 (14 with extended version)
- Biggest Single: Lean On featuring MØ
It’s no wonder why Diplo has earned a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year. His work with Skrillex early in 2015 along with this album released in the summer time definitely helped earned his reputation. His single with the newly discovered MØ created a massive buzz in the EDM scene, as the song was also remixed by prominent DJ’s such as Tiesto, Jauz and Dillon Francis, among others.
Major Lazer was able to channel their innovative unique sound into this album while also using popular artists featured on their tracks such as Ellie Goulding with “Powerful.” It’s definitely a more pop feel album, but it stays true to the Major Lazer sound, which is difficult considering the personnel changes they have had throughout the years.
What I like most about this album is that it is very untraditional. You will not hear many songs like this by all the other EDM artists. If you’re looking for something different, Diplo never fails to disappoint.
7. Alesso – Forever
- Release date: May 22, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 14
- Biggest Single: Heroes (We Could Be) featuring Tove Lo
Loaded with amazing chart topping singles, Forever comes in at number 7 on our list due to Alesso’s ability to generate incredible collaborations, creating hits we will listen to for years to come. “Heroes” was sone of the biggest songs of 2015 and was featured on every hit radio station in the country, not to mention I couldn’t go to the gym or a Starbucks without hearing this tune played in the background.
Though some would remember Alesso for the year solely because of Heroes, he also was a part other great tracks. His collaboration with Roy English in “Cool” is definitely a must listen. Also, anytime you share a track credit with Calvin Harris, the song is most likely to be a hit (see “Under Control”). Rounding out his album is Alesso’s One Republic mash up, where he was able to fuse two very different styles together with his release of “If I Lose Myself”.
Alesso had fantastic year at the major music festivals. He played his second Coachella set in two years along with hitting other major events like EDC Las Vegas and Lollapalooza in Chicago.
6. Zedd – True Colors
- Release date: May 15, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 11
- Biggest Single: I Want You to Know (featuring Selena Gomez)
Though many people will begin their analysis of True Colors by calling it a “Pop” album rather then an EDM album, it’s hard to deny that Zedd was able to put together yet another great collection of tracks. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first before I listened to it as well, but once I heard his opening track, “Addicted to a Memory” I could tell the keyboard master Zedd stayed true to his own unique electronic sound.
This album’s prominence continued to build with other major festival tracks such as his signature opener for the year “Beautiful Now” (featuring Jon Bellion). Zedd was also able to collaborate with other amazing unique artists such as up and comer Troye Sivan with “Papercut” and the band Echosmith with “Illusion.”
Zedd’s True Colors tour is really what puts this album into the top ten for 2015. He performed at some of our nation’s biggest venues such the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden in New York City drawing massive crowds and adding special guests such as Martin Garrix, Steve Angello, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, etc. Out of all the shows I attended in 2015, True Colors might have to be my favorite. This album is certainly what I would expect and want from Zedd.
5. Above & Beyond – We Are All We Need
- Release date: January 16, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 16
- Biggest Single: Blue Sky Action (featuring Alex Vargas)
- Nominations: Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Recording
Debuting at #1 on Billboard 200 Dance/Electronic Albums chart, Above & Beyond released yet another amazing piece of work. Their progressive trance style really shines in this album beginning with their major festival banger “Blue Sky Action” (featuring Alex Vargas).
Picking up a Grammy nomination for their single, “We Are All We Need” (featuring Zoë Johnston), Above & Beyond continues to be one of EDM’s oldest and still extremely relevant supergroup. However, some of their excellence should be credited to the sounds of Zoë Johnston who was featured on a number of tracks such as “Fly to New York”, “Save Me” and “Peace of Mind.”
Their popularity has gained attention from major celebrity’s as well, including Breaking Bad’s own Bryan Cranston, who even joined the group on set during EDC Las Vega. This album’s soft sounds are perfect for those days where you just want put in your headphones and take yourself to a far away place so your mind can rest and relax in peace. If you like what you hear, be sure to catch Above & Beyond when they bring back their acoustic tour in 2016 to major cities across the country.
4. Hardwell – United We Are
- Release date: January 23, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 15
- Biggest Single: Young Again (featuring Chris Jones)
The two-time #1 DJ in the world released a heavily anticipated United We Are in early 2015 and it did not disappoint. Hardwell was able to take the energy from his live sets and place them into this album with ease.
The very first track, “Eclipse” opens up your ears giving you chills as if you were standing in a massive crowd watching him in person. He follows up with many other great tracks such as “Let Me Be Your Home”, “Colors” (his collaboration with the legend Tiesto), “United We Are” (featuring Amba Shepherd) and his most popular release off the album, “Young Again” (featuring Chris Jones). Hardwell closes off his work perfectly with a soft acoustic version of “Dare You” (featuring Matthew Koma), which will connect you with some of your deepest emotions.
This album is definitely a must listen to if you plan on ever seeing Hardwell live, and if you have seen him live recently, prepare for ultimate flashbacks while you transport yourself back to the festival or venue that you first saw him play.
3. Kaskade – Automatic
- Release date: September 25, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 14
- Biggest Single: Disarm You (featuring Ilsey)
Kaskade was maybe the biggest winner of 2015. He had one of those years where you stop and think, “wow how can one producer make such an impact in music in such a short amount of time.” He kicked off festival season in April with the largest crowd that Coachella Music Festival has ever seen at the main stage, and then continued his onslaught of massive crowds at other major music festivals such as EDC Las Vegas and Lollapalooza in Chicago.
To top his year off, Kaskade released one of his best albums yet, Automatic. A great mixture of sounds, Automatic had most critics puzzled as to what style or genre they would call it. The first released single, “Never Sleep Alone,” quickly caught the EDM scene’s attention, then he followed up with a crowd favorite “Disarm You” (featuring Ilsey) and a Ryan Raddon vocal original “We Don’t Stop.” After personally witnessing Kaskade play these tunes on both major music festival stages as well as his Automatic tour stop at the Navy Pier in Chicago, it’s clear that his skills as a producer make this an album a must listen for any music lover out there.
2. Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü
- Release date: February 27, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 9
- Biggest Single: Where Are Ü Now
- Nominations: Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album, Grammy for Best Dance Recording
- Wins: Grammy for Best Dance Recording
Skrillex & Diplo made their first appearance as a duo in 2014 when they took over Ultra Music Festival in Miami with their surprise collaboration, calling themselves Jack Ü. This was maybe one of the most talked about sets at the nation’s biggest EDM festival, instantly generating interest in any future album from both Skrillex and Diplo fans.
These two were able to use both of their unique sounds to create an album of original songs. Even though “Take Ü There (feat Kieza)” was their first big hit, they really garnered massive attention for their collaboration with Justin Bieber for “Where Are Ü Now” which has grabbed them a Grammy Award win and almost 500 million views on YouTube. This song became such a big hit that Bieber actually made an appearance at both Ultra Miami in 2015 (along with a random appearance by Diddy) and Hard Summer Fest in August of 2015 to sing the song live.
Skrillex & Diplo were also able to create many other great songs by using collaborations with other top artists such as 2 Chainz (Febreze), Kai (Mind, with some vocals from Skrillex aka Sonny Moore himself) and even a Missy Elliott remix of Take Ü There.
1. Galantis – Pharmacy
- Release date: June 8, 2015
- # Of Tracks: 13
- Biggest Single: Runaway (U&I)
- Nominations: Grammy for Best Dance Recording
If anyone is surprised by the #1 choice of 2015, then you may have not have listened to this album from start to finish. Galantis‘ unique Swedish electro style has really taken the EDM scene by storm, especially in 2015. They instantly burst to the top of the charts when they released the hit single “Runaway (U&I)” which ultimately grabbed them a Grammy nomination. Not to mention it was one of the most remixed songs in 2015 by some of the worlds top DJ’s such as Kaskade (one of their biggest supporters), Dillon Francis, Martin Garrix, and many more. I could not go to a single festival in 2015 without hearing this song played in some form during multiple sets throughout the day.
The second single off Pharmacy, Peanut Butter Jelly has also turned into an instant classic. This song gets everyone up off their feet whether it’s at a house party in the suburbs, weddings or a club in downtown LA. Even non EDM lovers cant disagree with the likeness of this beat. With many other hits off this album such as Gold Dust, Louder Harder Better, Water, In My Head, Firebird, this album is riddled with greatness and a must have in your iPod for any occasion.