Guitar World's 50 Best Albums of 2015
Despite one or two nasty rumors to the contrary, the guitar is alive and well in late 2015.
Just one listen to new studio releases by Joe Satriani, Buddy Guy, Iron Maiden, Keith Richards, Muse and Lamb of God would be all the convincing you need—but let's not forget that guitars (and basses) also turned out to be popular holiday gifts this year (at least among the crowd we hang with).
The guitar—whether we're talkin' about six-, seven-, eight- or 12-string varieties, acoustic or electric (or both)—survived the rise of the keyboard in the Eighties and the bass-barrage of electronic dance music of the early 21st century and, as evidenced by the 50-plus selections below, shows no signs of waning in relevancy.
Whether you're plugging into a vintage Vox AC30 with a medium-roasted Palir Guitars Titan model, or you just got your hands on an Axe FX and a new Ibanez eight-string, the guitar isn't going away any time soon.
Below, check out Guitar World's picks for the 50 best albums of 2015, as chosen by the editorial staff. The list features staff-consensus picks plus several personal choices from individual editors. Of course, we can't get or listen to every new release, so if you feel something is seriously missing, let us know in the comments below or on Facebook. And, in keeping with GW tradition, this top 50 list actually contains 53 albums. It's what we do. Enjoy!
As always, click on each photo to take a closer look. See you next year! Actually, we'll see you in a few minutes...
NOTE: This list is presented in alphabetical order, not from worst to best or best to worst. So there's no order of preference. Enjoy!
Courtney Barnett — Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
The Darkness — Last of Our Kind
Crobot — Something Supernatural
Dale Watson — Call Me Insane
Blackberry Smoke — Holding All the Roses | RELATED: Blackberry Smoke's 'Holding All the Roses' Serves Up a Dozen Southern-Fried Cuts
Clutch — Psychic Warfare
Chris Cornell — Higher Truth | Chris Cornell Premieres New Song, “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart”
Charlie Thompson — The Foothill Sessions (with TK Smith on guitar) | RELATED: Five Modern Throwback Artists Breathing New Life Into Revivalist American Music
Built To Spill — Untethered Moon
Buddy Guy — Born to Play Guitar | RELATED: Buddy Guy Premieres New Song, "Born to Play Guitar"
Blur — The Magic Whip
Black Star Riders — The Killer Instinct
Baroness — Purple | RELATED: Baroness Discuss Epic Guitar Solos on New Album, 'Purple'
Alabama Shakes — Sound & Color
The Bellfuries — Workingman's Bellfuries | RELATED: The Bellfuries Premiere New Song, "Loving Arms" — Exclusive
Act of Defiance — Birth and the Burial | RELATED: Chris Broderick Discusses His Years with Megadeth, Act of Defiance's Debut Album
Gary Clark Jr. — The Story of Sonny Boy Slim
Faith No More — Sol Invictus
Falling In Reverse — Just Like You
David Gilmour — Rattle That Lock | RELATED: David Gilmour Talks Guitars and New Album, 'Rattle That Lock'
Van Halen — Tokyo Dome Live In Concert
Trivium — Silence in the Snow
Warren Haynes — Ashes & Dust
Whitesnake — The Purple Album
Whitey Morgan and the 78's — Sonic Ranch
Venom — From The Very Depths
Gus G — Brand New Revolution
Ghost — Meliora
High on Fire — Luminiferous
Iron Maiden — The Book of Souls
JD McPherson — Let The Good Times Roll
Jeff Beck — Live+
Joe Bonamassa — Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks
Joe Satriani — Shockwave Supernova | RELATED: Joe Satriani Takes You Track by Track Through His New Album, 'Shockwave Supernova'
José González — Vestiges & Claws
Keith Richards — Crosseyed Heart | RELATED: Keith Richards' Guitar Tech Reveals Keef's Studio Rig
Lamb of God — VII: Sturm Und Drang | RELATED: Lamb of God's Mark Morton, Willie Adler and Randy Blythe Talk Turmoil and Their Vibrant New Album, 'VII: Sturm Und Drang'
Leviathan — Scar Sighted
Marilyn Manson — The Pale Emperor
Metal Allegiance — Metal Allegiance | RELATED: Alex Skolnick and Dave Ellefson Talk Metal Allegiance, Premiere "Can't Kill the Devil" Playthrough Video
Motorhead — Bad Magic
Muse — Drones
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds — Chasing Yesterday
Periphery — Juggernaut Alpha/Juggernaut Omega
Shannon and the Clams — Gone by the Dawn
Slayer — Repentless | RELATED: How Slayer's Kerry King and Tom Araya Focused Their Fury Into a Crushing New Album, 'Repentless'
Sleater-Kinney — No Cities To Love
Steve Vai — Stillness In Motion | RELATED: Steve Vai Premieres "Gravity Storm" from 'Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A.' DVD — Exclusive Video
Steven Wilson — Hand.Cannot.Erase
Sufjan Stevens — Carrie & Lowell
Tommy Emmanuel — It's Never Too Late
Wilco — Star Wars
Wire — Wire