Surprise releases, streaming windows, albums that are mixtapes/mixtapes that are albums, what a time to be in the music business. Ever since Beyoncé Beyoncé'd the game, there's been almost a one-upmanship to how artists can rollout albums. Jay Z partnered with Samsung, Jack White creates an array of vinyl treats and more. Here, REVOLT taps the best of the lot from 2015, from Beiber calling in some graf buds to Adele bypassing Spotify and Apple Music, these artists did what they wanted to do.
As one of music's best-selling artists in history, Adele proved that even in a streaming-controlled age that she could still shatter records strictly off pure album sales. The 27-year-old megastar broke the rules with the release of her comeback single "Hello" and its parent album, 25. She instantly charted at number one with first-week album sales of 3.38 million copies alone when she refused to stream the record or singles, commanding full business control: buy in stores or via iTunes.
With over 5 million sold in less than a month and a forthcoming soon-to-be sold out world tour, the music industry and fans alike had no option but to take notice of Adele's firm (if not dated?) model, ensuring both quality and quantity.—Jordan Diaz
Justin Bieber's Purpose Tracklist Reveal
Most artists reveal their album artwork and tracklist via a tweet or a simple IG post. But Bieber made his highly-anticipated Purpose rollout an even bigger event when he tapped multiple graffiti artists to tag his song titles in locations across the world (Australia, Paris, London) and then Biebs posted flicks of the pics on Instagram. It was a bold way to announce he was back and the music has lived up to the creative.—Jayson Rodriguez
Drake & Future
Was it a mixtape? Was it an album of songs that didn't make the cut for the highly-anticipated Views From The 6 LP? Whatever it was, Drake's surprise release of If You're Reading This It's Too Late started off 2015 with a bang and the 6 God hasn't stopped since. From helping us find some of our favorite dance moves in "Hotline Bling" to writing an off-the-cuff dis track that is now Grammy nominated, Drake killed the game this year. He seemed to have done it all...that is, until he decided to do more and joined forces with Future to help us all understand what a time 2015 was to be alive!
Equally, Future can claim that 2015 was his best year yet, not only co-releasing What A Time To Be Alive, but flooding fans with his own hard-hitting mixtape 56 Nights and, of course, his epic full-length DS2, proving there's no limit to how much great music
one person two people can put out in one year.—Lindsey Granger
While some may know her as Robert Pattinson's fiancée, fans of FKA twigs appreciate the bold artistry and contextual divergence behind her out-of-the-box brand and image. Twigs AKA Tahliah Barnett not only surprise released her third EP titled M3LL155X (pronounced "Melissa") but took control behind the scenes as well, producing and directing the project's 16-minute short film, which featured four tracks from the record. With critical acclaim from outlets like Billboard and Rolling Stone, FKA twigs has engraved her place among the most creative and transcendent artists of 2015.—J.D.
Meow The Jewels
After the amazing success of last year's Run The Jewels II, El-P and Killer Mike began a kickstarter campaign for a remix album titled Meow The Jewels. Yes, a full album supporting the "kitten culture" of the Internet, remixing their successful 2014 EP with cat sounds. It turns out, what many took as a joke, most did not, because this cat album turned into a very real thing. With producers like The Alchemist, Just Blaze and Prince Paul supporting the effort, the band raised $66,000 bucks. With that, we have 42-minutes of rapping over cat sounds and even a Snoop Dogg cameo. If that's not innovative, tell us what is?—L.G.