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Elliott Smith

10 best pop music albums in 2015 include works by Earl Sweatshirt, Jlin, Natalie Prass

Earl Sweatshirt, "I Don't Like … I Don't Go Outside" (Tan Cressida/Sony): A meditation on the life of a 21-year-old rapper who earned fame while he was still in high school, Earl Sweatshirt's album rumbles with claustrophobic bass while midrange melodies and plunked piano tones guide tracks forward. As a lyricist, his couplets are precisely rendered and wildly evocative, one of many reasons why fellow Angeleno Kendrick Lamar recently dubbed the record one of his favorites.

Deafheaven, New Bermuda (Anti- Records): "New Bermuda" balances on a razor's edge separating heavenly beauty and...