2014 was a fantastic year for music. Whether you are a fan of pop, country, rock, punk, or alternative, lots of new music hit the airwaves this year.
And it was good.
Here’s a short list of albums that did not make it onto my top 10:
The Both, The Both
Pixies, Indie Cindy
Jack White, Lazarreto
Little Daylight, Hello Memory
Future Islands, Singles
St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Plus Sleater-Kinney released a single, “Bury Our Friends”, which bodes very well for their upcoming 2015 album, No Cities to Love.
I cannot wait.
Here are my top 10 albums for 2014.
10. Hunger Games, Mockingjay: Part I Soundtrack.
Although I feel they made a faux pas by not including Jennifer Lawrence’s version of “The Hanging Tree” on this release, it makes it onto my list on the strength of the Lorde’s contributions, including “Yellow Flicker Beat.”
9. Weezer, Everything is Going to Be Alright in the End
This album captures the idea “return to form” for this long-lasting and prolific band. In my opinion, Weezer’s album’s have been uneven at best. This makes me recall the heydays of The Blue Album and The Green Album, and I believe Rivers Cuomo may be right: Everything is going to be okay.
8. Protomartyr, Under Color of Unofficial Light
This band brings forth a dark and brooding sound that gets into my bloodstream and won’t leave. The lead singer sounds like someone, but I haven’t been able to place my finger on whom. Part ’90s-influenced, and part utterly unique, I can’t stop listening to what Protomartyr is creating.
7. TV on the Radio, Seeds
This was a late entry, and I had to rewrite my list because of it. Seeds is a continuation of TV on the Radio’s exploration of music and sound. They can bring the poppy, like the do on “Could You”, and they can bring the noise experimentation like they do on the opening track, “Quartz”. Seeds needs a lot of listening, and it deserves it.
6. Azealia Banks, Broke with Expensive Taste
Pretenders to the throne, step aside. I’m looking at you, Iggy and Ariana. Azealia Banks puts you all to shame. Sassy, dirty, and not afraid of her quirks, Azealia is going to school all y’all.
5. The Both, The Both
This came out early in 2014, and stood the test of time. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo team up to make the most of both of their talents. Pretty and poignant, funny and bittersharp, these features two veteran artists at the top of their game.
4. Jenny Lewis, The Voyager
Another veteran of the singer-songerwriter/pop life, sweet-voiced chanteuse Jenny Lewis comes back to the scene with wry observations on being the oldest, singlest woman in the room.
3. FKA Twigs, LP1
This is the weirdest, sexiest album of the century so far. Deceptively cute-looking, FKA Twigs (Tahliah Debrett Barnett) lets her darkest, most seductive fantasies flow. Her voice is high and breathy, yet powerful, and she captures a lot of desire, insecurity, and longing over the course of these 10 tracks.
2. The Black Keys, Turn Blue
I am surprised that this came in second place on this list. I truly feel it was one of the best albums this year. I have enjoyed hearing the evolution of The Black Keys from a two-piece garage band into their current iteration. Given access to the toys in the production room, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney turned the story of a bad year into a classic rock album. From the seven-minute opus of “The Weight of Love”, I knew they were doing something different. I know long-time fans are not in love with this one, but I Turn Blue leave no question, to me, that The Black Keys have more to show us.
My number 1 pick and Artist of the Year coming before Jan. 1, I promise. In the meantime, what was your favorite album of 2014?