For me 2014 was the year of the podcast. Prior to this year, I had rarely listened to them and now I seem to devote as much time (if not more) to podcasts as I do to music. Also, despite the endless and barrier-free sources of music out there, I sometimes miss the days of scrounging used CD stores or saving up to buy special editions. Somehow I felt more inspired those days! Despite this, I have put together a list of my favorite albums of 2014.
My Top 10 of 2014
1. TV On The Radio – Seeds
From the opening track “Quartz” to the ending and title track “Seeds,” this album is highly listenable, engaging, and filled emotion. Songs address the grief associated with the passing of founding band member Gerard Smith, but also move past it into new territory. Favorite track: “Seeds”.
2. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
An amazing piece of artistry sonically and lyrically, “St. Vincent” the album firmly establishes the artist of the same name as one of the music visionaries of this decade. Favorite track: “Birth in Reverse”.
3. The War on Drugs – Lost in The Dream
A highly addictive collection of modern guitar songs that were on constant “rotation” throughout the summer. Favorite track: “An Ocean in Between The Waves”.
4. Beck – Morning Phase
The warm blanket I snuggled in all last winter and into the spring. Favorite track: “Heart Is A Drum”.
5. Ray LaMontagne – Supernova
The decidedly retro and gently psychedelic Supernova made for a great soundtrack to the summer. Favorite track “Ojai”.
6. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
With Ultraviolence, miss Del Rey stays true to her character and silences her naysayers once and for all. Dan Auerbach helps create a style described as ‘narco swing’ that perfectly suits this tormented chanteuse who sounds like no other. Favorite track “West Coast”.
7. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
Damon Albarn is brilliant in every incarnation as a musician including this first solo effort, which was nominated for a 2014 Mercury Prize. Favorite track “Mr. Tembo”.
8. Lily Allen – Sheezus
Lily’s third album was not universally loved by the critics but it was by me! It’s filled with Lily’s stories told through clever lyrics and catchy pop hooks. Favorite track “Sheezus”.
9. Spoon – They Want My Soul
I’ve never been a big fan of this band but somehow I kept hearing songs from this album on various radio programs. Eventually I listened to the album in its entirety and became a Spoon convert. Favorite track “Do You”.
10. Hercules and Love Affair – The Feast of the Broken Heart
This collective gets better with every album and John Grant was a perfect match as a collaborator. Favorite track: “I Try to Talk to You (feat. John Grant)”.
More Albums I Loved in 2014
Afghan Whigs – Do it to the Beast
Greg Dulli and company are back after a 16-year hiatus. They never sounded so good on this solid collection of guitar rock. Favorite track “Parked Outside”.
Angel Olson – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Check out “Forgiven/Forgotten,” one of the tracks of the year.
Caribou – Our Love
An electronic gem pulling in influences of R&B, Hip Hop, and Disco. Favorite track “Silver”.
Katy B – Little Red
Katy B’s dance pop kept me moving in the gym, especially “5 AM”.
Perfume Genius – Too Bright
The album is a real grower but the track “Queen” is an instant classic.
Phantogram – Voices
Indie-electronic and guitar duo Phantogram’s voices stayed in my head for much of 2014. Favorite track “Black Out Days”.
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
Electronic soundscapes woven like you’ve never heard before. Favorite track “Coffee” is a must listen.
Taylor Swift – 1989
Her full frontal pop transformation definitely has its moments. Favorite track “Blank Space”.
Tennis – Ritual in Repeat
A husband and wife due from Colorado, creating a collection of pop songs that at times remind me of early Madonna (voice) and at other times sound completely modern. Favorite track ” Never Work for Free”.