What can I say, I love lists. Buzzfeed, give me a job please. Happy 2014 everybody!
Top 10 Albums
10. Volcano Choir – Repave
Justin Vernon’s experimental Bon Iver side project. Moody and textured and super weird. “Comrade” may be the prettiest song this year.
9. Kanye West – Yeezus
The harsh sounds and weak lyrics still can’t take away the fact that Kanye is still one of the most interesting artists working today. Nothing has ever sounded like this. The chorus of “Blood on the Leaves” will always give me chills.
8. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Vampire Weekend has matured in this 3rd album, removing the fun but slight sounds of their previous work for a more fleshed out, lyrically deep album. Themes of death and aging repeat themselves, but the band attacks them with clever wordplay and their playful sound, especially in “Diane Young”.
7. Chvrches – Bones of What We Believe
My favorite “new” band. The synthpop sound is infectious and lead singer Lauren Mayberry has a gorgeous voice. Very easy to dance to, especially alone in your car. Favorite songs: “Gun” and “Mother We Share”.
6. Drake – Nothing Was the Same
Feels like his most personal album, unexpectedly my favorite rap album of the year. Drake is the master of a great hook and though his lyrics get to repetitive sometimes, no one can pick guest artists as well as him. Just listen to “From Time” featuring Jhene Aiko to hear what I mean.
5. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Anything she does will make my top 10.The 1st four songs form a beautiful movement, flowing into each other and expanding upon the album’s weighty theme of love vs. logic (noted by Paste). Must be listened to all at once to get the right affect. “Master Hunter” is a highlight.
4. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
The LONG awaited 4th album from the famous electronic duo does not disappoint. So much dance-worthy stuff here, especially “Lose Yourself to Dance” and maybe the single of the year “Get Lucky”. I mean, nothing beats Discovery, but the awesome disco pop throwback sound of this album (plus those sweet helmets!) shows that they still got it.
3. James Blake – Overgrown
Even better than his self-titled LP, Blake’s electronic R&B sound continues to evolve and his lyrics are beautiful, quiet meditations on childhood and relationships. You’ll feel every emotion. Check out “Retrograde” for starters.
2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Saddest thing ever, so typical National. No one can write lyrics that express relationships and the fear of adult life as well Matt Berninger. That unique baritone is as rich as ever and really stands out in “Pink Rabbits”, the highlight of the album. You’ll never look at salt the same way too.
1. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
This one was easy, knew it would be #1 as soon as I heard it. Way more ambitious lyrically and musically than Future Sex. Most of the songs go over 7 minutes, yet they never feel repetitive since he is constantly shaping the sounds into new rhythms and melodies. Each song is so unique and Timbaland’s production makes for great loops and beats throughout. You all know I love “Pusher Love Girl”, but then “Blue Ocean Floor” happens, with almost no beat of melody. All this ambient and soulful ballad needs is JT’s incredible vocals, and he nails it. Part 2 was a disappointment, but I’ll probably never take this album out of my car’s cd player.
Best of the Rest (no particular order)
Beyonce – Beyonce
Pusha T – My Name is My Name
Chris Thile – Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1
Aoife O’Donavan – Fossils
Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones
J. Cole – Born Sinner
Tegan and Sara – Hearthrob
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Lorde – Pure Heroine
Rhye – Woman
Phosphorescent – Muchacho
Washed Out – Paracosm
Let me know what I missed! Comments welcome.