As usual, throughout the year I tracked what I listened to using Last.fm. Instead of doing something stupid like using my brain, I passively relied on this data to compile my “best of the year” list. Here it is, with occasional comments, and the albums that I would choose as the best, if I did think about it, in italics.
These are the 2014 albums that were in the top 50, but didn’t make the top 10.
Chlöe Howl – Rumour EP: It’s an accomplishment for a 4-song EP to make the top 50, since I don’t correct for album length here. But I could listen to this weirdly sincere deep ‘n dancy pop over and over. Rumour is definitely the best song of the entire year.
Mogwai – Rave Tapes: Okay, but I was even more impressed by their soundtrack to the French TV show The Returned (it’s awesome, and on Netflix!).
Kiesza – Sound of a Woman: Ooo! Ahh!
DragonForce – Maximum Overload: As you’ll see, my cheesy metal intake increased a lot this year.
Jack White – Lazaretto
Sam Roberts Band – Lo-Fantasy
Die Antwoord – Donker Mag: I think I miss a lot of the South African subtext of this stuff, but that just makes it all the weirder. Weird is good.
Amaranthe – Massive Addictive
Lights – Little Machines
La Roux – Trouble in Paradise
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Poemss – Poemss
Avenged Sevenfold – Hail to the King
Royksopp – The Inevitable End: Supposedly their last album, but hopefully that just means they’ll be working with Robyn full time now.
Die Mannequin – Neon Zero
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
Warpaint – Warpaint
Michael Jackson – XSCAPE: This is surprisingly good for a dead dude.
The Crystal Method – The Crystal Method
Charli XCX – SUCKER: This album came in late to almost single-handedly restore my faith in pop music in 2014. In a year dominated by stupid boring songs about anacondas, “that bass,” and whatever the hell Ariana Grande is, Charli XCX is a foul-mouthed breath of fresh air.
Skrillex – Recess
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
In This Moment – Black Widow: Holy fuck I love this album. Its intensity borders on sappy, but I couldn’t get enough of it. Maybe it’s just me, but it was a good year for metal and hard rock bands fronted by women.
Brody Dalle – Diploid Love: Everything she’s ever done has been amazing. No exception here. Plus, now I know what a diploid is. Educational!
Kongos – Lunatic
The Glitch Mob – Love Death Immortality
Album that would have been here if not for the artist’s lack of connection with technological reality: Taylor Swift – 1989. I love all the singles, but Swift pulled the album from streaming services like Rdio, and I’m not going back to importing MP3s into iTunes like a god damn caveman. It’s not even about paying less for music. It’s just that Rdio is where my music is now, and if you’re not there, I’m not listening. Sorry Taylor. I still love you.
And here it is. The top 10. I’m sure you’re just leaking with excitement.
10. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence: Every aspect of Lana Del Rey’s music, voice, appearance, and lyrics fit together into a moody whole. None of the songs stand out on their own, but as part of the overall aesthetic of her, it’s pretty cool.
9. Foxes – Glorious: Honestly, I don’t remember listening to this that much. I couldn’t name or hum a single song from it. Maybe I was drunk?
8. Phantogram – Voices: Fall in Love is probably, I’d say, the best song of the year. What genre is this even? Who cares? It’s good, and unusual, and also good.
7. Pharrell Williams – G I R L: Basically a continuation of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. But have you seen the guy’s hat? It’s large. Damn! That’s a large hat. LOL.
6. Alt-J – This Is All Yours: This is mostly self-indulgent bullshit, but the moments of brilliance make up for it. Every Other Freckle is the best song of the year, in my opinion. They even make sampling Miley Cyrus, if not listenable, at least interesting.
5. RAC – Strangers: Bouncy and playful. It’s pretty hard not to like this guest-star-fueled debut. RAC should stand for, uhh, Radical / Awesome / [Can’t think of one].
4. Future Islands – Singles: Seasons (Waiting On You) is a mind-blowing song. Probably my favourite of the year. Wait, have I already said like 5 songs are the best of the year? I forget. TBH I didn’t sleep much and I think my body is already getting itself drunk in anticipation of New Year’s Eve.
Anyway, LOOK AT THIS FUCKING GUY:
3. The Pretty Reckless – Going to Hell: I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas the other day, and it was a bit odd to see the kid who played Cindy Lou Who, who grew up to front one of 2014’s best rock bands. And be hot as hell. Where I’m going.
2. David Guetta – Listen: Wow, this just came out, and it’s already near the top of this list? It’s just so easy to “listen” to. Guetta brings together a bunch of guest artists for a diverse set of pop songs that somehow feel cohesive as an album too. I suggest you “listen” to it. (“Listen” is the name of the album).
1. Hozier – Hozier: Taaake me to church, I worship blah blah blah. Try getting that shit out of your head after hearing it on the radio. Best song of the year for sure. The rest of the album is equally catchy and confident, weaving together pop, rock, and blues for a set of songs that grab attention without gimmicks. Good job, Hosher … Hozer … Hozyay … hooowever you pronounce it. Good job.
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