The 10 Best Albums of 2014 So Far

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300Best Albums of 2014 So Far

This has been an odd year in music by all accounts. There have been nearly no big-time rap albums (except arguably Future’s Honest), it’s been a down year for electronic music (just months after I declared 2013 the year dance music became king), and rock music has made an unexpected comeback (with three albums on our list being unabashed guitar rock records). The albums on our list are also decidedly slower, and more relaxed, as I would say half the albums on this list are very melancholy albums (especially our top two). Without further ado, our top ten so far in this odd year of music.

10. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold  

first-aid-kit

These Swedish sisters fully realized their potential on Stay Gold, making pastoral folk with impeccable harmonies.

9. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds In Country Music          

sturgill

Existential outlaw country? Count us in. Sturgill Simpson is truly one-of-a-kind, making songs that sound timeless but with an oddness that is uniquely him.

8. Jack White – Lazaretto 

lazaretto

Jack White continues his streak of consistency with his angriest and most venomous album of his storied career.                             

7. Sun Kil Moon – Benji    

sun-kil-moon

Love it or hate it, Mark Kozelek has made a masterwork in Benji, a folk album more personal than your 6th grade diary.

6. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots   

damon-albarn  

Like Jack White, Damon Albarn has taken on so many different bands and sounds, so it’s almost surprising Everyday Robots is his first true solo album. Albarn got his solo debut right, with poignant commentary on how technology affects our souls.

5. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso                

sylvan-esso

Sort of the odd-ball album out on our list, the debut from Sylvan Esso, the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn, is twinkling electro-pop that’s like the musical equivalent of Pop-Rocks to your ears.

4. St. Vincent – St. Vincent                     

st-vincent

St. Vincent has quietly become one of the best guitar players alive, and that, along with her flair for funky arrangements and biting commentary, make her self-titled 4th album her most unique.

3. Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal  

WYR0514tubejktnoguidlines

Propulsive and relentless rock music: they just don’t make it like this anymore. Parquet Courts deliver in back-to-back years with Light Up Gold and Sunbathing Animal.

2. Antlers – Familiars                       

antlers       

Not to sound creepy, but the Antlers music has a way of getting deep under your skin, into your bloodstream, and completely absorbing you.  Familiars does this better than maybe any other album of theirs: lush, sorrowful, and just plain beautiful.

1. Beck – Morning Phase                        

beck

Beck’s 12-year later follow-up to his 2002 folk masterpiece Sea Change picks up right where it left off. Morning Phase is so carefully constructed with every string swell, drum beat, and guitar strum hitting at just the right time, making this a wonderful and therapeutic listening experience.

Just Missed

Austin – Trophy Scars – Holy Vacants

trophy-scars

Austin discovered these guys on a whim, and has absolutely fallen for their versatile and completely bonkers style of rock.

Wes – Lykke Li – I Never Learn

i-never-learn

Power ballads never felt so good.

Todd – Death Grips – niggas on the moon

niggas-on-the-moon

Now defunct, the rage rap duo went out with a bang.

Author: Wes

Hoosier. Writer. Music Buff. Media Man. Tourist. Polar Bear.

10 thoughts on “The 10 Best Albums of 2014 So Far”

  1. Why do you guys like the Beck album so much? It sounds like Sea Change b-sides. I agree with Wes on Lykke Li. Much better album than many of those on that list. Also, Todd Terje should be on there.

    1. I had Terje in my top ten, but no love from the other two. If you play Sea Change and Morning Phase back to back, Morning Phase actually compares pretty favorable.

  2. Great list, I’ve yet to really get into Beck’s most recent.
    However, Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs is pretty great. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.

      1. Absolutely. These are personal choices and are also limited by what one has heard. e.g. some of the best albums I’ve heard this year have come from India but not many people outside would’ve heard those or even heard of those. I was just curious.

  3. If you’ve not heard the new BROODS, I highly recommend it! But, definitely, St. Vincent is sheer genius, and I agree with the quality of the others, though I may not have ordered them in exactly the same way. BROODS review will be up on my blog within the hour… won’t you take a look-see? It’s my first time having a guest-blogger… you know how hard it can be to tackle it ALL on your own! <3 musicallymodernmaven.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s