PeteHatesMusic’s Top Albums of 2014
Lists! Rankings! Validation! All of these year end lists everywhere ultimately don’t mean much, because – NEWSFLASH – music can be pretty subjective. But you don’t read this blog to be told lists are meaningless – you want to see me rank the stuff I’ve been posting and listening to on repeat, and then tell me how stupid I am.
You won’t find many other list toppers, like St. Vincent, FKA Twigs, or Sun Kil Moon on this list. Sometimes critically acclaimed stuff doesn’t resonate with me. What does resonate with me? See my 10 Honourable Mentions and my Top 5, and then you’ll know! Also, we have Best Album lists from 2013, 2012, and 2011 for you to flashback to as well.
PeteHatesMusic – Honourable Mentions
In no particular order (although it might be #15 through #6, or it might be in order of how I discovered them. Or again, NO ORDER AT ALL):
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots: The Blur frontman’s first pure solo record, it is often a solemn and mellow effort, reminscient of his excellent work with The Good, The Bad, and the Queen.
The Orwells – Disgraceland: These youngsters opened for Arctic Monkeys on a UK tour, which is fitting given their similar guitar rock, youth-inspired lyrics and bursts of rock goodness.
Beck – Morning Phase: Another curveball from Beck, harking back to his previous Sea Change curveball. A delicate album from start to finish.
Interpol – El Pintor: A return to form from the veteran indie rockers, showing they can still hook us with their guitar antics and Paul Banks’ vocals.
The Black Keys – Turn Blue: Despite the insanely catchy first single Fever, the band stay away from the obvious radio hits and turn out some interesting and diverse tracks.
Jack White – Lazaretto: Jack White shows off his many influences and his ability to genre-jump in his second solo album.
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream: Very few albums had a better opening 1-2 punch than this album. Rock and roll with a bit of a twist.
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2: El-P and Killer Mike team up again for another consistently solid effort, roping in Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha for a natural fit on a great track.
La Roux – Trouble in Paradise: Upbeat and sunny synthpop from England, with fantastic vocals from Elly Jackson throughout.
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes: Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows that Thom Yorke would HAVE to be on this list in one way or another. His surprise effort continues his skittery, electronic musical journey, with a few tunes that are some of his best yet.
Top 5 Albums of 2014
5 – Caribou – Our Love: Dan Snaith strings together arguably his most cohesive effort on Our Love. It is full of grooves, experimental sounds, and lovely soundscapes.
Can’t Do Without You
4 – Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence: Despite breakout hit Video Games, a series of videos plus commercials and ads made it seem like Lana Del Rey had found (and preferred) fame outside of her music. However, roping in Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach as producer was a stroke of genius, as he managed to evoke Del Rey’s image into the sound of her music. It is a surprisingly consistent sophomore album, with less hokey and weak songs than her debut.
3 – SOHN – Tremors: With excellent singles and songs popping over the Internet the past couple of years, it was no surprise that SOHN would string together an amazing album. Full of unique and driving synth rhythms, and excellent singing, the album shows off its fantastic production and demonstrates why SOHN has gone on to produce several other amazing tracks for other acts.
2 – Alt-J – This is All Yours: The band’s debut album won the Mercury Prize (and received an Honourable Mention on the PHM list in 2012). Their latest album explores new territory, creating even more unorthodox and unique sounds. It is dense and layered at times, yet sparse and beautiful at other times. It is definitely an album that needs headphones to be truly appreciated, and you’ll be rewarded for repeat listens (see what I mean with Bloodflood Pt II below).
Hunger of the Pine
Bloodflood Pt II
1 – Lykke Li – I Never Learn: Now this is how you do a breakup album. One part downtrodden and sad, and another part upbeat and defiant, listeners reap the rewards of a painful breakup by the Swedish indie pop singer. Through her original lyrics, Lykke tells stories of heartbreak, lost love, and lessons that she fails to learn. All of these items come together for a thematic journey on the PeteHatesMusic Album of the Year. 5 of the 9 tracks are below, and hopefully you’ll love it as much as I did.
No Rest for the Wicked
I Never Learn
Never Gonna Love Again
Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone
Last year, my look ahead to 2014 hoped for U2, Foo Fighters, and Coldplay. Sometimes be careful what you wish for, as all 3 released average albums (albeit with a couple really good tracks on each album). Will 2015 see the new Radiohead album that the band are recording? We’ll definitely see something from Noel Gallagher; rumours of yet another album from U2; and hopefully some stuff from bands that topped the list in 2012 and 2013 that are about due for another album.
As always, let us know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments.