Listening to a vinyl spin, soaking up the full record as it was supposed to be listened to – it’s hard to not connect with the artist and the gift they’ve provided us. A full album is meant to be a fluid piece of art for the listener to embrace, but in a world where we can listen to any track, in any order and at any time – the capacity to fully embrace an album is minimized. Not every album achieves the goal of providing a high level of seamless grooves, but the ones that do should be praised.
2014 had a lot to offer in the music world. I’ve scoured the internet – going corner to corner; examining blogs, websites, and online magazines for their official lists of “Top Albums of 2014”. From Rolling Stone to Pitchfork and even circling back to The Consequence of Sound who “interviewed 600 music critics” on the top albums. I accumulated 25 of the top rated sources for their lists, and combined them to show the overall consensus of the Internet critics.
With points given for the album’s ranking on the lists, receiving ten points if placed at number one and so on, the Internet seemed to love Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs.
The problem with each and every one of them is they were wrong.
Don’t get it confused – those albums were great, but definitely not the best that the world had to offer us. That’s why I took the liberty of letting you know what the graphic above should list.
Here is the list of the Definitive Top 10 Albums of 2014:
10. Glass Animals – Zaba
Fresh out of that icky gooey womb, Glass Animals soothes with this debut album. Lead singer, Dave Bayley writes in order to disguise the meaning of the lyrics and allow listeners to develop their own interpretations. It should be known that they aren’t showing off their “peanut butter thighs” as Bayley enlightened me first hand at a SXSW set – but dropping those “peanut butter vibes”.
The Essential Track: Gooey
9. The Griswolds – Be Impressive
Try not to get addicted to this “Tequila inspired party pop”. That is all.
The Essential Track: Live This Nightmare
8. FKA Twigs – LP1
Dripping with dope sauce, the artist FKA Twigs has set the bar high with this almost seamless album, LP1. Tahliah Barnett, crafted a hit record with her ethereal electronic alternative R&B tracks – highlighted by Two Weeks, a compelling and filthy track that transports you to another world.
The Essential Track: Two Weeks
7. Young the Giant – Mind over Matter
After delivering a rare, polished gem with their debut album, Young the Giant has delivered again. The signature sophomore slump bands tend to experience was conquered by the five guys out of Irvine, California. Sameer, Jacob, Eric, Payam and François buckled down to create an explosive, technically proficient and dynamic album that fully encompasses the concept for the record: The obstacles one creates for themselves are the only things that can really destroy you.
The Essential Track: Eros
6. Chet Faker – Built on Glass
Alternative R&B is exploding right now, and Chet Faker is there to hook us even more with Built on Glass. This succinct, cool and ambitious debut album was put together with precision. Reportedly, Nick Murphy, the man behind Chet Faker, scrapped two albums before to perfect this record. It shows, and provides a solid starting point on what’s to come in our future.
The Essential Track: Talk is Cheap
5. Bleachers – Strange Desire
Don’t consider Bleachers a “side project” from Fun’s lead guitarist, Jack Antanoff, but a creative outlet for the former lead of Steel Train. Anything Antanoff puts out should be met with high expectations. Strange Desire meets and exceeds those expectations with eighties style synth-rock matched with great vocals and even a collaboration with a personal favorite, Grimes. The only thing the album could do without is the awkward Yoko One track.
The Essential Track: I Want To Get Better
4. Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
A must have for vinyl collectors – Sylvan Esso pairs Amelia Meath’s soothing folky voice with Nick Sanborn’s incredible electronic beats creating a new sound for the world to embrace. Not a dull moment in the entire record, their self-titled debut album does justice to the talents of the duo, making hits that have everyone begging for more.
The Essential Track: Uncatena
3. Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
An obvious pick, this record is essential to any collection. Sam Smith provides a pure, seamless and addicting record with In the Lonely Hour.
The Essential Track: Money on My Mind
2. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2
Try to keep up. This album is straight fierce.
The Essential Track: Blockbuster Night Part 1
1. Future Islands – Singles
Future Islands has been delivering hits since 2008. With unforgettable records like In Evening Air and On the Water, Samuel Herring’s Baltimore band formed a niche indie following in the United States. Singles is exceptional on all levels, and there is not enough praise to give Future Islands for the gift they have given us. Knowing firsthand, the one thing better than this album is the visceral experience of seeing the band live. Sam’s powerful crooning, partnered with his signature “moves” and dynamic delivery of his stories through tune create a hard hitting, impactful experience.
The Essential Track: Back in the Tall Grass
Now, put into consideration:
Here are the notables that would fit in somewhere among the slots that follow the top ten:
Phantogram – Voices, MØ – No Mythologies to Follow, Banks – Goddess, Bear Hands – Disrtraction, St. Vincent – St. Vincent, Beck – Morning Phase, SBTRKT – Wonder Where We Land, Sir Sly – You Haunt Me –Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow, Cold War Kids – Hold My Home, The Colourist – The Colourist, French Style Furs – Is Exotic Bait, Hozier – Hozier, Odesza – In Return and Perfume Genius – Too Bright
EPs were excluded on this list. EPs that set a remarkable tone for what’s to come include: Panama Wedding’s Parallel Play, Small Black’s Real People, Antonio Paul’s Modern Daze, and Kwabs – Wrong or Right, among too many to list.
Maintaining that honesty with ourselves – If Childish Gambino would have churned out enough songs to make Kauai a full length album, it would have topped this list. Because, we all know: Gambino got the game locked.
Utilize the comment section below and remind me who I forgot, how wrong I am or you can thank me for the enlightenment.