There is nothing I love more than music. It is for this reason that I love debating end-of-the-year best album lists. Music is subjective, even among friends who share similar tastes. I ran some of these names by some of my closest friends, and a few gave me the stink eye.
1. Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Against Me!
If anyone thought I would put anything but this album at number 1, they must not have read anything I have written over the last year. To listen to an album full of songs that represent some of my closest feelings meant the world to me.
2. 1989 – Taylor Swift
1989 is one of only a few perfect pop albums released in the last decade. I know a lot of people were upset that Swift embraced the pop, but I think it is a great direction for her. She has all the hallmarks of a long lasting pop career. 1989 was crafted to sound like it came out in 1989, and it does that perfectly. I compared it to a better produced Y Kant Tori Read, and I definitely stand by that assessment.
3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
I have a thing for women guitar players who can shred (see: Carrie Brownstein). Annie Clark is fucking amazing. This song is my favorite on this album. I would like to point out that she also appeared on my favorite Mountain Goats record, Heretic Pride.
4. HEAL – Strand of Oaks
Thanks to KEXP, I discovered this awesome singer-songwriter. I appreciate Strand of Oaks because of its middle America indie rock sound. I really connect with it because it reminds me of growing up in the middle of nowhere. The opening track, “Goshen ’97,” hearkens back to feeling isolated in a small town in the mid 90s in high school. Guess who else was an isolated weirdo in the mid 90s? This girl!
5. Glass Boys – Fucked Up
Another great punk album from this year. These boys from Canada know how to sonically assault your eardrums and make you come back for more.
6. Run The Jewels 2 – Run The Jewels
My favorite hip-hop album of the year is courtesy of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels. This colloboration of Killer Mike and El-P is solid.
7. Shriek – Wye Oak
An indie rock album with no guitars? Why yes, yes it is. Known for being a keyboard/drum/guitar band before in the past, the duo dropped the guitar in favor of the bass on their awesome sophomore album.
8. Playland – Johnny Marr
A pretty damn good follow up to The Messenger
9. Mandatory Fun – Weird Al Yankovic
“Weird Al” continues to produce music that is just good fun. We all know how much I loved this album when it came out. I still really like it.
10. Unrepentant Geraldines – Tori Amos
A return to a better form for Amos, Unrepentant Geraldines reminds me of her 90s work. I absolutely love Tori Amos. I posted this song specifically because it features Tori’s daughter, Tash, in a sweet mother-daughter duet
They Want My Soul by Spoon, Morning Phases by Beck, Heart on My Sleeve by Mary Lambert, Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey, Are We There? by Sharon Van Etten, Rips by Ex-Hex, 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole, and The Voyager by Jenny Lewis
So Unicorns, what is your favorite album of 2014? I really hope its not the new U2 album that we all got for free and that Rolling Stone named album of the year.