Record Machine: 3 Favorite 2014 Albums + Most Anticipated 2015 Release

Let’s change up Record Machine a little this week and talk about three albums I don’t have on vinyl, though they are all available in that format.

To be clear, these three albums are among my favorites for the year, and I still need to give that freshly released D’Angelo a thorough listen. If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, there aren’t any surprises here, but hell, let’s get to it anyway.

Playland by Johnny Marr

In town disintegration was
Doing me in
Do me in again
Something so good
Makes me think of a revolution
Can we do it again?

Alyson briefly mentioned Playland in her year-end roundup, and she’s right that it’s a good follow-up to 2013’s The Messenger. Though I think I prefer the first album slightly more, Johnny Marr is still winning over my (admittedly indulgent) heart.

My favorite song on Playland is “Boys Get Straight.” Something about the way the chorus builds in sound — not necessarily the lyrics — is a musical opiate for me.

However, the main highlight related to this album is that he made a tour stop in Missoula, Montana, which earned me this:

Johnny Marr - signed set list -boys get straight shirt

But that’s a story for another time.

Ryan Adams

All these things keep running through my mind
Everyone and everything I left behind

Ryan Adams’ self-titled album is his first official release since 2011’s Ashes and Fire. Since being diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in 2009, his output is far less prolific than in his speedball days. Of course that’s a good thing, health-wise, and probably musically as well. Perhaps allowing himself to slow down produces more consistent work, and though this year’s release is not in my Top 3 from him — those honors go to Heartbreaker, Cold Roses, and Easy Tiger — it’s still really solid.

“Am I Safe” is a beautifully aching song about a deteriorating relationship, and one I love singing along to whenever it’s on.

PS: I totally saw him live this year too (in Portland), but alas, no meeting.

Ryan Adams - Portland OR - October 2014

I Never Learn by Lykke Li

Lay me down in your ocean
Carry me and my burden
I was dreaming about you honey
I was hoping you’d save me

Though 2011’s Wounded Rhymes remains my favorite Lykke Li album, I Never Learn is an ’80s-inspired heartbreak tour that is still quite excellent. The standout tune “Gunshot” starts out slow a la “Like a Prayer,” then satisfyingly kicks into the chorus. The whole album is especially great on a decent set of headphones.

Sadly, I have yet to see Lykke Li live, and she appears to be taking a break from touring at the moment. One day, here’s hoping.

So, what is my most anticipated album for 2015? Surprise, surprise: Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

It comes out on March 2. Ready my swooning couch.

What albums are you looking forward to this year?

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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