Once again, I am set with my end of the year picks. I actually felt fairly solid with them a week or so ago, but glad I held off since my procrastination allowed D’Angelo to find a solid position on my list.
I ended up making a solid 20, this year. Nine honorable mentions, a technicality, and my top 10.
Please share your favorites in the comments and read through to a Spotify playlist.
Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves
Lykke Li – I Never Learn
Tacocat – NVM
Weezer – Everything Will Be All Right in the End (I’m as surprised as anyone!)
Real Estate – Atlas
The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits
Electric Citizen – Sateen
Zoe Muth – World of Strangers
Sugar Stems – Only Come Out at Night
Courtney Barnett – Double EP (came out in 2013, didn’t hear it until 2014, and wouldn’t have counted anyway because it’s an EP…a whole lot of technicality…just ready for her damn full-length next year).
10. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
There’s a lot of backlash against this band, and just as those folks “don’t get War on Drugs”, I don’t get the hate. This is a solid, sweeping album. It got me through some marathon training, some open road trips and just some much needed spacing out this spring. (I actually just discovered it was released the week I was unexpectedly heartbroken, maybe that’s why I latched on in between the Amy Winehouse and The Smiths.)
9. Ex Hex – Rips
Solid tight grrrrl rock record with accessible pop overlays. Prepping me (and the world) for the return of Sleater-Kinney next year. A show I’m bummed I missed this year.
8. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
I’m surprised I like this album as much as I do. It’s just sooooo country. Like, Grandma country (if my Grandma listened to songs that were so frank about drug use). But it’s a beautiful, thoughtful, smart album. I’m delighted to see non-music nerd friends loving this one too.
7. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Annie Clark is an alien guitar goddess and I’m always happy to worship at her altar. I wish I’d come back to this album more throughout the year, but when making my end-of-the-year list it was easy to keep it in my Top 10. Sad I didn’t catch her tour in 2014.
6. D’Angelo – The Black Messiah
As I mentioned in the intro, this one got to sneak on because I hadn’t finished my list yet. Still digesting and keeping it solidly mid-list before I preemptively fawn over it too much with the “instant classic” label (though, whoa, c’mon). A welcome musical gift after a tough year.
5. EMA – The Future’s Void
Pleased to see this making some year end lists, and it actually moved up on mine when I started the list. Spacey, grungy, 90s-ey. Dark. Gorgeous. Angry. Angsty. Perfect for my 2014.
4. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes
People have been recommending HFTRR for a couple of years, but I finally got into them this year, along with the rest of the world. Feminist, political, timeless and simple lovely music. How can I not love it?
3. FKA Twigs – LP1
And now for something completely different. I don’t even know how to describe this album. Bjork meets Massive Attack broadcast from a sexy spaceship? I’m sure it’s probably sonically divisive for some people, but I love its uniqueness and explicitness. Looking forward to watching her career.
2. Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else
Man, I needed this album this year. As I look at last year’s list, I’m reminded that I’m almost all but geographically “somewhere else” than I was at the end of 2013. I was unapologetically a hot mess this year and being able to commiserate with songs in the same boat was immensely helpful. Plus, thanks to the opening track, I was quite restrained with my drunk dials. Pro tip: just put on “Really Wanna See You” in order to remind yourself what a bad idea that would be!
1. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Whereas Lydia helped me sort out my inner wreck, Angel Olsen just wrecked me. This album did for me a bit what Sharon Van Etten’s “Epic” spoke to a few year’s ago, except this year I was going through some traumatic personal changes and songs like “Unfucktheworld”, “White Fire” and “Enemy” tapped into the extreme and sudden loneliness that I experienced. “Stars” tapped into my anger and “Forgiven/Forgotten” was a nice little anthem of false hope. More discussion of this album on my forthcoming top songs list.