Trent W: Top Albums of 2014

Pittsburgh, PA

top ten albums

10Sylvan Esso: Sylvan Esso

Standout Track(s): Coffee

09alt-J: This is All Yours

I hated that “Left Hand Free” song as much as the next guy or gal. Then I heard the rest of the album.

Standout Track(s): Every Other Freckle

08Azealia Banks: Broke With Expensive Taste

I’ve seen this record likened to “Paul’s Boutique.” That’s a bit of a reach, but I understand the thinking.

07Bahamas: Bahamas is Afie

Not as strong as his last record, but solid nonetheless. That all of Bahamas’s albums were new to me this year may have given this one a little bit of an undue nudge.

05Jessie Ware: Tough Love

Standout Track(s): Wildest Moments

04New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers

Standout Track(s): Brill Bruisers, Marching Orders

03Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

This one took no time at all to grow on me. I briefly doubted it on description alone, then forgot all about it before finally hearing it, weeks later, and was immediately sold.

Standout Track(s): The Promise, Long White Line

02St. Vincent: St. Vincent

An artist that I always love, this one took a while to grow on me, before quietly becoming one of my favorites of the year.

Standout Track(s): Birth in Reverse, Rattlesnake, Digital Witness

01First Aid Kit: Stay Gold

My top three could probably go any-which-way, depending on the day, so it might seem strange that I ultimately opted for an album with so few standout tracks as my top pick. However, the greatest strength of this album is its consisistency.

Standout Track(s): Waitress Song

honorable mentions

TV on the Radio // Seeds; Sharon van Etten // Are We There?; Beck // Morning Phase (and I still haven’t really listened to Sea Change); Spoon // They Want My Soul

similarity to overall top ten: 12.83%, 1 matches

top songs

10Watsky ft. Chinaka Hodge, “Kill A Hipster”Yes, this is mostly a novelty song, but it’s the catchiest novely song of the year.

09Hospitality, “I Miss Your Bones”I was torn on nominating Hospitality’s most recent release for consideration on the albums list, but ultimately decided that I was being swayed by this track alone. However, on second listen (to the whole thing), I’m not so sure I made the right call.

08Tune-Yards, “Water Fountain”Everything else about this album is unspectacular and disappointing, but this is a track that easily gets stuck in my head. I wish the whole album turned out like this.

07Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”Shut up. I know. But, come on, he kills it on this song.

06Jessie Ware, “Wildest Moments”

05Lake Street Dive, “Bad Self Portraits”Best song by an otherwise shitty band.

04alt-J, “Every Other Freckle”

03Sylvan Esso, “Coffee”

02Sturgill Simpson, “The Promise”I know that it’s a cover, but this is one of those covers that supercedes the original. Simpson applies the aesthetic of “In the Ghetto” to an otherwise-forgettable eighties pop song, to great success.

01Mark Ronson & Mystikal, “Feel Right”Rhyming kung-fu that’ll split bamboo / Crowd-rocking, ain’t no stopping [this] rapping-ass fool.

Honorable mentions: George Ezra, “Budapest” (this was my #3 song until I realized it was released in 2013); Phantogram, “Fall In Love;” St. Vincent, “Birth In Reverse;” TV on the Radio, “Happy Idiot;” Beck, “Blue Moon;” G. Love & Special Sauce and Merry Clayton, “One Night Romance;” The New Pornographers, “Marching Orders” or “Brill Bruisers.”

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