Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Albums of 2014

1. Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour. Smith's debut album was on repeat from the moment it was released last spring. I love his soulful lovelorn melodies, a pop debut that evokes Adele but charts it own course too. Best: Stay with Me

2. Taylor Swift - 1989. Swift went 100% pop on her fifth album, delivering her best set yet, possibly breaking the hooks-per-minute record. Best: Blank Space

3. St. Vincent. I found this lovely, weird album to be strangely captivating, a surprise favorite. Best: I Prefer Your Love

4. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence. I wasn't a major fan of Del Rey's debut, but I swooned for this second long-player drenched in dramatic retro cool. Best: Shades of Cool

5. Coldplay - Ghost Stories. After chasing bigger and poppier sounds for years, Coldplay dialed it back for this gentle, haunting set. Best: Midnight

6. Jessie Ware - Tough Love. Ware's sophomore set was as strong as her 2012 debut, rounded out by a stronger emotional bent. Best: Say You Love Me

7. Beck - Morning Phase. Beck's cinematic set, a surprise Grammy Album of the Year nominee, was the singer's best output in years. Best: Morning

8. La Roux - Trouble in Paradise. La Roux may be a solo act now, but she delivered as much great music as she did on her 2009 debut, continuing to effectively mine a retro dance sound. Best: Uptight Downtown

9. The Black Keys - Turn Blue. Another winning set from the blues rockers. Best: Fever

10. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream. Lots of artists have been making "'80s rock" in the last decade, but few put out an album of good as this. Best: Under the Pressure

11. Jack White - Lazaretto
12. Nick Jonas
13. Ed Sheehan - X
14. Ariana Grande - My Everything
15. Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear
16. U2 - Songs of Innocence
17. Michael Jackson - Xscape
18. Rumer - Into Colour
19. Pharrell Williams - G I R L
20. Eric Church - The Outsiders
21. Electric Youth - Innerworld
22. Aphex Twin - Syro
23. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
24. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness
25. Charli XCX - Sucker
26. Take That - III
27. Perfume Genius - Too Bright
28. Wild Beasts - Present Tense
29. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
30. Metronomy - Love Letters