I find it vaguely annoying-ish when sites or individuals create a ‘best of 2014’ list, as if they’ve discovered some heretofore unknown criteria by which one can objectively arrive at a definitive ranking of something that is purely subjective. This is why for the past few years I’ve chosen to use ‘my favorite’ when making these lists, because that’s all that’s really going on. I don’t care to pretend that my list should have any resemblance to yours. That said, it is my strongly held belief that if Iggy Azalea appears on your favorite albums list for 2014, you pretty much failed somewhere in the development of your music-listening abilities and should probably just do something else instead, like bath salts. That aside, I present to you, my 20 favorite albums of 2014…
Read my piece titled “Pink Floyd and Purple Cabbage”
Another strong album from Sweden’s reigning queen of ethereal indie pop.
I saw them live in Potrero del Sol park on a beautiful day. The perfect soundtrack.
Confusing, weird and compelling. I wouldn’t expect anything less at this point from the current masters of experimental hip-hop.
A deeply personal and consistently engaging listen; maybe their best album.
The second collaboration between Eno & Hyde towers over their disappointing first album together.
Huge caverns of sound that seem to come from some other kind of world.
When this first came out, it didn’t click for me, but something kept bringing me back, until I finally got it.
I really can’t get enough of the bass lines on this album.
I’ve been doing year-end album lists for over a decade, and I don’t recall having a country album on any of them. That should say a lot, but from the moment Simpson starts talking about Psilocybin and DMT on the first track, it’s clear this isn’t your usual country album.
One of the most influential artists of my lifetime drops his first album in forever, and it’s characteristically brilliant, though one can’t help but think he has more tricks up his sleeve than he decided to include here.
Zorn composes a complicated, vicious prog-jazz-metal-jam suite and Abraxas pulls the whole thing off flawlessly.
I need to be in a certain mood to throw this album on, but when that mood hits, few albums in recent memory have been as lyrically compelling as this one. Thanks Mark Kozelek.
Dark, punishing, bleak, beautiful, absurd, strange, dense, intense, uplifting… it’s Swans. What can really be said?
This is my favorite thing Thurston has released, either solo or with Sonic Youth, since Murray Street in 2002. But, I already wrote about it in depth here.
This album is a fucking masterpiece in every way. From beginning to end, this thing demands one’s attention and never lets up. The production is superb, the beats are consistently interesting and El-P and Killer Mike are both at the top of their games, lyrically.