As Usual The Grammy’s Got It Wrong, These Are The 20 Best Albums of 2014

February 10, 2015 — 1 Comment

Beck karate chops former rap star, current punchline Kanye West

I listened to that Beck album today. You know, the one that won that Grammy. To be cliche: it was a loser baby. It was a hot sea of mopey, uninteresting slop that never justified itself other than that Beck has a long history of better albums that deserved this award far more than this one. If this was the best album last year then music is in a sad, sad state. And, no, Beyonce didn’t get ripped off. Her album was hot garbage as well. If you need help seeing this read this scathing (and hilarious) review that basically destroys an image you have of Beyonce as a force for women or a talent of any kind.

So what then were the best albums last year? Well, I solved it for you. Pretty much all my favorite 2014 tracks are on this playlist, but album-wise here goes:

1 – Ed Sheeran – X

There is no argument to be made for why this is not the album of the year. What Ed does lyrically, vocally, and musically is brilliant. It’s catchy, it’s sad, it infuses elements of hip-hop. It takes you to the 50s, across the pond, and to Middle Earth. Every single song makes it to a playlist.

2 – Taylow Swift – 1989

I wanted to hate it. It’s fucking fantastic. I don’t believe the bullshit for a second that Taylor “writes” any of this, but with assists from guys like Fun./Steel Train/Bleachers genius Jack Antonoff this is the best purely pop album in like 10 years. Beyonce who? If you can’t find 6 songs to belt out at the top of your lungs with your windows down you’re not human.

3 – Bleachers – Strange Desire

80s synth pop gets a makeover from Steel Train and Fun. member Jack Antonoff. Yeah, he’s dating Lena Dunham and seemed like an insufferable Bushwicker in concert, but he wrote the year’s best lyric (I didn’t know I was lonely til I saw your face”) on “I Wanna Get Better” and some of the year’s catchiest and best songs on this album. Hell, he even made Yoko Ono tolerable for a couple of minutes. That alone deserves a congressional medal of honor and a Grammy.

4 – K.Flay – Life As A Dog

She started as a rapper, now she kind of inhabits a genre to herself. She’s like Lorde if Lorde weren’t so damn overplayed. K.Flay is a better song writer with more adult lyrics. She’s Lorde for grownups.

5 – Damien Rice – My Favorite Faded Fantasy

Damien comes out with an album every decade or so and when he does they’re usually incredible. This is his best album since his debut and if you can find me a better lyricist that isn’t Passenger, I’ll eat my shorts. Colour Me In might be the song of the year.

6 – Bassnectar – Noise vs. Beauty

Skrillex who? This is the best EDM / Dubstep album of the last few years. It will melt your face off and definitely leaves no question that Skrillex (who’s incredible turd of an album this year definitely made his first seem like a fluke) has been dethroned.

7 – Iggy Azalea – The New Classic

I was a hater at first, but this album is fire. There’s Nikki and Iggy and after that I don’t think there’s a female MC that comes close. Some really fun lyrics on here and great beats.

8 – YTCracker – Introducing Neals

Indie rapper and former hacker has a flow that is more interesting than 90% of rappers out there. I don’t want to compare to Eminem other than to say that YT experiments with rhyme schemes in the catchiest ways possible and it’s reminiscent of Eminem simply because he’s the smartest and catchiest rapper everyone on the planet knows. The beats on this album take 1980s electro and update it for 2015. The lyrical content of this album is off the charts as a parable for all the dirty little ways the government is using technology to steal all your freedoms before you even realize it. The album is the backbone for a potential movie and tells a parable of an alternate future with disastrous results. It’s catchy, it’s banging, it’s lyrically incredible.

9 – Passenger – Whispers

He’s like the less miserable Damien Rice, but it’s only slightly less miserable. Guy and a guitar and a voice that could melt butter, but mostly melts panties. Fantastic album.

10 – Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear

Incredible tour de force. Melodies everywhere. It’s light, dark, brooding. It has a sick video with Shaia LaBeouf to followup that weird contemporary dance video for the single everyone knows.

11 – Johnnyswim – Diamonds

Stumbled on this one randomly on Spotify. Kind of reminds me of Civil Wars. Male/female vocalist (possibly married or involved, I don’t know, you have Google…Google it.) It’s very chill, but some really great tunes and powerful lyrics.

12 – Brad Paisley – Moonshine In The Trunk

Brad Paisley is the best thing country has going for it and this is just a fun album to listen to while drinking beer in a field or while screwing your cousin under the stars in the back of your neighbors pickup truck.

13 – Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Jenny Lewis goes weird places on this solo album, but it’s all just as good as you’d expect from the Rilo Kiley front-woman.

14 – Old 97s – Most Messed Up

Rhett Miller used to be a alt-rock God. He’s been boring as fuck the last few years. I expected more of the same. This album is track after track of delicious rock and roll fun.

15 – The Front Bottoms – Rose

You haven’t heard of these guys yet, but when you do you’re going to wonder how they got so fucking famous without you knowing. These guys are the favorite band you knew of from your high school and would tell everyone from neighboring towns about proudly as if just because you shared a mascot you deserved to bask in the glory of their success.

16 – Luke Bryan – Spring Break 6

Luke Bryan is bro country at it’s best. Grab a Bud Light Lime and spend an hour at Spring Break. Bryan’s last solo album was him as the kind of bro you want to punch in his face and send him crying back to his frat. It came out early this year and was such a gigantic shitball of a record that the only logical explanation is that they rushed this thing out to cover up for that shitball. I made that up, but it has to be true. This is Luke Bryan as the kind of bro you learn to love because he always has a case of beer chilled and ready to go and he’s somehow always sober enough to drive.

17 – Jukebox the Ghost – Jukebox the Ghost

Piano driven rock. Toured with Ben Folds. Great, fun band.

18 – Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out

Blah blah blah. It’s great. She’s great.

19 – Hoodie Allen – People Keep Talking

Fantasic, fun, lyrically interesting album that will stick in your brain.

20 – Allison Weiss – Remember When

Great album by a really fun singer-songwriter. Some are just her and a guitar, some full band, but all will stick in your head and heart.