Best of 2014: Music

Best-of-2014I love music, so this is easily my most difficult end of the year list. But here were my top five favorite albums of the year:

5. “1989” by Taylor Swift

I confess it, this was an amazingly catchy album. There’s no denying that T.S. has always been a pop artist, and yet this album felt like a bit more self-acceptance and indulgence. Her sound on this album was more grown-up, fun, and pure. I know my friends will mock and deride me for including this one on my list, but “haters gonna hate.” Top songs: “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off”.

4. “St. Vincent” by St. Vincent

What an eclectic sound was displayed on this album. It’s a thoroughly indie album with catchy pop hooks, electro-funk grooves, and Annie Clark’s stellar guitar solos. Top songs: “Birth in Reverse” and “Huey Newton”.

3. “X” by Ed Sheeran

The British singer – songwriter has produced an even better album than his debut release. This one displays both Sheeran’s beautiful voice and broad range, but it captures a unique pop album with acoustic sounds and urban influences. Top songs: “Tenerife Sea” and “I’m A Mess.”

2. “Lazaretto” by Jack White

This album evidences a new level for White. His technical skill is evident the album, but it also bursts forth from the opening track with a  great deal of self-conscious busyness. White plays to his strengths with loads of blues rock riffs, but also varies some styles across the eleven tracks. Violin, heavy bass lines, rock piano, and an overall more full-bodied sound make this both a classic album and a unique album. It both feels like Jack White and yet somehow doesn’t. Top Songs: “Three Women,” “Would You Fight for My Love?,” and “High Ball Stepper.”

1.  “Lost in the Dream” by War on Drugs

Living up to is title the album has the feel of living in a dream. It’s beautiful, haunting, and full of familiar sounding melodies that listeners thought lost since the 80s. The understated elements of each track give them the ever-expanding possibility of new appreciation. Lyrically its complex and thought-provoking, inviting us into the discovery of life’s problems and the drama of existence. This is a spectacular album. Top songs: “Under the Pressure,” “Red Eyes,” and pretty much all tracks.

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