03 January 2015

Best of 2014: Music

If 2014 was a lackluster year for film, it was a pretty fantastic one for music, at least from my own vantage point. As the ways in which we consume and discover new music rapidly changes, I can never assume what anyone I know encounters throughout a given year. I also have no idea the best way to present this list to you. YouTube links? A Spotify playlist? Or are you using Rdio? Should I spend an extra hour gathering all the mp3s and uploading a zip file? I don't know, so I'll just do it as I've done in previous years with links to the songs in question (most of which surprisingly didn't come with music videos… maybe I have no idea what makes and what doesn't make a single these days). I wanted to single out the ten albums that got the most rotation from me this year, both to broaden the number of tracks I'm posting but to distinguish a little between the ways in which I personally consumed the 2014 music I came across. This isn't to say that the albums the 20 singles I'm posting below aren't worth your time. It's just that I found myself drawn to the single in question over the actual album—perhaps because I didn't even hear the rest of it.

If I had to choose the best new track I heard in 2014, that honor would go to the first single off the Swedish group Lust for Youth's latest album International: a little ditty called "Epoetin Alfa." I, too, am disappointed at the lack of pop music on the list, but either I missed it (very likely) or 2014 wasn't a good year for it. I actually liked Grimes' summer single "Go," even if it sounded pretty dated and uncool. I'm happy Rihanna passed on it so we could hear Grimes explore her vocal range, and I'm also happy her fans didn't like it, prompting her to trash her album and start fresh. Special mention to two albums I listened to the shit out of that aren't exactly 2014 albums: The Knife's Shaken-Up Versions, which is basically the tour album for their Shaking the Habitual tour (which is also the duo's farewell tour), and Cold Cave's Full Cold Moon, which is really just a compilation of the singles the band released since their last album. For samples of each, check out the lesbian redux of The Knife's classic "Pass This On" featuring Shannon Funchess of Light Asylym and "God Made the World" from Cold Cave. Whatever, I hope all this copying-and-pasting is of some use to you guys. Here's to new PJ Harvey in 2015!

10 Tracks from the 10 Albums I Liked/Listened to Most, No Order:

21 Additional Tunes, Including My Favorite Song of 2014 at the Top