FAVOURITES OF 2014
Kiesza – Sound of a Woman is the biggest surprise for me. When I first heard Kiesza, it was on TV for the Hideaway video. My initial reaction was I’d found myself on one of those cheap text-in music channels and just dismissed it. When I saw the song Hideaway was sat at #1 on iTunes, eventually giving Kiesza her first UK number 1, I didn’t recognise the song or artist name. When I previewed the tune I was like ‘oohhhh I remember this’, and from then for some reason the song really grew on me. Between Hideaway and the release of her album, singles were being dropped in the build-up. All of them had me hooked. Sound of a Woman is retro slice of pop brilliance.
Recommended tracks: Hideaway, Cut Me Loose, No Enemiesz, Over Myself, Giant In My Heart, Take Me To Church (Deluxe).
James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical. When JVM dropped Cavalier and Red Dust at the end of 2013, I knew he was on to a winner. I honestly don’t have a bad thing to say about this album. Post Tropical is an album of bliss, great lyrics, impressive vocals and touching sentiments.
Recommended tracks: Cavalier, Gold, Red Dust, Post Tropical, When I Leave (Deluxe).
Jessie Ware – Tough Love. Ya know, this almost didn’t make my favourite albums list. Tough Love is a funny one for me. Tracks like Tough Love, Champagne Kisses and Cruel are undeniably fantastic, I find I can listen to transcending any mood I might be in. Then there are quite a few tracks that don’t rub me up the right way and I find myself skipping too frequently, like: Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe, Say You Love Me and Pieces. Then there are some tracks that I flat out dislike, like Sweetest Song and Desire. So it’s a mixed bag for me. It’s not that I think anything on Tough Love is bad, everything is well produced and sung. It just doesn’t blend or flow as seamless as Devotion does. The tracks that are good are REALLY good, and outweigh the bad. Plus, I met her at a small album launch party in HMV London and she was genuinely lovely.
Recommended tracks: Tough Love, Cruel, Keep on Lying, Champagne Kisses, The Way We Are (Deluxe), Midnight Caller (Deluxe).
Sohn – Tremors was being featured on iTunes upon release, I needed new music to get into. So I gave it a listen on Spotify, and wow, it was like finding treasure. I don’t have much to say about to be honest. It’s minimalistic, spacey and distorted.
Recommended tracks: Bloodflows, The Wheel, Artifice, Fool, Veto.
Lights – Little Machines is the 3rd album from Canadian sexy overlord mother of geeks – Lights. Following after the bass, synth-heavy 2nd album Siberia; Little Machines takes a step back to fuse the sounds of Siberia and her debut – The Listening. It pays off rather nicely too, although it took me quite a while to get my head around it and adjust my ears. I wasn’t too happy on first listen, my initial feeling was that it was a step back. It’s a sure grower though, given time, each song blooms into it’s own.
Recommended tracks: Up We Go, Oil and Water, Same Sea, Speeding.
Glass Animals – Zaba was a random discovery for me on Spotify, after browsing through similar artists (forgetting where I started from). It is a truly fantastic album, and if I was to describe their sound, I would say Alt-J with tribal influences. They’ve also got quite a few gems hidden away on EPs like, Psylla, Exxus and even a Kanye West cover of Love Lockdown on the Pools EP. I demand you check them/this album out.
Recommended tracks: Gooey, Pools, Hazey.
JoJo – #LoveJo. As I was typing this post, I was also browsing through Wikipedia’s list of albums released in 2014 to see if I’d missed anything. I came across #LoveJo by JoJo, and I thought ‘!?!?’….JoJo?…THE JoJo? Googled her and it was true, she’d released more new music, in FEBRUARY. HOW did I miss this?! After the outstanding Agapé EP was released at the end of 2012, I was heavily anticipating an album. However in the middle of 2013 JoJo filed a lawsuit against her record label – Blackground records for irreparable damage to her career. January 2014 and JoJo is released from her record label and quickly signs up to Atlantic Records. Does this mean we will FINALLY see the 3rd album soon? LET’S FREAKING HOPE SO!!
#2 fav album of 2014:
Coldplay – Ghost Stories.
Ghost Stories is Coldplay’s 6th studio album, and my 2nd favourite Coldplay album, behind the excellent Viva La Vida/Death and All His Friends/Prospekt’s March album. When Midnight was released as the first taster for the album, my reaction was ‘huh…….’, I didn’t understand it, nor could I determine what sort of sound they were going for. However when Magic came around I was hugely impressed. I hear Oceans and A Sky Full Of Stars and I’m trying to figure out how it will all piece together. But like a puzzle, it didn’t make sense until it’s put together. When Ghost Stories dropped, it gave each song context and suddenly it seemed to make sense as one. Ghost Stories is a deep, beautiful, affecting, yet heartbreaking album. I also recommend checking A Sky Full of Stars EP (for the UK) or the Deluxe Edition of Ghost Stories in the US which features 3 extra songs. O (Reprise) is particularly magic. The Ghost Stories Live DVD/CD is also incredible.
Recommended tracks: Magic, True Love, Another’s Arms, A Sky Full of Stars, Always In My Head, O (Reprise) (Deluxe).
#1 fav album of 2014:
MØ – No Mythologies to Follow.
Last year around August, I came across the song ‘Waste of Time’ on Youtube. My mind was blown, like super blown. I must have listened to the song about 60 times in about 2 weeks that. I was obsessed, and it still remains one of my favourite songs. I can’t get over it. I was a little worried the album wouldn’t compare to Waste of Time, but alas, it is fully awesome, and still stands as my favourite album of 2014.
Recommended tracks: Waste of Time, Maiden, Pilgrim, Red in the Grey, Fire Rides.
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence is easily my most disappointing album of 2014. I gave it a 4/10 earlier this year, and my mark still remains. It is a dreary, vapid, disjointed, lifeless album obsessed with the romanticism of bad boys, Hollywood and living dangerously. It’s all very surface level stuff. An awful follow up to Born to Die.
Recommended tracks: West Coast, Sad Girl.
Alt-J – This Is All Yours. The thing about This Is All Yours, is that it isn’t actually a bad album, but it’s not great either. If this was a debut album by any other band, it wouldn’t fair well. Sonically it sounds fairly similar to An Awesome Wave, but it’s like they’ve tried recycling it, removed all the interesting parts and put it back together.
Recommended tracks: Intro, Hunger of the Pine, Left Hand Free.
Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways. Unfortunately, nothing about Sonic Highways stands out to me at all. There are small unique qualities to the album, but not enough to make me want to listen to it again. I think it’s a forgettable album from the legendary Foo’s.