Top 20 Albums Of 2014

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a lot lately, but to make up for it I’m now doing a super long post (probably too long) about my top 20 albums of this year.

20. Hozier // Hozier

Hozier’s debut album is one that that really took the world by storm this year, especially with his single Take Me To Church which seems to be playing on just about every radio station just about all the time, and I have no complaints about this. Hozier is uplifting yet haunting, and whilst it’s clear that it’s been influenced by various artists of a similar genre, this album is definitely something different, and something unique, and definitely something worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 10th June 2014

Favourite Tracks: From Eden and To Be Alone

19. Lacuna // Childhood

I’d been eagerly anticipating the release of this album since the beginning of 2013, and it didn’t disappoint. The thing I like most about Childhood, and about their album, is how their songs are so undeniably linked in a way that some bands struggle to achieve, sounding similar enough to be distinctively them but not sounding too samey. In a word – it sounds like summer, and it’s definitely an album to lift you out of a dark mood.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 11th August 2014

Favourite Tracks: As I Am and Solemn Skies

18. So Long…See You Tomorrow // Bombay Bicycle Club

So Long…See You Tomorrow is an album that I constantly go to when I’m in need of a chilled-out album to listen to, and what I like most about it is how the tracks flow so nicely into each other, which is what makes it so perfect to just relax and think to. Whilst I personally don’t exactly love the songs on their own, I think that it works brilliantly as an album and I really enjoy it.

Album Number: Four

Release Date: 3rd February 2014

Favourite Tracks: Home By Now and Luna

17. Alvvays // Alvvays

Alvvays are definitely one of my favourite new bands to come out of 2014, mostly because they’re so different to the majority of what’s been coming out all year. They have a very nostalgic sort of sound to them, twinkly and light yet also with an undertone of melancholy.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 22nd July 2014

Favourite Tracks: Archie, Marry Me, Party Police and Atop A Cake

16. Ryan Adams // Ryan Adams

Whilst this album is definitely a much more commercial album than what Ryan Adams usually releases, and whilst I don’t think this is one of my favourites of his fourteen albums, I definitely really do think Ryan Adam’s eponymous album is a very good one – with some fun uplifting ones like Kim and Gimme Something Good and then some much more chilled and beautiful ones like My Wrecking Ball. It also sounds really brilliant live.

Album Number: Fourteen 

Release Date: 5th September 2014

Favourite Tracks: Kim and My Wrecking Ball

15. 48:13 // Kasabian

I can’t say I’m usually a huge Kasabian fan – I mean, I’ve liked what I’ve heard on the radio but I’ve never made an effort to listen to their albums, I’ve always thought they’d be great live but I’ve never bought tickets. But I genuinely really do like 48:13 and I would love to see it performed live. 48:13 seems much more experimental and unique compared to Kasabian’s other albums, and I would say that it’s the instrumental interludes that really make me enjoy this record so much.

Album Number: Five

Release Date: 9th July 2014

Favourite Tracks: Bumblebeee and Treat

14. Royal Blood // Royal Blood

Royal Blood very quickly seemed to take the world by storm in 2014, and whilst I think that this album is significantly better live than on record, I do really like this album and I think Royal Blood are definitely an exciting new band who are going to continue being exciting throughout 2015. I’d definitely recommend going to see Royal Blood when they’re next gigging near you – but with how they’re doing at the moment, you’d be lucky to get tickets, so perhaps just buy the album instead.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 22nd August 2014

Favourite Tracks: Little Monster and Loose Change

13. This Is All Yours // Alt-J

Whilst This Is All Yours is mostly fairly downbeat and chilled out, it also holds a couple of groovier tunes like Left Hand Free. It’s different enough from the band’s debut album An Awesome Wave to not be boring, but still has the same cool, wispy delicateness yet with a slight touch of wildness that Alt-J are known for.

Album Number: Two

Release Date: 22nd September 2014

Favourite Tracks: Every Other Freckle and Warm Foothills

12. Picture You Staring // TOPS

Picture You Staring is wistful, nostalgic, relaxing – and totally different to the majority of records that came out in 2014. The songs are all so different from each other that it’s definitely clear how experimental they’re being with their sound even with their second album, and this is really interesting to hear, since they seem to be able to fantastically pull off all the sounds they venture into throughout this album.

Album Number: Two

Release Date: 2nd September 2014

Favourite Tracks: Sleeptalker and Change Of Heart

11. Atlas // Real Estate

Atlas is nostalgic, shimmery and quirky, all in one go. It’s elegant but also uplifting and chilled but happy. I’d be really interested to see it played live but I haven’t been able to see Real Estate live yet – there’s a goal for 2015. If you’re looking for an album to put a smile on your face but in a soft way, go with Atlas. 

Album Number: Three

Release Date: 3rd March 2014

Favourite Tracks: Talking Backwards and The Bend

10. Sun Structures // Temples

Sun Structures is hazy and psychedelic and unique yet still undeniably a homage to an abundance of other bands of this type, taking snippets of the best bits and putting into one influenced yet individual album. After having seen this album live twice now I can say that live it definitely holds the same mystic atmosphere and it’s like another world, putting you at ease but setting you alive at the same time.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 10th February 2014

Favourite Tracks: A Question Isn’t Answered and Colours To Life

9. I Forget Where We Were // Ben Howard

If Ben Howard’s debut album Every Kingdom is hungry for a past happiness, I Forget Where We Were is nestled in isolation, much darker and lonelier yet still somehow subtly uplifting with songs like She Treats Me Well. It’s perfectly chilled out yet still at the same time very deep and thoughtful, and definitely worth a listen, especially on a dark, rainy evening when you’re feeling particularly reflective.

Album Number: Two

Release Date: 20th October 2014

Favourite Tracks: She Treats Me Well and Evergreen

8. Don’t Say That // Superfood

Superfood’s greatly anticipated debut album Don’t Say That definitely didn’t disappoint their abundance of fans that they’d picked up from touring with bands like Wolf Alice and Peace over the last couple of years. Don’t Say That is full of catchy but unique songs with quirky lyrics – they just sound fun, and they are, both live and on record. Superfood are a fun band, in both their band name, their songs, their live performances, and Don’t Say That definitely encapsulates that.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 3rd November 2014

Favourite Tracks: You Can Believe, Superfood and Melting

7. Warpaint // Warpaint

Warpaint is light and delicate, but powerful. The songs are chilled out yet intense, and they transfer brilliantly into a live set. It’s somehow dizzy, lustful, gentle and personal, all in one go. The songs flow into each other beautifully, but each song stands individually as wonderful songs alone.

Album Number: Two

Release Date: 20th January 2014

Favourite Tracks: Love Is to Die and Keep It Healthy

6. Carry On The Grudge // Jamie T

Five years away and Jamie T comes back and smashes it with this absolutely amazing album. It’s poetic and deep but at the same time quirky and fun. The lyrics are so concise that they seem effortlessly strung together yet considerately thought through. It’s much more emotionally deep and darker than Jamie T’s previous albums, yet remains very much linked in the brilliantly quirky yet deeply honest.

Album Number: Three

Release Date: 29th September 2014

Favourite Tracks: Limits Lie, Zombie, Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away and Turn On The Light

5. Drowners // Drowners

After now having seen Drowners’ three times and having met them three times, I can clarify that the band have a great live debut album, and also that they seem like really nice guys in person. I did a review of this album when it first came out (read here if you want) so I won’t go into a huge amount of detail on my thoughts, but it’s infectious, it’s exciting, it’s youthful – and all of these things make it really fun live as well as on record.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 28th January 2014

Favourite Tracks: Luv, Hold Me Down and You’ve Got It Wrong

4. Disgraceland // The Orwells

The Orwells are definitely one of my favourite live bands, and the level of energy and wildness runs through not only their live performance but their album. It’s definitely an album to stick on at a party, because it’s crazy and upbeat but none of the songs are too similar. It’s an album that makes you want to take the world by storm – or just go get wasted.

Album Number: Two

Release Date: 2nd June 2014

Favourite Tracks: Dirty Sheets and Bathroom Tile Blues

3. The Balcony // Catfish and the Bottlemen

The Balcony is one of those albums that is truly packed to the brim with absolute belters, and this means that live it goes down incredibly. You don’t have to have met the band a tonne of times or seen every interview to just be able to tell from the lyrics on their album that they don’t take themselves too seriously, and to me this is really refreshing to hear in a new band. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this album I wrote a review when it first came out (read here if you want).

Album Number: One

Release Date: 15th September 2014

Favourite Tracks: Kathleen, Cocoon and Tyrants

2. Weird Little Birthday // Happyness

I first came across Happyness when I saw them supporting Drowners at the Borderline in August, and immediately I was blown away. Their music is like a stunningly effortless mix of influence and individuality, with essences of Sparklehorse and Teenage Fanclub. The lyrics are fun and quirky and the music ranges of wildly upbeat (eg Refrigerate Her) to hauntingly sad (eg Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy). Happyness are definitely one of my favourite bands to come out of 2014 and I definitely hope to see even more from them next year.

Album Number: One

Release Date: 16th June 2014 

Favourite Tracks: It’s On You, Weird Little Birthday Girl and Leave The Party

1. Lazaretto // Jack White

The reason Lazaretto is the album that automatically comes to my mind as my favourite album of the year is that it’s so alive. Every song is so unique yet linked together, all of the lyrics are genuinely incredible and insightful, all the melodies are so individual. I love this album, both on record, and having it now seen live twice. You can just feel the energy from listening to the album, and whilst it’s all so flawlessly put together it still somehow sounds so easy and effortless – but perhaps that’s just because I’m certain Jack White is some sort of godlike genius.

Album Number: Two (as a solo artist)

Release Date: 6th June 2014

Favourite Tracks: Three Women, Lazaretto, Just One Drink – screw it, they’re all my favourites

Other albums that I really loved but didn’t make my top 20 include: Honeyblood // Honeyblood, Night Time, My Time // Sky Ferreira, St Vincent // St Vincent, Manhattan // Skaters, Under The Volcano // The Family Rain, Eagulls // Eagulls, Here And Nowhere Else // Cloud Nothings and Sadnecessary // Milky Chance.

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