Yes, I'm late. It's nearly February of 2015! I will say -- I think I already like more music in 2015 than I did in 2014. 2014, for me, was the year of the soundtrack... and some of those songs weren't released in 2014, but I'm counting it either way.
But I did deem two albums my Queen and King.
St. Vincent / St. Vincent
I've loved Annie's music for a long time, but this one, aptly self-titled, is her best album yet. She's a musical genius whose songs and sounds mesmerize me. For instance, probably my favorite sound or recorded aural moment of 2014 was in the song "Huey Lewis" during an instrumental break that starts around 2:10 and really revs around 2:36. That point that it revs? I remember walking to work in New York and listening to this song for a few weeks straight during that walk -- and pushing up the volume at that moment to drown out everything and get pumped for the day. It still works. Every single song on this album works.
Ryan Adams / Ryan Adams
[SIDENOTE: REALIZATION THAT MY QUEEN AND KING BOTH RELEASED SELF-TITLED ALBUMS IN 2014?]
Ryan has been a favorite for years, clearly, since this very space on the internet is named after a lyric in one of his songs. And this S/T shines with some brilliant moments; some of his best music in years. There's something more calm in him, but with that ever-present soulfulness that I love his music for. It's also coupled with the fact that Jesse surprised me with tickets to see Ryan Adams a week after moving to Los Angeles in December--the sound of the newest songs vibrated within me. When he sang "New York, New York" I began to cry. Then he sang "Dear Chicago" into "Lucky Now" and I bawled; it was a necessary catharsis. I live here now. I love him always.
Here's my Rdio playlist of some songs from my favorites of 2014 -- the rest of the list is below --
Against Me! / Transgender Dysmorphia Blues
The throaty wails and strength remain, it's power and it's beautiful.
OK Go / Hungry Ghosts
The best album they've recorded. The videos are still brilliant -- but I've definitely danced around in my room alone because this music gets me pumped UP.
The Xcerts / There Is Only You
Jesse played this album over and over and over again. And now I love it.
ALL OF THE SOUNDTRACKS
Boyhood - my most listened to song of the year was "Hero" by Family of the Year
Begin Again - yes freakin' Adam Levine is in this movie and on this soundtrack SORRY I LOVE IT
The Guest - LISTEN TO THIS ENTIRE ALBUM WITH GLEE DO IT NOW
Only Lovers Left Alive - death / life / love / eternity / guitaaaarzzz
Whiplash - what the hell I'm listening to instrumental jazz on the daily now what IT'S SO GOOD
Under the Skin - eerie being eerie
I must mention that Fiona Apple wrote a title song for the Showtime drama The Affair and that song is like eight million times better than that show is and I think I just pressed next episode JUST TO HEAR THAT SONG PLAY OVER THE TITLES. And yet! And yet!!!!! It's unavailable for purchase anywhere. I've looked. If you find it, tell me. I sink back into the ocean...
The Both / The Both
The Menzingers / Rented World
What about yourself? January has already been fruitful with releases: Sleater-Kinney's No Cities to Love is giving me life, Bjork's surprise early release, Mark Ronson's dance fest Uptown Special is the soundtrack to my dinner-cooking most nights. But we'll save that list for the end of this year...
Here's some of my past top albums: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2012 | 2013