Friday, December 26, 2014

Top 10 Albums and Records of 2014

Happy Boxing Day! Time for my Top 10s for 2014.

Album of the Year and Record of the Year. What's the difference? I follow the guidelines of the good folks at the Grammy Awards. Albums are full artistic statements; Records are those singles or defining tracks that made the most impact on my playlists. These titles were enjoyed on my iPod, CD player and turntable.

The Sonic Arts were alive and well this year. All of these releases came out in 2014 or made their greatest impact this calendar year (so Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire are absent). However, I like to wait until December to put out my lists because sometimes a record unleashes in the days before Christmas (ahem, D'Angelo & Mark Ronson) or late discoveries and re-evaluations (St. Vincent).

Top Ten Albums:

1. Prince - Art Official Age. Yep, Prince crept up on me with this one. Not since "Sign 'O' The Times" has Prince put out what I would call my Album of the Year." Don't call it a comeback, but Art Official Age is really sublime.
2.Black Keys - Turn Blue
3. Jack White - Lazaretto
4. St. Vincent - St. Vincent
5. Phantogram - Voices
6. Robin Gibb - 50 St. Catherine's Drive
7. Kimbra - The Golden Echo
8. Pharrell Williams - G I R L
9. U2 - Songs of Innocence
10. D'Angelo & the Vanguard - Black Messiah

Top Ten Records:

1. Black Keys - Gotta Get Away. These guys get better and better. Another fun, three minute, two-lane black top blaster. I road tested this one in Honolulu, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Believe in the Black Keys.
2. Phantogram - Fall In Love
3. Prince - CLOUDS
4. Jack White - Lazaretto
5. Nick Jonas - Jealous
6. Mark Ronson (Feat. Bruno Mars) - Uptown Funk
7. The Orwells - Who Needs You
8. Prince - FUNKNROLL
9. Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake - Love Never Felt So Good
10. St. Vincent - Digital Witness

I could easily rattle off a Top Twenty singles, including cuts by Lake Street Drive, Little Dragon, sElf, Jessie J and MisterWives. It was that kind of year.

I hope that you found wonderful music to listen to and that 2015 is equally adventurous. Music is a magical part of life's journey. Meant to be discovered, shared and repeated.