Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2014

Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2014

Original Source

50. Hospitality - Trouble

Hospitality - Trouble
January 28, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
70
18 reviews
User Score
73
33 reviews

49. La Dispute - Rooms of the House

La Dispute - Rooms of the House
March 18, 2014
Post-Hardcore
Critic Score
79
9 reviews
User Score
76
43 reviews

48. Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers

Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers
September 9, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
74
9 reviews
User Score
77
5 reviews

47. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
April 1, 2014
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
27 reviews
User Score
80
346 reviews

The result is a fast-paced, convulsive collection that has all the intensity of its predecessor but with an elevated dose of urgency.

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46. Rosanne Cash - The River & the Thread

Rosanne Cash - The River & the Thread
January 14, 2014
Americana
Critic Score
76
9 reviews
User Score
68
17 reviews

45. Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy
November 11, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
79
10 reviews
User Score
81
90 reviews

These are rich songs, meant to be savored and taken in with repeated listens.

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44. Temples - Sun Structures

Temples - Sun Structures
February 11, 2014
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
73
24 reviews
User Score
74
200 reviews

43. Total Control - Typical System

Total Control - Typical System
June 24, 2014
Post-Punk
Critic Score
79
9 reviews
User Score
78
43 reviews

42. Dum Dum Girls - Too True

Dum Dum Girls - Too True
January 28, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
69
30 reviews
User Score
69
87 reviews

41. Robert Ellis - The Lights from the Chemical Plant

Robert Ellis - The Lights from the Chemical Plant
February 11, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
74
8 reviews
User Score
73
9 reviews

40. Jack White - Lazaretto

Jack White - Lazaretto
June 10, 2014
Blues Rock
Critic Score
76
35 reviews
User Score
74
182 reviews

The songs are exciting, effortlessly creative and full of risk-taking, but White taps into the vein of classic rock just enough to filter all of his weird extrapolations so that they’re comprehensible for his audience. 

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39. Strand of Oaks - Heal

Strand of Oaks - Heal
June 23, 2014
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
14 reviews
User Score
79
83 reviews

38. Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty
July 29, 2014
Hip Hop
Critic Score
83
27 reviews
User Score
77
146 reviews

37. Reigning Sound - Shattered

Reigning Sound - Shattered
July 15, 2014
Pop Rock
Critic Score
79
10 reviews
User Score
77
7 reviews

36. Drive-By Truckers - English Oceans

Drive-By Truckers - English Oceans
March 4, 2014
Southern Rock
Critic Score
72
18 reviews
User Score
70
24 reviews

English Oceans is a triumph for the Drive-By Truckers, one that capitalizes on Hood and Cooley’s strengths as songwriters and also gives them something to sing for that means more than all those colorful characters put together.

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35. FKA Twigs - LP1

FKA Twigs - LP1
August 12, 2014
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
35 reviews
User Score
82
719 reviews

With both immediate appeal and density that demands long-term digestion, it’s one of those rare debuts that manifests a fully-grown, deeply engaging sound.

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34. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
September 8, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
73
24 reviews
User Score
75
45 reviews

It’s more of a rock ’n’ roll album than the rootsy, understated Ashes & Fire, and while Adams includes a handful of the wrenching ballads he does so well, bold electric guitars hold sway on most of these 11 new songs.

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33. Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right

Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
April 8, 2014
Post-Punk
Critic Score
80
12 reviews
User Score
79
138 reviews

32. Foxygen - ...And Star Power

Foxygen - ...And Star Power
October 14, 2014
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
61
24 reviews
User Score
68
98 reviews

...And Star Power is essentially a return to the grimey, DIY spirit of that first record, buffing the sheen away to expose some rusty, bumbling core.

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31. Tweedy - Sukierae

Tweedy - Sukierae
September 23, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
78
17 reviews
User Score
75
22 reviews

Stretching past 70 minutes and shifting through a spectrum of moods, it’s a lot to digest—but well worth the effort.

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30. Phantogram - Voices

Phantogram - Voices
February 18, 2014
Electropop
Critic Score
72
18 reviews
User Score
73
93 reviews

Voices is one of the most exciting sad albums I’ve encountered in a while. And it triumphs in that space in between.

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29. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want
January 14, 2014
Funk
Critic Score
78
20 reviews
User Score
72
41 reviews

28. Ages and Ages - Divisionary

Ages and Ages - Divisionary
March 24, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
70
4 reviews
User Score
74
6 reviews

27. Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes

Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes
February 11, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
75
9 reviews
User Score
75
26 reviews

26. Caribou - Our Love

Caribou - Our Love
October 7, 2014
Electronic
Critic Score
81
30 reviews
User Score
80
356 reviews

Snaith’s latest disc further just distills the guy’s most synthetic interests and occasionally winds up sounding like something playing at a club while Tom Cruise, circa 1988, enters the room. 

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25. Future Islands - Singles

Future Islands - Singles
March 25, 2014
Synthpop
Critic Score
81
32 reviews
User Score
79
383 reviews

As easy as it is to enjoy, there is something fleeting in its pleasures, as if it isn’t quite complete without occupying the same spaces as the band. 

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24. Lykke Li - I Never Learn

Lykke Li - I Never Learn
May 5, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
72
25 reviews
User Score
78
251 reviews

23. Sun Kil Moon - Benji

Sun Kil Moon - Benji
February 11, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
85
23 reviews
User Score
82
485 reviews

Kozelek’s lack of reservation here is something to be begrudgingly admired, as his willingness to make yet another album that is solely for himself and those obsessive fans who want all the gory details of his past. For the rest of the world, there’s not much here to make any real connection with.

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22. Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Flying Lotus - You're Dead!
October 7, 2014
Electronic
Critic Score
84
33 reviews
User Score
82
447 reviews

21. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half the City

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half the City
February 18, 2014
Soul
Critic Score
75
2 reviews
User Score
81
16 reviews

20. Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Perfume Genius - Too Bright
September 23, 2014
Art Pop
Critic Score
85
31 reviews
User Score
83
345 reviews

If the first two Perfume Genius albums played something like nightmares—beautiful, full of danger, guided by pristine internal logic—then Too Bright is where Hadreas finally yells himself awake.

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19. Allah-Las - Worship The Sun

Allah-Las - Worship The Sun
September 15, 2014
Garage Rock
Critic Score
71
8 reviews
User Score
73
29 reviews

18. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days
April 1, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
81
23 reviews
User Score
81
587 reviews

This is art that is confidently immature, and it begs the question: why can’t sophomoric art still be great? 

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17. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
August 26, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
77
27 reviews
User Score
75
73 reviews

Some days, all I can listen to is “Dancehall Domine”; on other days, it’s “Marching Orders” or “Backstairs.” Yet, put together in order, I find my interest waning and my attention wandering.

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16. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
July 29, 2014
Pop Rock
Critic Score
72
25 reviews
User Score
74
74 reviews

The Voyager is her strongest solo release and best overall effort since Rilo Kiley’s 2004 LP, More Adventurous.

Full Review →

15. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
May 13, 2014
Country
Critic Score
81
8 reviews
User Score
79
67 reviews

14. Ty Segall - Manipulator

Ty Segall - Manipulator
August 26, 2014
Garage Rock
Critic Score
81
23 reviews
User Score
80
136 reviews

With Manipulator, Ty takes a chance and tidies up the raucous bedlam. He didn’t lose his edge; he just squired a little antiseptic along the jagged ridges.

Full Review →

13. Real Estate - Atlas

Real Estate - Atlas
March 4, 2014
Indie Rock
Critic Score
75
30 reviews
User Score
78
331 reviews

Atlas might seem like an obvious career peak were this not the work of a still-young band that, from the start, has been predisposed toward graceful maturation. 

Full Review →

12. Spoon - They Want My Soul

Spoon - They Want My Soul
August 5, 2014
Indie Rock
Critic Score
79
31 reviews
User Score
81
301 reviews

Throughout They Want My Soul, the songs flow into and out of each other with a subtle movement that’s hypnotic and sounds deceptively simple. It’s not as easy as Spoon makes it seem, of course, which is what makes their consistency so impressive. 

Full Review →

11. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness
February 18, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
81
28 reviews
User Score
81
356 reviews

Olsen shares graciously in her music, and if you are willing, Burn a Fire for No Witness will change your world. Or, actually, it will change how you see your world.

Full Review →

10. Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: The Sea of Split Peas

Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: The Sea of Split Peas
October 14, 2013
Indie Folk
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
81
51 reviews

9. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
June 10, 2014
Indie Folk
Critic Score
76
26 reviews
User Score
75
97 reviews

These layered sounds, so intricately woven to complement the sisters’ voices, create a completeness that realizes First Aid Kit’s musical maturity.

Full Review →

8. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There

Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
May 27, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
85
29 reviews
User Score
82
362 reviews

Van Etten’s fourth album marks the true arrival of a singer who’s been on her way for a long time, and thinking of her as anything less than a career artist is certainly a vast underestimation.

Full Review →

7. Beck - Morning Phase

Beck - Morning Phase
February 25, 2014
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
79
36 reviews
User Score
76
282 reviews

Morning Phase is that comeback story, that emergence from the water and that first breath taken with the gusto of someone knowing they are truly alive. It is a beautiful record, and maybe a little over-simplified at its weakest moments, straddling that line between clean and bare.

Full Review →

6. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso
May 13, 2014
Art Pop
Critic Score
76
15 reviews
User Score
76
57 reviews

The whole album feels like jigsaw puzzle of disparate genres fitting together in strange and lovely ways. In fact, it might just be the greatest crossover sleeper success of the year so far.

Full Review →

5. Alvvays - Alvvays

Alvvays - Alvvays
July 22, 2014
Indie Pop
Critic Score
79
23 reviews
User Score
79
236 reviews

4. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell

King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
September 22, 2014
Power Pop
Critic Score
71
15 reviews
User Score
74
19 reviews

If 2012’s King Tuff and last year’s Burger Records reissue of Was Dead proved we were riding the wave of yet another garage rock revival, this time instead of competing for the throne, if feels more like a party with open guest list.

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3. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
October 28, 2014
Hip Hop
Critic Score
87
26 reviews
User Score
85
653 reviews

You can feel the effort with every syllable, that this music is coming from their very core.

Full Review →

2. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

St. Vincent - St. Vincent
February 25, 2014
Art Pop
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
User Score
82
766 reviews

Clark has transformed both literally and figuratively into an artist every bit as challenging as Ye or her erstwhile collaborator David Byrne. St. Vincent has a gravity that Clark’s peers will, or at least should, not ignore when making their own records from here on out.

Full Review →

1. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
March 18, 2014
Folk Rock
Critic Score
86
32 reviews
User Score
84
724 reviews

Lost in the Dream pushes rock music forward—it isn’t the mirror of supposed better times that lesser bands make because they can’t or don’t want to locate their own voice.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/12/the-50-best-albums-of-2014.html

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