Pretty Much Amazing's Best Albums of 2014

Pretty Much Amazing's Best Albums of 2014

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60. Schoolboy Q - Oxymoron

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
76
23 reviews

This is functional, engaging music, even exceptionally so, but it never seems to have a real, vested interest in being anything beyond that. 

59. Chromeo - White Women

May 12, 2014
Critic Score
68
22 reviews

58. TR/ST - Joyland

March 4, 2014
Critic Score
73
14 reviews

A record that’s all too often content with mediocrity even though its finest moments reveal just how close it came to greatness.

57. Lykke Li - I Never Learn

May 5, 2014
Critic Score
73
26 reviews

Heard consecutively, these songs sound disappointingly like one another, and while one good belter about the pain of unrequited love is a blessing, nine in a row turns out to be real drag. 

56. Ariana Grande - My Everything

August 25, 2014
Critic Score
66
16 reviews

55. Death From Above - The Physical World

September 9, 2014
Critic Score
75
26 reviews

This album succeeds in ways You’re A Woman never could have, and for that, it requires commendation.

54. Perfect Pussy - Say Yes to Love

March 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
21 reviews

The stakes of this music are so high – dizzyingly high, perilously so. Life-or-death high. Perfect Pussy are so good, it ought to embarrass most of their peers. 

53. YG - My Krazy Life

March 18, 2014
Critic Score
78
12 reviews

52. Liars - Mess

March 25, 2014
Critic Score
75
28 reviews

As the trio continue to remould and refine their craft, Mess, an album fuelled by impulse, demonstrates their ideological core hasn’t moved an inch.

51. Ratking - So It Goes

April 8, 2014
Critic Score
74
16 reviews

50. Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

July 8, 2014
Critic Score
74
24 reviews

It finds Furler in stark, naked view. But I can’t muster more than a nod of admiration. Sia deserves a crowning accomplishment to match her phenomenal talent and remarkable story.

49. Ariel Pink - pom pom

November 18, 2014
Critic Score
74
27 reviews

Is it surprising that a 67-minute Ariel Pink album is a bit, err, frustrating? No. Yet as murky and goofy as Before Today was, it took its time to build overall atmosphere, instead of little fragmented half-atmospheres that you have to cherry-pick from songs unworthy of them.

48. MØ - No Mythologies to Follow

March 11, 2014
Critic Score
76
19 reviews

Ørsted’s debut LP wears its history heavily, composed of equal parts previously released and new material. It is a risk for an artist as dependent on earworm shock value as Ørsted, but a deliberate one that yield dividends at the end of the day.

46. Shamir - Northtown

June 10, 2014
Critic Score
77
4 reviews

44. Hundred Waters - The Moon Rang Like A Bell

May 27, 2014
Critic Score
77
14 reviews

On The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Hundred Waters offers an album of quiet moments of subtlety juxtaposed with crashing waves of desperation.

43. Real Estate - Atlas

March 4, 2014
Critic Score
75
31 reviews

These sonic tweaks are welcome, but they are merely the fine grain of an album that works in broad, hypnotic strokes – song by song capturing feelings of separation, exploration, and uncertainty.

42. White Lung - Deep Fantasy

June 17, 2014
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

Deep Fantasy is incisive and immersive. It has real depth and space, even color: it’s filled with exquisite little turns, playful flashes of sound-for-sound’s-sake brilliance.

41. Röyksopp & Robyn - Do It Again

May 26, 2014
Critic Score
74
20 reviews

Do It Again remains impressive, if not extraordinary, from beginning to end. Röyksopp and Robyn for once sound like bandmates, rather than guest stars on one another’s solo work. 

39. BADBADNOTGOOD - III

May 6, 2014
Critic Score
72
8 reviews

38. Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

November 6, 2014
Critic Score
71
21 reviews

What Broke With Expensive Taste so forcefully reminds us is that we have all been waiting for Azealia Banks, even if we had briefly forgotten her in a haze of blogosphere backlash.

37. Caribou - Our Love

October 7, 2014
Critic Score
80
32 reviews

It’s one of Snaith’s least cohesive and affecting full-lengths, even as it provides us with some of his strongest individual tracks to date.

36. Grouper - Ruins

October 31, 2014
Critic Score
81
18 reviews
Despite consisting of well-crafted, thoughtful songs, the emotional gutpunch that is to be expected from a Grouper album never quite arrives over multiple listens.

35. Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

June 3, 2014
Critic Score
77
30 reviews

It doesn’t provide the thrill-a-minute jolts of Light Up Gold, but Parquet Courts may yet become a garage punk band that millennials can call our own.

34. How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?

June 24, 2014
Critic Score
74
29 reviews

Compared to the tedious Total Loss, done in by consistently plodding tempos and an icily ascetic atmosphere, the new material (produced by Rodaidh McDonald) is much more dynamic and is in audible conversation with Krell’s peers all around the pop landscape.

32. Owen Pallett - In Conflict

May 27, 2014
Critic Score
79
24 reviews

Throughout In Conflict, Pallett opens up his compositions even more than his lyrics, but the songwriting is no less brainy, and themes no less tangled, than on his earlier work.

31. Strand of Oaks - Heal

June 23, 2014
Critic Score
77
14 reviews

30. Beck - Morning Phase

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
78
38 reviews

Beck’s voice, most often doubled and sometimes tripled, omnipresent and in conversation with itself, binds and elevates this, his most consistently exceptional album since Odelay

29. Neneh Cherry - Blank Project

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
82
26 reviews

27. Ty Segall - Manipulator

August 26, 2014
Critic Score
80
25 reviews

He’s not hiding behind fuzz and distortion, rather allowing his garage rock proclivities to stand alongside his 60s & 70s psychedelic rock influences. And damn if they don’t stand tall and proud.

26. The Antlers - Familiars

June 17, 2014
Critic Score
79
24 reviews

It all comes satisfyingly full circle, but Familiars mostly washes over you when it should be lunging for your heart.

25. Mr Twin Sister - Mr Twin Sister

September 23, 2014
Critic Score
79
9 reviews

There’s a sense that the band is inquisitively exploring the far reaches of the album’s fluid spaces right alongside the listener, and this feeling is strengthened by unusually revealing lyrics that speak to a growth that’s both personal and artistic.

24. tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack

May 6, 2014
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

Nikki Nack, the phenomenal follow-up to whokill, will only solidify the prior convictions of admirers and cynics alike. Garbus has broadened and sharpened her sonic vocabulary. Her melodies are catchier, her zany song structures more welcoming.

23. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness

February 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

For as commanding and affecting Burn Your Fire for No Witness can be while it plays, the album remains elusive when trying to call it to mind later. 

22. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

April 1, 2014
Critic Score
81
27 reviews

Here and Nowhere Else’s disposition for self-examination coaxes out a superior depth and nuance when stacked against Cloud Nothings’ previous works. Conversely, it is a little surprising how unsurprising the album is.

21. Future Islands - Singles

March 25, 2014
Critic Score
81
32 reviews

Future Islands are remaining relevant by crafting stimulating, quirky, synth-laden music that fuses the arcane with the universal; there’s a depth and complexity to their sound that’s lacking in many of their peers.

20. Wild Beasts - Present Tense

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
82
26 reviews

Present Tense may be a less accessible offering from Wild Beasts, but it’s their most human – a mesmeric bundle of contradictions, indignities and pleasures. 

19. Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love

October 7, 2014
Critic Score
79
25 reviews

The thing Ronnenfelt and his bandmates are trying to communicate is honesty above all – sometimes it’s brutal to match the music, sometimes it’s not; it’s whatever it has to be to get real feeling across.

18. Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

July 29, 2014
Critic Score
82
30 reviews

The production is closer to a Nicolas Jaar or James Blake than anything hip-hop is toying with at the moment. It’s innovative, it’s slippery, and it’s bound to piss off a lot of purists.

17. Taylor Swift - 1989

October 27, 2014
Critic Score
76
25 reviews

1989 would have been just as impressive thirty years ago, against much fiercer competition. It’s also proof that an expert songwriter, one who happens to sing and dance (somewhat less expertly), can rule our dreary charts.

14. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

April 1, 2014
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

For all the pomp and circumstance preceding Salad Days, this is still an album that DeMarco recorded in his Brooklyn walkup. It’s a record that boasts glaring maturity without diminishing the iconic immaturity.

13. Spoon - They Want My Soul

August 5, 2014
Critic Score
78
33 reviews

Though They Want My Soul fully satisfies a four-year itch for new Spoon music, it isn’t a mere retread of past glories or a paint-by-number exercise.

12. Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

October 7, 2014
Critic Score
84
35 reviews

You’re Dead! is a near-flawless examination of death as narrated by a virtuosic musician who has been exposed to a little too much of it.

11. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There

May 27, 2014
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

While Are We There can be taxing at points, by its end, you’ll be overcome by the feeling that you’ve shared in something profound.

Original Source: http://prettymuchamazing.com/feature/best-albums-2014
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