A.V. Club's 20 Best Albums of 2014

A.V. Club's 20 Best Albums of 2014

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20. Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

November 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
16 reviews

It’s an album that confirms Stott has been slowly building a platform and not a wall, raising himself above the murk to a midpoint where spotlight and shadow meet. It’s an exciting step forward for an artist who could easily have been content to hang back.

19. White Lung - Deep Fantasy

June 17, 2014
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

18. Swans - To Be Kind

May 13, 2014
Critic Score
87
28 reviews

It’s a veritable gnostic gospel of noise-rock; hovering above the scraping and sawing of most mere mortals with guitars and drums, the album scrapes and saws as if attacking the fabric of reality rather than mere sanity. 

17. Perfume Genius - Too Bright

September 23, 2014
Critic Score
85
31 reviews

Too Bright is the gloves coming off, the curtain that once was gently pulled back now ripped from its rod and set on fire. What results is at times noisy, at times beautiful, and always captivating. 

16. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

April 1, 2014
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

Though DeMarco certainly hasn’t ditched his slacker aesthetic, Salad Days is nonetheless a strikingly mature achievement for the 23-year-old.

15. Taylor Swift - 1989

October 27, 2014
Critic Score
76
25 reviews

Swift’s never going to be as bleak as Del Rey or as sexually frank as Madonna, but, on 1989, she’s figured out how to be an adult once and for all.

14. Beck - Morning Phase

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
78
38 reviews

It’s not as good as Sea Change, but that it’s anywhere close—and it is—means it’s doing something right.

13. Spoon - They Want My Soul

August 5, 2014
Critic Score
78
33 reviews

It’s head music from guys who’ve been making body music for the better part of two decades, prone to instrumental vamping that builds the tension Transference’s longer tracks lacked. 

12. Vince Staples - Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2

March 13, 2014
Critic Score
77
3 reviews

11. Strand of Oaks - Heal

June 23, 2014
Critic Score
77
14 reviews

Previous Strand Of Oaks albums had settled into a folk niche that is all but abandoned on Heal, with big rock moments basked in without any irony, as if Showalter was the only inhabitant in an alternate dimension where Coldplay was cool. 

10. Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo

January 28, 2014
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

9. Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

October 7, 2014
Critic Score
84
35 reviews

Part of his appeal is his reverence for the album as a format—big-name guests emerge as merely part of a scene—and You’re Dead! is his most confidently structured work yet. 

8. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

April 1, 2014
Critic Score
81
27 reviews

The fact that Cloud Nothings found a stable core enables them to recreate Attack’s punch, but gone is the ability to truly sideswipe its audience with anything unexpected. 

6. FKA twigs - LP1

August 12, 2014
Critic Score
86
40 reviews

Few debuts possess such control and ambition all in one; LP1 is the rare album that manages to sound both lived in and completely futuristic.

5. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There

May 27, 2014
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

Are We There offers an artist in full command of her voice and her instrument, a woman who knows exactly what she wants to offer listeners and who isn’t afraid to accompany the barest streaks of sunlight with thousands of clouds.

4. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

March 18, 2014
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

On Lost In The Dream, The War On Drugs provides the darkness, and fans are just lucky enough to listen.

3. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

February 25, 2014
Critic Score
87
36 reviews

All told, St. Vincent is a bold, ambitious, and perfectly overstuffed album. It’s also, as its eponymous title suggests, a new defining moment in Clark’s ever-evolving career.

2. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2

October 28, 2014
Critic Score
86
28 reviews

Run The Jewels 2 is concussive. The sequel takes the simplistic thrills of the debut and expands the duo’s natural chemistry. With Killer Mike grounded at the album’s emotional core, El-P is free to indulge in his intrepid production tendencies. 

1. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness

February 18, 2014
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

There’s an inherent risk in a voice as powerful as Olsen’s. It’s a winning hand other singer-songwriters could easily overplay, pushing every song to histrionics, but even on an album as brash as Burn Your Fire, Olsen knows when to pull back. 

Original Source: http://www.avclub.com/article/20-best-albums-2014-212282
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