Photo by Renata Raksha/Courtesy of St. Vincent
2014 has been a year of the tragic and the absurd, with the former just about edging it. Israel-Hamas, ISIS, the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Robin Williams, Ebola, Malaysia Airlines tragedies (twice!); the list of events that will characterize this year range from the God-awful to the apocalyptic. The most played song of the year, "Happy," seems particularly juxtaposed with all this.
With hard news dominating more so than any in recent memory, these best of end of year lists seem particularly trivial. However, through many of the albums listed here, there is an element of the somber, of quiet desperation. Perhaps it is coincidence. "Pop" music, on the other hand, seems more irrelevant than ever, propped up only by those that keep repeating that Taylor Swift writes her own songs and that One Direction really isn't that bad. It is, and it is not on this list.
Below is a list of ten albums worth checking out from the past 12 months. Sure it's subjective, and probably not as eclectic as others, and there's probably some great obscure record omitted by a Tibetan nose-flutist I'm not cool enough to have heard. Some that just missed the list include Todd Terje's It's Album Time (not played as often since the summer), Benji by Sun Kil Moon (great when a certain mood, that I'm glad I am not in that often) and Mogwai's Rave Tapes if I stared at this final list long enough.
With that said, here is the list of the top ten albums of 2014 to which you should be listening.