Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 10 Albums of 2014

I've seen where others are complaining that this was a mediocre year musically, and I won't quarrel with that perspective.  It's been decades since I have even listened to 10 new albums, so I can't compare this to other years.

That said, I truly enjoyed reviewing albums of the week with Robin, over at Deliberate Obfuscation.  My original top 10 list had 23 in it - proof, to me, that there is a LOT of great music out there.  The fact that I couldn't find room for U2's Songs of Innocence or the outstanding album by St. Vincent is astonishing.  If those claiming this wasn't a great year are correct, I can't wait for 2015!

Without further ado, here are my Top 10, with one sentence each of explanation.  If you want to read the full review, click on the link.

1.  Home Town Heroes, by Hurray for the Riff Raff.  A gem of bluegrass, Americana and New Orleans I discovered in the Wall Street Journal. 

2.  Vari-Colored Songs, by Leyla McCalla.  McCalla is a classically trained cellist who puts Langston Hughes' poems to music and the result is shockingly good.

3.  Lazaretto, by Jack White.  A guitar genius at the top of his game puts out an album that is touching, meaningful, a bit out of control and deranged.

4.  1989, by Taylor Swift.  Top-notch, glossy pop music - if you don't like this, you're a grumpy old man.

5.  Diploid Love, by Brody Dalle.  Brody Dalle snarls like Joan Jett, crafts like Pat Benatar, and then cranks it all up to 11.

6.  Run the Jewels 2, by Run the Jewels.  I should be offended, and I am, kind of, but it's catchy and engaging.

7.  G I R L, by Pharrell Williams.  When you hear the infections "Happy", you get the idea, but it's a lot more lewd that.

8.  Art Official Age, by Prince.  Fun, classic, lewd Prince.

9.  Give the People What They Want, by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. If the people want classic, enjoyable, snap-your-fingers funk and soul with clear and brassy-voiced female vocalist, this album is exactly what they want.

10.  Transgender Dysphoria Blues, by Against Me!. Punk lives, and this album adds gender transition to the list of topics tackled by the genre.

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