CK’s Songs of the Year and Honorable Mention Albums 2014

16Dec14

Months of the Year

SONGS OF THE YEAR
Once again this year, I couldn’t pick just one… so here’s three to chew on:

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (language warning)

Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt So Good


The War On Drugs – Red Eyes


HONORABLE MENTION ALBUMS

The Airport District – Smash
I love a good mash-up album, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. It probably isn’t the best idea to define an artist solely by another, but this album fills the void left by the lack of a new Girl Talk record this year. (Girl Talk did release his “Broken Ankles” EP with Philadelphia rapper Freeway this year. It’s a solid EP, but it doesn’t have the staying power of his solo records).

The Antlers – Familiars
After The Antlers’ 2009 record Hospice, it seemed like there might not be much higher for them to go. That record was such a complete, beautiful statement that no one would blame them if they had hung it up then and there. 2011’s Burst Apart is a great record as well, but Familiars brings back more of what you may have expected from a Hospice follow-up. The only drawback for me was “Doppelgänger,” a song that really drags the album down just as it’s launching.

The Family Crest – Beneath the Brine
This might be the biggest record of the year. The title track gets things rolling in a way that caused NPR’s Bob Boilen to sarcastically remark, “gee, I think they may have been holding back a little bit.” They’re throwing crescendos and instruments around on this album like they’re going out of style. The Family Crest’s goal is to have 1,000 people involved in recording and performing on their next album, and they’re well on their way.

Foster the People – Supermodel
The biggest strength and weakness in this album is its similarity to their debut. If you liked 2011’s Torches, you’ll like this one. It’s perhaps the laziest thing you could say about a record, but it fits here. There are great moments here; the first three tracks rival any 1-2-3 punch this year.

Kishi Bashi – Lighght
“Lighght” (the word, not the album) is a one-word poem by minimalist poet Aram Saroyan. While Kishi Bashi’s sophomore record isn’t as simple as that, it holds a similar sense of beauty and playfulness. If “Q&A” doesn’t melt you, I don’t know what will. You may want to make sure that you’re human.

Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is
When the original Tell All Your Friends-era members rejoined Taking Back Sunday, they breathed new life into the band. This renaissance has led to two albums that at least match the energy and inspiration of their first two albums. My favorite songs from the album are “Stood a Chance” and “Beat Up Car,” but how can you resist this?

Jack White – Lazaretto
In between working as the ambassador for Record Store Day, performing at the Grammy Awards, and enjoying taxidermy, Jack White found time to record a solo album that somehow sounds like the intersection of those three things. The guitar lick on “That Black Bat Licorice” is still reverberating through my mind grapes.

You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing
I’m ready for Promise Ring-influenced emo-rock to make a comeback, and You Blew It! is off to a great start. This short album is just enough to whet your tastebuds for a trip down mid-2000s memory lane. If you need more, make sure to check out their You Blue It! EP, their tribute to Weezer’s blue album.

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