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What are the best albums of 2014? Find out here

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Pop

Ed Sheeran – x
The 23-year-old was the most streamed artist in 2014 and his second album hit No. 1 in Australia, America and the United Kingdom along with 11 other countries.

Taylor Swift – 1989
Swift’s fifth album saw her eradicate all traces of country music left in her work. That move turned out to be an inspired one as 1989‘s marriage of synth-pop and electronic beats produced brilliant songs like Blank Space and Style.

Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
After featuring on hits for Disclosure and Naughty Boy, Sam Smith’s debut album made him the biggest soul and R&B artist in the pop music world.

Dance & Electro

SBTRKT_Wonde_Cover_400e0

Caribou – Our Love
The Canadian musician’s sixth studio album is a combination of irresistible dance floor fodder and a soundtrack to help you get the value out of those $400 headphones you impulse bought with your tax return.

SBTRKT – Wonder Where We land
A brilliant mix of electronica, R&B and hip-hop, this album could sit on any list thanks to the quality of lead singles Temporary View (ft. Sampha) and the infectious New Dorp New York (ft. Ezra Koenig).

Skrillex – Recess
You’re either obsessed by EDM or you abhor it, but those in the former were left gushing about Skrillex when he released his first studio album earlier this year.

Newcomers/Debut

Alvvays – Alvvays
Chet-Faker-Built-On-GlassOn the Canadian four-piece’s debut album, vocalist Molly Rankin sings about finding comfort in debauchery and begging for that one last cocktail. Her voice, her band’s grasp of a hook and their mastery of California-style guitar pop makes this album the best to come out of nowhere in 2014.

Chet Faker – Built on Glass
If sentimentally geared song 1998 can’t make you dance or lead single Talk is Cheap doesn’t have you singing in the shower to your (imaginary) partner, then you’re not human. Mr Faker had a tough task backing up his 2012 EP Thinking in Textures but he follows it up finely with this.

Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
Australians love it when one of our own manages to infiltrate the coveted pop cultural consciousness of America and Iggy’s done it so well with this album that some people can’t believe she is actually ours! To be fair, Fancy doesn’t sound like it comes from Mullumbimby.

Indie Pop

LanaDelRey-WKTDJSt. Vincent – St. Vincent
So expansive is this album that it covers off a critique of technologies grip on humanity (Digital Witness), documents an afternoon when St. Vincent walked around a friends cattle ranch naked (Rattlesnake) and that time she took a sleeping pill and dreamt she was with 1960’s American civil rights activist Huey Newton. Despite its quirky subject matter, it’s a wonderfully executed amalgamation of the supremely talented guitarist and singer’s unique sound.

SIA – 1000 Forms of Fear
After a period of writing for artists like Rhianna, Beyonce and David Guetta, SIA’s comeback album reached No. 1 in Australia, Canada and remarkably America. Often dark in subject the album is a masterful display of her song writing and vocal quality.

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
Regarded as the most complete and consistent album of her two previous attempts, Del Rey’s music according to one reviewer would be suited to an opening sequence of a vintage Bond saga.

Rock

spoon-they_want_my_soul-608x608Future Islands – Singles
Before the release of Singles the band made their network television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman in one of the program’s most memorable performances. The album did not disappoint on that showing, producing 10 single-worthy tracks.

Jack White – Lazaretto
The elusive White’s second solo album moves genre a few times over its 11 tracks; from blues, to garage and even country, the recording is inspired by a series of short stories, poems and plays written when he was 19.

Spoon – They Want My Soul
After a four-year absence Texas rockers Spoon returned with arguably the best pure rock and roll album of 2014 that fans hailed as a return to the Spoon they fell in love with.

Hip Hop/Rap

Run The Jewels – RTJ2
clipping-clppng-2500pxSometimes listening to RTJ2 it’s hard to know whether to laugh or be offended by some of the stuff coming out of Killer Mike and El-P’s mouths. Get past any initial shock and this album will reward you with witty lyrics, intense melodies and gritty beats. One of the year’s best albums.

clipping. – CLPPNG
The experimental hip-hop group from Los Angeles have treated their small but cult following with the release of their first studio album. The track Work Work is a wonderful manifestation of their minimalist yet abrasive industrial musical style.

Hilltop Hoods – Walking Under Stars
Every time you think the ‘Hoods’ will fade into the distance they come back with music that you just can help but want to keep listening to. This, the group’s seventh studio offering sees the Adelaide natives maintain the mantle of Aussie hip hop leaders.

Alt Rock/Folk

01a72c9aBeck – Morning Phase
The American singer and multi instrumentalist’s 12th album is said to be a companion recording to his 2002 release Sea Change. The album has been a long time coming for Beck, with recording beginning on and off, way back in 2005!

alt-J – This is all Yours
Pioneers of populating the very specific ‘folktronica’ genre of music, alt-J followed up their wildly successful first album with the similarly charming This is All Yours. The boys from Leeds will be Down Under this summer playing stadium shows and festivals including Falls and Southbound.

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
The Swedish folk duo brought a 13-piece orchestra into the studio for their third studio album and the result was a much more grand and fulfilling sound. They did so without sacrificing any of the nuanced harmonies and beautiful sounds they’re loved for.

Veteran artist albums

prince-art-official-agePrince – Art Official Age
Prince Rodgers Nelson released his 33rd studio album since 1978 this year that was heralded as a return to the funk and groove styling that the world fell in love with all those years ago.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
After 13 albums together this release became the first American No. 1 for the band. In a country where produced pop dance music rules, the fact this album cut through that trend speaks volumes for its quality.

Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems
Also a poet and novelist, the 80-year-old Canadian’s 2014 release was universally celebrated. The Telegraph in the UK went so far as to dub the album “a masterpiece”.

Top 5 Overall

1. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
2. Taylor Swift – 1989
3. Alvvays – Alvvays
4. Run the Jewels – RTJ2
5. Future Islands – Singles

Unlucky to miss the lists → Beyonce, BEYONCE | Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways | Jenny Lewis, Voyager | La Roux, Trouble in Paradise | Charli XCX, Sucker |

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