The year is almost over and it’s time for the obligatory “best of the year” etc. lists. Personally, I thought 2013 was a better year for music, but 2014 has its moments. Some bands had huge comebacks while new acts made an impressive breakthrough. I only picked five this time around because I didn’t feel there were ten awesome albums I heard this year that were worth talking about. Similar to last year, my number one choice will get its own entry posted later this week. Remember, this is my personal opinion, but if you have your own suggestions, let me know in the comments.
5. Xscape – Michael Jackson
Thanks to L.A. Reid along with several other notable producers who wanted to mooch off of Jackson’s estate, this year saw the release of Jackson’s second posthumous release. Unlike 2010’s Michael, which was rushed, awashed in controversy, and disjointed, this album was full of tracks that could’ve easily become major hits for the late singer. Even though the songs were re-worked by the producers to make them more contemporary, the untouched demos that fans could only find on the deluxe edition, have the sound and vibe of a classic Jackson album. In fact, the single “Love Never Felt so Good” became a summer hit and showed the King of Pop still had a few tricks up his sleeve.
4. Mandatory Fun – “Weird Al” Yankovic
Who would’ve thought 2014 would be the year of the parody king? Though his 2011 album Alpocalypse didn’t do bad, it was this LP that proved Yakovic has still got it. Of course the eight hilarious videos he released to promote the album helped to make it a success, it was also damn good songwriting that earned him his first number one album of his career. He took popular songs like “Royals,” “Fancy,” and “Blurred Lines” and turned them into tracks about the benefits of foil, being handy, and unforgivable grammar errors respectively. Now, fans can enjoy the catchy beat of the Robin Thicke hit without being subjected to its terrible message. Yay! This effort may not be the best this year, but it is the funniest. If this really is his last album at least he went out with a bang.
3. PUP – PUP
These Canadian newcomers made big noise this year for their breakout hit “Reservoir,” which kicks ass in so many ways. The entire album is filled with their high energy and destructive punk rock attitude that pumps you up. Though they have their chill moments, a lot of their tracks punch you in the face with their abrasiveness. Their hyperactive vibe and their raw sound along with their blend of folk, pop, and punk rock make them a unique act. Also, it’s hard not to react wildly to singer Stefan Babcok’s unhinged vocal style. It’s an impressive debut that’ll keep you on edge from start to finish. If you haven’t checked these guys out do yourself a favor and grab a copy of their album. It’s totally worth it.
2. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
This was one of the most talked about acts of the year and for good reason. They fucking rock. Their fiery debut doesn’t have a single bad song on it. They’re all catchy, sexy, and filled with sick licks. When you’re listening to it, it’s hard to believe only two guys are making so much noise. They embody loud, fast, good ol fashion rock music, something that’s been missing from the genre for a while. Some critics still think this as a bad thing, but so what? Their music isn’t changing the face of hard rock. And? It fucking kicks ass because Royal Blood are good at what they do. The delivered one of the most exciting, noteworthy, and energetic releases of the year. They would’ve taken the top spot if another band hadn’t taken me by surprise by how great their album was.
Check back Friday to find out what was the best album of 2014.
Also, have a Merry Christmas!