it’s hard to believe, but we’ve made it halfway through 2014. to be frank, it’s not been a great year for music. it’s not that it’s been bad, but there’s just not been anything that’s really risen far above the rest of the pack. with that said, there was certainly enough good stuff to put together a ‘best of’ list for the first half of the year. and, i fully expect quite a few of these albums and songs to make it onto my end-of-the-year lists.
with that said, here’s the lists of both albums and songs.
- 20. bad self portraits: lake street dive
- 19. past life: lost in the trees
- 18. put your needle down: the secret sisters
- 17. cope: manchester orchestra
- 16. stay gold: first aid kit
- 15. brothers and sisters of the eternal son: damien jurado
- 14. xscape: michael jackson
- 13. slow dancing: betty who
- 12. rivers in the wasteland: needtobreathe
- 11. borderland: john mark mcmillan
- 10. sweet disarray: dan croll
- 9. lazaretto: jack white
- 8. turn blue: the black keys
- 7. mutineers: david gray
- 6. the take off and landing of everything: elbow
- 5. sylvan esso: sylvan esso
- 4. supernova: ray lamontagne
- 3. nikki nack: tune-yards
i loved 2011′s whokill, so i nervously awaited the follow-up, crossing my fingers that my high expectations wouldn’t be let down. well, they certainly weren’t. tune-yards returned with another adventurous album, showing maturity in their sound and in their songwriting.
- 2. st. vincent: st. vincent
st. vincent has spent years making really incredible, odd, beautiful, strange music. so it continues with this album. led by a few really strong singles, st. vincent has managed to hit her stride, recruiting new fans along the way.
- 1. a dotted line: nickel creek
i couldn’t have had any higher expectations than i did for this album. after an 8-year hiatus, the chances of them being rusty was super high. instead, though, nickel creek managed to not miss a beat, putting out the best album of 2014 so far.
not to be outdone by the albums, here’s my favorite songs of the first half of 2014:
- 20. love at the end: john mark mcmillan
- 19. in/out: dan croll
- 18. falsetto: justin currie
- 17. coffee: sylvan esso
- 16. rattlesnake: st. vincent
- 15. top notch: manchester orchestra
- 14. completely not me: jenny lewis
- 13. never work for free: tennis
- 12. alone again: betty who
- 11. fall in love: phantogram
- 10. birth in reverse: st. vincent
- 9. rent i pay: spoon
- 8. hunger of the pine: alt-j
- 7. time of dark: tune-yards
- 6. rest of my life: nickel creek
- 5. HSKT: sylvan esso
- 4. destination: nickel creek
- 3. new york morning: elbow
elbow might be my favorite band, so i eagerly anticipated the take off and landing of everything. it pains me to say that i just wasn’t able to get into the album. but. this track. elbow does what they do best: soaring choruses, introspective lyrics and another great song for their ever-growing catalogue.
- 2. left behind: tune-yards
in several reviews of this album, critics took umbrage with this track for its heavy-handedness in its overt critique of gentrification. i, though, find it to be a message that resonated with me and the track, in typical tune-yards fashion, is both strange and beautiful.
- 1. digital witness: st. vincent
while this isn’t my favorite st. vincent song (it’s strange mercy’s cruel), it’s certainly the best from her latest album and the best so far in 2014. much like tune-yards’ left behind, it makes a statement and does so in a very accessible way.
what good would a list of best songs be if you couldn’t have a listen? i’ve zipped them up and you can download them by clicking the button below.