Hot! The Year In Music 2014

The Year in Music (2014) Andrew J. Heffling
Hastily written and 3 weeks late, the annual music review has finally arrived. 2014 was the year of highly anticipated and long awaited releases – in one case, almost 15 years in the waiting. Here’s to hoping for an excellent 2015. Below is my extremely biased list to disagree with:

Top 5 Records (2014)

5. Run the Jewels: “Run the Jewels 2”
The Killer Mike and El-P sophomore effort plays almost as an extension of the first record, rather than something totally new. Not a political record per-se, however many topics seem to be especially relevant given the events of our Nation and the world over the past few months. Law enforcement, violence, drug abuse, terrorism – nothing is off limits. Not a record you’ll hear when you’re out with your friends at a bar or club. RTJ2 is meant for your home, or headphones. Turn this up. Let the walls shake. Key Tracks: “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F*ck)”, “Lie, Cheat, Steal”

4. Spoon: “They Want My Soul”
Their first record since 2010’s (underrated) “Transference” the Austin band returns without missing a step. Frontman Britt Daniel’s voice has always been Spoon’s defining asset, but this time around the rest of the band prove to be the secret weapon. Even after a break for side projects, Spoon comes back stronger than ever – Hopefully in the middle of a long journey to greatness. Key tracks: “Inside Out”, “Do You”, “New York Kiss”

3. TV on the Radio: “Seeds”
Their first record in 3 years and first since the death of bassist Gerard Smith, Seeds may be the most radio friendly record TVOTR have released. That being said it’s probably not their most thrilling or powerful, but more so a record that had to be made for TVOTR to continue to grow. As with all Dave Sitek productions, sonically the record is fantastic from beginning to end. Seeds is the sound of a band knowing they need to keep moving forward. Key Tracks: “Quartz”, “Careful You”, “Happy Idiot”, “Winter”, “Seeds”

2. D’Angelo: “Black Messiah”
I’ve been waiting – no – we’ve all been waiting almost 15 years for the next D’Angelo record. Then one Sunday in December it was here. No single, no pre-promotion that extended for months. It was suddenly and finally here. Combine Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Sly & The Family Stone and the first two D’Angelo records and you get Black Messiah. “It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen,” D’Angelo writes in the liner notes. “Black Messiah is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.” 15 years is a long time to wait for a record. But it was worth it. Key Tracks: Listen to the whole record: “1000 Deaths”, “Sugah Daddy”, “Back to the Future (Pt. 1)” “Till It’s Done (Tutu)” “Another Life”

1. The War On Drugs: “Lost in the Dream”
According to my iTunes library, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Slave Ambient was the most played album of 2014. Officially released in March, Lost in the Dream, was the soundtrack to Spring, Summer and Fall. This record still incorporates the same elements that made Slave Ambient a success: heavy reverb, driving rhythms and guitar and a touch of electronics. But what really stands out is the addition of a significant horn section. The saxophone on the opening cut “Under the Pressure” sets the tone for the rest of the record. Their sold-out, two night stint at First Avenue in September were considered by many locals as two of the “must see” shows of the year in Minneapolis – and they did not disappoint. Key Tracks: “Under the Pressure”, “Red Eyes”, “An Ocean in Between the Waves”, “Eyes to the Wind”, “Burning”

Top 10 Singles (2014)
10. Howler – Don’t Wanna
9. Alvvays – Archie Marry Me
8. Toki Wright & Big Cats – Pangaea
7. TV on the Radio – Happy Idiot
6. Interpol – All the Rage Back Home
5. Schoolboy Q – Man of the Year **
4. Panda Bear – Mr. Noah
3. D’Angelo – Back to the Future (Pt. 1)
2. Perfume Genius – Queen
1. The War On Drugs – Under the Pressure

** Might not want to watch this at work (unless you work at a strip club or in the unmentionables department at Dayton’s).

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