Monday, December 15, 2014

My Favorite Albums of 2014

I have an eclectic taste in music. If it's good or interesting or notable, I'll give it a listen, especially if it has a solid drum performance. In 2014, some of my favorite musicians came out with unexpected albums (U2, Damien Rice, Copeland), a few just seem to get better with each album (Spoon, Audrey Assad), and I discovered new favorites (Joe Henry, The War on Drugs, Warpaint).

Here was my soundtrack from the past year:

10. Katie Herzig - Walk Through Walls. Herzig makes excellent, singable, memorable pop albums filled with heart and depth.

9. Warpaint - Warpaint. I love how this album is produced and mixed. And the drums. The drums!

8. U2 - Songs of Innocence. "Free album" doesn't always mean it's good. But this is. Some of the best music they've produced in a decade.

7. Tycho - Awake. Instrumental electronic percussive background noise. This is my writing music. It gets the creativity flowing.

6. John Mark McMillan - Borderlands. If Bon Iver and The National made a worship album together, it might sound a bit like this.

5. Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy. After an eight or nine year hiatus, here's a new collection of sad Irish love songs.

4. Joe Henry - Invisible Hours. A folk masterpiece about the beauty of fidelity and love. I'm now obligated to find and listen to everything else Mr. Henry has ever done.

3. Copeland - Ixora. Beautiful and heart-wrenching music from a band I thought wasn't going to hear from again. This is one of those bands I both loved in college that, for some reason, stands the test of time. Also, I named my son after them. So there's that.

2. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream. This is the top album on so many end-of-year lists. I can understand why. A multifaceted rock epic that comes at you in waves of guitars and drums and echoes and memories.

1. Spoon - They Want My Soul. Straightforward American rock infused with wit and soul. An album that managed to make me both laugh and cry this past year. This was the go-to album for the many road trips our family made between BC and the United States. Well, it was my go-to album, period.

Honorable Mentions (the top 20, in alphabetical order)
The Antlers - Familiars
Audrey Assad - Death, Be Not Proud EP
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Divisionary - Ages and Ages
Future Islands - Singles
Hurray for the Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes
Sleeping at Last - Christmas Collection 2014
Switchfoot - Fading West
Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
William Fitzsimmons - Lions

What was your soundtrack of 2014? Share your favorite music from the past year in the comments.


  1. I still remember back in high school when I asked you about your favorite band and you thought I probably wouldn't know (Relient K). Ended up we had a pretty common taste in music. It's crazy to think that Beneath the Medicine Tree came out our senior year.

    I'll definitely have to check out the albums you have up there. I agree 100% with Borderlands and Ixora . Loved them. I'm not sure why, but I have had a harder time finding solid albums from the first track to the last. Instead, after listening to the album once through, I listen to individual songs. I wonder if that's the curse of having Rdio/Rhapsody at my fingertips...

    But with that said, here are some albums that stood out to me:
    Kings Kaleidoscope - Becoming Who We Are
    Sir Sly - You Haunt Me
    Hillsong - The White Album
    Circa Survive - Descensus
    Anberlin - Lowborn
    Propaganda - Crimson Cord
    Jackie Hill Perry - The Art of Joy

    Love to read your writing, Joel. Keep up the great work. I typically don't comment, but for 2015 I'm going to put an emphasis on it.

    -dustin osterhaus

    1. Thanks Dustin, for the great memory from high school and your encouragement! Keep up the comments. :) Hope all is well for you!