It has been that time of the year again where several music blogs and magazines and entertainment websites all try to highlight their ‘Albums of the Year’ lists and we at We Plug Good Music are no different in that regard. However, where we do differ, is that this is the ONLY definite list of the Best Albums of 2014. The first part of our list highlighted the best albums of 2014 from #50 to #41 and you can check them all out HERE, we continue our countdown from #40 to #31 below.
40. BARLI – Pebbles EP
London-based newcomer and soulful sensation BARLI emerged from the dark and brought to life, her deepest, dark midnight tracks on her EP Pebbles. Released on the 4th of December, what a dark, multi-dimensional and pensive listen it was! Alluring, lo-fi music from the illusive lady and her vocals just cemented how incredible talented she is! An ambiguous character making the most beautiful music in the reveries of night, BARLI appears with her most tranquil of music, a winter warmer of songs that will send shivers down your spine! One of our favourite artists of 2014, watch out for this lady – hypnotic chills ooze out like liquid gold, vocals sheer sublimity, enough said!
39. Chet Faker – Built On Glass
It’s hard to describe this album, to categorize what it is, is difficult. That is perhaps why this album is so good, hip-hop beat, very well written lyrics and addictive music. This is an album I cannot help but sing along to, the beat draws you in and the simply but beautifully sang vocals entice you to sing along. Despite the simplicity to a lot of this album, it still manages to incorporate a lot of different influences; spots of country music, house music and R&B can all be heard, and it’s brilliant.
38. tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack
tUnE-yArDs are one of the last bands I ever expected to try their hand at full-on pop music. They’re also a band I hoped would never resort to doing do. Boy, did I eat our words the second I heard “Wait For A Minute”. God damn, that song gets me every time. Merrill Garbus‘ voice lends itself surprisingly well to pop-oriented tracks, but that doesn’t mean that their signature scatterbrained soul sound has disappeared. This is one of the few examples I can think of where production quality has increased dramatically without really changing the band’s sound that much. With Nikki Nack, Tune-Yards have struck a perfect balance between weird and wonderful, pushing their sound in directions I would have never expected. This album was a pleasant surprise in the absolute best way possible, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.
37. TY Bello – The Morning Songbook
TY Bello’s The Morning Songbook is not just one of our favourite albums from the past twelve months, it is one of the best Christian albums of 2014, and more than certainly the best album to come out of West Africa this year! I would try to explain further to you about how this album is pure perfection but TY Bello best puts this album into perspective when she said, “every beautiful exchange with God always leaves us with more. I was also humbled when I got this heartfelt assurance that He thought the songs were perfect. Perfect?? If you’ve ever written music you would know that “perfect” is the one thing that simply evades“.
36. Twin Peaks – Wild Onion
These young garage-rockers from Chicago ooze an infectious youthful vigour on their sophomore album Wild Onion, with a wild sound that brings to mind sweaty masses and flailing arms. There’s a positivity radiating through each of their tracks, and along with their occasional more melodic moments, the brightness of the album will leave a smile on your face. Drawing influences from the last 10 years of American guitar music, and translating this into a nostalgic 40-minute masterpiece of garage-rock and power-pop, Twin Peaks created one of this year’s stand out records in Wild Onion.
35. Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
If you’ve been paying attention to Ariel Pink this year, chances are you’ve read about a lot more than just his new album. Between starting beefs with Madonna and Grimes and saying bizarre and vaguely misogynistic things in nearly every interview, I was almost ready to give up on the self-proclaimed king of “trash pop” altogether, but then the album came out. Pink is probably not a guy I would really want to hang out with, or even one I would want to see live (I saw him open for the Flaming Lips a while ago and he was entertaining but clearly on a LOT of drugs and barely functional at moments), but this is easily his best album, and the goofiest, most entertaining pop music work I’ve heard in a long time. Careening wildly between genres, he combines influences including the like of Montreal, Frank Zappa and plastic soul-era Bowie, sometimes all in the same song. It can be a bit exhausting to try and listen to all 17 songs in one sitting, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but if you’re drunk or in the mood to listen to songs with names like “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” or “Sexual Athletics”, then this is the album for you.
34. BANKS – Goddess
25-year old Jillian Banks released her sultry, seductive debut album Goddess in September, and it didn’t disappoint at all! With the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Sohn, Lil Silva and Shlomo working on this beauty of an album with Banks, you just knew it was going to deliver the most intriguing body of work! With vocals of silk, so smooth, slick, BANKS burst onto the mainstream, and tracks like “F**k Em Only We Know” and “Drowning” made us all want to know who this woman was and where she came from. With sensibilities from R&B to electronica, this album deserves its place on this list and Banks’ vocals? Deliciously delectable!
33. Perfume Genius – Too Bright
Perfume Genius‘ Too Bright is Pop how pop should be – moving, personal, meaningful and charismatic. This album is the perfect combination of moving ballads and meaningful synth pop songs. It is the artist’s most instrumentally fulfilled album yet which makes it the most accessible – opening up his amazing lyric writing to a wider audience and more recognition. There are flowing emotional trends that run throughout the LP, giving it a specific sad, but strong willed character which can make anybody having a bad day sit up a little straighter.
32. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
St. Vincent’s fourth album was her biggest commercial success yet, but she is still nowhere near the level of recognition that her immense talents deserve. Her time playing with David Byrne has clearly served her well, as is showcased spectacularly on the blazing avant garde disco anthems “Rattlesnake” and “Digital Witness”, but as tracks like “Prince Johnny” show, she hasn’t lost her way with softer ballads either. The synths and electric guitars are heavier here than ever before, but the strings and woodwind which were largely absent from her last effort have returned full force as well. Her fan base continues to remain incredibly devoted; let’s just hope they continue to grow, because she should have been a superstar years ago.
31. Ed Sheeran – X (Multiply)
Since seemingly bursting onto the scene in 2011, although for those of us in the US a little later, Ed Sheeran has captured our attention and it has never waned. With his sophomore album Multiply, he is more alive, more playful and still personal and you can’t help but love it. Strongly influenced by R&B music, collaborating with the likes of Benny Blanco, Johnny McDaid, Pharrell Williams, and Rick Rubin, and featuring instant classics such as “Thinking Out Loud” and “Sing”, Multiply sees Ed Sheeran staying true to his singer-songwriter roots, while successfully pushing the boundaries of modern Pop music.
Keep it here for our Top 30 Albums of 2014! To revisit #50 – #41 on our list, click HERE