These are the top 10 albums of 2014. Collect them all, while the recording industry still makes them! Also click on the album art for a link to the Spotify Stream.
*Honorable Mentions: Seeds (TV on the Radio), Nikki Nack (tUnE-yArDs), Broke with Expensive Taste (Azealia Banks), Run the Jewels 2 (Run the Jewels), Oxymoron (Schoolboy Q), Honest (Future), No Labels 2 (Migos), Tough Love (Jessie Ware), Hell Can Wait EP (Vince Staples) White Women (Chromeo)
10. They Want My Soul / Spoon / Loma Vista
I have run out of interesting ways to say “minimalist.”
9. My Krazy Life / YG / Def Jam
This album functions almost as a companion piece to Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012). But where Kendrick’s protagonist plays the observer and reluctant participant in the carnage around him, YG plays the charming asshole, gleefully telling you step-by-step how to properly execute a home invasion.
8. 1989 / Taylor Swift / Big Machine
I think I’ve said all I have to say.
7. Paperwork / T.I. / Grand Hustle
T.I. skirts the pratfalls typical of rappers, who have an annoying habit of making terrible “sequels” to their most successful albums.
6. St. Vincent / St. Vincent / Loma Vista
Artsy progger who actually remembers to write actual songs.
5. My Everything / Ariana Grande / Republic
Disney princess whispering over slick and catchy production.
4. Aquarius / Tinashe / RCA
No one is driving in her lane right now.
3. Cadillactica / Big K.R.I.T. / Def Jam
K.R.I.T. has always worn his influences on his sleeves (OutKast, 8 Ball & MJG, UGK, Three 6 Mafia). But he’s finally synthesized the all into something distinctly his, declaring himself “King of the South” in the process.
2. LP1 / FKA twigs / Young Turks
Lots of slow burning sensual beats on display here. It’s a wonder that they manage to keep up with the sexually vulnerable (“when I trust you we can do it with the lights on”) and aggressive (“I can fuck you better than her”) lyrics wrapped around them.
1. Beyonce / Beyonce / Columbia
No one, not even Taylor Swift, owned the last year like Beyonce. She made $112M, became the most famous brand ambassador for feminism, and released the dopest album of her career. She even had the best response to her most embarrassing public moment: Sometimes shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator.
Here, she runs the gamut of human emotion: love, lust, jealously, ***flawlessness. All while not forgetting that pop music is supposed to be fun. I can only pray that no one has filmed me listening to this album while I think I’m alone.