Friday, 26 December 2014

My Top Ten Albums of 2014 - The Runners Up

Before we get to my favourite album of the year, here's a few that would have made the Top Twenty. Let's start with the obvious one...

In case you thought you'd sussed my Number One through the process of elimination - sorry to disappoint. Bruce doesn't make it this year. Mainly because, although there's much to enjoy about High Hopes, it still doesn't feel like a proper album. It feels like a contract-filler, a compilation cobbled together from various sources and with an odd insistence on promoting the work of guest guitarist Tom Morello.The best songs have been heard before, although the versions included here are stronger. American Skin (41 Shots) was originally released on the 2001 Live In New York CD. It's an emotional retelling of the story of Amadou Diallo, shot by the NYPD in 1999... sadly still timely considering recent events in America. There's also a barnstorming rock version of The Ghost of Tom Joad, originally recorded on the 1995 acoustic album Devils & Dust: this one blows the roof off. The album concludes with a hypnotic cover of Suicide's Dream Baby Dream (also previously released). None of the new songs can really match these three. There are rumours of another new album in 2015: let's hope Bruce breaks back into my Top Ten next year.

Top Track: The Ghost of Tom Joad (2014)

Eels are another band who usually make it onto my year end list. This year saw another fine album from the man called E, promoting his true identity as never before on The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. Worth buying the deluxe version for an excellent live cover of Fleetwood Mac's Oh Well.

Top Track: Lockdown Hurricane 

My second favourite album of 2013 was Rewind The Film by the Manic Street Preachers. I generally find I prefer the Manics albums the critics dismiss, so it was unsurprising that this year's critical darling, Futurology, didn't quite do it for me in the same way. A little bit more experimental, a little bit more political, this was best when taking on Facebook and Twitter on The View From Stow Hill and eulogizing Richie Edwards (although the band claimed it wasn't about him at all!) on the opening single...

Top Track: Walk Me To The Bridge

Having finally taken off her Cardigans, Nina Persson released her debut solo album, an intriguing affair with some quite beguiling songs like this...

Top Track: The Grand Destruction Game

Most of the music press seem to have plumped for Lost In The Dream by The War On Drugs as one of their top albums this year. I loved Under The Pressure but found the rest of the album a little oblique for my aging tastes. Similarly Sharon Van Etten's critical darling Are We There... I thought Every Time The Sun Comes Up was fantastic. Nothing else came close. Meanwhile, I've not heard enough of Weezer's Everything Will Be Alright In The End to form an opinion yet... but Eulogy For A Rock Band is fantastic.

I just read an article that claims 2014 has been the worst year for album sales and new artist releases in the History of Time. Of course, such articles always pop up around this time of year, but it made me feel a little better about not having as much money to spend on new music as I once did. And generally the music industry works in peaks and troughs, so 2015 could well be a stormer.

One final 2014 album worthy of mention - once again from an old warhorse, but always a safe pair of hands. Tom Petty's Hypnotic Eye remains in my car stereo as we head towards the New Year. Here's my favourite track from that... you could well take it as a metaphor for the music industry this year, though I'm not sure it was meant that way.

And finally, we get to my Number One. After crossing the above albums off your guess list, what's left? Find out in a couple of days...


  1. How depressing. The only people I've heard of are Bruce and the Manics. Proof, if any were needed, that I am finally so far out of touch the contents of my MP3 player would engender nothing but shame in a modern listener.

    1. You've not heard of Tom Petty?

      Don't worry too much, Steve, apart from War On Drugs and Sharon V-E, I'm as out of touch as you are (as this countdown proved). And I didn't really like those two anyway!

  2. It's the indelicates that's the law of your end of year top tens

    1. Have they had a new album out? If so, it slipped under my radar. (Besides, their last album was Top 20 only.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...