As you may know, I have a decently eclectic taste in music. I enjoy pop, some rock, rap, and the “typical” music that most people seem to listen to. Often, however, you’ll hear me listening to techno, a capella or pure instrumentals. It’s really a toss up. With that being said, here are my top 7 albums of the year. Like last year, I chose 7 because I once again found 5 to be too few, but 10 included too many albums given what I listened to this year. Without further ado, here are my favorite 2014 albums in no particular order!
Ultraviolet – Owl City
Mystical. Haunting. Dark. Mysterious. Exciting. Adventurous. Chilling. Interesting. Encouraging. All of these are words that accurately describe Owl City’s new EP: Ultraviolet. Although the EP only contains 4 tracks, this may be the best piece of work that Adam Young has ever released, in my opinion. In a mere 4 songs, he manages to spark imagination, create welling emotions of happiness, sadness, heartbreak, and joy, and most of all, he makes the experience a good ride that feels like a complete, cohesive project.
Above is an excerpt from my review of Ultraviolet; you can read the full review here.
Xscape – Michael Jackson
Xscape is a great release whether you’ve listened to Michael Jackson before or not. If you enjoy Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5, Royal Tailor, or Justin Timberlake, you’ll probably enjoy Xscape as well. After all, Michael Jackson was a big influence for each of the artists mentioned, and by listening to Xscape, you can definitely hear why, and you can see how Michael truly changed the face of music.
This is an excerpt from my review of Xscape. You can read it in full here, if you’d like.
G I R L – Pharrell Williams
Pharrell’s album has a sort of throwback vibe to it; I’m getting the sounds of the 1970’s and ’80’s that are blended with the sounds of the modern era. I’m hearing the same tone of electric guitar on Pharrell’s “Come Get It Bae” as I hear in the Bee Gee’s “Jive Talking.” Hand claps, stomps, and trumpets mix with bass beats and computer generated sounds. The blend is refreshing, much like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories was for me last year.
That’s an excerpt from my G I R L review, which you can read here.
Anchor – Colton Dixon
Anchor is truly an impressive masterpiece, from the lyrics of action, encouragement, and faith, to the incredible range of sounds displayed on the tracks. This is not an album to be missed, and I can guarantee that you’ll want to see and hear these ones performed live…
This quote is an excerpt from my Anchor review, which you can read here.
Yes! – Jason Mraz
Yes! took me a lot longer to warm up to as compared to some of Jason’s other works, but this album is a great one. It carries a very understated, acoustic tone; far more so than any of his other albums to date. Yes! is smooth, easy to listen to, and peaceful. It is peppy when it needs to be, but it slows things down to draw emotions when necessary. This album shouldn’t be missed.
This Changes Everything – Northern Wonder
Here’s a little indie release for you. Northern Wonder is a one man techno band in the vein of Owl City, and it is very clear that is where Northern Wonder’s inspiration comes from. This 4 track EP features Christian themes and infections tunes. It is a strong debut release for the artist, and I can’t wait to see what else he can create in the months and years to come.
That’s Christmas to Me – Pentatonix
Pentatonix has released two works this year: PTX Vol. III, a 7-track EP, and That’s Christmas to Me, a full length Christmas album. It mixes Christmas classics with original songs and throws in a heavy dose of Pentatonix’ trademark magic. Each track feels familiar yet new, and each one is a joy to listen to. It will go down in history as a classic album; that much is certain.
Shatter Me – Lindsey Stirling
Although Stirling has put out some standout singles this year (including “Shatter Me” and “Dragon Age”), the full album just doesn’t feel unique enough to make one of this year’s top spots.
Crimson Cord – Propaganda
As always, Propaganda makes listeners do some heavy thinking as he hits them with tough subjects in his raps. However, for several tracks on the album, the central issue concerns racism and the struggles that come with being black. It makes it difficult for somebody who isn’t black to be able to relate to a lot of tracks, although there are some standouts (“Bored of Education” and “Crimson Cord”)
PTX Vol. III
I love Pentatonix, and this EP is solid. However, it lacks some of the originality in the vocal arrangements as compared to their other works. Nonetheless, original tracks on the EP, such as “On My Way Home” and “See Through” are among the best they’ve ever done.
Well, that wraps it up for this year! It’s been an interesting year for music, and although you won’t find a lot of top-sellers on my list, these are the ones that I think really show the diversity and excellence in music. Just because a lot of these aren’t popular albums doesn’t mean that they’re bad. In fact, they put most others to shame.
Thoughts? Which albums or EPs do you think should have made the list?
Thanks For Reading