Another year has passed and more albums have been added to the canon of musical greatness. Although I felt that 2014’s offerings weren’t as strong as previous years, there was still a lot to enjoy this year! Here are Vigilante Detective’s Top 10 albums of 2014!
1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Yup, my favourite album of 2014 was actually a SOUNDTRACK. Sometime’s the right mix of music can really take things to the next level, whether it’s in a movie or a mix you made on your own. Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is like your mom’s mix tape, and it’s set to one of the best films of the year. It’s just pure happy music, and there’s no bad nuggets in the bunch. Classics from Blue Swede, The Raspberries, Jackson 5 and David Bowie made this one of my favourite albums of the year, even if it is a soundtrack.
2. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
Eight albums in and the Foos are still changing it up. 2011’s “Wasting Light” was a return to form for the band and one of their best albums. This follow up doesn’t quite reach the same heights but it has some great tunes in the bunch: “The Feast and The Famine”, “Outside”, “In The Clear” and “Subterranean” have joined the pantheon of great Foos tracks. The HBO series that accompanied the album, documenting the band recording in eight different cities across America adds some major depth and meaning to the music, and I would recommend they be experienced together!
3. Real Estate – Atlas
New Jersey’s Real Estate are the exact opposite of a lot of bands I listen to. There are no riffs, hard hitting drums or crazy vocals from this band; instead you get beautiful, shimmery guitar lines and subdued but still awesomely-catchy vocals. Everybody needs to chill out once and a while, and Real Estate provides the chills on “Atlas”. Whether on a sunny day or a winter evening, it’s all pure ear candy here!
4. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Although I’ve been a big fan of their output over the last few years, Weezer and the world at large see “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” as a return to form. I enjoyed “The Red Album”, “Raditude” and “Hurley”, but if you’re one of those fans who complains the band doesn’t sound enough like their “Blue/Pinkerton” hey day, then this album is for you. Tracks like “Eulogy For A Rock Band”, “Lonely Girl” and “The British Are Coming” definitely have a retro-Weezer vibe, while other songs like “Had It Up To Here” and “Cleopatra” channel more recent work. Either way, on album #9, Weezer’s still got the goods.
5. Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
Another band that is deep into their career and still churning out amazing songs are the Manic Street Preachers. This is their 11th full length album and they have never sounded more vital. While some other long-term bands may have trouble coming up with great hooks, the Manics do it with ease and they do it with a message like they always have. I am beyond happy that in 2015 these guys are still making my favourites list, here’s to more great music to come!
6. Lily Allen – Sheezus
This album crept up on my late in 2014. I enjoy Lily Allen’s music a lot, there’s just something about how she writes and sings her melodies that I really like. A lot of the songs came up when I had my 2014 playlist on shuffle and I realized that there a lot of great songs here: “URL Badman”, “Insincerely Yours”, “Life For Me” “As Long As I Got You”. The list goes on and the entire album is pretty solid from start to finish. If you dig snarky British pop, this is for you!
7. The Kooks – Listen
After their last album “Junk of the Heart” failed to click with me, I had written off The Kooks. I picked up this album purely as a compulsion to have all their albums in my collection, but then I popped it in and really clicked with it. This album is a little funkier than their previous stuff and it totally works. Another great British band to follow.
8. Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
I haven’t really listened to a lot of Rilo Kiley or Jenny Lewis solo stuff, but this album is great. “She’s Not Me”, “One of The Guys” and “Love U Forever” are the highlights for me. I thank my girlfriend for Melissa for getting me into this one; working at a rock radio station, gems like these can pass by my radar sometimes and I’m really glad I got to hear this album.
9. Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments To An Elegy
Oh Billy Corgan, you always make such an ass of yourself in the press. So much so that a lot of fans have bailed on the Smashing Pumpkins, and that’s a shame. I know James, D’Arcy and Jimmy aren’t in the band anymore, and that has turned people off from the post-90’s Pumpkins output, which is also a shame. In reality, the music of Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins is still important. Their last album, “Oceania” was a return to form and a great record. This album is a little more of a grower, but it’s strong and has some fun ear candy as well. Drumming from Tommy Lee gives the album a heavy but simple feel. If you’ve given up on Billy and the Pumpkins, it might be time to give them another chance!
10. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Brighton, UK’s Royal Blood broke out in 2014 with their debut album, and many critics have hailed them as the future of rock. That still remains to be seen, but their debut is a strong one. It is riff central, with pounding drums to go along with the riffage and some great songs too. 2015 should be an even bigger year for this rock duo.