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October 5, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

The Best Music of 2014 (So Far)

2013 was a banner year for albums. Yeezus. Modern Vampires. Nothing Was the Same. 2014 feels like more of a single year, so far at least – so here’s five albums and ten songs (in no order).

Five albums

Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All

Modern Baseball are young enough to make you jealous, young enough to still put a song called ‘Your Graduation’ on their sophomore (literally) album, young enough to take a pop-punk song through three soaring movements, young enough to end a song with a mumbled request to have dinner with someone, and I fucking love it.

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love

Since when did we give up? Since when did we say yes to love? Nobody felt as angry as Perfect Pussy this year, as urgent. If you really want to lose yourself in redemptive rage, to become part of a wall of noise much larger than yourself, this album is perfect.

FKA Twigs – LP1

You’ve never had sex this good.

Lykke Li – I Never Learn

A perfectly controlled collection of ballads, a tour de force in minimal songwriting and a ridiculous vocal range. This album feels like sitting on a beach with your best friend at 5 am while they talk over a huge problem with you, but in a good way (promise).

YG – My Krazy Life

YG’s debut will fall off year-end hip-hop lists once Nicki and Kanye and Kendrick drop their new stuff, but it’ll be a shame. This collection of relentless hooks and storytelling verses is exactly the kind of shit every afternoon drive requires, even if you can’t sing along to the chorus of the lead single.

Ten songs

TY Dollar $ign – ‘Or Nah (Remix feat. The Weeknd & Wiz Khalifa)’

What a disgusting fucking song. The Weeknd makes ‘Or Nah’, lecherously asking us about our sexual limits in the first verse and then padding the rest of the song with his OxyContin-sweet voice.

Nicki Minaj – ‘Anaconda’

Yes, we know you prefer ‘rap-Nicki’, we know you have an *opinion* about the video, but Nicki doesn’t give a fuck about your opinion; hell, she doesn’t even care about DRAKE’S opinion. Pop song of the year: fuck ‘Fancy’.

MAS YSA – ‘Shame’

MAS YSA is clearly getting over something, reeling us into some kind of breakdown/epiphany of whispered lyrics and broken yelling, complete with synths that feel like skyscrapers jumping up and down.

Hundred Waters – ‘Murmurs’

Some lyrics reveal themselves over time as smart; some lyrics just immediately take you over. “I wish you could see what I see”, when finally stuttered out over a wall of watery synths during ‘Murmurs’, is in the latter camp.

Sophie – ‘Lemonade’

Halfway through ‘Lemonade’, after a trap-buildup of stuttered lyrics and watery pops, everything changes. Suddenly we’re in a K-pop song, a glittering surface of saccharine vocals and hyperactive synths. Then all the heaviness works its way back in. Song of the year.

Rustie – ‘Attak (feat. Danny Brown)’

Making Danny Brown lose his breath is tricky, but Rustie manages it, and man is it fun. An apt title.

Grimes – ‘Go’

I don’t care if Rihanna rejected this, I don’t care if Grimes-purists are worrying about it being too fun, I don’t care that Grimes apparently threw away the rest of album this was on – this is everything a party song should be.

AG Cook – ‘Keri Baby (feat. Hannah Diamond)’

The more I listen to PC Music, the more I’m convinced that their music is coming back to us through a temporal rift from 2024. ‘Keri Baby’ is a perfect slice of their insane aesthetic, and the kind of thing that almost makes the phrase ‘post-ironic’ okay.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow – ‘Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)’

For a song that starts with a wall of noise that once literally knocked me off my feet, ‘Bye Bye Big Ocean’ is surprisingly sweet. This is a song of parts, of soaring choruses, urgent noise, and tender breakdowns. A journey.

Drake – ‘0 to 100 / The Catch Up’

That beat, Jesus Christ. It’s just two notes, a few drums, a haunting melody somewhere off in the distance, and Drake having a whole lot of fun on top of it. Braggadocio-Drake remains the best Drake, by an inch, but this song shows both of his sides perfectly. Being humble don’t work as well as being prepared.

Ryan Hemsworth – ‘Snow in Newark (feat. Dawn Golden)’

Nobody makes you feel empty and vulnerable like Ryan. Everything here – the long-distance lyrics, the assortment of warm instruments, the echoing vocal samples – everything combines to completely take your feelings over. This is the kind of song the repeat button was made for.


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