End of year list time. Granted, it’s now 2014, but I like to give the previous year time to Settle, to let the Arc of the year finish. I mean, for Yeezus’ sake, this year wasn’t anything like (The) 1975? Well, the idea of trying to shove album names into this intro died a death as soon as Lorde made my list.
After much thought and deliberation, I decided I couldn’t make a top 10 album list. I had narrowed it down to 11, and couldn’t kill another one off. There were plenty more albums I was tempted to include, but generally it was because of one or two standout tracks on the record. Instead, I wanted to reflect the complete nature and structure of an album.
Of course, taste is completely subjective, and several of these records ran parallel to events in my own year, helped but not necessarily indebted to their position in this ranking. For example, I listened to the Lorde album endlessly as I went to and from Istanbul in November, and the Disclosure album soundtracked my trip in the summer to Canada. But these two records in themselves are faultless and flawless things.
What I find really interesting with the list that I’ve ended up with is how many are debut albums. It’s why I’m so passionate about this music hunting thing, and why I adore the irreverence of predictions for the year ahead. I mean, who knew of Lorde 12 months ago?
So my list shows the Lorde album as number one. It’s a record that I’m still yet to get tired of. There’s such simplicity to the record, never going too far beyond vocals, percussion and synths or guitar. But every track has such intricate depth and beauty. Lyrically it’s smart and acerbic, no more so than on the album closer, ‘World Alone’ where our internet-fatigued generation is pulled into focus with lines like: “Maybe the internet raised us, or maybe people are jerks.” In a year with so much media content generated as a result of popstars and artists behaving like idiots, the opening and closing lyric of the album crystallises the irrelevance of it all. “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk // Let ‘em talk.”
Lorde – Lorde
Disclosure – Settle
The 1975 – The 1975
Paramore – Paramore
Arcane Roots – Blood & Chemistry
Foals – Holy Fire
Everything Everything – Arc
Danny Brown – Old
Local Natives – Hummingbird
Kanye West – Yeezus
Peace – In Love