The Year 2014 in Music

This time last year I wrote a blog on my favourite music from 2013

This year I have chosen to write a review of a different flavour, which will be following this post soon….

In any event I thought it would be nice to briefly share a few tracks that I have loved from this year, one for each month.

January

Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

 

A wonderful track on a decent album, it is nice that Bombay have started to use an Indian style in their music, fitting considering their name. The loop of the Tabla-drum-style electronic beats at the start give the track a lovely mysticism, and the exotic lyrics really make for a catchy track. The album as a whole is not a stand out of 2014 but this track is up there – hence why it is my song for January.

See also: Inside Llweyn Davis -Fare Thee Well featuring lead actor Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford. Also Oscar Isaac is in Star Wars btw, Star Wars is coming out is 2015, new Star Wars everyone!!!!!!

 

February

Beck – Morning Phase

Perhaps my favourite album of 2014, Morning Phase is a masterpiece of quintessential Beck. The classical elements are a beautiful accompaniment to his rambling guitar-folk. My favourite thing about Beck is you never quite know what you’ll get from him. Case and point is comparing this album to The Information. I love that his father is a classical composer and contributed pieces to the album, it is a lovely sentiment. In February this album was basically on repeat in my ears, love it.

St Vincent had a wonderful record out in February too – Rattlesnake is my favourite.

March

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

I can’t pick a favourite song off this album, it’s a great little gem from Elbow. No sign of the popular choruses of previous albums, this feels like a return to the fun of Fugitive Motel, another ambling and wandering record, with a beautiful calming rhythm, very similar to Beck in some respects.

New York Morning best reflects the tenor of the whole, and Fly Boy Blue/ Lunette is a beauty.  Too many albums these days are just 11 tracks, designed as pieces which can be intermingled and ‘shuffled’, Elbow still know how to make a start-to-finish, drifting, immersive piece of art.

So here is a ten minute snippit of the album as a whole

You may also like Odludeck by Doves front man Jimi Goodwin – Oh! Wiskey is a great place to start – if you are missing Doves then this is a great little fix.

April

Paulo Nutini – Iron Sky

A think Paulo Nutini has really matured as an artist, his song-writing can plumb the depths of emotion and also be as light as a feather. But on Caustic Love he really moved to another level. Iron Sky is a passionate, powerful and soulful track. The sample of the spine tingling speech really adds something I think.

Also try SOHN – Artifice

 

May

Sharon Van Etten – Your Love is Killing Me

A brooding and grumpy album, Sharon is in a similar vein to both St Vincent and Lana Del Ray, who both appear in this review. However she does it better, and really claims her own space in the genre of, well, brooding femme fatale. She has quite a menace in her lyrical tone.

 

There he let it go, his temper, standing there.
See her with his gun and he steals love so he can feel alive
Everyone’s knees knockin’ at the fear of love. Taste blood.
Everybody needs to feel.

Break my legs so I won’t run to you.
Steal my soul so I am one with you.
From a distance I am on to you,
But I’ll stab my eyes out so I can’t see
You like it when I let you walk over me.
You say that you like it.
You love me as you torture me.
You say that you like it, but I won’t let you see
All that I can do is what I can
with this pain you’ve given me,
with this pain you’ve given me,
your love is killing me,
yes, all your pain is killing me.

In this month Coldplay released Ghost Stories, which I found a little patchy, however Oceans is a wonderful song, the metronomic beep reminds me of sonar and conjures images of deep sea exploration. The extreme isolation of the lyrics, the refrain ‘ I’m ready for it all’ builds a picture of a lonely sailor, torn by the lust for adventure and the love left behind.

June

Eno & Hyde – Lilac

I maintain that Brian Eno makes my favourite albums, Unforgetable Fire, Viva La Vida, as a producer he has his hallmarks across greats. On his own though, he is a little avant garde. However Lilac is a nice little song.

… Also this month Ed Sheeran dominated the radio with his sophmore album X, everyone knows Sing, but One is equally as good. However, he is slowly losing his slam niche and becoming a modern day Ginger Iglesias – Thinking Out Loud is a case and point. Bless him…

… As well, Lana Del Ray produced a follow up to the intoxicating Born to Die, in Ultraviolence. Brooklyn Baby being much of a muchness, Cruel World is nice though, great hook. Just do something different next time Lana.

Finally Sia brought out a corker in Chandelier. I first heard the song on Graham Norton, the video features Maddie Ziegler, a young dancer, who gave a breathtaking performance. Facing issues like her drink addiction (Sia got to the point where she had written a suicide note), the song takes on an added emotional aspect.

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes

The album itself is interesting too, and Ziegler has recently featured in another contentious video with Shia LaBeouf for a separate single, however Chandelier remains a standout song.

July

Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys

Celebrity cameos abound in this hilarious video for an even funnier song. Serious point though, Feminism is still an important political frontier. Great to see people attack stereotypes in a fun way, not sure Anne Hathaway doesn’t suit a moustache to be honest. Voyager is a great album too, very folksy and mellow, but catchy melodies and hooks are in abundance, as are xylophones.

See also Jungle around this time, Amazon Fire adverts have kinda ruined them for me, but still a nice debut. Try The Heat

August

Royal Blood -Out of the Black

Drums, Bass, not much else except Rock. Turn it up!

Speaking of Feminists 

September

Banks – This is What it Feels Like

Banks feels different to many of the other female artists on the list. Reminiscent of James Blake, it’s hard to tell where voice ends and effects begin, in a good way! Goddess is a great album to put on in the background, it ebbs and flows and Jillian Rose Banks’ voice drifts in and out in a dreamy surreal haze.

Oh and err, U2 gave some songs away – Every Breaking Wave is a notable for the fact that Bono actually goes for it a little more, he’s been shielding his remaining vocal cords for a long time now. About time to call it a day though probably if I’m honest. 

October

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me Ft. Kendrick Lamar

Try this one on for size. Flying Lotus is a really fun artist, lots of syncopated beats and weird sounds. About time for some hip hop too.

Caribou also released Our Love, and Silver is a great track on that.

November

Interstellar Motion Picture Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer – Stay

So this film was mind blowing, but Hans Zimmer made a genius score to go along with it. The use of the Organ lended both a terror and a glory to space exploration. However, the scene where the film reached its emotional peak for me was (no spoilers, though seriously.. how has it taken you this long not to see it?) when Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) leaves for space. A powerfully emotional battle, between staying or going, between family and career, intrepid-trepidation  is summed up in this one scene. Humanities love of Earth combined with a need for exploration, the ultimate futility of it all, it is a beautiful moment, and that is really where the score really comes into it’s own. Zimmer somehow makes one feel sadness and adventure all at the same time.

Damien Rice also returned from a long sabbatical in – My Favourite Faded Fantasy

December

So this happened, cute, lets hope he never hears Bound 2 – eeewww.

Anyway – Thom Yorke dropped this under the radar.

J Cole – 2014 Forest Hill Drive is good.

But Vaults are my favourite new artist and I’m really looking forward to the album – Vultures is a great segway into 2015 when the full album is set to be released.

 

Thanks for reading/ listening, more blog posts to come soon! ….If I can somehow find the time

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