To Die By Your Side

My Favourite Albums of 2014

December 31st, 2014

I fear I may sound like a broken record.

A needle trapped in a scratched groove, doomed to endlessly repeat the same cracked phrase over and over.

It’s been a long time since I posted here.
It’s been a long time since I posted here.
It’s been a long time since I posted here.

All I can do is offer my apologies. If this reads like a carbon copy of my post from the same time last year, then it’s for the same reason as last year. While I have on several occasions thought about resurrecting this blog with more regular posting, the reality is that life keeps bumping it down the list of things I need to do.

This is neither an excuse nor a grumble, it just is what it is.

It also means that for one reason or another, I’ve listened to less new music than previous years. Which may explain why I don’t feel like it’s been a golden year for album releases. Though I think that could itself be an excuse. In truth, I genuinely don’t think it has been a great year. As will soon become apparent, there are a number of albums that I’ve really enjoyed, I just don’t think any of them have grabbed me the way a truly great album does. Were I to make a list of my top 10, 20, 30 or 40 favourite albums of all time, I’m not convinced any of this year’s records would vie for a position. Maybe one or two, I’m not sure.

Either way, 2014 has definitely been a mixed bag. There have been several underwhelming releases from some of my favourite artists. Not bad records per se. More just albums that are simply unremarkable. Filled with the sound of musicians treading water, paddling in the tide of familiarity and lacking in anything distinctive or remarkable. Too many have felt like a collection of forgettable songs that simply fade from memory the moment the next track begins. Records that will never ever be the first one you go to when thinking you want to listen to that artist.

Which leads me neatly on to another pattern that emerged this year. Maybe it’s my age that’s doing it but this year I’ve found myself on some kind of weird yearning nostalgia trip. There’s been a lot of revisiting of classic albums and artists from my youth in the last 12 months. That, or discovering records from the 90s that I’d previously overlooked. I’m not sure if the lack of amazing new music this year inspired it, or if listening to older music has made me think this year’s been disappointing. Either way, I can’t deny that there’s something about the alt-rock sound of the 90s that I just never tire of. Though conversely, I do seem to have tired of going to gigs. Well no, that’s not strictly true. Though it is odd to think that this is the first year I haven’t seen any live music since 1991.

All of which probably sounds way more negative than I meant it to. Indeed, when revisiting all of the year’s releases to put this list together, I surprised myself with how many albums actually made the grade. Don’t be under any illusion, all of the records on this list are more than worthy of your time and money. So if there are any you haven’t heard, I urge you take a listen. Though before we go any further, it’s probably best that I repeat what I say every year. That this is merely a list of my personal favourite albums of the year. I make no claims that they’re the ‘best’ or that they offer any hitherto undiscovered insights into the human condition. These are merely the new albums I’ve enjoyed the most over the last 12 months. The records I’ve returned to again and again. As ever, the list is presented in alphabetical order because, as my end of year disclaimer always pronounces, music isn’t a competition.

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Filed Under Album Reviews, Music

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