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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The Also Rans

December 31st, 2013

So after rising from the flames like a word spewing phoenix with yesterday’s albums of the year list, I thought it might be worth throwing a little context on the whole affair. So here for your viewing pleasure, is the full list of albums and EPs that I listened to last year. Well, the ones that were released in 2013 that is.

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My Favourite Albums Of 2013

December 30th, 2013


I hope you don’t mind me greeting you with a simple ‘hello’ after so long away but it’s seemed like the best way to start this. I was going to begin by saying something about how long it’s been since I last posted but looking back, the last few posts seem to have started in similar ways, so I decided not to. Although technically, I guess I kind of just did.

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My Favourite Albums Of 2012

December 31st, 2012

Blimey, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. At least 6 months, maybe more. No offence but I can’t say I’ve missed it and really, it’s only since I stopped updating this blog that I realised how much I was just going through the motions. That is to say, writing about music for the sake of it rather than the love of it. Maybe this year hasn’t been great for music. Or maybe like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, I’m just getting too old for this shot. Who knows. Either way, I guess I kept this place alive just in case I ever felt the need to start writing again and while I wouldn’t necessarily say that was the case right now, I kind of felt like I wanted to do this post. So, just in case you haven’t had enough lists thrust at you this month, here’s my choice of favourite albums of 2012. As ever, I make no claims to them being the best, the most important, the most revolutionary or any other grand statements like that. No, these are merely the albums that I’ve enjoyed listening to the most over the last 12 months. As ever, the albums are presented in alphabetical order because to my mind, music isn’t a competition. Read more

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My Favourite Albums of 2011

December 23rd, 2011

Okay, so before we go any further, I have to confess to making a little mistake. A miscalculation shall we say. For previously, where I said that this list consisted of 13 albums, it appears I counted wrong because there are actually 14. Clearly my maths skills aren’t what they used to be. Not that it makes much difference. These are still my favourite albums of 2011. So without further ado, I present to you, in alphabetical order, the 14 albums that stood out for me over the last 12 months.

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