2014’s 10 of the best music 이보다 더 좋을 순 없다

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While 2014 saw U2 and the Foo’s overpromise but severly underwhelme, 2014 has been a decent year for music. Of all the albums to drop this year, below you will find ten of the best.

10. Big K.R.I.T., Cadillactica
Right now, Big K.R.I.T. is the Deep South’s hottest rapper property, and Cadillactica, with its infectious hooks and poignant lyrics, simply establishes this fact. Rather unjustly, K.R.I.T. has found it difficult to solidify himself as a credible heavyweight, often referred to as a one-trick, mixtape pony, but the follow-up to Live From the Underground, his 2012 debut LP, managed to sway even the harshest of critics. A colossus of an album, Mississippi’s finest treats fans to 15 sumptuous tracks, with the likes of ASAP Ferg, E-40 and Bun B lending their lyrical expertise.


9. The Roots, And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
The Roots, a band never afraid to confront the darker side of music, find themselves doing exactly that on And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. Honest and quite brash, lyrically, the album is steeped in remorse and melancholy. Artistically speaking, And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is The Roots’ most sonically progressive record in years. Disillusioned with the current state of society, The Roots blatantly ignore any romantic musings, instead opting to criticize and mock anything and everything, from the current hip hop scene to capitalism.


8. La Roux, Trouble in Paradise
When La Roux burst onto the scene back in 2009, the very concept of 1980s inspired synth was once again altered. Although undeniable elements of Kraftwerk and Gary Numan were evident, something new and exciting awaited the listener.

Five years on, and with Langmaid’s departure, La Roux is now simply La Jackson. With her edgy appearance and swagger, Jackson’s ability to put her own spin on synth-pop fused beats, complete with tropical sounds and funk guitars, shows the supreme craftsmanship she has honed over the years. Trouble in Paradise, La Roux’s latest offering, delivers electro-infused tracks that erupt with sheer euphoria.

Rumors of a rift between her and Langmaid would certainly explain the latters departure, however, the decision has certainly benefited Jackson, well, in an artistic sense. Working with Ian Sherwin, the fiery red head certainly flexes her musical muscles. What it lacks in duration(41:29), Trouble in Paradise more than makes up for in substance. Much like the artist herself, each of the nine tracks demand to be recognised for their individual qualities.


7. Weezer, Everything Will Be Alright in the End
When Weezer announced their return this year, more than a few frowned at the very thought, with many asking, “Will this be like watching my dad dance at a wedding, an utter embarrassment?”

Fear not, because the aptly named Everything Will Be Alright in the End proved that everything was alright, actually, everything was more than alright, it was beautiful and nostalgic. A refreshing return to the magnetic garage rock that helped define an era, the grunge era, Weezer’s ninth studio album is an amalgamation of infectious ballads that have the boys doing what they do best, churning out catchy, distorted pop/rock ballads.

A man who has preserved himself rather impressively, Rivers Cuomo is a name synonymous with all that was good about music in the early 90’s, and hit single, “Back to the Shack” takes the listener right back to the effortless days of the The Blue Album. Overflowing with old school, unflinching rock melodies, it is almost impossible not to reminisce when listening to Weezer’s latest record, especially since it is twenty years since the release of Weezer’s self-titled 1994 debut album. While it is no Pinkerton, it’s something new and fresh from a group you can’t help but affectionately embrace.


6. Afghan Whigs, Do The Beast
Speaking of the nineties, how about the Afghan Whigs, a band that brought some much needed class to an era of scrunchies and light-up sneakers. 16 years on from their much-publicized split, the Whigs return with a vengeance on the aptly named Do The Beast. With its thumping guitar riffs, “Parked Outside,” the album opener, is as ominous as it is arresting.

While some may have expected a cultivated, somewhat introspective record, Dulli and co. create music that is anything but. Amidst a sea of acrimony and occasional wisdom, the Whigs attempt to rediscover the magic of 1965, the band’s defining 1998 record. While Do The Beast doesn’t deliver the cathartic, Afghan magic of ‘65, it is an all guns blazing, gospel goliath of a record that deserves to be recognised and respected.


5. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
While the duo’s 2013 debut was full of purpose, this year saw El-P and Killer Mike return with a more polished project. Compared to Run the Jewels 2, the duo’s recently released record, last year’s effort was simply an appetizer. In artistic terms, these two are just getting started, both El-P and Mike will be entertaining the masses for the foreseeable future. The lyrical content is harder, darker, even more cynical than before, a fact that the twosome address from the very beginning. Sinister in the extreme, the demented beats and dystopian rhymes have EI-P and Killer Mike sitting firmly on the most dysfunctional throne imaginable.


4. ScHoolboy Q – Oxymoron
It has been a rather muted twelve months for rap, but one man decided to make some noise. Much like his close friend Kendrick Lamar, Q seems to specialize in music that is both compelling and lyrically lush. Meticulously produced, Oxymoron is an audibly alluring affair. Exploding violently, “Gangsta,” the opening track, pits Q vocals against harsh instrumentation, a battle that adds to the portentous tone. However, it’s not all antagonistically driven, as both “Grooveline Pt.2” and “Blind Threats” display ScHoolboy in a much more versatile, creatively diverse light.

This is one of the things that makes Q and Oxymoron just so damn impressive. The record is like a Peruvian dirt track, full of twists and turns, and the occasional pothole. Much like the artist himself, the musical panorama is flawed, but these very flaws make the South Central artist so relatable, so inviting. With contributions from the aforementioned Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz, to name just two, one would be forgiven for thinking that Q might surrender the limelight. Think again, Oxymoron is all his, and ScHoolboy Q is at the forefront of Californian gangster rap revivalism for a reason.


3. Spoon, They Want My Soul
Cast your minds back to 2010, a year that saw Spoon release Transference, an opaque, hazy record. Considering Metacritic had just named them Artist of the Decade, the Austin based assemblage were at the height of their artistic powers.

Fast forward four and a half years, the Texans’ resurfaced with They Want My Soul, their eighth studio album. A conscious push for mainstream acknowledgement, tracks like “Do You” and “Inside Out” are energetic and vibrant, very different to anything that appeared on the aforementioned album.

Make no mistake, Spoon sound more polished, more composed, delivering more perceptive, ‘radio-responsive’ music. With the silky skills of keyboardist Alex Fischel and the vocal dexterity of Britt Daniel’s, Spoon treat fans’ to seductive lyrics and resounding instrumentation.


2. Flying Lotus, You’re Dead!
Innovative in every sense of the word, Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, is a fascinating individual. Hovering on a bed of opulent beats, You’re Dead!, the latest album from the Los Angeles based producer, is as experimental as it is prolific. Picking up from where 2012’s critically acclaimed Until The Quiet Comes left off, the 30 year olds latest records merges psychedelic keyboards and eccentric guitars.

A conceptual record, Ellison invites the listener to consider the complexities of life and death. Both “Tesla” and “Cold Dead” take us on perilous, prophetic pilgrimages, with the latter flirting with elements of hostility and harmony. Sporadic and schizophrenic, Ellison somehow manages to maintain an equilibrium, never once allowing the album to wander into the realms of sheer absurdity.

An impenetrable offering of ballsy beats and dynamism, this is 39 minutes of g-funk, booming bass and unremitting vision. With appearances from Thundercat and Snoop Dogg, Cali’s coolest cat has created a record that elevates hip-hop to new, exciting heights.


1. Royal Blood, Royal Blood
Royal Blood, a twosome of Mike Kerr, an imposing vocalist, and Ben Thatcher, a drummer with tree trunks for arms, might very well be the most formidable rock band to emerge from the UK since Biffy Clyro.

Like Magneto around electromagnetic fields, the duo possess supreme powers, most notably the power to manipulate music in a unique manner. A Nirvana meets Queens of the Stone Ages meets the White Stripes concoction of noise, Royal Blood’s debut LP is morose and sparse, with little room for extravagance.

“Out of the Black,” the album opener, is a track just bulging with testicular fortitude. Amidst a wave of psychedelic riffs, the duo’s bold, middle finger ferocity leaves the listner wanting more. Considering this is the first track, well, you quickly realize that this is a special record. Shying away from any notions of self indulgence, Kerr and Thatcher invest every ounce of energy into 33 minutes of rip roaring rock.


Honourable Mention : The Pixies – Indie Cindy
The one question many fans asked when Indie Cindy dropped was, “what the hell took you guys so long?” A decade on from their decision to reunite, was this album worth the wait? Well, the answer is no, however, let’s put thins into perspective. The Pixies’ were one of the most influential alternative rock groups of the 90’s. Strange, bizarre, awesome, whatever you want to label their sound, the Pixies’ body of work cannot be questioned.

We’re talking Surfer Rosa, Doolittle, Bossanova, and Trompe Le Monde, all possessing elements of class that will forever remain unmatched. With that being said, even in 2014, the peculiar, offbeat lyrics and cat-in-a-blender vocal delivery of Frank Black still exist. Debatably, Indie City is the band’s fifth best record. Sporadically exploding in bursts of euphoria, the veterans’ certainly deliver something more than mere novelty. Like watching a horse attempting to surf, the Pixies’ sound is as entertaining as it is strange.



john glynn

Contributor, John Glynn

As a contributor of CultureM Magazine, he is writing about global culture, for example, movie, music so on.

영국 출신의 컬쳐엠매거진 컨트리뷰터 존 그린은 영화, 음악 등 문화 관련 컨텐츠에서 날카로운 분석을 통한 심도 깊은 이야기를 전해주고 있다.

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