Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top 30 Albums of 2014

The Top 30 Albums of 2014

To be honest right off of the bat, 2014 was a pretty terrible year in music, at least by my standards. I felt there was a lack of big name releases. However, there were some minor artists that ended up surprising.

30. Riser - Dierks Bentley
I’m not a huge fan of male country, but Dierks really got me with this album. I loved the 4 tracks listed below so much that this managed to make the list. Drunk on a Plane was a grower…and the album’s savior in the end!
Album: 4/12 – 33% - 330 points
Plays: 73 points
Total: 403 points
Don’t Miss: I Hold On, Drunk on a Plane, Riser, Five
29. Bulletproof Picasso - Train
Train released another solid effort this year. However, only 4 of the songs really caught my attention. The rest blended into the Train discography as the same sound they've been doing for years. The title track is one of my favorite songs of the year though.
Album: 4/12 - 33% - 330 points
Plays: 125 points
Total: 455 points
Don’t Miss: Bulletproof Picasso, Baby Happy Birthday, I Will Remember, Angel in Blue Jeans
28. Me - Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina drops her first full album in years, despite departure from her major record label. While a lot of it is the run of the mill country album, there are four tracks that stand out and have made themselves at home in my iTunes library for the long haul.
Album: 4/12 - 33% - 330 points
Plays: 138 points
Total: 468 points
Don’t Miss: Not Dead Yet, Peace Sign, Say Goodbye to Superman, Me

27. Robin Thicke – Paula
I’m as shocked as you to see this even on the list. A commercial flop at best and a desperate attempt to win back Robin’s ex, this album was basically a lead balloon. It never took off. However, it came during the summer’s musical drought, so I gave it enough chances that eventually six of the songs won me over.
Album:6/14 – 43% -- 430 points
Plays: 69 points
Total:  499 points
Don’t Miss: Forever Love, Something Bad, Get Her Back, Whatever I Want, The Opposite of Me, Too Little Too Late
Skip: The others. They’re pathetic really.

26. Cheryl Cole – Only Human
The fact that I found 6 tracks I liked on this should stand as impressive. Generally, I only like one or two songs on Cheryl’s albums. However, this album was plagued with so much filler music. In fact, it was a Bionic sized mess. If she had cut down on the filler, this album would be higher.
Album: 6/18 – 33% - 330 points
Plays: 176 points
Total: 506 points
Don’t Miss: Waiting for Lightning, I Don’t Care, Crazy Stupid Love, I Won’t Break, Fight On, Beats N Bass
25. A Great Big World – Is Anybody Out There?

This was the first album release of the year that I was checking for. Their indie pop sound makes a lot of the songs sound campy and almost like demos, which is a turn off for me. However, there are some real gems here. Already Home is by far the standout track to me.
Album: 5/13 – 38% - 380 points
Plays: 132 points
Total: 512 points
Don’t Miss: Rockstar, Already Home, Say Something (feat. Christina Aguilera), Everyone is Gay, This is the New Year

24. Nick Jonas – Nick Jonas
As someone who found the Jonas Brothers completely annoying, this album came as a huge surprise. Nick pulled a bit of a male version of Miley with his underwear shoot preceding the album’s release. It garnered enough attention that his second single ending up being a hit. There felt like there was a lot of fillers on here, but Nick does present 6 strong tracks.
Album: 6/14 – 43% - 430 points
Plays: 85 points
Total:  515 points
Don’t Miss: Jealous, Teacher, Avalanche, Push
23. David Guetta – Listen
  The odd tracks Guetta kept releasing leading up to this album literally decimated my hopes with the weird beats and strange features. However, when I saw the official tracklist with big name features, the hype was back. I would say, in the end, this album totally delivers. How can you go wrong with Sia, Rihanna, The Script, Skylar Grey, Bebe Rexha, and so many others.
Album: 8/18 – 44% - 440 points
Plays: 80 points
Total: 520 points
Don’t Miss: Dangerous, Rise, Yesterday, Bang My Head, What I Did For Love

22. Calvin Harris – Motion
  Calvin Harris delivers an improvement over his last album, 18 Months. There are some great songs on this album, but it didn’t strike me as something I wanted to listen to over and over. The tracks are nice on an occasionally basis. Overall, the album ends up mediocre on the whole, falling short of what could have been greatness. I mean, he totally missed the opportunity to put Gwen on a major track.
Album: 7/15 – 47% - 470 points
Plays: 58 points
Total: 528 points
Don’t Miss: Together (feat. Gwen Stefani), Summer, Faith, Open Wide (feat. Big Sean)

21. Nickelback – No Fixed Address
 Nickelback puts another installment in their discography this year that doesn’t deviate from their normal formula. However, that’s not a terrible thing per say. While this may not be up to the caliber of Dark Horse, it certainly outshines Here & Now.
Album: 5/10 - 50% - 500 points
Plays: 87 points
               Total:  587 points             
Don’t  Miss: Believe, You Got Me Runnin’ Round, Edge of a Revolution, Miss You, Satellite

20. Charli XCX – Sucker
Hold on, did Joan Jett and Lorde have a baby? Charli’s album is an improvement over previous efforts, but she still sounds like she’s trying to revive Joan Jett’s legacy on some Barbie bubblegum pop tracks that she missed the mark on trying to turn into punk. 
Album: 6/13 – 46% - 460 points
Plays: 181 points
Total:  641 points
Don’t Miss: Boom Clap, Break the Rules, Gold Coins, Hanging Around, Famous, Sucker

19. Maroon 5 – V
Well, what can you really expect from an album full of Overexposed leftovers? I mean there are some solid tracks, but some of it falls flat on its face like In Your Pocket. Please try harder next time, Maroon 5.
Album: 7/14 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 217 points
Total: 717 points
  Don't Miss: Animals, Maps, It Was Always You, Sugar, My Heart is Open (feat. Gwen Stefani), Leaving California, Coming Back For You

18. Kiesza – Sound of a Woman
A newcomer to the scene this year, Kiesza took America by storm with Hideaway. Her following singles have yet to catch on, but she deliver some amazing vocals throughout this album. The majority of it is good, but some of the songs are only good for a few listens.
Album: 7/14 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 257 points
Total:  757 points
Don't Miss: Sound of a Woman, Hideaway, No Enemiesz, The Love, What Is Love, Losin' My Mind, Over Myself

17. Mary Lambert – Heart on My Sleeve
Mary Lambert's first full length album blew past my expectations. The lead single, Secrets, showed a less serious side of her. The problem I found with the album was that it was really the only track that showed that side. The rest proves too slow as a whole to listen to cognitively at one time.
Album: 7/14 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 265 points
Total:  765 points
Don't Miss: Secrets, Heart on My Sleeve, Assembly Line, Sum of Our Parts (both versions), Wounded Animal, Monochromatic

16. Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear
At points this year, I was almost certain Sia was about to become the second coming of Lady GaGa....erm, I mean the third coming of Madonna. With her strange antics such as not showing her face and her weird video, Sia sure grabbed attention and even landed her first US hit as the main vocalist. The problem with this album is her enunciation. It's so hard to understand her at parts. This is what ruined half the album for me. However, it is undeniable that there are a few smashes on this album. 
Album: 6/12 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 296 points
Total: 796 points
Don't Miss: Chandelier, Free the Animal, Big Girls Cry, Eye of the Needle, Fire Meet Gasoline, Elastic Heart

15. You+Me – Rose Ave.
 As everyone knows, I'm the die hard P!nk fan. This is why everyone is going to be shocked to see this so low. The problem is that, while they sound beautiful, it lacks the P!nk spunk that I need from her. It suffers from the same problem of being too slow that landed Mary Lambert down in this section. All I have to say: please give us a P!nk album in 2015!
Album: 6/10 – 60% - 600 points
Plays: 207 points
Total: 807 points
Don't Miss: You and Me, Break the Cycle, Open Door, Love Gone Wrong, Capsized, No Ordinary Love

14. Lily Allen – Sheezus
 Lily Allen returns from her all-too-long hiatus to drop her first studio album in five years. She brings her usual quirk, her subtle cheap shots, and her quiet, yet feisty attitude on this album. Hard Out Here was an anthem that let everyone know Lily was back! Her Air Balloon deflated the hype as second single, but there are still quite a few solid track on this album. P.S. Love the shade at Kanye in her title.
Album: 9/17 – 53% - 530 points
Plays: 279 points
Total:  809 points
Don't Miss: Hard Out Here, L8 CMMR, Insincerely Yours, URL Badman, Somewhere Only We Know, Sheezus, Wind Your Neck In, Close Your Eyes, Silver Spoon

13. Sara Evans - Slow Me Down

 Sara Evans returns to the country scene after a four year hiatus and, while not delivering in chart success, she gives us a handful of solid country songs that should have smashed it.
Album: 6/11 – 55% - 550 points
Plays: 273 points
Total:  823 points
Don't Miss: Slow Me Down, Revival, I Can't Stop Loving You, Not Over You, Better Off, Put My Heart Down
12. Ariana Grande – My Everything
This album has made me start paying attention to Mariah Carey…I mean, Ariana Grande. While I could take or leave a lot of it, the singles were flawless and this girl can definitely sing. Break Your Heart Right Back was quite gutsy…now if she would only give it the single treatment. While parts of the album shine, there are others, especially the deluxe tracks, that fall flat.
Album: 9/17 – 53% - 530 points
Plays: 327 points
Total:  857 points
Don’t Miss: Problem, Why Try, Break Your Heart Right Back, Love Me Harder, You Don’t Know Me, Break Free, One Last Time, Hands On Me, Just a Little Bit of Your Heart

11. Jennifer Lopez – A.K.A.
 While I may have coined this era as Career Lo, I’m shocked at the percentage of the album I actually liked. She utilizes both of her most valuable assets, Pitbull and Iggy…yet Booty still was fairly boring.
Album: 10/16 – 63% - 630 points
Plays: 243 points
Total: 873 points
Don’t Miss: First Love, Emotions, Never Satisfied, Booty, AKA, Same Girl, Tens, I Luh Ya Papi, Let It Be Me, Worry No More

10. Cher Lloyd – Sorry I’m Late
  All I have to say to this album is YES. Cher Lloyd drops a more mature sound on her sophomore album and the music is more serious in nature too. The heart wrenching Sirens may not have caused the frenzy Swagger Jagger did for the first album, but this side of Cher definitely pulled me in.
Album: 7/11 – 64% - 640 points
Plays: 308 plays
Total: 948 points
Don’t Miss: Alone With Me, Sirens, Human, Bind Your Love, Sweet Despair, Just Be Mine, I Wish

Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint
 While having songs I can't really say I don't like, I still feel like this is the weakest entry into Nicki's discography. The more serious rap is okay, but it needed a few more fun tracks. I think it's a shame that Truffle Butter and Wamables didn't make the album. They could have replaced the boring tracks like I Lied.
Album: 16/23 – 73% - 730 points
Plays: 385 points
Total:  1,115 points
Don't Miss: Truffle Butter, Wamables, Anaconda, The Night Is Still Young, The Crying Game, Only, Bed of Lies, Feeling Myself, Get On Your Knees, Win Again, Grand Piano
8. Anastacia – Resurrection
 Anastacia resurrects herself after another bout of breast cancer and she is stronger than ever. This album is chocked full of vulnerable anthems as well as fist pumping anthems. This album brings out the fight in anyone going through a tough time. It was definitely a stellar release this year.
Album: 11/15 – 73% - 730 points
Plays: 388 points
Total: 1,188 points
Don't Miss: Stupid Little Things, Evolution, Underdog, Stay, Broken Wings, Stay, Resurrection, Lifeline

7. Shakira – Shakira
Her best album since Laundry Service would undoubtedly be Shakira. While the promotion and single choices were about shaky, there are quite a few solid album cuts that I find infectious 
 Album: 10/15 – 66% - 660 points
Plays: 482 points
Total:  1,142 points
Don't Miss: The One Thing, Spotlight, Empire, Broken Record, 23, Medicine, You Don't Care About Me, Can't Remember to Forget You, That Way

6. Karmin – Pulses

Karmin debuted their very first LP this year. I enjoyed it from first listen, but I had the chance to see them live in April and that changed everything. Seeing them live gave so much life to the songs. From there on out, I had to buy the album and I listened to it frequently. It's solid pop music and it avoids a lot of the cliché music people are releasing lately. They have a sense of humor that shines on tracks like Acapella, yet can pull off the serious tones such as in Neon Love.
Album: 10/13 – 77% - 770 points
Plays: 433 points
Total:  1,203 points
Don't Miss: Acapella, Neon Love, Pulses, Night Like This, Drifter, Gasoline, Hate to Love You

5. Lea Michele – Louder

If you told me in 2013 that Lea Michele would drop the fifth most cohesive album of 2014, I would have laughed you out of the room. I'm not a Glee fan and I certainly felt her voice was too theatrical to be viewed as a pop star. And I couldn't have been more wrong. This album is amazing. She plays on the death of Cory Monteith a bit too much, but that could have been valid in her life and perhaps might not have been solely a crutch. Either way, I have been belting to Cannonball and On My Way for ages and I do not seem them getting played any less frequently in the near future.
Album:  12/15 – 80% - 800 points
Plays: 519 points
Total: 1,319 points
Don't Miss: On My Way, Cannonball, The Bells, To Find You, Battlefield, Gone Tonight, Don't Let Go

4. Jessie J – Sweet Talker

Jessie J should have had a US smash on her hands with this album and the success of the lead single. However, it fizzled. Perhaps, the amount they charged for the album held back sales. Overall, the album is decent quality music, but it lacks the spunk that made Jessie J such an original on the first album. She hasn’t seemed to be able to rekindle that spark on her second and third album.
Album: 12/15 – 80% - 800 points
Plays: 562 points
Total:  1,362 points
Don’t Miss: Bang Bang, Loud, Burnin’ Up, Your Loss I’m Found, You Don’t Really Know Me, Masterpiece

3. Miranda Lambert – Platinum

When the title track of an album hinges on the line "what doesn't kill you only makes you blonder," you know this album is about to blow your mind. Miranda Lambert retains that good ol' time country feel on songs like Smokin' and Drinkin' and Old Sh!t, while keeping it contemporary on songs like Platinum and Somethin' Bad featuring the other country goddess Carrie Underwood. Hands down, the most solid country album of the year.
Album: 14/16 – 88% - 880 points
Plays: 542 points
Total: 1,422 points
Don't Miss: Platinum, Somethin' Bad, Little Red Wagon, Priscilla, Bathroom Sink, Gravity is a Bitch

2. Iggy Azalea – The New Classic/Reclassified
Iggy exploded on the hip hop scene this year like Adele did to the pop scene a few years ago. Not only was she releasing amazing singles but she dropped an amazingly solid album…and followed it up with a solid re-release. She delivered the song of the summer 2014 and some songs that became personal anthems for me. I don’t think I would have survived some of the crap in my personal life this year without Iggy’s words of wisdom and I’m sure I’m  not the only one with that sentiment.
Album:  18/20 – 90% - 900 points
Plays: 1,051 points
Total: 1,951 points
Don’t Miss: Heavy Crown, Beg For It, Fancy, Black Widow, Walk the Line, Don’t Need Y’all, Iggy SZN
1. Taylor Swift – 1989
Haters gonna hate, hate, hate. Taylor Swift was the undoubted queen of music in 2014. She delivers her first ever solely pop album and it's pure magic. The beats and lyrics are infectious and I just couldn't come up with one song I could honestly say I did not like as a whole. This is the first time in the history of doing this chart that I have given an album 100%. I just couldn't in good conscious say that any specific track was "bad."  
Album: 16/16 - 100% - 1,000 points
Plays: 1,425 points
Total: 2,425 points
Don't Miss: Blank Space, Style, Wonderland, New Romantics, Shake It Off, Clean

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