The Best Albums Of 2014

Some people think that 2014 has been a slow year for music. And yes, if we’re talking about big commercial releases, we don’t have something universally praised like 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city or even something polarizing and controversial like Yeezus. We only have Taylor Swift’s 1989 to go on, the only album this year to reach platinum. But that doesn’t mean that 2014’s been a bad year for music. Our Demo contributors submitted their favourite albums, and we compiled this list by tallying their votes. There’s not too many common threads that tie these albums together – we’ve got pop queens, Atlanta rappers, and veteran experimentalists all hanging with each other. A trend that we did notice was that six out of our ten albums of the year are by women. Not that we’re surprised that some of the best music this year is made by women, but let’s hope it’s a sign that the music industry is becoming less of a boy’s club. Here’s Demo’s ten favourite albums of the year.

10. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence [Interscope]

Ultraviolence is like Lana Del Rey’s vision of a horror movie, filled with genuine sentiments, and poetic lyrics.
– Alexander Si

9. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days [Captured Tracks]

Throughout the album, Mac DeMarco consistently struggles with maturity and expectation; wrinkles are beginning to form on the sides of his Alfred E. Newman smile.  – Adam Bernhardt

8. Future – Honest [Freebandz]

Future is not the first rap weirdo, nor is he the weirdest, but he is the first whose absolute embrace of peculiarity is providing a legitimate shot at reaching the top of the rap world, and while he is not there yet, Honest should serve to quiet many of his critics. – Stuart Oakes

7. Swans – To Be Kind [Young God]

Swans succeed at creating Art with a capital A on this album, and will probably continue to do so until the Rapture or the heat death of the universe. And if the sounds on To Be Kind are any indication, Swans will provide the soundtrack when that day comes. – James Li

6. St. Vincent – St. Vincent [Loma Vista]

On St. Vincent, Annie Clark becomes more defined as an artist further balancing her talents of contrast, emphasizing her pop sound with rock aesthetic, and embracing the darkness that her music casts a shadow for. She leaves behind her former personas to embrace her newly forged “cult leader status” – a cult I would join in a heartbeat. – Ayla Shiblaq

5. Sharon Van Etten – Are We There [Jagjaguwar]

Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is a stunning masterpiece of the rough times in a person’s emotional life. Dealing with themes of abuse, loneliness, and any other sad feeling under the sun, Van Etten manages to catapult her listeners into a liminal space of both emotional suffering and catharsis. – Emily Scherzinger

4. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2 [Mass Appeal]

Run the Jewels 2 comes at an important time in America’s social history and speaks to race relations in the country. In the aftermath of Ferguson, Eric Garner, and Donald Sterling, Run the Jewels 2 is not only one of the best produced and well written albums of the year but it’s also one of the most important. – Angelo Mateo

3. FKA twigs – LP1 [Young Turks]

FKA twigs’ first LP, aptly titled LP1, oscillates between aggression and submission, outward sexiness and introspective exploration. This is one of her beginning steps towards an incredible career (she released two EPs prior to her LP that are also just as tantalizing), and it’s one of the best beginning steps we’ve ever seen. – Emily Scherzinger

2. Grouper – Ruins [Kranky]

Liz Harris’s approach on her previous albums was to swaddle her songs in layers of effects. On Ruins, she takes the opposite approach, peeling every layer back. Ruins is so intimate that it feels like you’re in the same room as Harris, but by the end, you’re alone on the beach, lost in your own thoughts as the waves lap against the shore. – James Li 

1. Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness [Jagjaguwar]

Burn Your Fire for No Witness feels like Angel Olsen’s grittiest, edgiest record yet; that being said, she doesn’t lose her ability to evoke a rosy softness when the moment calls for it. – Maria Sokulsky-Dolnycky

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