The 20 Best Albums of 2014

12/17/2014 1:31 PM |


3. Mitski Bury Me at Makeout Creek

Here we have an album that contains the lines, “Now I find I’ve grown into a tall child,” and “Fuck you and your money” with neither feeling out of place. Twee-bait references to romantic longing and arrested development are undercut by 90s guitar upheaval and hard-won self-discovery. The discovered, 23-year-old Mitski Miyawaki, insists with no remorse that she’s “not gonna be what [her] Daddy wants [her] to be” on “Townie,” despite its accompanying video finding her bummed out, lying on a Pepto pink bed in her (presumably) childhood home. Bury Me at Makeout Creek is an undergrad thesis from Roxane Gay’s School of Awakening Feminism: a young woman coming to realize that she can have a favorite Kardashian and still put up a hell of a fight. Key Track: “Texas Reznikoff”  — LB



2. Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire for No Witness

Angel Olsen’s voice is a bottomless toolbox for devastation. It can elegantly stretch so its slight tremble is the only real movement in an isolating ballad; it can sound jaded, letting us know that her songs’ characters have seen some stuff; it can be fiery and passionate, coaxing herself out of melancholic comfort. What Sun Kil Moon did this year with doomed storybook vignettes against a wide, open canvas of folk and country, Olsen communicated with mere tones and the command of her vocals. “This would all be so much easier if I had nothing more to say,” she warmly unfurls on “High & Wild.” This is probably true, but the world would be worse off. Key Track: “Forgiven/Forgotten” — LB



1. Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2

In which a couple of grown-ass men, talking unprecedented levels of shit, become a sort of magic totem against all things fucked up. As an unlikely bro-down based on talent, humor and respect, they were already easy to root for, but El-P and Killer Mike’s Run the Jewels sequel brought better songs with deeper resonance. El-P’s metallic production, always bracing, benefits from the mainstream finally catching up. Killer Mike became the most eloquent voice against police brutality in the wake of Ferguson and was prescient enough to address it on the heartbreaking “Early” before the wheels totally came off. Beyond its political gravitas, the record was mainly undeniable because of the borrowed energy gained by listening to it. “My fist to your face is fucking Folgers,” says Mike to an unnamed fuckboy, somehow punching some caffeine into your skull via earbuds, too. Key Track: “Blockbuster Night, Part 1”  — JK

One Comment

  • These are the best albums of 2014? This is some of the most uninspired and unexamined vomit I’ve ever heard. It’s a self-indulgent, jerk-off fest – I would feel less depraved listening to Taylor Swift, at least while I drown in that bubblegum kitsch I’ll get to hear a pop hook.