Top 10 albums

2014's best records


1. Tanya Tagaq

Animism

It does a soul good to see a hugely experimental album built on Inuit throat singing and a reverence for the natural and animal worlds snag the Polaris Prize while also lighting us on fire creatively.

Sharon Van Etten

2. Sharon Van Etten

Are We There

The year’s most unflinchingly emotional album is also the most darkly majestic of the Brooklyn singer/songwriter’s career.

Run The Jewels

3. Run The Jewels

RTJ2

Conscious, funny and technically on-point rhymes over an unrelenting assault of industrial, electronic, experimental, rumbling and riff-peppered beats. Today’s turn-up music.

D'Angelo and the Vanguard

4. D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Black Messiah

The reclusive star’s third album brilliantly distills gospel, hip-hop and funk into a personal and politically potent sound that carves out its own space between rhythm and melody, humanism and spiritualism.

War On Drugs

5. The War On Drugs

Lost In The Dream

Adam Granduciel reworked the tunes on his atmospheric, propulsive third album – about loneliness and paranoia – at length, and the long hours paid off. It reveals more with every listen.

St. Vincent

6. St. Vincent

Annie Clark inserted an unexpectedly muscular sense of rhythm and funk into her idiosyncratic art pop constructions while still leaving just enough room for her guitar heroics to shine.

Azealia Banks

7. Azealia Banks

Broke With Expensive Taste

A fully realized, bold and assured (long-awaited) debut. No-holds-barred rhymes and a singing voice as versatile as her rapping one. Dance-floor gold.

Perfume Genius

8. Perfume Genius

Too Bright

Mike Hadreas amped up his vulnerable piano dirges with pop production touches that brought a new sense of power to his emotionally wrenching songs.

Jennifer Castle

9. Jennifer Castle

Pink City

On her fourth album, Jennifer Castle’s ethereal folk tunes were elevated by subtly lush string arrangements and richly detailed production without ever losing that deeply personal touch we love her for.

Flying Lotus

10. Flying Lotus

You’re Dead!

It’s a jazz record… It’s an IDM record… It’s Flying Lotus! FlyLo sure seems like Superman on his latest, most nuanced effort of swirling, layered, darkly themed but never depressing tracks.

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