Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Guardian Best Albums 2014

1. St Vincent - St Vincent

What we say: “On St Vincent, Annie Clark sounded suspiciously like an artist reaching the top of their game, currently capable of doing it all. She could write beautiful, crystalline melodies – the woozy swoon of I Prefer Your Love, Prince Johnny’s astonishing octave-leaping chorus, the warped power ballad Severed Crossed Fingers – then arrange them in a way that made them sound more astonishing still.”

2. War On Drugs - Lost in the Dream

What we say: “‘Balearic Springsteen’ is not, sadly, the defining sound of 2014, but while Lost in the Dream might not be the sort of album that could only have been made this year, the fact that it has placed so highly in this poll means it’s the sort of intimate, empathetic record that really gets under the skin. What was clearly punishing for Granduciel has become cathartic for the rest of us.

3. FKA twigs - LP1

What we say: “People have said that LP1 is a sparse record. True, there are gaps and pauses all over the place, but the production is fundamentally busy and demanding. There’s an awful lot going on. Choruses swell, beats scatter, the melody can slow mid-song before lurching back to its original tempo. The music pulls off the same trick as the vocals: providing intimacy and distance, all in the same breath: a push and pull of showing and concealing.”

4. Aphex - TwinSyro

What we say: “Some would grouse that Syro didn’t reinvent music – a rather high bar you had to regard as a compliment, of sorts. But if we don’t get Aphex the innovator here, we get something just as good: Aphex the virtuoso. Much of Syro was rooted in an athletic ‘80s electro funk, typified by the inhumanly fast keytar runs of syro u473t8+e (piezoluminescence mix). But the album’s real hallmark was its generosity of melody.”

5. Caribou - Our Love

What we say: “Club bangers have long been littered with platitudes about losing yourself to dance or feeling someone up at the end of the night. Our Love, though, runs deeper. Its songs are about the complexities of adult relationships, whether new fatherhood or friends’ divorces – even deaths. And yet despite this bittersweet melancholy, and Snaith’s chilly falsetto, Our Love manages to sound like it’s bathed in a warm, amber glow.”

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