2014

My Top 30 Albums of 2014 :: 10-6

10. Pop Psychology :: Neon Trees

Neon Trees

My thoughts (from my review in April):
I first saw/heard Neon Trees as an opening act right before their big hit, Animal, was released. I had never heard of them, and had no idea what to expect, but by the time their short set was over I was a fan. They were engaging, entertaining, and their songs had this delicious blend of 80’s pop-sensibility, Killers showmanship, pop-punk style, and catchy as hell songs. I have been listening ever since. This new album has all the things I loved from that first encounter, catchy songs, clever lyrics, very 80’s New Wave feels, and a pop with an edge appeal that reaches through the speakers and grabs hold. I want to drive around Los Angeles today with a good friend, coffee in hand, this album turned up on high, hitting repeat over and again until we know the words enough to sing-a-long.

Favorite song: Voices in the Hall

Voices in the Hall :: Neon Trees

9. Goddess :: Banks

Banks

My thoughts (from my review in September):
So much amazing dance/pop/alt-pop music from female artists lately – I’m loving it. Sensual, sharp, tough, with a downtempo sultriness that works perfect with her honey-dripped with an edge voice. Banks strong and stunning voice is the real star here – this album deserves to be a big hit.

Favorite song: Beggin’ for Thread

Beggin’ for Thread :: Banks

8. Sonic Highways :: Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

My thoughts (from my review in November):
I love the power of this album, the occasional surprise of seventies funk meets rock sensibilities (especially on the track Something From Nothing), the emotional delivery of lyrics and feeling, all-together creating an album that I can already tell is going to be one of my favorites of the year – especially to drive to. This album is epic, and yes, I am sick of that word, too, but it fits this one completely. The last song, I am the River, just takes me completely into it, and I feel myself getting lost in the 7:09 minutes of musical escape and wonder and release – I want to hear it performed live.

Favorite song: Subterranean

Subterranean :: Foo Fighters

7. Somewhere Under Neverland :: Counting Crows

Counting Crows

My thoughts (from my review in September):
The album starts with the epic song Palisades Park that I have been loving since the single was released, if you have ever seen Counting Crows play live the song is like experiencing the amazing improv versions the band often does to songs like Round Here, where they go off into a different musical place, and then make their way back to the song itself, that is what Palisades Park feels like. The storytelling on this album is amazing, the kind that gets under my skin and effects me deeply, I am a sucker for good storytelling, the kind that makes me escape myself in the contents of a song, yet in that escape I’m connecting, and finding myself within it (Counting Crows have always been some of my favorite musical storytellers). I love the perspective of Los Angeles on this album, and the geographics of the music, how you can feel the influences and the overall feeling of the different parts of the U.S. that are sung about, the way place is a character in the songs, almost as much as the people and plot are.

Favorite song: Palisades Park

Palisades Park :: Counting Crows

6. Stay Gold :: First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

My thoughts (from my review in June – an excerpt from a longer review):
There is a wanderlust to this album, the songs all sounding like odes to gypsy souls, and I feel myself taking them all in, blissfully, imagining my next chance to hit the road in my head while I listen. The Bell is so full of longing that it makes me want to throw a few things in a backpack, fill the tank of my car, and drive until I cannot go any further. Waitress Song is another leaving home song, about leaving “home” and making a new one, somewhere new, with a recreated name, job, and life.

Favorite song: My Silver Lining

My Silver Lining :: First Aid Kit

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