Headphone Nation’s Year In Review: 2014


What better way to end 2014 than to give out some superlatives? As with any sort of end-of-year review, these awards reflect my personal taste and shouldn’t be taken as the final say on the year. Really my hope is that you’ll check out some new music that that you’d otherwise miss.

Also, make sure to click on the album cover for a link to a song off that album.

Alright, let’s begin.



My Favorite Album Of 2014: Real Estate – Atlas


(I love this album for very personal reasons, but regardless this album is stunning for its simplicity and maturity.)

Probably The Best Album Of 2014: The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream


(Already a classic.)

The Other Best Album Of 2014: Sun Kil Moon – Benji


(Runner-up because of this.)

The 2014 Album That Everyone Needs To Listen To: Sharon Van Etten – Are We There


(Because it’s so damn beautiful and because it’s a true album experience with all the songs complementing each other and because she’s my crush of this decade.)


The Album That I Listened To The Most In 2014: Phil Collins – No Jacket Required


(It’s not from 2014, but this sounds just like this.)


The Album That I’ll Like More As Time Goes On: St. Vincent – St. Vincent


(My mind is telling me that this should be the album of the year. But right now, my ears are telling me, “Wait a year or two.” It makes no sense, but I don’t question it.)


The Best Concept Album About A Futuristic Dystopia World Full Of Only Salad Which Is Actually A Metaphor For The Futility of Life And How It’s All Just One Giant Hunger Game: Mac DeMarco – Salad Days


(That’s what he’s singing about right?)


The One Metal Album That I Listened To In 2014: Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun


(Because they’re one of the best bands active now in any genre.)


The One Country Album That I Listened To In 2014: Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music


(The trippy album cover and title pulls you in, but the fantastic songwriting makes you stay.)


My Favorite Album That I Actually Didn’t Listen To: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2


(My obligatory mention of a popular rap album to prove that I AM HIP and that I KNOW WHAT ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE LISTENING TO THESE DAYS)*

*(I Just listen to it. It’s pretty damn great.)


The 2014 Album Nobody Liked That’s Actually Not Bad: U2 – Songs Of Innocence


(People were so furious with the band for releasing their music for free that they forgot to listen to it. It’s not fantastic by any means, but at the very least enjoy “Every Breaking Wave”, which kinda sounds like an Arcade Fire song.)


The Best Reissue of 2014: Beck – Sea Change




My Favorite 2014 Album Cover: Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!


(Like the music, the album cover is so trippy and so brilliant, man.)

The Best 2014 Album Cover With Both Pink Colors And Little Writing: TIE Between Kasabian – 48:13 and Ariel Pink – pom pom


(Though pom pom probably wins since the dude’s last name is PINK, and 48:13 is really more purple. Hey, this is a very important award to give out and I have to make the distinction.)


The Best Album Jack White Made In 2014: Lazaretto


(It’s so good! This man is a genius!)


The Worst Album Jack White Made in 2014: Lazaretto


(It’s so bad! This man is a fraud!)

The Best 2014 Album To Listen To While Making Sweet Love To That Special Someone: Trey Songz – Trigga


(Gurl give me some of that cake.)

The Worst 2014 Album To Listen To While Making Sweet Love To That Special Someone: Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots


(The most depressing sex you’ll ever have.)

The Best 2014 Album To Listen To While Making Sweet Love To That Special Someone If You’re Both Into Rebellious Tuareg Music: Tinariwen – Emmaar



The Highest Rated 2014 Album That’s Not A Reissue, Live Recording, Box Set, or Bob Dylan Bootleg, According To Metacritic: Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown


(In case you were wondering.)


The Best “mbv” Album Of 2014: Aphex Twin – Syro


(A classic artist comes out of nowhere and releases a great album. I also just needed an excuse to mention Syro.)

The Best Use Of Loud Guitars In 2014: THREE-WAY-TIE Between Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else, Thee Oh Sees – Drop, and Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal


(2014 was a great year for loud guitars.)

The Best 2014 Album That Has Something To Do With Indiana: Strand Of Oaks – HEAL


(“Goshen 97” refers to Goshen, Indiana where Timothy Showalter was born. Also, Strand Of Oaks’s record label, Dead Oceans, is based out of my current city of Bloomington, IN. Go Hoosiers!)

Best Sequel To George Orwell’s 1984: Taylor Swift – 1989


(The fastest-selling record in twelve years you say? I wonder what Big Brother is up to this time…)

Great Albums That I Couldn’t Think Of Any Clever Superlatives For But Still Wanted To Mention:

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Alvvays – Alvvays

Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien

Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Ryan Adams – 1984/Ryan Adams

Spoon – They Want My Soul

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags

Tony Molina – Dissed and Dismissed

The Vanjas – The Vanjas Sings And Plays Rock ‘N’ Roll

Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End




My Favorite Song Of 2014: The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”

(Nothing beats hearing that chorus for the first time.)


The Best 2014 Song About Watching The Film The Song Remains The Same: Sun Kil Moon – “I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same”

(Pretty self-explanatory.)


The Best Lyrics Of 2014: Sharon Van Etten – “Every Time The Sun Comes Up”

(People say I’m a one-hit wonder / But what happens when I have two? / I washed your dishes / but I shit in your bathroom)

The 2014 Song That I Think People Love So Much Just Because Of The Lead Singer’s Dancing On Letterman: Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”

(A good song, but I don’t think it’s the song of the year. NME disagrees with me though.)

Wait, Interpol Released A Great Song That’s Not From 2002?


The Unexpectedly Great Collaboration Of 2014: SBTRKT and Ezra Koenig

(Imagine a funkier Vampire Weekend singing about Manhattan as if it were old school Brooklyn.)

Spotify Playlist Of My 25+ Favorite Songs Of 2014





The Best Band With The Word “Pussy” In Its Name: Perfect Pussy

(They’re just the best in every way.)

The Best Band With The Words “Honey” And “Blood” In Its Name In That Order: Honeyblood

(See what I did there???)

My Favorite Music Video Of 2014: Gerard Way – “Millions”

(Crappy public access aesthetic for the win!)

The 2014 Reunion That You Should Actually Care About: Sleater-Kinney

(We all love Carrie Brownstein on Portlandia, but this just feels so right.)


My 2014 High-Point: New Music From Ryan Adams

(R.I.P. Jeff Garlin’s Parakeet.)


My 2014 Low-Point: “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”

(I’m not even going to honor this horrible song by linking it.)


Overall, Music In 2014 For Me Was:

A) The year everyone tried to sound like Tom Petty, including Tom Petty
B) The year a lot of great artists released pretty good to pretty great albums, none of which really blew anything else out of the water
C) The year of the low key guitar-driven emo revival?
D) All of the above

(Hint – the answer is D)

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