Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2014: Favorite Albums and Honorable Mentions

As always, I’m closing the year out with a summary of my favorite records from the year gone by. The only qualifying factors to make this list are that they must be full-length albums consisting of new material (I have a separate section for EPs and collections of previously released material), with a release date in 2014. Everything I really enjoyed this year that falls outside of those boundaries still gets a mention, just not a ranking.

It was really hard to pick a clear #1 this year. I love the top four albums on this list just about equally. Two are more “baroque” pop records that lean toward the electronic and experimental, and two are more in-your-face rock records. They’re the only “A grades” that I gave out this year. Which one is my favorite among them changes based on my mood, so I basically gave the #1 slot to the one I’ve enjoyed for the largest chunk of the year. I can’t imagine very many other people who would ever actually listen to all four of them, let alone like them all, but they all come with my highest recommendations for anyone into the types of music these individual artists are making.

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Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2014: Favorite Songs

It’s that time of year again, when I arbitrarily sort through the list of songs I’ve been obsessed with over the past 12 months, and try to whittle it down to a semi-reasonable list of 100 favorites. A lot of these were released in 2013, and a few even in 2012, but as usual, I was late to the party.

Music videos and some live performances are embedded for most of the Top 30. I didn’t want to go too far beyond that, for fear of crashing your browser. I’ve also created a Spotify playlist that explores a number of these favorites, more or less chronologically in the order that I discovered them.

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Lost in the Trees – Past Life: Death is just a staircase.

2014_LostintheTrees_PastLifeArtist: Lost in the Trees
Album: Past Life
Year: 2014
Grade: B

In Brief: “Less is more” seems to have been Lost in the Trees’ mantra this time around. The huge baroque arrangements and labyrinthine time signatures may be mostly gone, but even in this stripped-down setting, Ari Picker’s musings on death and what lies beyond the doorway just up that staircase are still every bit as intriguing.

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Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2013: Favorite Songs

It’s time to kick off my yearly obsession with counting things that it really makes no sense to put in order. More detailed write-ups on the full lengths albums that captivated me this year are to follow, but for now, here’s a haphazard list I’ve compiled of 100 songs that moved me this year… some physically, some emotionally, some both.

For those who’d like to follow along and listen to some of my picks, I’ve compiled a playlist (limited to one song per artist, because it’s crazy long enough already), that hits a lot of the year’s highlights, in roughly the order I came to discover them.
https://play.spotify.com/user/1297881374/playlist/22zq8wfpybMfROtcKPQTct
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Lost in the Trees – A Church that Fits Our Needs: So sing your hymn of faith, ’cause I have none.

Artist: Lost in the Trees
Album: A Church that Fits Our Needs
Year: 2012
Grade: B

In Brief: Due to the topic of suicide, this won’t be an easy listen for most folks, but it is ultimately a beautiful and touching meditation on a mother’s passing.

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