BEST OF 2014
Our staff discuss their favourite album released in 2014.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata
By Brendan Tuytel
Pinata may have been released in 2014, but it is just as much a product of time as it is musicianship. Recorded over a few years that saw change, growth, and development in many facets of life, Freddie Gibbs’s lyricism delved into the deep, dark struggle of crime juxtaposed with egocentrism. Such things have been persistent for Gibbs and Pinata reflects that. The confidence was a necessity to survive and the thematic ties to hip hop are perpetuated by modern artists, but Gibbs personifies it. It pairs perfectly with Madlib’s eclectic samples which are cohesive via an airy, smokey atmosphere. Guest features by modern artists Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown are contrasted by Raekwon, a member of rap royalty. The result is a cohesive, flowing experience with a foot in modernity and the past. It’s an album more reminiscent of classics like Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Illmatic sonically, but a hybrid of eras lyrically; there are familiar tropes, but this isn’t just a fresh coat of paint. This is the album that is reverent towards and embraces the past all the while incorporating itself as a fixture for the future.
Johnnyswim - Diamonds
By Morgan Berna
2014 has been a pretty incredible year for Canadian music, from local Vancouver releases like Lovecoast’s Chasing Tides or The Tourist Company’s Space Race, to albums quickly growing in international popularity like Japanese Girls’s Circulation or Mounties’ Thrash Rock Legacy. However, my personal favourite comes from some of our neighbors down South, Johnnyswim’s Diamonds. Diamonds was the debut full-length I had been dreaming of. After listening to their previous EP to the point of memorizing each note, and every vocal line, I was beyond ready to hear some new tunes from the jazzy duo. Diamonds definitely fulfilled my quota for amazing, soulful vocals, and I’d recommend this album to anyone.
Lana del Rey - Ultraviolence
By Charlie Dims
Out of all the albums I've listened to in 2014, the one that spoke to me the most was Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence. I love it when artists give you something you didn't expect from them. I also love it when artists are able to stay true to the qualities that drew you to them in the first place. With Ultraviolence, Lana Del Rey has managed to do both. Gone are the electronic beats that populated much of her previous LP, Born to Die. Instead, we have a steady mix of rock, jazz, and soul, as well as her signature melancholic sound. Love is on Lana's mind again, though this time she takes it further, making the lyrics more truthful and more revealing. Her tales of failed and unfulfilling romances, addiction, abuse, and past lives, especially when mixed with her emotionally expressive voice, are haunting. While Del Rey has unfortunately been plagued with doubts of authenticity since the start of her career, Ultraviolence establishes her as one of the most powerful artists in modern American music.
LP - Forever Now
By Graham White
As the year 2014 comes to a close, we are reminded of all the music that graced our eardrums and made friends with our cochleas. One album that has stood out amongst the crowd of brilliant musicianship has been LP’s third studio album, Forever for Now. Full to the brim with emotion and masterful folk tracks, the album holds a special place in my heart. LP’s uniquely beautiful voice ignores conventional vocal tone and as a result creates tracks that are unforgettable, dreamy and emotionally rich. Combine that with whistling, ukulele, and LP’s many years of songwriting expertise and we have an album that gets stuck in your head, though one never grows tired of it! Brilliantly written, unique and folksy, LP’s Forever for Now is most certainly my favorite album of 2014.
Michael Jackson - Xscape
By Adam Briscoe
The second posthumous album from the legendary king of pop, Michael Jackson, flew off the shelves and took to people more than its predecessor album Michael. With great tracks like Love Never Felt So Good, a duet with Justin Timberlake, and A Place With No Name - a straight inspiration from America’s A Horse With No Name. Having sadly passed away in 2009 the only hope people had of seeing Jackson was through old Youtube Videos and past TV interviews, until the surprise at the Billboard Music Awards. Utilizing the same technology as the Tupac performance at Coachella, you were able to see Jackson perform again to his newest song Slave To The Rhythm that was absolutely flawless and just as Jackson would have liked it. If you have yet to pick up this album I would spring for it right now, it may just Thrill you.
Best Canadian AlbumS
*In no particular order (that's just too hard). Let us know what we're missing on Twitter - @geysermusic. Click on the titles to read our reviews.