2014 Year in Review: Taylor Swift, Ryan Adams, Future Islands, and What Wasn't the Album of the Year?
A lot happened in music in 2014. Right? What? Huh? You know something I learned in 2014 about music? It's really hard to keep up with music these days. I pride myself on following music and I didn't even know who Sia was until about three months ago. Think you did better? Just look at Stereogum's Top 50 Albums of 2014 or Pitchfork's Top 100 Songs... recognize them? Recognize half of them? Then you're doing pretty good in my book.
Even with my limited knowledge, I was able to catch some of the bigger happenings in music this year.
- Taylor Swift continued her steel fisted reign over the American music world, holding record sales hostage until she was damn good and ready to release her album in October. She dented her legacy slightly when she thought she was worthy of representing New York City (Bodegas are NOT your friend, Taylor).
- War on Drugs had a kind of sort of fued with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek, that was really mostly just Kozelek hurling insults while War on Drugs mostly ignored him. How did it end? With Kozelek releasing a song called "War on Drugs Suck My Cock" and War on Drugs having on of the best albums of the year, "Lost in a Dream." (Kozelek's own album, "Benji" wasn't bad either).
- Run the Jewels (Rap duo and partners in name puns: Killer Mike and El-P) put out two albums but it was the second, "Run the Jewels 2", a nitroglycerin doused, subversive, anthem that launched the group from America's radio into the country's social consciousness.
- U2 gave people a pretty good album for free, and everyone bitched about it. (Rolling Stone's Album of the Year).
- Weezer made yet another comeback album, but this time it was something worth coming back for.
- Ryan Adams double dipped this year producing one of the best albums of the year in Jenny Lewis' "The Voyager" and releasing one of his own that was even better.
- Mac Demarco is a guy who exists that I guess you should start listening to.
- Against Me! released their first album since their lead singer's highly publicized sex change operation. The aptly titled, "Gender Dysphoria Blues" landed in many Top 20 Albums lists.
- Future Islands head bobbed their way from Letterman into the mainstream and released what I am going to call the SECOND BEST Album of the Year.