41. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In the End
Weezer spent the last few years in an experimental phase, which, to the dismay of the fans,did not turn out well. So this time Weezer is letting the fans know Everything Will Be Alright In the End with an album that brings back the classic Weezer pop-rock noise. The choir vocals in “Foolish Father” and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino singing along side Cuomo in “Go Away” keep the album fresh and interesting. The almost title track “Back To the Shack” and “Cleopatra” certainly remind everyone that Weezer has not lost their amazing guitar talents, with a solo in “Cleopatra” that makes your ears will thank you for. Everything Will Be Alright In the End is a perfect addition to this year’s great albums, because it wouldn’t be complete without the band returning to what they do best.
42. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar
Robert Plant’s career has had one most successful evolutions of any rock star from his generation. He refuses to be remembered only for his contributions to Led Zeppelin, which has caused some reported contention between himself and Jimmy Page. However, while many famous members from stadium-rock bands have gone solo and released duds on their own, Plant continues to put out interesting music. This most recent album shows hints of English folk, and has its stripped down moments, but it is overall a thoroughly orchestrated piece of work. At times, the album offers catchy melodies, such as during “Rainbow.” Later on, Plant delves into what can only be described as gentle jams. The album, by the end, seems like just the right move for him, fusing musical maturity with continued innovation and creativity.
43. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
There was disappointment from a lot of listeners when they followed the buzz surrounding Sonic Highways and then listened to it. The concept of the album was to write a track dedicated to the music scene of eight great American cities. Even though Dave Grohl actually traveled to these cities, made a documentary series about each, and even collaborated with local musicians, the songs didn’t show it (no blues in the Chicago track!?). Those complaints aside, Grohl does write some inspiring stories in his lyrics. He also continues to take a primitive no-BS rocking approach to the music. It’s loud, it’s clean, it’s exciting, and it has some of Foo Fighter’s best playing yet.
44. King Tuff – Black Moon Spell
King Tuff has always had a penchant for writing simple but infectious fuzz rock songs. This album continues that trend, only with arguably more success than their past efforts. Rather than relying on a few interesting tracks, and then carrying the rest of the album with filler songs that all sound the same, this release is interesting and enjoyable throughout. The album dabbles with darkness, but is mostly a charming collection of fun, short songs that are easy to nod along to. Also, Black Moon Spell has some of coolest album art of 2014, but it looks less interesting online, so if you haven’t seen a physical copy of the album, I highly recommend finding one.
45. Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers
Nothing makes me prouder than knowing that every ounce of Justin Townes Earle’s success has been duly earned independent of his father, Steve Earle. And if you didn’t believe that with songs like “Harlem River Blues,” this year’s release, Single Mothers, should be more than enough to convince you. His lyricism, simultaneously shaky, delicate and powerful vocals, and country infused instrumentation all combine to create an album that dabbles with everything: folk, bluegrass, rock and country. The best experimentation creating a great result.
46. Ty Segall – Manipulator
Manipulator is Ty Segall’s longest album to date and he uses the extra time to stretch and bend his back-to-basics psychedelic style into new forms, tapping into various historic rock milestones without sacrificing the consistency that Ty is so well known for. There’s a newfound variety to the album which seems to merge many of the styles found on Segall’s previous work into a cohesive picture and works well to keep things from getting stale. It’s an album that sounds painstakingly deliberate and effortless at the same time and makes for a remarkably easy listen despite the long run time. It’s groovy, fun and indicative of the sheer talent that Segall possesses. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be slowing down any time soon.
47. Hozier – Hozier
Hozier is definitely one of this year’s break away artists that has caught the attention of charts across the country. Andrew Hozier-Byrne is a singer-songwriter, hailing from Ireland, who left music school to do work with Universal Music and released his debut self-titled EP, Hozier this September. This EP includes five tracks that bring together indie rock with a touch of soul and blues to give a really meaningful sound and his voice provides an honest aesthetic.
48. Arc Iris – Arc Iris
Arc Iris was the biggest surprise of my year. The band, born from the mind of Jocie Adams, formerly of The Low Anthem, showed variety and fun in their debut album. Pick a random song and you could get pieces of folk, country, pop, 50’s doo-wop, swing or something entirely different. The album had a different feel everytime I listened to it and that’s what earned it a spot as one of my favorite albums of the year.
49. Coldplay – Ghost Stories
This year, following the divorce of Chrinyth (a couple name I just made up for Chris Martin and Gwenyth Paltrow), Ghost Stories was released as one of the best and most thorough breakup albums I can think of. The album oozed heartbreak with typical Coldplay lyricism, while simultaneously welcoming in a change of style for a band that is always evolving. If this is what might be their penultimate album, I have no complaints, just that it could have been longer.
50. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
Without even listening to FlyLo’s new record, the album artwork should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re about to hear. Between the interjections of jazz drum set, lightning fast electric bass, and spectacular featured verses by Kendrick, Snoop, and FlyLo himself (as Captain Murphy), the music is almost a sonic overload. Yet the exceptional pacing of the whole thing comes across as a sort of mosaic comprised of free jazz, rock, drum and bass, hip hop, and electronica. Just about every song bleeds into the next, which is impressive, considering each track has a considerably different feel than the previous. “Tesla”, a bebop tempo bass solo is interrupted by prog rock style guitars in “Cold Dead”. “Fkn Dead” transitions into the slow funk groove of “Never Catch Me”, which in turn is contrasted by a sharp and percussive verse by Kendrick Lamar. This kind of whitewater fluidity continues throughout the 38-minute album, somehow effortlessly stitching together so many sharp turns and fluctuations into one cohesive strand.