Wait, what? Never mind how we got to the end of another year, now that we’re here we’re totally obligated to give you a rundown of the albums we thought were Ones To Watch this year. First off, we’re starting with our staff’s favorite albums - of course, given the torturous nature of choosing just 10, we have an honorable mention list as well.
We will always remember 2014 as the year we witnessed four boys from Oxford, UK enchant an audience with their R&B-inflected pop featuring nonsensical rhymes.
Ones To Watch vocal shaman Moses Sumney quickly put a spell on us, Solange, and Karen O over (in that order, of course) with his acapella looping melodies and bittersweet narratives on his debut EP, released without fanfare in the spring.
Banks cut to the core of all of us by holding a mirror to her own wounds and past relationships. Her stinging vulnerability was her biggest weapon in 2014, making her stand out in our eyes.
We were caught in Magic Man’s charming web at SXSW; their sentimental electro-pop was just nostalgic enough to make us smile without being too sappy. For us, it captured the strange essence of feeling surrounded yet alone, happy yet sad.
Producer Aaron Jerome dropped a lush experimental pop album featuring an opulent blend of soul, dubstep, and world music this year. Not to mention a host of collaborators, including Jessie Ware, Sampha, and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.
Our favorite road album of the year, by a long shot. Countless road trips were taken with this album in mind and playing the background.
In an age where anything can happen, we were happiest to see Future Islands become momentarily famous in pop-culture around the release of their fourth studio album, Singles. This band has always marched to the beat of its own drum, a mix of synthpop, punk rock and new wave, and their newest album is a future classic indeed.
Singer-rapper Theophilus London’s new album Vibes was named after all the good feelings it invoked in the process of its creation, a process that enlisted Kanye West’s executive hand.
TDE’s leading lady SZA’s Z was a lo-fi production featuring big-name labelmate, Kendrick Lamar, among other collaborators. We relished the sound of her album, a mix of synthpop, urban yearning, and what SZA likes to call “glitter.”
It was loud, it was angry, it was political, it was hilarious, it had Travis Barker and Rage Against The Machine’s Zack de la Rocha. Run The Jewels’ second album was everything a Run The Jewels fan could hope for, and then some.