Buzz: Staff Favorite Albums of 2014

2014 was a great year for records, and some of our dedicated staff share their three favorite albums from the last year. 

From Holly:

Ingrid Michaelson, Lights Out. A roller coaster of emotional songs, swinging from upbeat pop anthems to heartbreaking ballads.

Nickel Creek, A Dotted Line. Amazing harmonies and musicianship - Sara Watkins blows me away.

Lake Street Dive, Bad Self Portraits Rachel Price is the Etta James of the 21st Century - in my book.

From Kim:

Kate Rusby, Ghost

Bellows, Blue Breath

St Vincent, St Vincent

From Lisa:

Nicole Atkins, Slow Phaser. A good old fashioned rock record! Songwriting and musical nuances, which Nicole Atkins delivers gritty and beautifully.

Amy Ray, Goodnight Tender. Amy Ray is an incredibly gifted songwriter. Past solo albums are full of great rock and strong guitars. Ray's strings are ever present on Goodnight Tender, as is her penchant for sharing an entire record full of beautifully penned lyrics. Pure country, roots, Americana, critics have used these terms in describing Goodnight Tender. It may be a change from the rock of previous albums, but it is Ray at her best. 

Natalie Merchant, Natalie Merchant. Hard to believe 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Tigerlily, Merchant's debut solo album, which left an indelible mark in the songwriter and pop world. Merchant raised the bar. Her self-titled 2014 release is my favorite album of the year, and one of the best albums I've heard in the last five years. Natalie Merchant's songwriting is in a category reserved for very few artists, and her artistry on each track is breathtaking. Music and art at its finest. 

From Sam:

Flying Lotus, You're Dead! Instrumental hip hop artist, Steven Ellison, brings a listen to every track, like you'd turn every page of a book, album. Tracks feature special guests like Kendrick Lamar.
Cage the Elephant, Melophobia. An incredible rock band. A late 2013 release that I'm still spinning. Disqualify me, but I'm on a Grammy timetable! True to their alt-rock roots, we are all thrilled for Cage the Elephant's Grammy nod for Melophobia.

Real Estate, Atlas. Awesome songwriting and instrumentation from a talented band.

From Sara:

Sharon Van Etten, Are We There.

The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream.

Future Islands, Singles.

From Vincent:

Lori McKenna, Numbered Doors. Put simply: Lori McKenna is doing it right. I anticipate few new releases with the fervor with which I anticipate a Lori McKenna record, and she never disappoints. Numbered Doors is yet another collection of gems from one of the finest songwriters around.

Natalia Zukerman, Come Thief Come Fire. An entirely new kind of record from Natalia Zukerman. A beautiful and moving reinvention. Sonically thrilling and lyrically brilliant, Come Thief is a record that didn't leave my car stereo for months.

Rose Cousins, Stray Birds. Technically an EP, Stray Birds packs as strong a punch as any full-length record released this year. In my humble opinion, Rose Cousins has the fucking loveliest voice in music. Check out her insanely gorgeous cover of "What's Love Got To Do With It" for the proof.

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