I'm still unsure what this decade will be seen as in years to come with regard to music, 2014 despite offering up some seriously great records has done little to cement a trend that will define the musical landscape in the public consciousness. Yes, artists continued to experiment with how to release their material, but there doesn't seem to be an alternative model that has been entirely successful. Thom Yorke's second solo album Life's Modern Boxes employed an innovative BitTorrent release three months ago, but for the most part failed to make a real impact. It's an ok record, nothing more, but suffers mainly because it doesn't feel like it's pushing the sonic envelope in the same way as the Atoms For Peace record did. Meanwhile U2 decided to drop an album out of nowhere to everybody with an Apple account. Self-aggrandising or an altruistic gesture to fans? Whatever your view the column inches it generated won't have hurt the band, even if Songs Of Innocence wasn't quite the re-invention that many were hoping for. To my ear it's a record with some redeeming qualities and some good song writing, but the handful of tracks that may be a welcome addition to the quartets body of work are outnumbered by filler.
Elsewhere it's been a strong year for Pop, Lily Allen and Katy B continued to produce interesting albums. However Taylor Swift's 1989 was a particular highlight, although in the same way as recent offerings from TV On The Radio (Seeds) and The Smashing Pumpkins (Monuments To An Elegy), I haven't lived with those records long enough for them to make my top ten of the year. I'd also have liked to have seen mainstream Hip Hop recover from a lull in 2013, but aside from Run The Jewels second record (Run The Jewels 2) and The Roots concept album (.And Then They Shoot Your Cousin), nothing really jumped out at me.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top Albums Of 2014