It’s almost 2015, which means the Croatoan virus did not take over the country, and that, my friend, is something to dance about.
This year, I was inspired not only by music, but by the spirit of the artists creating it.
Here are the 10 albums (plus a bonus) I listened to obsessively in 2014 and will continue to bump in 2015. This list includes feminists, a transexual, a gay icon and other progressive and socially conscious artists. If you haven’t heard of the band or the album, click the links, check out the videos and give ’em a listen. If you’re against revolution via music, move on now, because it’s about to be 2015 and the times, my friend, they are a-changing.
A special thanks to my honey!! for helping me compile this list, across the span of three days, picking up conversations as if no time had passed at all.
Listen to my Top Ten Spotify playlist here or watch my Top Ten video playlist here.
The Collectiva Diva
1) Beyonce Platinum Edition by Beyonce
I love me some Queen Bey and the self titled album Beyonce, released as a visual album December 2013 and reissued as a platinum edition November 2014, is her best yet. With musical appearances by Drake, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Frank Ocean and more, this eclectic powerhouse continues to surprise at every turn and has birthed more than a few feminists this year.
2) Turning by Antony & The Johnsons
Released in November 2014, Turning is a concert film documentary that contains music from the band’s first 3 full length albums and focuses on the lives and struggles of 13 transexual women. The best thing about Antony and the Johnsons is that they sound exactly the same live as they do in studio and the second best thing is that their music is all about social justice. Listen to the music, watch the film. You won’t regret it.
3) Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey
Released in June 2014, Ultraviolence is a testament to Lana’s staying power. The tunes on this record vary between makes-me-want-to-cry-for-fifties-mistresses to makes-me-feel-like-a-badass-bitch-from-Cali. Also–I’m pretty sure the album title refers to Clockwork Orange, which earns brownie points, in my book. I’ve rec’d all 3 of her albums at some point on this blog, and I will continue to do so, as long as her music sounds as perfect as it does in 2014.
4) 1989 by Taylor Swift
I can’t help but love this album, although I damn well tried. Taylor has come into her own with 1989, released October 2014, and I’m not even that pissed she won’t allow me to listen to it for free on Spotify. What I appreciate about Taylor is she writes her own music and, instead of bashing women to get ahead, she bashes ex-boyfriends. Go, girl.
4) Hozier by Hozier
This self-titled October 2014 release (as well as the From Eden EP) contains some of the most progressive and beautiful music written and performed this year. While “Take Me To Church” might be really played out on the radio (when Hozier sang it at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, even he looked bored), I promise you, the rest of the album is striking in its raw honesty.
” Angel of Small Death and The Codeine Scene”
5) Nick Jonas (Deluxe) by Nick Jonas
Called “The King of Twinks” by VICE and one of the year’s coolest straight people by Advocate Magazine, Nick Jonas is raising the stakes on what it means to be a straight male artists who supports the gay community. The music is pop-y, full of energy and great to dance to, which was proven when Nick held parties for his November album release in gay clubs all over the country. I love that he isn’t shy when it comes to his heterosexuality (sorry boys) or his support for all things LGBT. Also, the abs.
“Jealous (Gospel Version)”
6) Goddess (Deluxe) by Banks
SoCal singer Banks released the debut album Goddess September 2014 after trickling out singles slowly for the year prior. Her rich alto and melancholy lyrics laid on top of synthetic beats and ethereal noise make for an interesting and unique musical experience that has me excited for this artist’s sophomore effort.
7) Voices by Phantogram
This February 2014 release is just so much fun to listen to. Voices is this band’s second album, and it’s the one that got them on a regular rotation with the song featured below. While “Fall in Love” got plenty of radio time this year, the lesser known tunes on this record are bound to hit the air waves soon, and I will be there to crank it up when they do.
“Fall in Love”
8) My Favorite Faded Fantasy by Damien Rice
Damien Rice has a voice that is sad and sweet, especially now he sings solo (without his long time duet partner, Lisa Hannigan). This quiet whirlwind of an album, released October 2014, is indicative of all the reasons I fell in love with Damien Rice–his self deprecating lyrics, simple accompaniment and easy movement through the notes of a song with his rich vocals make this an immediate favorite.
“My Favorite Faded Fantasy”
9) Platinum by Miranda Lambert
I just really love Miranda Lambert. Her no-nonsense, IDGAF personality is contagious and I find myself bouncing my hair and smacking my imaginary gum every time I listen to her music. This April 2014 release of Platinum proves to be no exception. With fun lyrics and strong-proud-woman written over every song, this is a good time, friends.
10) Familiars by The Antlers
This here’s thinkin’ music. The June 2014 release of Familiars marked another Antlers album I will sit and listen to whilst drinking tea, staring out the window at the rain and contemplating the intricacies of life and love. If you haven’t heard their stuff, get on it, starting with the video below.
BONUS!! This is All Yours by Alt-J
I really love Alt-J’s September release This is All Yours. The music has such a melodic sound that I literally did not listen to until the eleventh hour of writing this post. I will have to blast it a billion more times, just to make sure I’m obsessed with it.
“Every Other Freckle”