The older I get, the more I realize that there is so much music in the world that I will never get to hear. In my younger days, the scope of my listening was quite narrow compared to now. I still devoured a lot of music, but was quick to dismiss certain types or genres of music because I didn’t know any better. Now that my horizons have broadened sonically, I don’t have as much time in my personal life to listen to everything that has been offered. This saddens me, but it shall not deter my quest to listen to it all.
I can never bring myself to do a top whatever # list. I definitely have certain albums that I prefer to others I have listened to, but could never come up with any argument as to why one is listened to more than another. At one time or another every new album I listened to this year was my favorite for a particular period of time.
Last year I went with an album that I didn’t expect to fall in love with; however, no one ever plans to fall in love with a person or thing. This year an album I fully expected to be one I would gravitate towards was my most listened to album for 2014.
Jack White’s album Lazaretto was the album that I listened to most; though St. Vincent’s effort this year was a close second. When Jack White released his first solo album, Blunderbuss, it was my favorite album of 2012. With his second solo effort I think he has furthered his craftsmanship. For Blunderbuss, White employed two separate bands to record and tour with at the same time. This time around he has whittled the two down to one and found a more focused sound with the band. Instead of noticing the contrast between the acoustic band and the rocking band, the songs on Lazaretto have a better flow as White and the band excel as a cohesive unit.
Upon first hearing the lead single “High Ball Stepper”, I thought it was an odd choice. No other artist comes to mind that has released their first single off an album that contained no lyrics. After a few listens of that crunchy, fuzz soaked guitar riff, I realized there was no need for lyrics as that riff would become imprinted on my brain.
To me, the standout track on Lazaretto is “Would You Fight For My Love?”. The opening tom groove laid down by drummer Ben Blackwell gives way to what is a haunting set of ooh’s, that sprinkle in and out throughout the song, sets the tone for this ominous sounding number. As the song slowly gains steam and builds to the chorus, White lets us know that he has loved, lost, and is willing to fight for love he lost, but is she?
Throughout Lazaretto one can hear Jack White’s multi colored palette of musical influences, ranging from blues, rock, country, bluegrass, etc. I really believe that the paring down to one band greatly aids in the improvement from Blunderbuss. It is a fuller sounding record that pushes White to his limits creatively and musically. This makes for a pleasurable listen that never leaves one bored.
Other albums from 2014 that have tickled my eardrum (along with a link to a Spotify playlist with a song from each album that stood out):
- Alt-J – This Is All Yours
- Beck – Morning Phase
- Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker
- Blonde Redhead – Barragan
- The Bots – Pink Palms
- Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else
- Coldplay – Ghost Stories
- Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
- FKA twigs – LP1
- Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways
- Future Islands – Singles
- Jack White – Lazaretto
- Julian Casablancas & the Voidz – Tyranny
- The Kooks – Listen
- Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
- Live – The Turn
- Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
- Perfume Genius – Too Bright
- Pontiak – Innocence
- Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
- Vincent – St. Vincent
- Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time
- Spoon – They Want My Soul
- Strand of Oaks – Heal
- Temples – Sun Structures
- Tom Petty – Hypnotic Eye
- TV On the Radio – Seeds
- U2 – Songs of Innocence
- The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream
- Warpaint – Warpaint
- White Lung – Deep Fantasy
- Woods – With Light and with Love
- Wye Oak – Shriek