My Top 25 Albums of 2014 And How I'm Listening To Music

Brad Barrish

*tap tap*

Is this thing on?

It's the second day of 2015 and it's been just over two years since I sent anything to this list. I hope you all had an awesome year. I feel like every year I hear talk that it was a bad year for music or there weren’t any good new artists or bands. Bullshit. I am literally overwhelmed by the amount of great music, so much of which I don’t even know about until I start reading over lists like this one that people put together. Ordering the list isn’t easy and I don’t generally try, but it’s pretty much in order. There was no hesitation on my favorite album of the year, much to my wife’s chagrin. And it’s not even that she didn’t like the record. It was seemingly on repeat until she couldn’t take it any more.

This is the first year I didn’t assemble a downloadable .zip file in all the years I’ve been doing this list. I did create a playlist on Beats Music. And since most people I know don't use Beats Music, I put together a YouTube playlist with all the songs (painstakingly sequenced of course). If you are inclined to re-create the playlist (in order, of course) on another streaming service, please tweet it out or just drop me a note and let me know. And if I missed anything you loved, let me know about that too.

  1. The War On Drugs - Lost In A Dream

  2. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

  3. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

  4. Tycho - Awake

  5. The Coral - The Curse of Love

  6. The Horrors - Luminous

  7. Eagulls - Eagulls

  8. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Wig Out At Jagbags

  9. Wild Beasts - Present Tense

  10. Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

  11. Beck - Morning Phase

  12. Dum Dum Girls - Too True

  13. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

  14. Glass Animals - Zaba

  15. TV On The Radio - Seeds

  16. Alvvays - Alvvays

  17. alt-J - This Is All Yours

  18. Spoon - They Want My Soul

  19. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

  20. Real Estate - Atlas

  21. Aphex Twin - Syro

  22. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

  23. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

  24. Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

  25. East India Youth - Total Strife Forever

It's probably obvious, but I don’t listen to MP3s anymore, almost ever. And CDs? Remember those? I just sold a quarter of my CD collection to Amoeba last week and by the end of the month I don't plan to have much of a CD collection at all. Who cares. They've been in storage boxes for several years. Nearly everything I want (or could want) to listen to is available on streaming services and I just don't care about owning most of it. Crazy how fast things change, right?

MOG was the first streaming music service I used and it stuck. MOG is now Beats Music (which will be called something else since Apple acquired it last year) and that's what I use. A considerable amount of time has gone into creating collections and playlists which makes the cost of switching music services, at least for me, pretty high at this point. That said, I've been exploring TIDAL recently, which I really like due to the high fidelity, especially playing over Sonos. Fidelity isn't important to the vast majority of people. Heck, streaming albums isn't important to the vast majority of people (for now). I appreciate the curated approach Beats Music took and have no reason to believe that's going away. It's also what I like about TIDAL in addition to the fidelity. I've discovered great music on both services, though I still find myself at a loss when I simply want to put a good album on without thinking much about it. 

How do you find out about new music? Have you listening habits changed? Hit reply and let me know.

\m/ Brad

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