In year's past, I have compiled these types of lists with the help of hardcore music lovers and a variety of music journalists. And usually those lists have been primed with variety, reflecting the type of unpredictability I admire when curating these types of year-in-review assignments. Many of the guest writers have gone to bigger and greener pastures: Ryan Burruss is now performing in one of the hottest young bands in the country; Matt Little, who came on board in 2013, is writing for a host of published magazines and publications; Brent Faulkner is busy over at StarPulse.
Meanwhile HiFi's tradition of keeping the lists diverse and powerfully broad, I feel, will continue. It is what made this little music mag brand so unique and so special, turning it into a go-to resource for music heads that are tired of hearing the noise of biased reporting or paid PR workers.
This year, I decided to take a stab at piecing together my hit list of the best albums of 2014. Anyone that knows how J Matt's musical world works will tell you that it encompasses practically any and every genre coming out of pop culture. I'm a pop head, if that's what you want to call me. But pop can be rock. It can be alt-rock. It can country or it can be suburban. It can showcase the sounds of the night life. It can be about the sounds of the inner-city, a little bit of soul, hip-hop or a conglomeration of any of those styles. And that's the beautiful thing about music. It evolves. And yes, even music critics evolve. Including this one.
This list contains a beautiful portrait of the best albums released in 2014. And there's plenty to celebrate. D'Angelo dropped a Beyoncé bomb on us, the Black Keys got darker and gritter and Charli XCX made us all a “sucker” using her bad-ass pop. From the enjoyable ‘80's rock of The War on Drugs to the dancey sounds of Todd Terje, these are the 33 (and 1) top albums of 2014 you should definitely check out.
Also check out HiFi's list of 45 best singles of 2014. And be sure to take advantage of the player next to each listing to get into the groove via Spotify.