This year has brought some of the best, most unique music heard in a while. Across all genres, new and established artists have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their craft. Many are making a return to music after a break of multiple years. For many artists, it has paid off as 2014 has been a year for some of the best albums of the 2000’s. There have also been many brand new artists who’ve achieved substantial popularity and No. 1 singles with their debut albums
10. Hozier – Hozier
A newcomer to music, Hozier released his debut album this year. His self-titled album is incredibly intimate and personal, filled with emotional depth. The album is everything an artist’s debut could hope to achieve.
9. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain
This year produced some of the best in songwriting, apparent on Conor Oberst’s Upside Down Mountain. The Bright Eyes front man is still fairly new to the solo scene, but has no problem finding his niche, even though his last album was released two years ago.
8. Miranda Lambert – Platinum
Miranda Lambert released the album Platinum this year, titled for her expectation of its success. Containing some of the best songs of her career, the album emphasizes how honest her songs can be. From sassy songs like “Little Red Wagon” to nostalgia-filled “Automatic,” the concepts on her album are vast and relatable.
7. The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Returning from a three-year break between albums, The Black Keys decided to explore their psychedelic side with their eighth album Turn Blue. While the sound of this album strays from their well-established hard rock, bluesy style, the change of pace was generally welcomed among fans. Critics have even noted the album as the duo’s best yet.
6. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Mac DeMarco graced us with another album this year, just his second to date. Salad Days favored well among the rock and independent charts, as well as the Billboard 200. The album contains somewhat odd beats and lyrics that are weirdly calming and interesting.
5. Eric Church – The Outsiders
The Outsiders has proved to be Eric Church’s most experimental album to date. The country artist opts for more rock-influenced music, instead of the incessant “hick-hop” that has proven popular over the past year.
4. Jack White – Lazaretto
There is never enough music by Jack White. His second solo album Lazaretto was released earlier this year, nearly two years after his first solo release. Despite his ever-present role in the music industry, his music is just as enthusiastic and creative as when he got his start in 1990.
3. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes
The trend of simplicity reached the album Small Town Heroes by Hurray for the Riff Raff. The album shows how acoustic sounds can prove beneficial in an age of technology-ridden music. Hurray for Riff Raff sets simple lyrics to simple music and the result is a much more appreciated style of music.
2. Beck – Morning Phase
This year welcomed Beck back with open arms. He released the mystical Morning Phase, his first album since 2008. The lyrics are saturated with truth and simplicity. The album itself is incredibly personal and well worth the wait.
1. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
One of the most talked about albums of the year belongs to St. Vincent. Her self-titled album was her fourth solo album and has topped nearly every chart available in the music industry. Rolling Stone claims her album is “her best set of songs to date, with wry, twisty beats pushing her lovable ornery melodies toward grueling revelations.”