The 10 Best Albums of 2014


Each year, Mother Jones music critic Jon Young browses through hundreds of new albums and pulls out 75 to 100 to review for the magazine and website. Some of those make the final cut, but there are some wildcards, too. Below, in no particular order, are Jon’s super-duper-abbreviated write-ups of his cream of the crop—the Top 10 albums of 2014. Feel free to tell us your own Top 10 in the comments.

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Dereconstructed
Sub Pop

Blazing, populist old-school rock and roll with a chip on its shoulder.
 

 

 

The “5” Royales
Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967

Rockbeat

Raucous, timeless R&B powered by Lowman Pauling’s blistering guitar licks.
 

 

 

Various Artists
I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70

Light in the Attic

Mind-blowing funky archaeology, this collection of little-known Sly productions from his golden era, many previously unreleased.

 

 

Speedy Ortiz
Real Hair

Carpark

Four lyrically dense, guitar-heavy songs from Sadie DuPuis and company.
(Full review here.)

 

 

White Lung
Deep Fantasy

Domino

Singer Mish Way’s furious punk-rock update is guaranteed to sear.
 

 

 

Beverly
Careers

Kanine

Dream pop gets a jolt of energy, with thrilling results.
(Full review here.)

 

 

Survival Knife
Loose Power

Glacial Pace

Unwound alum Brandt Sandeno forges a two-fisted fusion of punk, metal, and hard rock.
(Full review here.)

 

 

Scraps
Electric Ocean

Fire

Moving thrift-shop electronica, courtesy of Australia’s Laura Hill.
(Full review here.)

 

 

Joan as Police Woman
The Classic

Play It Again Sam

Brooding gives way to hope, with old-fashioned soul and doo-wop grooves setting the pace.
(Full review here.)
 

 

Sharon Van Etten
Are We There

Jagjaguar

A good artist reaches greatness with starkly devastating songs.
(Full review here.)