Wednesday, 9 July 2014

12 Albums of 2014. Pt. 1 (09/07/14)

I thought this week I'd do something a little different, and seeing as it's been a good couple of months for music releases, I'd share 12 albums I've been loving so far this year! (Download links for all albums can be found at the end of this blog!) 

Mind Over Matter - Young The Giant

Release Date: 21st January 2014
Genre: Alternative Rock
Tracks: 13
Chart Performance: #7 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: It's About Time/Crystallised/Mind Over Matter

This is a great album, with great variety, some would argue that it's because they still haven't found 'their sound', but I personally feel it links well to their previous album 'Young The Giant' and shows they can give a variety of sounds. From upbeat, rockier tracks to slower chilled tracks, with solid musicality shown throughout. My favourite three tracks have to be 'Anagram', 'Mind Over Matter' and 'Camera'. Purely because I like the mix of guitars, drums, synth, all songs are crafted well with lyrics and their vocals are on point throughout too. 


Renegade - Toseland

Release Date: 23rd March 2014
Genre: 'Soft' Rock
Tracks: 11
Singles: Renegade/Crash Landing

'Renegade' is a rockier album with a beautiful ballad in the mix too. The phrase 'soft rock' is used lightly as it's rock, but it's not too heavy. If you're a fan of Guns 'n' Roses or Bon Jovi, you'll definitely be a fan of this album. This album is definitely one to rock out to with your air guitars and drums! I'm a big fan of 'Life Is Beautiful', 'Just No Way' and 'Burning The System', they're a good mix of what's on the album, 'Just No Way' being the ballad, and the other two being heavier tracks with insane guitar and vocals. 


Caustic Love - Paolo Nutini

Release Date: 14th April 2014
Genre: Soul/Jazz/Funk
Tracks: 13
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart)
Singles: Scream (Funk My Life Up)/Let Me Down Easy

This album was a hit in the UK, reaching #1 in the UK Albums Chart, it's the perfect chill out BBQ kind of album. There's more of a jazzy funk vibe to this album compared to his earlier album 'Sunny Side Up', which had more of a folk feel to it. 'Scream (Funk My Life Up)' stands out to me as a great track, not just because it did well in the singles charts, but it's a genuinely great track with everything to make a great song. 'Iron Sky' also stands out as a more ballady track, with soul vibes running through it, which gives a nice alternative to the jazz funk filled album. 'Fashion' is another of my favourites, featuring vocals from Janelle Monáe, it's one to get stuck in your head, and Janelle offers a nice twist of vocals to the track. 


Sheezus - Lily Allen

Release Date: 5th May 2014
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 14 | 17 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart)| #2 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Hard Out Here/Air Balloon/Our Time/URL Badman

Lily Allen returned to the music industry, after a five year break, with these classic Allen album. It's got a great mix of tracks, all with honest and 'out-there' lyrics, which is what we always loved about her right? As well as the well crafted instrumentals of the tracks, there are echoes of previous tracks, with drum beats etc. but I like the way she hasn't moved away from her sound, which other artists have been known to do after time out. My favourites from this album were hard to pick actually, I really enjoy all the tracks on this one, but 'Air Balloon', 'Take My Place' and 'URL Badman' just about beat the rest. 


Elements - Kina Grannis

Release Date: 6th May 2014
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Pop
Tracks: 12 | 14 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #2 (iTunes Singer/Songwriter Albums Chart)
Singles: The Fire/Dear River

One of the most chilled albums of the year so far for me! Kina's stunning vocals are showcased effortlessly in this album, with every single track being put together incredibly well. Before seeing her live in London, I listened to her a lot, after seeing her live I listen to her even more, and am pretty blown away with her live vocals being just as good recorded, if not a little more impressive live. This album is definitely a relaxed album with some incredibly emotional tracks in there, but at the same time very uplifting ones too! Favourites include 'Dear River', 'Forever Blue' and 'My Own', which also features vocals from Kina's sisters, which adds to the story of the song. 


Ghost Stories - Coldplay

Release Date: 19th May 2014
Genre: Dream Electronica/Alternative Rock
Tracks: 9
Chart Performance: # (UK Singles Chart)| #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Magic/Midnight/A Sky Full Of Stars

This album was always going to be a stand out collection of songs amongst releases of 2014. With tracks like 'Always In My Head', echoing previous album Mylo Xyloto, to 'Midnight', which is very Bon Iver-esque, to the gentle lullaby of 'O'. All three of those tracks are my favourites by the way... Chris Martin's easy-listening vocals glisten over the top of these again, well-crafted instrumentals in the track. I can't get enough of this album, it's definitely one for winding-down in the evening! 


In The Lonely Hour - Sam Smith

Release Date: 26th May 2014
Genre: Soul/R&B
Tracks: 10 | 14 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart)| #2 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Lay Me Down/Money On My Mind/Stay With Me

Another chilled album full of smooth and mesmerising vocals and simple instrumentals, which makes those insane vocals stand out even more. Sam Smith has been described as the artist of 2014, and I think they're onto something, he's broken through, gained awards and #1 singles. 'Good Thing', 'I'm Not The Only One' and 'Make It To Me' are my favourites from this album. My friend described this one as a good 'background music' album, but I think this deserves to be listened to with full attention easily! 


New Eyes - Clean Bandit

Release Date: 2nd June 2014
Genre: House/Baroque Pop
Tracks: 13 | 18 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #3 (UK Albums Chart)
Singles: A&E/Mozart's House/Dust Clears/Rather Be/Extraordinary

I have been waiting a long time for an album from these guys, and they haven't disappointed. This album is full of collaborations with a variety of artists, most of which are upcoming, which makes this album even fresher. They have tapped into something very unique to the music scene at the minute, being populated by pop, indie rock and rap, these guys aren't afraid to be different and their music has gone down incredibly well. Violin and a good drum beat will always win over my heart. Stand out tracks for me include 'Come Over ft. Stylo G', 'Up Again ft. Rae Morris' and 'Nightingale (Gorgon City Remix).


Whispers - Passenger

Release Date: 9th June 2014
Genre: Indie Rock/Folk
Tracks: 11 | 18 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #5 (UK Albums Chart)| #12 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Scare Away The Dark/Heart's On Fire

A great follow up from 'All The Little Lights', a built up acoustic album, Passenger manages to create stories through his music so well. I'm a big fan of 'Golden Leaves', possibly because it was the first track I heard from this album a good year or so ago on his Youtube. 'Thunder' is a clever track, it's incredibly upbeat and cheery track, however if you listen to the lyrics, my interpretation is that all the imagery he uses, are pretty negative, it's a great track still! 'Scare Away The Dark', I think the video for this one helped sway my decision for this to be in my top three tracks, but the song itself is also great, well written again and a comment on the modern technological society we live in. 


Salt & It's Gentle Corollary - Little Comets

Release Date: 16th June 2014
Genre: Indie Rock
Tracks: 7

I admire Little Comets, they create a unique sound with their music, and something I class as 'Little Comets guitar riffs'. Another thing I admire them for is their penmanship, their lyrics are so detailed and poetic, yet their more recent material is pretty impossible to pick up on lyrics, making you really concentrate on their music and taking your own interpretation from. Three songs have been on repeat in my car, mainly for the guitar, vocals and dark drum beats, 'Salt', 'Little Italy' and 'The Blur, The Line & The Thickest Of Onions'. You can take what you wish from the latter mentioned track, but I think it was a much needed song that should be heard by more people, definitely check out the lyrics and explanation to that one! (read that here)


x - Ed Sheeran

Release Date: 23rd June 2014
Genre: Acoustic Rap/Pop
Tracks: 12 | 16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart)| #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Sing/Don't

A much anticipated album, another hit for album releases of 2014. Ed returns with a perfectly pieced together album, a great mix of acoustic heartwarming tracks, with well crafted lyrics, something I've always loved Ed for. My stand-out favourite track from this album is 'Afire Love', it's definitely a touching track, with a kind of uplifting finish. 'Don't' and 'Take It Back' are my two other favourites from the album, 'Don't' shows his loop pedal side, whilst 'Take It Back' highlights he can rap pretty well! 


The Morning - Lewis Watson

Release Date: 7th July 2014
Genre: Acoustic
Tracks: 12/13 
Chart Performance: #8 (iTunes Singer/Songwriter Albums Chart)
Singles: Stay/Holding On

After seeing Lewis perform the track listing live in a church, I knew this album was something to look forward to. It's being shown a lot of love in the music industry at the minute, especially with fellow singer/songwriters and the DJs on Radio 1. I love all the tracks on the album, there isn't one that you skip after 20 seconds of listening to. Favourites include 'Holding On', mainly because the live performance stood out to me and has stayed with me since. 'Halo' is one of those sad but encouraging, uplifting tracks, and I've loved it since I heard it for the first time. 'Sink or Swim' was always one of my favourite tracks from his previous EPs, and it just fits right in to this album. 


iTunes Download Links:

Mind Over Matter - Young The Giant: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mind-over-matter/
Salt & It's Gentle Corollary - Little Comets: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/salt-and-its-gentle-corollary/
*The Morning - Lewis Watson (all songs inc. all EPs): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-morning-all-of-the-songs/

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