Top 89 Staff Picks: Barb Abney, host


Top 89 of 2014
Top 89 of 2014 (MPR Graphic)

Top Albums of 2014

The Afghan Whigs, Do to the Beast
The Afghan Whigs perform live in The Current studio

2014 was the year I got two records from my favorite band! After waiting for over a decade, the Afghan Whigs reunited and released a new record full of the things that made me fall in love with their music in the first place. Heartbreak, wrongdoing, pleading and scorn with searing guitars, poignant lyrics and the segues that have always kept me at the edge of my seat, had me enrapt through the late spring and into late fall on their album Do To The Beast.

The Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen At 21
The Afghan Whigs perform live in The Current studio

And then the same band turned around and re-released my all time favorite record of theirs in a deluxe anniversary package including unreleased demos and covers — enough gems to make a hardcore fan squee on Gentlemen At 21.

Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams

I have been pretty crazy for Ryan Adams' self titled record, as well. I have been a fan for years, but this record is my favorite, hands down!

Broken Bells, After the Disco

There's just something about a James Mercer harmony that keeps bringing me back to Broken Bells. The sophomore effort between Mercer and Danger Mouse is the exquisite After the Disco.

Fort Wilson Riot, trIllIun
Fort Wilson Riot perform live in The Current studio

This year, local duo Fort Wilson Riot hit it out of the park with their perfect pop gem, trIllIun.

Jenny Lewis, Voyager

Jenny Lewis has long been one of my favorite vocalists, yet I kept hoping for a Rilo Kiley reformation. But with The Voyager, she has grown into such a strong solo performer that I no longer pine for Rilo Kiley.

Lizzo, Lizzobangers
Lizzo performs live in The Current studio

I know that Lizzo's full length Lizzobangers came out late last year, but it's still been getting a lot of traction in my car CD player. 2014 has certainly been the year of Lizzo!


I knew from the moment they invited us out to hear the album at Paisley Park that I was going to fall in love with Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL's PLECTRUMELECTRUM! So much funk and some good old classic rock guitar thrown in? SO GOOD!

Sims, Field Notes
Sims performs live at the Minnesota State Fair

The new Sims record Field Notes is fierce! I swear I've listened over and over trying to try and spit out the words just half as fast as he does and I fail, miserably! "SIMS JONG IL" is my jam!

Tickle Torture, Spectrophilia EP

I enjoy sexy music and the color gold and those things come together so perfectly in Elliot Kozell (Tickle Torture). I can't quit listening to the Spectrophilia EP!

Related Stories

  • Top 89 of 2014: All Results Join us for our annual countdown of the best music according to The Current's audience! We'll count down the Top 89 songs from 4 p.m. to midnight New Year's Eve and again starting at 10 a.m. CST on New Year's Day. Happy New Year!
  • Top 89 of 2014: The Current Staff Picks It's time to vote your Top 89 of 2014, but with so much amazing music coming out this year, perhaps you want a little help narrowing the field. Have a look at what The Current's staffers chose as their favorites as you put together your list.