Top 89 Albums of 2014

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

You voted, we heard you. Listen to The Current starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 30, as we count down your top 10 albums of 2014 by featuring a new album at the top of each hour until 5 p.m.

And stay tuned to The Current this week, because starting at 4 p.m. on New Year's Eve, we'll count down the Top 89 songs of the year.

Here are the Top 89 albums of 2014, according to The Current's listeners.

A new result appears at the top of each hour on Tuesday, Dec. 30; reload the page to see the countdown. We'll reveal albums 11 to 89 at 5:30 p.m.

  1. Jeremy Messersmith - Heart Murmurs

  2. From Jim McGuinn's review of the album:
    …with Heart Murmurs heading out to the big world, it remains to be seen if Jeremy Messersmith will become that kind of mega-artist we've thought he could be for so long. Will the world adopt him and hold him as dear as we have? Does it even matter? If he continues to make albums as strong as Heart Murmurs, he will join the pantheon of great Minnesota songsmiths — Bob Dylan, Paul Westerberg, Gary Louris, Dan Wilson. He's ours, but we're more than happy to share his music with the world. Heart Murmurs is an evolution of Jeremy Messsersmith as an artist and a great record to — like the narrator in "Steve" — take that bold step and offer oneself into an exciting, scary and unknowable future.

  3. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

  4. From Bill DeVille's review of the album:
    There is nothing like sibling harmonies. There is just something magical when they happen. Nobody makes that magic happen quite like First Aid Kit. The Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg's impressive third album is called Stay Gold. … From the first track to the last, heartbreak is all over Stay Gold. We all go through it! As First Aid Kit say, "You gotta keep on keepin' on." These sisters from Sweden make you believe in the power of music!

  5. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

  6. From Mac Wilson's review of the album:
    In 40 brisk minutes, St. Vincent features 11 electrifying tracks, each one packed with hooks of both the musical and lyrical sense. Each song boasts its own unique personality, while fitting in seamlessly with the broader record as a whole. If that seems like a rudimentary observation of the record, it's only because the meticulous care with which Annie Clark has assembled the record is evident in every twist and turn. It's all a bit strange, as would be expected, yet organic, natural, and free-flowing. … With each release, St. Vincent has been anointed new levels of acclaim. This is the record, I feel, where she takes a quantum leap forward, and into the top tier of artists making music in the 21st century.

  7. alt-J This Is All Yours

  8. From Jade's review of the album:
    Are you more of a "lyrics person" or a "music person"? At The Current, we're usually split down the middle. I fall on the lyrics side of things. I think it's the English major in me that uses the lyrics of a song to "understand" music. Alt-J seem to be split down the middle, too, in their new album, This Is All Yours. And I don't mean that as a slight or to imply that the lyrics and music are both middling. I mean that the lyrics are both so important, and not important at all, to what makes up an Alt-J song. … Do you need to understand everything that Alt-J are saying to enjoy the new record? Of course not. Does it make you appreciate the album more? Possibly. If nothing else, it just shows how much is bouncing around in the minds of Alt-J.

  9. Spoon - They Want My Soul

  10. From Mary Lucia's review of the album:
    Spoon's latest, They Want My Soul, rips into classic Spoon. The opening track — a big AC/DC-like stomp,"The Rent I Pay" — is a standout; few bands write their best song on their eighth album, but maybe it's been brewing in them for years and just never found its way out till now. "Do You" offers falsetto "Dooos and Woos" and asks weighty questions in the chorus: "Do you wanna get understood"? Do you run when it's just getting good?" Coupled with the understated strut of "Inside Out", these are easily some of their best songs to date.
    The band's seamless grasp of joyous hooks shows no signs of slowing down. Daniel's raspy voice continues to command the tight groove that's always at their core. The band didn't need a comeback, but they somehow made one anyways, if that makes sense.

  11. Jack White - Lazaretto

  12. From David Safar's review of the album:
    Lazaretto is a step away from White's repertoire of guitar riffs and re-imagined blues cliches. Instead, Lazaretto channels the voices, music and instruments White has mastered as a professor of the rock tradition. Without abandoning his signature guitar sound, Lazaretto celebrates the folk, blues and country sounds of White's recently newfound home of Nashville, Tenn. It's evident that his creative efforts to redefine the idea of a boutique label and record store has bled into his musical ambitions. When you listen to Lazaretto, remember that White has become a prolific writer, producer and songwriter. His musical abilities on Lazaretto cast light on his beginnings with The White Stripes and the potential for what in the years ahead.

  13. Hozier - Hozier

  14. From Kelsey's review of the album:
    Even when the virality of Hozier's music video eventually dwindles, this album will still matter. He understands how to blend sharp-tongued lyrics seamlessly into a captivating soundscape, be it understated or anthemic. The hooks will remain in your ears and the lyrics on your mind. Hozier is a substantial yet incredibly accessible album.

  15. Phantogram - Voices

  16. From Mac Wilson's review of the album:
    Phantogram's bread and butter is their murky keyboard/guitar mix, with Sara Barthel's frequently disaffected vocals. On past releases, their formula has tended to gradually run out of juice, but the standout anthems are distributed in a fashion to make this album a consistently interesting listen. The opening 1-2-3 punch of "Nothing but Trouble," "Black Out Days" and "Fall in Love" is tremendous, though it does underscore the homogeneity in the band's sound. (You don't realize how much "Black Out Days" and "Fall in Love" sound alike until you hear them next to each other.)

  17. Beck - Morning Phase

  18. From Steve Seel's review of the album:
    In 2002, when Beck released his elegiac Sea Change, I knew right away I'd be predisposed to like it. I already adored Beck in his mournful mode: the droning, gorgeously self-pitiful "Nobody's Fault But My Own" from Mutations (my preferred Beck album) was in fact one of my favorite sad songs of all time, and so Sea Change was poised to hit all of my "sad bastard music" buttons. I enjoyed it, but despite how it quickly became "the record that proved Beck could write great sad songs," it didn't actually blow me away. Now, we have Morning Phase, an album that's billed as a sequel to Sea Change, and, lo and behold — Beck has finally delivered the album I'd wanted the first time around. What exactly is the difference? It's probably mostly subjective. But for me, there's a heavier gravity to this record; Beck's pensiveness is more reflective, his sadness somehow more informed. The result is songs that feel less "oh well" (see Sea Change's "Lost Cause") and more "Wow, I get it now."

  19. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

  20. Released on March 18, Lost in the Dream was The War on Drugs' first album since 2011. This 10-track collection not only was a favorite with The Current's listeners, it also made Mojo's, American Songwriter's, Music OMH's, Stereogum's and The Guardian's best albums of the year lists for 2014.
    The War on Drugs visited The Current's studio in September for this session with Jill Riley, in which they covered Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue."

  21. The Black Keys - Turn Blue

  22. Broken Bells - After the Disco

  23. Jake Bugg - Shangri-La

  24. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

  25. Robert Plant - lullaby and ... The Ceaseless Roar

  26. Trampled By Turtles - Wild Animals

  27. TV On The Radio - Seeds

  28. Jenny Lewis - The Voyager

  29. tUne-yArDs - Nikki Nack

  30. Haley Bonar - Last War

  31. Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas

  32. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There

  33. Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour

  34. Ray LaMontagne - Supernova

  35. The Head and the Heart - Let's Be Still

  36. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso

  37. Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

  38. Hippo Campus - Bashful Creatures EP

  39. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

  40. Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker

  41. Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin

  42. Phox - Phox

  43. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

  44. St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Half the City

  45. FKA Twigs - LP1

  46. Atmosphere - Southsiders

  47. Future Islands - Singles

  48. Temples - Sun Structures

  49. Chet Faker - Built on Glass

  50. Jungle - Jungle

  51. U2 - Songs of Innocence

  52. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended With Gold

  53. Cloud Cult - Unplug

  54. Glass Animals - Zaba

  55. Prince - ART OFFICIAL AGE

  56. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want

  57. Coldplay - Ghost Stories

  58. Conor Obert - Upside Down Mountain

  59. Dan Wilson - Love Without Fear

  60. Interpol - El Pintor

  61. The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams

  62. Warpaint - Warpaint

  63. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End

  64. Lykke Li - I Never Learn

  65. Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

  66. Caribou - Our Love

  67. Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

  68. Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

  69. John Mark Nelson - Sings the Moon

  70. Cold War Kids - All This Could Be Yours

  71. Run the Jewels - RTJ2

  72. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye


  74. Ty Segall - Manipulator

  75. Chris Koza - In Real Time

  76. OK Go - Hungry Ghosts

  77. The Strypes - Snapshot

  78. Tweedy - Sukierae

  79. Asgeir - In The Silence

  80. James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

  81. Lucinda Williams - Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

  82. Royal Blood - Royal Blood

  83. Sims - Field Notes

  84. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

  85. Wye Oak - Shriek

  86. Andrew Bird - Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…

  87. Old 97's - Most Messed Up

  88. Shakey Graves - And the War Came

  89. Stars - No One Is Lost

  90. King Tuff - Black Moon Spell

  91. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire for No Witness

  92. BANKS - Goddess

  93. Cloud Nothings - Here And Nowhere Else

  94. Eels - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

  95. Foster The People - Supermodel

  96. Mike Mictlan - HELLA FRREAL

  97. She and Him - Classics

  98. The Neighbourhood - I Love You

  99. Tycho - Awake

Related Stories

  • Top 89 Local Songs of 2014 We asked, you voted! All December long you, the local music lover, voted for your favorite Minnesota songs released in 2014, and the results are in!
  • 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.

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