Top 5 Alternative Albums of 2014

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5. Bleachers – Strange Desire

Does the name Jack Antonoff mean anything to you? Probably not, but he is the lead singer of the new indie pop group Bleachers. He is also part of the group that made it big the last few years, Fun. Bleachers became a side project for Antonoff and I think he did a great job with the sound and quality of the music. As a matter of fact, I would say that I prefer the band Bleachers to Fun. I honestly hadn’t heard of Bleachers until the end of 2014, but after downloading the album it played on repeat for weeks. This album is ranked at five because not every song on the album is amazing, but the ones that are definitely make this album special.

4. Coldplay – Ghost Stories

Possibly the only group to make it in the top five that I’ve been listening to for more than a decade. Actually they are the only band on this list that have been together more than a few years. Coldplay has become one of the biggest groups around the world and did not disappoint with this last album. Ghost Stories, is full of amazing vocals and relaxing music. I know Coldplay is hated by many as well due to the success and the fact they became so mainstream, but they still deliver on each album they release. If nothing else listen to the song called, Magic. It will not disappoint.

3. Milky Chance – Sadnecessary

I can’t get enough! Milky Chance has such an amazing, unique, and simple sound. I had never heard of this folk duo from Germany before, but they became one of my favorite new groups to listen to. The catchy rhythm keeps your feet tapping and head nodding throughout the entire album. Their first single, Stolen Dance, gained popularity around the world and got the group the audience they needed to take their music to the next level. They are now touring around the world after not even being under the radar a year ago. If you have not heard of this group you definitely need to check them out.

2. Walk The Moon – Talking Is Hard        

 

Walk the Moon decided to join the race for the best alternative album of 2014 when they released their sophomore project, Talking Is Hard, in late November. I may be a bit bias but I saw this band in downtown Seattle in September of this year and they blew the roof off. This band decided to bless the crowd with about half of the tracks from this album and it was stellar. Frontman, Nicholas Petricca, brings great stage presence while still bringing his pure vocals to life. This album from the first song, Different Colors, to the last song, Aquaman, doesn’t have a song that will disappoint.

1. Capital Cities – In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery

Capital Cities freshman album has caught the attention of the alternative music world. The first song on the album, Safe and Sound, became an instant radio hit with it’s groovy sound and catchy beat. Kangaroo Court became my favorite song from the album due to the feel good rhythm and trumpet solo. Altogether I can say that I had this album on repeat throughout 2014 and it will continue to spin through 2015.

Honorable Mentions:

The Black Keys – Turn Blue

Foster The People – Supermodel

Alt-j – This Is All Yours

The Marshall Mathers LP2 – Eminem

“The Real Slim Shady” has been in the rap game for along time now. I can remember listening to him for about ten years now and been hot and cold with his music. He is known as a highly controversial individual through his rap career and at the same time known as one of the greatest rappers of all time. A few years ago he made a musical comeback after falling off the face of the world for awhile while he was struggling with drug problems. When he dropped the album “Recovery” in 2012, he made a big comeback with features from Rihanna and Lil Wayne. His attitude towards life and his music also changed in a major way from the days of “The Eminem Show”. His new album “The Marshall Mathers LP2” has also made a splash in the mainstream world with a few singles, but it seems as if he is back to his vulgar and offensive self that most people seemed to love back in the early 2000’s.

1. Bad Guy – 6/10 – Honestly, after Recovery I had such high hopes for this album and couldn’t wait to hear it. When I downloaded it and played the first song, Bad Guy, I was a little disappointed. It isn’t a bad song whatsoever, but I did expect an amazing intro to his new album, over just a mediocre song. It also seemed to be a much longer song than it should’ve been, but altogether not bad, just didn’t give me the goosebumps that it could’ve.

2. Parking Lot (Skit) – No rating for a skit, but it takes us back to his old twisted skits back on “The Slim Shady LP” and “The Marshall Mathers LP”. Gun shots, running from the cops, and suicide. Definitely not needed and quite pointless.

3. Rhyme or Reason – 7/10 – This is a catchy song for the most part and he even does a Yoda voice, so I can’t complain to much. I enjoyed this song more than the intro, but still far from one of his best songs.

4. So Much Better – 5/10 – This sounds like the old Eminem from the 2000’s and is one of his usual songs that he sings about how he hates love and women. I have a hard time listening to songs like this that show he has no conscience and makes him sound like a psychotic killer. It’s a very catchy song, but the content gives it a lower rating than it would’ve had.

5. Survival – 8/10 – One of my favorite songs on the album. It sounds like his last album “Recovery” and Skylar Grey sounds like Pink in “Won’t Back Down”. I love the new Eminem from “Recovery” and Skylar Grey makes the chorus sound so good!

6. Legacy – 6/10 – Another so-so song on the album. I don’t know how I feel about this song, but after a few listens I’ve got to say I’m not terribly impressed with this song. It has a decently catchy chorus, but that is about all.

7. Asshole – 7.5/10 – Fast paced and many punchlines brought by the real Slim Shady himself. Again Skylar Grey shows up and makes the song sound even better. Eminem knows how to make himself sound like a a-hole and explains why he is that way, or at least makes an excuse for himself.

8. Berzerk – 7.5/10 – This was the first single that was dropped by Eminem off of this album and it has a very original sound to it. It seems that the song goes off in different directions every thirty seconds and throws something in the beat that you weren’t expecting. It takes some getting used to, but who doesn’t enjoy the background music which is “The Stroke” by Billy Squier.

9. Rap God – 8/10 – Another bright spot in the album, Rap God is such a legit song with a solid beat and Eminem killing the lyrics. He actually just sticks to the basic style of rap and doesn’t say anything extremely messed up (at least for Eminem). I love this song and it’s 6:03 of Eminem killing all other competition around him.

10. Brainless – 6/10 – A song that just gets lost in the album. It just seems like a song that was thrown on the album to create filler. This song is just insanely mediocre.

11. Stronger Than I Was – 6/10 – A very different sound for Eminem in this song. He slows it down and sings a bit, which is pretty unusual for Marshall Mathers. It’s a good song, but when he sings it sounds a little more whiney than I’d prefer.

12. The Monster – 9/10 – Judge me. Yes, this may be the big single, but this song is gold. I love the sound that Eminem and Rihanna create when they work together. The song will soon begin to get old with all of the radio plays, but as of right now, I love it.

13. So Far.. – 7.5/10 – Such an odd song, but very catchy.

14. Love Game – 8.5/10 – If “The Monster” wasn’t on this album, this would’ve been my favorite song. The first collab between Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. One of the greats with one of the upcoming greats. Couldn’t find a better feature than Kendrick these days.

15. Headlights – 7/10 – After a Kendrick collab Shady brings the lead singer of the band Fun. for the next song. I enjoy the song, and it speaks on all the issues that sparked his mom-hating songs back in the beginning.

16. Evil Twin – 5/10 – The last part of the album started to go downhill from here. He went from a mixture of his sounds back to the darker songs we are used to hearing from Shady.

17. Baby – 3/10 – An average song with a very annoying chorus, “Nobody puts baby in the corner….” Seriously?

18. Depression – 7/10 – Strange. Not always a bad thing. This is rap song mixed with a western chorus. Its a combination of Marshall Mathers and Sons Of Anarchy’s soundtrack.

19. Groundhog Day – 6/10 – Not bad, not good. I feel like I’ve said that too many times in this album review for a legend in the rap game.

20. Beautiful Pain – 7.5/10 – Its always weird hearing Eminem spill his heart in song, but those are some of the best songs from him. I love this song and everything about it!

21. Wicked Ways – 2/10 – Garbage. Good beat, terrible values. He should’ve ended the album with track 20.

Altogether I would give this album a 7/10. It’s got some songs that I can go back and listen to hundreds of times, but it isn’t an album I can listen to all the way through without getting bored. Eminem’s Recovery album was the best one I had heard yet, so I set very high expectations for this album. But as I knew he would he titled it “The Marshall Mathers LP2” in which he needed to stay true to his music and creat an album like “The Marshall Mathers LP1.” I would advise checking out this album if you love Eminem’s early rap style, and if not, just check out a few of the top rated songs!

The 20/20 Experience – By: Justin Timberlake

By now if you are a fan of hip-hop or pop music you have probably heard the hit single by Justin Timberlake titled “Suit and Tie.” This song has taken over the radio and is getting more plays than “Thrift Shop” now! Whether a fan of Justin Timberlake or not, the man has great musical talent. The song “Suit and Tie” is very different from what he has done in the past though, and I would have to say the album is also pretty different.

The rest of the album really slows down and gives the R&B feel, opposed to the club beats.

1. Pusher Love Girl – 7/10 – This is the intro to the album and it has a good feel to it. It has JT using his voice to the fullest and is a catchy tune, the beat also switches up about 3/4s into the song into a funky stylish beat. I feel that a better place for this song it would be in the middle of the album, but doesn’t give me that push to keep listening like an intro should.

2. Suit and Tie – 9.5/10 – The first big hit off the album shows up as the second track of the album and right where it belongs. The R&B/Dance feel this song gives is great, and also mixes a rap verse from Jay-Z. This song always gets me dancing whether I’m in a bar or at home by myself.

3. Don’t Hold The Wall – 5.5/10 – The begining of the song starts out slow and kicks into a Timbaland style beat. This starts off extremely catchy and after awhile you are wondering how many times they will repeat the same line over and over again. Soon as it reaches seven minutes you are just hoping it will end soon so you can get to the next song.

4. Strawberry Bubblegum – 8/10 – This is a very R&B style song that could put you to sleep or make you fall in love with the person you are listening to it with. It’s a very feel good song and gives you the seductive Justin Timberlake we all have grown up listening to. The beat switch in the middle of the song mixes it up quite well and keeps you intrigued.

5. Tunnel Vision – 8/10 – Nothing says Timbaland and Justin Timberlake like the beat to this song. It takes you back to Shock Value and the collaboration of those two, years ago. This song is much more fast paced than many of the others, but it is a great intermission for the slower stuff and has a great feel.

6. Spaceship Coupe – 8.5/10 – It literally feels like I am flying into space with the person I love most. This has all the requirments of a Justin Timberlake song.

7. The Girl – 9/10 – The shortest song on the album is one of the greatest with an awesome beat, instruments, and beatboxing. This is definitely a hidden gem on the album.

8. Let The Groove Get In – 7.5/10 – A repetative song but worth the money. Not a usual JT song, but definitely makes you want to get the groove in you. This song will get you tapping your foot from start to finish.

9. Mirrors – 9/10 – This song could potentially be another song we will be hearing on the radio at some point. Great beat, great vocals, and a song that will make you want to memorize the words and sing along.

10. Blue Ocean Floor – 7.5/10 – By far the song I have listened to the least, but still a great listen with talent poured into it. This is how JT ends his album (unless you bought the Target version) and it’s definitely the song he poured his heart into while writing it.

Altogether I would give the whole album an 8.5/10 or an 85%. It’s very hard these days to find an album that is consistent throughout the whole listen and keeps you wanting to listen to it over and over again. It is’nt my favorite album of all times, but is probably my favorite Justin Timberlake album, and very high on my list for R&B/Pop albums. I would suggest buying the whole album if you are a fan and supporting this artist so he can keep improving his music.