Robert Dada’s Top 10 Albums Of 2014

Posted: December 21, 2014 in Music
Tags: , ,

Okay, I’m not going to do a song by song breakdown on this list.  I’m simply going to tell you how each album has moved me. Do yourself a favor and buy every one of these. You know I’m right about every one of them.

#10 Lisa Gerrard – “Twilight Kingdom”

This is the perfect album to listen to at 3:23 AM in very low light with a head full of something numbing. Through each song, you are encouraged to contemplate final days slipping by like sand through your fingers.  If I first listen to Einsturzende Neubauten’s “Lament” (more on that below) as the World War 1 soldier who has been struck down by a bullet, shell fragment or poisonous gas, this album evokes my final thoughts as I leave this mortal coil. So fitting how this album relates to the other on this list. The Alpha and the Omega.

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#9 Johnny Marr – “Playland”

This album and its predecessor, “The Messenger”, quickly reveals that Johnny Marr was the true beating heart and soul of The Smiths. Hearing these albums makes me sad that it took so long for him to enter into his extremely talented solo phase. Yes almost everyone will associate The Smiths with Morrissey but when you compare the two in their solo ventures, it’s clear that Johnny Marr was the driving force behind The Smiths. Morrissey has some interesting lyrics and knows how to present them vocally but without Johnny Marr, I think he would only be Boy George II. I can’t wait for Johnny’s next album.

Johnny-Marr-Playland

#8 Bryan Ferry – “Avonmore”

I never expected Bryan Ferry to enter a top 10 list of mine in this decade but he nailed it on Avonmore. It’s his best stuff since Bete Noir and latter day Roxy Music work. He plays well with his limitations now that he is in his upper 60’s but God damn, he’s still so fucking suave and romantic. This is music to dance to with your significant other and hold them close afterward.

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#7 Jack White – “Lazaretto”

There are those who take exception to Jack’s solo works when compared to his work with Meg in The White Stripes. On a superficial level I get it but for me The White Stripes are like Led Zeppelin I, II and III where Jack’s solo efforts are like Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti. He sounds more confident on this album than he did on “Blunderbuss”, which is also a strong album. After this album, I get the feeling we’ve yet to witness his true solo greatness but we will soon enough. In the meantime, we got this slab of hot shit blues based, roots rock. He may indeed be Rock ‘n’ Roll’s last superstar.

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#6 Peter Murphy – “Lion”

Don’t get me wrong, I really loved the “Ninth” album and I loved hearing it live on tour. But with “Lion”, Peter has captured energy and excitement that I haven’t seen since Bauhaus. The sweeping and soaring rhythms and choruses are breathtaking. Maybe the 35th Bauhaus Anniversary Tour infused something into these performances because this is some of his highest energy and greatest creative work since “Burning From The Inside” and “The Sky’s Gone Out” from Bauhaus.

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#5 Aphex Twin – “Syro”

This is intelligent techno music that you can easily move to and just as easily think through. This is Richard D. James masterpiece. If he never does another thing, this will be known as his finest work.

At points it almost sounds like aliens have been monitoring human techno music, then have processed and regurgitated it back as their reinterpretation. We then call them hymns we pray to.

At other times, it’s late at night on a very lonely freeway and I’m flying above the speed limit in a high performance car as the rain drops roll off of my polished windshield as if gravity doesn’t exist.

And I’m also thinking about how the Overlords have taken possession of Earth and have been reprogramming us to be their techno dance drones.

In control and enslaved at the same time. That’s a brilliant album.

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#4 Swans – “To Be Kind”

This might be the most organic and visceral albums on the list. The sounds are hypnotic, rhythmic and noisy; with odd music patterns swirling in and around each other. A track here and there reminds you of being in a paranoiac dream you are incapable of escaping from. Other tracks are long, thick and drawn out like the thick blood oozing out of a junky’s arm.

It’s very much like grooving deep inside of a nightmare you know you will never wake from and that fuels the dark erotic pleasure absent of all sex.

Certain passages evoke the Summer sun and makes me want to dissolve and sit underneath it and nibble peyote until everything evaporates away.

The album on balance, reminds me of Apocalypse Now in Afghanistan. The past is present.  Will it be the future?

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#3 St. Vincent – “St. Vincent”

I’m ashamed that I did not know of Annie Clark, aka, St. Vincent, prior to seeing her open for The Black Keys on Dec 6th. She gives me great hope for contemporary  music. I would have paid double the ticket price to see her performance alone.   She has a masterful stage presence and her guitar prowess is awe inspiring. As soon as I got home, I bought this album and another. She is the one to watch going forward. Lady Gaga is old hat. Annie Clark has the charisma, the musical ability, the vocal style and the sharp songwriting skills that creates a superstar. Look out Bjork; there’s a new kid in town and she’s got everything on you. This is my biggest surprise favorite of 2014!

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#2 Chrome – “Feel It Like A Scientist”

I really believe that the band’s re-imagining of the songs that would emerge on last year’s , “Half Machine Lips From The Sun”; older tracks from the bands classic early 80’s period of “Half machine Lip Moves” and “3rd From The Sun”; really inspired this work.  “Feel It Like A Scientist” feels like they picked up right where the band left off in the early 80’s but the album doesn’t feel dated at all because back in the 80’s they were decades ahead of their time. I sooo much wanted to give this #1 and I almost did but one other band had to go on and beat this. Still, buy this album and listen to it daily. You won’t regret it. If you like punk or proto-punk, ala The Stooges and dark science fiction, then this is right up your Replicant alley.

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#1 Einsturzende Neubauten – “Lament”

Okay, this album is about World War One, released during the centennial of that horrific war, by the preeminent true industrial (influenced by Dada) band, Einsturzende Neubauten. Once you combine true industrial music, the most disgusting war of all time and the most controversial art movement of all time, then you got all of my f’ing attention.  You can keep your Tommy and Quadrophenia  (great though they are), Lament is the powerhouse of all concept albums. The last time I was this moved by music was in grade school when I first heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour”. “Lament” once again reshapes how I view musical art and it has thoroughly lodged itself into the top 10 albums that have influenced my life the most! I don’t say that lightly. Bravo Blixa Bargeld and gang. I’ve loved you for decades but this album has simply awed me beyond belief. All I can say is, thank you forever. Easily in the top 10 of best albums I have ever heard in my entire life!

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Honorable Mentions:

  1. The Black Keys – “Turn Blue”
  2. Robyn Hitchcock – “The Man Upstairs”
  3. Eno-Hyde – “Someday World
  4. Primus – “Primus And The Chocolate Factory”
  5. Brian Setzer – “Rockabilly Riot! All Original”
  6. Echo & The Bunnymen – “Meteorites”
  7. Matias Aguayo – “Legende”
  8. Dum Dum Girls – “Too True”
  9. Damien Jurado – “Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son (Deluxe Version)”
  10. Prong – “Ruining Lives”
  11. Rodrigo y Gabriela – “9 Dead Alive”
  12. Jason D. Williams – “Hillbillies And Holy Rollers”

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