Baltimore City Paper

No Trivia's Year in Music: The top 50 singles and 50 albums of 2014

News flash everybody: Lists are fucking awesome. They get a bad rep these days, because they're cranked out willy-nilly with no thought or energy put into them, but blame that on the lazy wet sandwiches generating content for the internet, not on lists themselves. The secret, of course, is that lists have always been the bread and butter of publishing and they're fucking fun, so just relax. Did you read City Paper's Top 10 issue? You should, it's great.

Anyways, here's another list: the best singles and albums of 2014, which really just means my favorite which is all "best" ever means anyway. I could seriously blather on about everything on these lists if you gave me enough Adderall and paid me enough money, but let's try and go big picture instead.


The records that grabbed me this year were ones that did their thing expertly and firmly all the way through, whether it was the 2000s-baby-doing-'90s-babymakin' R&B of Tink, the serial-killer-soundtrack drone of Terence Hannum, or the blunted sadness of Isaiah Rashad, just to name a few in my top 10. And plenty of the other ones below were cohesive and successful on their own terms and on those terms only, really. This isn't easy stuff to enter from outside, not because they're "difficult" but because they're concentrated bursts of whatever it is that each of these artist does, you know? I imagine there is something here you'll like or at least discover. I also should add that my favorite record to come out this year is a queer country record from 1973, Lavender Country's self-titled album, reissued thanks to Paradise of Bachelors. It does not make my list because it is not from 2014, so consider it at like No. 0 or something. As for singles: just songs that are fun in a way that doesn't make me feel dirty, or makes me feel dirty in the right way (no such thing as "guilty pleasures" around here, folks), or just sent a chill down my spine when I listen to them.

Finally, the big thing that's got to be addressed is D'Angelo and the Vanguard's mind-blowing-from-the-moment-I/we-all-heard-it "Black Messiah." It's a record that feels timeless but also feels like it couldn't have been released any other time than this week, right now. For those who haven't been listening to rap music close enough, especially street stuff and don't think that stuff counts as protest music, well, here is your big obvious protest record, though it's also a total masterpiece and it's also a record you should have sex to, so hey, that's all something. It's Duke Ellington's ethos explored through Eddie Hazel's "Game, Dame, and Guitar Thangs," Ornette Coleman's "Skies of America," and Talk Talk's "Laughing Stock," with the dejected rage of Sly and the Family Stone's "There's a Riot Goin' On."


Beyoncé dropped an exciting album on our heads late last year and established this dick-swinging side-step-the-year-end lists thing. It's wise. It is a way to own the conversation that isn't about the end of the year, and Nicki Minaj sort of did the same thing as Beyonce this week with "The Pinkprint," and both of those records are good and fun and occasionally excellent (and both are also political protest albums by nature of what they have to say and being big, bumping statements from black women who contain multitudes and all). But D'Angelo's sudden arrival feels earned and weighty in a different way. It's almost like he's giving us a gift. It's an album separate from all lists and it's only on mine because not including it would be strange. It is all I've listened to since it dropped. Who knows if it'll rank higher on my list later on and who cares. Certainly not me, because I don't look back at lists like this once I toss them into the world. That ain't the point. "Black Messiah" feels like the most cohesive and all-encompassing "shit done changed from here on out" record since Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."

So here we are. My year in music (with bonus movies and comics lists at the bottom):


  1. Shy Glizzy, 'Awwsome'
  2. Florida Georgia Line, 'This Is How We Roll'
  3. Future feat. Pusha T, Pharrell, and Casino, 'Move That Dope'
  4. Jamie xx, 'Sleep Sound'
  5. iLoveMakonnen, 'Tuesday'
  6. Young Thug, 'Danny Glover'
  7. RiFF RAFF, 'VIP Pass to my Heart'
  8. Ricky Eat Acid, 'In My Dreams We're Almost Touching'
  9. Copeland feat. Actress, 'advice to young girls'
  10. Cashy, 'Wrong Way'
  11. Perfect Pussy, 'Interference Fits'
  12. Raka Rich, Shark Sinatra, Sin Que, and D.A. Go, 'Pound Cake'
  13. Lor Scoota, 'Bird Flu'
  14. Future Islands, 'Seasons (Waiting On You)'
  15. Lee Scratch Perry, 'Jesus Is a Soul Man'
  16. Dierks Bentley, 'Drunk on a Plane'
  17. The Rosebuds, 'In My Teeth'
  18. Rae Sremmurd, 'No Flex Zone'
  19. Young Moose, 'How U Wanna Carry It'
  20. Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, 'Dark Horse'
  21. YG feat. Kendrick Lamar, 'Really Be (Smokin' and Drinkin')'
  22. Les Sins, 'Bother'
  23. Schwarz, 'Hands Up Don't Shoot'
  24. Ola Playa feat. Gangsta Cody, 'Cut Throat'
  25. Rich Gang, 'Freestyle'
  26. Young Thug & Bloody Jay, '4 Eva Bloody'
  27. Pictureplane, 'Self Control'
  28. Pallbearer, 'Ashes'
  29. FMG Dez, 'Road to Riches Intro'
  30. Iceage, 'How Many'
  31. Holly Herndon, 'Chorus'
  32. Kevin Drumm and Jason Lescaleet, 'Anger Alert'
  33. Drake, 'Trophies'
  34. Gurl Crush, 'By My Side'
  35. Peewee Longway feat. Quez, 'Use Me'
  36. DJ Slugo, 'Ghetto'
  37. Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy, 'Floating Messiah'
  38. Jerome LOL, 'Deleted'
  39. Abdu Ali, 'Say Something'
  40. Fabo, 'I Can't Get Enough'
  41. James Nasty, 'Fan Dem Off'
  42. Zuzuka Poderosa, 'Baile Crunk'
  43. Nerftoss, 'Bottomless'
  44. Munchi, 'Reality Check'
  45. Caleb Stine, 'Watcha Think of Me Now'
  46. Iamsu!, 'Girls'
  47. Travis Scott, 'Backyard'
  48. Kix, 'Inside Outside Inn'
  49. DaVinci and Sweet Valley, 'Cheap Thrills'
  50. Natural Velvet, 'Cathedral Street'


  1. Tink, "Winter's Diary 2: Forever Yours"
  2. YG, "My Krazy Life"
  3. Warpaint, "Warpaint"
  4. D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Black Messiah"
  5. The Soft Pink Truth, "Why Do The Heathen Rage?"
  6. Future Islands, "Singles"
  7. Arca, "Xen"
  8. Gangsta Boo and Beatking, "Underground Cassette Tape Music"
  9. Terence Hannum, "Via Negativa"
  10. Isaiah Rashad, "Cilvia Demo"
  11. J. Robbins, "Abandoned Mansions"
  12. White Lung, "Deep Fantasy"
  13. Ed Schrader's Music Beat, "Party Jail"
  14. DJ Moondawg, "We Invented the Bop" Vols. 1 and 2
  15. Priests, "Bodies and Control and Money and Power"
  16. Jute Gyte, "Ressentiment"
  17. ISSUE, "Liquid Wisdom"
  18. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, "Piñata"
  19. Todd Terje, "It's Album Time"
  20. Justin Bieber, "Journals"
  21. Krieg, "Transient"
  22. Lil Boosie, "Life After Deathrow"
  23. RiFF RAFF, "Neon Icon"
  24. Self Defense Family, "Try Me"
  25. Ricky Eat Acid, "Three Love Songs"
  26. Pallbearer, "Foundations of Burden"
  27. Sicko Mobb, "Super Saiyan Vol 1"
  28. Sturgill Simpson, "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music"
  29. Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy, "1111"
  30. Jon Camp, "Earwig"
  31. Ola Playa, "Slime Season (Year of the Slime)"
  32. Copeland, "Because I'm Worth It"
  33. Ryan Bair, "Casting Away"
  34. Rich Gang, "Tha Tour Part 1"
  35. Cities Aviv, "Come To Life"
  36. Abdu Ali and Schwarz, "Already"
  37. DJ Dodger Stadium, "Friend of Mine"
  38. Blanco, Husalah & Kokane, "The Tortoise and the Hare"
  39. Chiffon, "Marble"
  40. The Heads are Zeros, "All The Men I Love Are Dead"
  41. Dierks Bentley, "RISER"
  42. Shy Glizzy, "Law 3"
  43. Perfect Pussy, "Say Yes To Love"
  44. Metronomy, "Love Letters"
  45. iLoveMakonnen, "iLoveMakonnen"
  46. Nerftoss, "Maiden Powers"
  47. The Underachievers, "Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium"
  48. Cex, "Shamaneater"
  49. Iamsu!, "Sincerely Yours"
  50. Philip Corner, "Satie Slowly"

And why the hell not, my 10 movies and graphic novels of 2014:


  1. "The Drop" (Michaël R. Roskam, United States)
  2. "The Sacrament" (Ti West, United States)
  3. "We Are The Best" (Lukas Moodysson, Sweden)
  4. "The Immigrant" (James Grey, United States)
  5. "Hellion" (Kat Candler, United States)
  6. "American Muscle" (Ravi Dahr, United States)
  7. "John Wick" (David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, United States)
  8. "Teenage" (Matthew Wolf, United States)
  9. "Drones" (Rick Rosenthal, United States)
  10. "3 Days To Kill" (McG, United States)


  1. "Tradduciones" by Ines Estrada
  2. "Megahex" by Simon Hanselmann
  3. "Felony Comics #1" by Various Artists
  4. "Theth" by Josh Bayer
  5. "Celebrated Summer" by Charles Forsman
  6. "The War of Streets and Houses" by Sophie Yanow
  7. "The Time Punk Rocker John No Got Locked in a Fridge by Papa Roach" by Marissa Paternoster
  8. "Andre the Giant: Life and Legend" by Box Brown
  9. "Screwjob" by Various Artists
  10. "Now and Here" by Lale Westvind