A healthy mix of genres and newcomers make the cut when it comes to the b**p Album List for 2014. From retro pop to Motown soul, lyrical tenacity and eloquent songwriting reign supreme. And we thought 2013’s list couldn’t be beaten.
1. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Duo Royal blood have rocked the pop music boat this year with their debut album-smashing their way in to the charts through heavy drums and screeching guitar riffs. With raspy vocals and polished bass by Mike Kerr and some serious beats from Ben Thatcher, the albums an impressive ship of old school garage rock.
2. Ben Howard-I Forget Where We Were
A spiritual and emotional journey in to the alt-folk singer songwriter’s inner being. Combining spacious Riffs, experimental melodies and poetic lyrics Ben takes the listener on a 50 minute voyage into mind and matter, through depth and distance.
3. Paloma Faith- A Perfect Contradiction
It’s an all singing all dancing soup of R&B, Jazz and MO town sprinkled with a hint of pop for hackney-born retro Queen Paloma Faith. The March release is a beautifully constructed explosion that offered all the girl power, soul and sass needed to get us through 2014 in style.
4. George Ezra- Wanted on Voyage
21 year old acoustic folk singer/songwriter George Ezra released his debut studio album in June, after the success of his two singles ‘Did you Hear the Rain?’ and ‘Budapest.’ He reached number one in Austria, New Zealand and the Czech Republic. The album is an upbeat concoction of virtue and hope, one would expect, from a voice as young as Ezra’s, backed by a bass-baritone range and softly wizened vocals well beyond his years.
5. Jack White- Lazaretto
Rock king Jack White released his second studio album in June following his public apology to ‘clear up negativity’ after criticising the likes of the Lana Del Ray and accusing The Black Keys of ripping off his sound. It’s a jewel of an album with screeching electronics, over the top guitar and some humorous lyrics. Don’t worry Jack, your crown is safe for now.
6. Ed Sheeran-X
English acoustic and pop sensation Ed Sheeran released his second studio album X in June. Charting at number one in twelve countries, Ed released three hit singles ‘Don’t’, ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and the hit ‘Sing’ written with Pharrell Williams.
7. Paolo Nutini- Caustic Love
Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini finally secured the recognition he deserves with his MO town influenced third studio album. Swapping bare acoustics with a blast of polished soul he’s grown a patriotic garden of brand new music, which audiences are receptive too everywhere.
8.Hozier – Hozier
Irish singer/song writer Andrew Hozier-Byrnes took the world by storm with the release of his controversial debut single ‘Take Me to Church’ last year. With blues influences, gospel-style choruses and a defiant voice against persecution, his self-titled album is a 13 track bible of love, hate and everything between.
9. Clean Bandit- New Eyes
Hailing from Cambridge, electronic experimental pioneers Clean Bandit released their debut album New Eyes back in May. The classical-crossover and baroque pop elements of their work sent the second track release ‘Rather Be’ souring to the number one spot with sales of over 16300.
10. Pharrell Williams-Girl
Sexist or Sexy, there’s no denying American producer Pharrell Williams’ ability to silk some ridiculously catchy tunes in to our unsuspecting ears this year. In June 2013, he became the 12th artist in the chart’s history to simultaneously hold the number one and two positions with “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” and with his new album Girl he breathes another gust of hits down our necks including ‘Come Get it Bae’ and the infamous ‘Happy’ from the 2013 Universal Pictures film Despicable Me.
And an honourable mention must go to the Arctic Monkeys for their 2013 release, because whether you love or loath the slicked back, hip hop, shiny 70’s rock brigade that have become the Arctic Monkeys, there was no escaping the omnipresent AM this year. Although it made its debut last September, the seventh studio album by the former alternative band fully woo-d us with this album over the past 12 months, headlining T in the park and reading festival in the summer. They’ve developed some smooth new sounds and some seriously sleek hair.