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Back to 2014 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    This week has us traveling back to 2014. Only one more week left after this, and we will be caught up with when Chorus launched in 2016. These last few weeks have an interesting feel to them, they’re far enough away where there’s a distance, but six years is still close enough where it doesn’t feel as much like the past as the previous dives.

    Looking at AbsolutePunk’s 2014 list fills me with a wide range of emotions. The year itself, for music, is one that I’ll always hold dear. I loved that Noah Gundersen record. Taylor Swift released 1989 and was starting to cement herself as the artist of a generation. Bleachers released their debut. Copeland were back. Against Me! dropped an all-time classic. The Gaslight Anthem were polarizing. And a new group of bands were starting to make waves. From Joyce Manor, to PUP, to Modern Baseball, to The Hotelier cementing themselves as one of the ‘next great bands in our scene.’ And I’m also thinking back to 2014 and all the turmoil that was taking place not just in the scene but also in the AbsolutePunk offices. Drew Beringer had a fun little rant in the forums last week about being hired at the Spin office and the cluster fuck of mismanagement and organizational failures. This was, for lack of a more colorful phrase, the beginning of the end. I had an entire new version of the website designed, built, and coded, and I couldn’t get it launched. It was then that I gave up fighting the battles. I couldn’t even keep track of who was in charge anymore, or who was running what, so I went into “put the head down, do the work” mode. And the joy of something I had been doing since I was a teenager was sucked completely out of each day of work. I went through the motions and started daydreaming about what my next steps were going to be.

    Thankfully, the music from this year more than made up for my restlessness in other parts of my life. Looking at my list from 2014 shows me a whole bunch of albums that I still listen to regularly, and on first glance, the order’s pretty consistent with my gut. That Against Me! album was one of those rare records where when you first heard it, you knew it was special, and that Noah Gundersen album has only grown in my favor over the past few years, joining the shortlist on my all-time favorites list. I find it funny that I had Manchester Orchestra’s Hope on my main list, and Cope in the honorable mentions, but, you know, I think I stand by that. Hope felt much more dynamic. A mixture of sounds and textures. Whereas Cope felt like it was more reactionary to Simple Math and wanting to be a return to rock record. Both good, but I’m still higher on Hope.

    In my head, I didn’t have Yellowcard’s Lift a Sail and The Gaslight Anthem’s Get Hurt as having been released the same year. These are two albums that I’ve thought about, written about, and talked about a lot over the following years. They’re both exceptionally polarizing with fans and our community. It’s not often people say, “they’re fine,” it’s far more likely you’ll hear “they’re great” or “they fucking suck.” The reactions are strong and definite. I’ll continue to argue that Lift a Sail gets undeserved hate. And my thoughts on The Gaslight Anthem’s last album continue to be mixed. There’s stuff I really like, stuff I don’t think works, and more than anything, it’s an album that when I listen to, I hear a real sadness in the songs. I will always wonder what the band would have done next.

    Ok, so same rules as every week on the re-rank. Arbitrary, going with the gut, not adding in too many things that weren’t part of my listening that year, with a few exceptions. And that leaves me with …

    Best of 2014 (Re-Ranking)

    1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
    2. Noah Gundersen – Ledges
    3. Copeland – Ixora
    4. Bleachers – Strange Desire
    5. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace is There
    6. Sir Sly – You Haunt Me
    7. The Lawrence Arms – Metropole
    8. Taylor Swift – 1989
    9. Manchester Orchestra – Hope
    10. The Menzingers – Rented World
    11. Manchester Orchestra – Cope
    12. Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown
    13. Run the Jewels – RTJ2
    14. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
    15. Yellowcard – Lift a Sail
    16. PUP – PUP
    17. Bad Suns – Language & Perspective
    18. Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter
    19. Counting Crows – Somewhere Under Wonderland
    20. Andrew McMahon – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
    21. Coldplay – Ghost Stories
    22. Punch – They Don’t Have to Believe
    23. Perfume Genius – Too Bright
    24. Lagwagon – Hang
    25. Tycho – Awake
    26. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
    27. Prawn – Kingfisher
    28. FKA Twigs – LP1
    29. Jessie Ware – Tough Love
    30. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

    The top three stay the same. There’s a small switch were Bleachers get raised just a little bit to account for just how much I’ve listened to that album in the past six years. The biggest jump is Taylor Swift into the top ten. I liked the album when it came out, but its release also was the trigger for me getting far more into her music and exploring her back catalog. Whereas in 2014, it was just me starting to explore, now that album has been fully baked into my regular rotation and is much deserving of a top ten spot. Manchester Orchestra’s Hope sees a jump, Cope gets added into the list, and The Menzinger’s Rented World also sees itself graduated from the honorable mentions list. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gone back over my lists, I often will penalize a band that I’m a big fan of in favor of something newer when I make the list the first time. And then, as time goes on, those big “favorite” bands continue to stay into rotation, and I keep giving them spins, and they end up ranking higher later on. While originally a little let down by The Menzingers, time has proved that album’s resilience.

    The rest of the list doesn’t shift all that much. Andrew McMahon gets added in, and I’m not sure why it wasn’t there to begin with. Young the Giant gets added in, as that’s an album that has grown on me exponentially over the past few years. And Coldplay’s Ghost Stories also gets a boost. I saw someone mention in some thread that Ghost Stories was the lost great Coldplay album, and I think I agree with that. It never gets talked about in that way, but of everything they’ve done since, it’s the last time I remember loving something they did.

    Against Me!, The Lawrence Arms, Punch, and Lagwagon. Not a bad punk year at all. And throwing in Joyce Manor, The Hotelier, PUP, Every Time I Die, and The Menzingers in that ‘punk-adjacent’ category ends up with a much more rock/guitar-dominated list than I expected.

    2014 is close enough that it feels lived in. Revisiting these albums isn’t as much a walk back into nostalgia-land as it is visiting a friend’s house after not seeing them for a few months. I’ve done multiple podcasts on The Gaslight Anthem’s Get Hurt, Yellowcard’s Lift a Sail, and written thousands of words about Noah Gundersen, Against Me!, and various others on this list. These are albums that continue to be in regular rotation, and Ledges is probably the record I spin most often on my turntable. What 2014 brings up for me is more a feeling of unease. It goes hand in hand with the historical revival project I’ve been working on the past week to bring back AbsolutePunk reviews from the graveyard for “scene history” preservation. There’s a lot of very fond memories I have of working on AbsolutePunk and the music and stories wrapped within, but those last few years carry with them a lot of baggage as well. An often joyless work. A wave of underlying anger at feeling chained to the ground and unable to explore anything new creatively. It’s not only with hindsight that I realize how unhealthy this was, I knew it at the time as well. But I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do yet, and it would take a few more years to figure it out.

    Next week I’ll be tackling the final AbsolutePunk end of the year list in 2015. After this, I plan to spend a few weeks walking backward through the years prior to 2005 to explore the very early beginnings of AbsolutePunk and what albums and music helped shape my musical tastes. The idea being, in the end, there will be a history of how my music taste shifted over the years that goes along with trying to add some color and history about the website itself.1

    Please consider becoming a member so we can keep bringing you articles like this one.

    1. When I added in my (horribly written) “review” of Midtown’s Living Well is the Best Revenge to the database yesterday, I realized there’s now over 18 years worth of writing on this website from me and others.


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    Crisp X and trevorshmevor like this.
  2. trevorshmevor

    and use a pretty font Supporter

    Interested in where this will go after 2015! Thought that was sort of an arbitrary year to stop before I remembered that it was the last full year of
    Crisp X likes this.
  3. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Definitely up there with the most important years of my life. Excited to go through and re-rank this one.
  4. trevorshmevor Aug 5, 2020
    (Last edited: Aug 5, 2020)

    and use a pretty font Supporter

    This was a year that I completely adored about 7-8 records, and then just “liked-not-loved” about 40. Looking back at my list, I’m reminded that I didn’t even bother using a number ranking system because picking one over the other felt like more of a chore than anything. Here I’ll number them because it looks better, but there’s really no order past those first few

    On a personal note, this year was an emotional roller coaster for me. Despite its highs it might be my least favorite year of the 2010s

    some notes:
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  5. Frank Lapidus

    Regular Supporter

    @Jason Tate Really have been loving these weekly deep dives. For the first few re-ranking you added an Apple Music playlist to go along with it. Are you still planning on doing that with these? I loved listening to those - really was a blast from the past.
  6. Maybe. No one had mentioned them or used them so I didn't keep doing it cause it was a lot of work. Heh.
    Frank Lapidus likes this.
  7. soggytime


    2014 was a very rough, transitional year for me - I graduated college, moved back home, began a very long and difficult job search and tragically lost a friend. I had an overwhelming sense of helplessness for what my post-college life was going to be.

    At the time, I believe I was listening to new music from Taking Back Sunday, Skrillex, Schoolboy Q, Run the Jewels, Coldplay and The Black Keys

    2014 (re-ranked with 2020 eyes):

    1. The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace There Is
    2. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
    3. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
    4. Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again
    5. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata
    6. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
    7. Modern Baseball - You're Gonna Miss It All
    8. Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties - We Don't Have Each Other
    9. Mac Demarco - Salad Days.
    10. Taking Back Sunday - Happiness Is
    11. Aphex Twin - Syro
    12. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - I'm In Your Mind Fuzz
    13. J.Cole - 2014 Forrest Hills Drive
    14. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
    15. PUP - PUP
    16. Future - Monster
    17. Spoon - They Want My Soul
    18. Bayside - Cult
    19. Schoolboy Q - Oxymoron
    20. Interpol - El Pintor
    21. Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown
    22. The Menzingers - Rented World
    23. Flying Lotus - You're Dead!
    24. Gucci Mane & Young Thug - Young Thugga Mane La Flare
    25. Coldplay - Ghost Stories
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  8. sunkwiththeship


    Where in the hell did Pianos go?! That album will go down as one of my top 5 of all time
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  9. koryoreo Aug 5, 2020
    (Last edited: Aug 5, 2020)


    1. Menzingers- Rented World
    2. Taking Back Sunday- Hapiness Is
    3. This Wild Life- Clouded
    4. Against Me!- Transgender Disphoria Blues
    5. Fireworks- Oh, Common Life
    6. Bayside- Cult
    7. Aaron West- We Don't Have Each Other
    8. Gaslight Anthem- Get Hurt
    9. Have Mercy- A Place of Our Own
    10. Transit- Joyride
    11. Forever Came Calling- What Matters Most
    12. Neck Deep- Wishful Thinking
    13. Real Friends- Maybe This Place is the Same and We're Just Changing
    14. Knucklepuck- While I Stay Secluded
    15. Modern Baseball- You're Gonna Miss It All
  10. phaynes12

    playing in the band Supporter

    honorable mentions - every time i die - from parts unknown; run the jewels - rtj2; strand of oaks - heal; thou - heathen
    25. coldplay - ghost stories
    24. manchester orchestra - cope
    23. damien rice - my favourite faded fantasy
    22. la dispute - rooms of the house
    21. joyce manor - never hungover again
    20. s. carey - range of light
    19. the hotelier - home like no place is there
    18. future islands - singles
    17. alcest - shelter
    16. warpaint - warpaint
    15. mastodon - once more round the sun
    14. yg - my krazy life
    13. agalloch - the serpent & the sphere
    12. ben howard - i forget where we were
    11. spoon - they want my soul
    10. wye oak - shriek
    9. drive-by truckers - english oceans
    8. iceage - plowing into the field of love
    7. taylor swift - 1989
    6. d’angelo - black messiah
    5. cymbals eat guitars - lose
    4. fucked up - glass boys
    3. sturgill simpson - metamodern sounds in country music
    2. sharon van etten - are we there
    1. the war on drugs - lost in the dream
    Crisp X likes this.
  11. Frank Lapidus

    Regular Supporter

    No worries! Guess I was alone, but definitely loved throwing each playlist on for the week.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  12. OhTheWater

    Let it run Supporter

    1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
    2. The Hotelier - Home Like Noplace Is There
    3. TR/ST - Joyland
    4. Taylor Swift- 1989
    5. Future - Monster
    6. Perfume Genius - Too Bright
    7. Rich Gang - Tha Tour Pt. 1
    8. Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else
    9. Abhi//Dijon - EP
    10. arrange - Their Bodies in a Fog
    11. The Front Bottoms - Rose EP
    12. German Error Message - Haunts
    13. Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again
    14. The Lawrence Arms - Metropole
    15. YG - My Krazy Life
    16. DJ Dodger Stadium - Friend of Mine
    17. How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?
    18. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata
    19. Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo
    20. Rome Fortune - Beautiful Pimp II
    21. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
    22. Your Old Droog - S/T
    23. Run the Jewels - RTJ2

    Great year!
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  13. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Original list: Closer to the Truth and Further From the Sky: My Top 30 Albums of 2014
    1. Noah Gundersen – Ledges
    2. Field Report – Marigolden
    3. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
    4. Yellowcard – Lift a Sail
    5. Taylor Swift – 1989
    6. Coldplay – Ghost Stories
    7. John Fullbright – Songs
    8. Tyler Hilton – Indian Summer
    9. Twin Forks – Twin Forks
    10. U2 – Songs of Innocence
    11. The Hotelier – Home, Like NoPlace Is There
    12. Dierks Bentley – Riser
    13. Chad Perrone – Kaleidoscope
    14. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
    15. Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
    16. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
    17. Counting Crows – Somewhere Under Wonderland
    18. Bleachers – Strange Desire
    19. Steve Moakler – Wide Open
    20. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
    21. The Alternate Routes – Nothing More
    22. Miranda Lambert – Platinum
    23. Lori McKenna – Numbered Doors
    24. Stolen Silver – We Have Everything We Have Nothing
    25. Copeland – Ixora
    26. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
    27. Augustana – Life Imitating Life
    28. Eric Church – The Outsiders
    29. The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
    30. Charlie Simpson – Long Road Home
    Kind of a fascinating year to revisit, considering how much stuff that I ranked high tumbled out of my top 10. I was weirdly bad these few years (2013 and 2014, mostly) at picking albums that would actually stick with me as my favorites. There are two albums that were in my top 10 that year that aren't here at all: Sun Kil Moon and Ryan Adams. The former I still think has a few incredibly great songs, but haven't played the whole thing through since...maybe 2014? The latter...well, that's self-explanatory. That Adams record meant a ton to me back then, but I have not been able to stomach listening to even a song of his since everything about him came out.

    2014 was a pivotal year for me. I got married, moved back to Michigan from Illinois, and started to figure out my professional life. It was also the year my grandpa passed away, which was the first experience I'd really had with death. And it was the year I started writing songs. I can't think of a more important year in my life.

    A lot of these records are really important to me too. Ledges was one of those records that I knew within the first two or three listens was going to be one of my favorite albums of all time. Just about every song on that thing still gives me goosebumps. I've loved following Noah's career since, and think he's put out a ton of brilliant work, but I doubt he'll ever top this album for me.

    Field Report, Andrew McMahon, and Yellowcard were all records that I ranked lower the first time around, but they've all just grown on me with time. All three of those records came out around the time my grandpa passed and they were definitely albums I was going to for comfort. Listening to them back is always bittersweet, and there are a few songs on each ("Maps for the Getaway," "Lift a Sail," "Summons") that always choke me up a bit.

    I listen to 1989 and Ghost Stories all the time. Both of those records have aged super well for me. Same with Songs of Innocence, which I think I was one of the lone defenders of at the time (and probably still am).

    Still can't quite wrap my head around Get Hurt, which is half great and half...just not satisfying. Kind of a similar situation with Teeth Dreams, which has an incredible first half and then just runs out of gas.

    A few albums on this list (particularly those last four) are things I have not listened to in ages. I'd almost forgotten about that Augustana record, but I remember loving it so much when it came out. I should revisit a few of these to see how they hold up.
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  14. Anthony Brooks Aug 5, 2020
    (Last edited: Aug 6, 2020)
    Anthony Brooks

    brook183 Supporter

    2014 feels like a lost year for me somehow. I had finally made the switch to Rdio, just to have the service go under soon after. I have no playlist of top albums for that year so i have no idea how i had them ranked at the time. Also the last year I lived with my parents before moving out for good.

    So here’s a rerank:

    1. The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace is There
    2. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
    3. La Dispute - Rooms of the House
    4. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
    5. St. Vincent - St. Vincent
    6. Copeland - Ixora
    7. Circa Survive - Descensus
    8. Run the Jewels - RTJ2
    9. Pianos Become the Teeth - Keep You
    10. Manchester Orchestra - Cope
    11. Taylor Swift - 1989
    12. Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
    13. The Life and Times - Lost Bees
    14. S. Carey - Range of Light
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  15. disambigujason Aug 5, 2020
    (Last edited: Aug 5, 2020)

    Trusted Supporter

    Biggest ones for me were keep you, happiness is, ixora (the 3 of which are top albums of the decade for me), lowborn, 1989.

    Other notables: lost together//lost forever, lift a sail, clouded, strange desire, HLNPIT, temple of plenty, bloom & breathe, white noise
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  16. Steeeve Perry


    Completely agree about Teeth Dreams, although I love Oaks too.
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  17. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    "Oaks" brings it back. I can otherwise check out for most of side 2.
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  18. Aj LaGambina

    Hey man, we all can't be like you Supporter

    The year I became a Staff Member I think... Pretty sure this was the year of PBTT's Keep You, which is still the best mid-autumn-night-drive record in my library.
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  19. josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    The Hotelier will always be number one for me in 2014. Joyce will always be second. One of the best years!!
    kkhawk24 likes this.
  20. kkhawk24 Aug 6, 2020
    (Last edited: Aug 6, 2020)


    This remains the year that I was most "plugged in" to the scene at large. This was my last year of grad school and it had become a bit boring, so I spent hour after hour on AbsolutePunk finding new bands and tracking news. I did a "Best albums of the 2010s" with a friend back at the end of last year and was shocked by how many of the albums came from 2014. This year seemed like release after release that changed how I listened to music and I had so many albums that I was eagerly anticipating release day; feel like I don't get that way as much anymore. I also started going to way more live shows than before. I saw this insane record release show at Asbury Lanes with PBTT, Gates, and Frameworks. Different but simpler times.

    Standouts for me at the time: Pianos, Hotelier, From Indian Lakes, La Dispute, Copeland, Prawn, Aaron West, Modern Baseball, Joyce Manor, Hope/Cope, Frameworks, Gates, Architects
    Albums that I have come to appreciate in the years since: ETID, Fireworks, RTJ, Menzingers
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  21. kpatrickwood

    Give what you can. Supporter

    100% agreed. I'd take the three b-sides from that record over anything on side 2 except for Oaks. I've seen them live at least 10x but have never caught that one. My white whale.
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  22. Steeeve Perry


    2014 was actually a year of musical letdowns for me. It seemed like so many of my favourite bands were putting out albums I just didn't like as much as their previous work.
    Gaslight Anthem, Menzingers, Hold Steady, The Lawrence Arms, Restorations, Manchester Orchestra, Rise Against.
    These bands are all fantastic, and they all put out my least-favourite albums in their discographies in 2014 (except maybe Hold Steady, although Teeth Dreams certainly falls short of their best work).

    Luckily there were some bright spots.
    Run The Jewels -- this is when I first got into RTJ and they remain one of my favourite hip hop acts
    Sun Kil Moon -- I rarely listen to Benji in full but several songs are stunning, especially Carissa
    Taylor Swift -- Like many people, 1989 really got me into Taylor and much of it still holds up
    Against Me -- Likely the most important punk album of the decade, although I don't love it outside a few songs (and the production hurts it for me)

    Which all leads me to the one true bright spot for 2014, The Hotelier.
    Before this album I hadn't really sought out emo music for years. Aside from a couple of pop-punk bands like The Wonder Years and The Menzingers, I had mainly listened to indie and hip hop for a few years at this point. Home Like NoPlace Is There dragged me back in and I discovered a lot of great music because of it -- but nothing that has hit me quite like that Hotelier album did, and still does. Just a masterclass in wordy, impassioned, theatrical rock music, which in many ways is my musical taste sweet spot. Every song is great (yep, even Housebroken) and for such a serious record it works well for driving. "I felt the noooose, tighten uppp, on your collarboooooone!" is not a typical driving lyric but I scream along with it every time anyway. The defining album of third-wave emo and one of the best albums to come out of this 'scene' ever, period. Currently my fifth favourite album of the 2010s.
  23. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Re: Sun Kil Moon. "Carissa" and "I Can't Live without My Mother's Love" is arguably my favorite opening 1-2 punch of any 2010s record, but a lot of the other songs on that record are kind of chores to get through for me. Not chores like the later SKM records would be, mind you, but I rarely have much desire to keep going with Benji once "Truck Driver" starts.
  24. phaynes12

    playing in the band Supporter

    I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same, cmon
    Craig Manning likes this.
  25. atlas


    Goddess by Banks will always be #1 for me from that year. Definitely not the "best" record of 2014 but scratched a million itches I didn't even know I had and basically got me into R&B