10. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
Released: May 9, 2014
Little Dragon saw their first big emergence into the music world in 2009, but put out their best album this year. Following their 2011 album Ritual Union, which was received mixed reviews, Nabuma Rubberband will certainly make many year end lists come December. If you liked Lykke Li’s new album, you will also like Nabuma Rubberband (and vica versa). Little Dragon is a great band to see live, but this album is definitely a great work to give a personal listen.
9. Popcaan – Where We Come From
Released: June 10, 2014
It is hard to find better lyrics on a album in 2014, than on Popcaan’s Where We Come From. A Jamaican deejay and the best dancehall artist in music today, if you have a taste for the kind of music he makes, you will absolutely love this project. The beats are full of energy, and the song writing matches in quality. In a 2014 dominated by hip-hop and indie, Where We Come From is easily one of the year’s top projects.
8. Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Released: April 1, 2014
Canadian singer Mac DeMarco released his second project and instantly received critical acclaim. Recorded in his Brooklyn apartment, Salad Days is in the discussion for the best indie rock album of the year. This young artist is sure to have a great career and while Salad Days is a great album full of great songwriting, it will be exciting to see where DeMarco will go with his career as he his resources and notoriety in the indie rock world only increase.
7. Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron
Released: February 25, 2014
Schoolboy Q showed the rap world that TDE is not just Kendrick Lamar this year with his third studio album. Although this may be the first full project of Schoolboy’s for man of his new fans, Oxymoron serves as his debut in many ways and does well. Schoolboy’s west coast raps mixed with the albums great catalog of producers (Pharrell, Tyler the Creator, The Alchemist, Mike Will Made It), makes this one of the best rap albums of the year. While he may remain in King Kendrick’s shadow, he is giving him (and the rest of the rap world) a run for their money. The man is much more than a dope rapper in a bucket hat.
6. Pharrell – Girl
Released: March 3, 2014
While almost everyone can’t help but love Pharrell, you may have been turned off by the success of Girl, especially with his single “Happy”. However, while “Happy” has had extreme commercial success, do not deter yourself from giving the album a listen just off that one song. Of course, a Pharrell album will have amazing productions, as he is one of the best producers in music. With contributing vocals from Justin Timberlake and even Kelly Osbourse, Pharrell leaves most of the work to himself. A woman oriented concept album, Pharrell pays his tribute to women with one of this years best albums.