What I listened to in 2014


Last year I began my annual reflection on my listening habits with a complaint:

This year [2013] seems particularly bland and uninspired, with hardly anything new in the list. Maybe Spotify has made me complacent about listening to new music[...]

Determined to avoid the same depressing repetition this year, in 2014 I made a concerted effort to seek out new music and sample from a wider range of artists, especially those creating new music in the last twelve months.

Top 10 Artists listened to in 2014

  1. Tegan and Sara
  2. Ginger Wildheart
  3. The New Pornographers
  4. We Are Scientists
  5. The War on Drugs
  6. White Lung
  7. Afghan Whigs
  8. Metric
  9. The Wildhearts
  10. Busta Rhymes

Overall, I don't think I did too badly. Only four artists reappear from the 2013 list, and of those, two are there by dint of releasing new albums this year, so I'd call that a definite improvement—no 90s hard rock in sight.

I played Tegan and Sara's back catalogue to death in the first part of the year, which accounts for their top spot; and Busta Rhymes sneaks into the top ten in a year that saw me explore a lot more hip-hop than ever before.

Top 10 Albums listened to in 2014

  1. Brill Bruisers - The New Pornographers
  2. Lost in the Dream - The War on Drugs
  3. Albion - Ginger Wildheart
  4. Deep Fantasy - White Lung
  5. Tv en Français - We Are Scientists
  6. Heartthrob - Tegan and Sara
  7. Mable - CJ Wildheart
  8. Do to the Beast - Afghan Whigs
  9. So Jealous - Tegan and Sara
  10. A Feast of Consequences - Fish

The New Porno's album only secured first place because I played the lead single, War On The East Coast, to death when it was released; Lost in the Dream was my favourite album of the year by a country mile. Aside from those two, a further five were released in 2014, a reflection of my deliberate trawling of Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound, and other music review sites for the best new music this year. Considering that last year only a single album in my top ten was released in 2013, I count this as a major step forward.

Track of the Year

As I alluded to earlier, the first single release from The New Pornographers' latest album probably got way too many plays in the weeks after its release; so much so that the eventual album was slightly disappointing when I finally got hold of it.

Instead, here is my third most listened-to track of 2014, an uber-catchy pop rock tune recommended by the Wildhearts Facebook group: The Wheel, by Tropical Contact:

Matthew Pennell

Designer, developer, writer, runner, gamer, devil's advocate, INTP. Senior designer for Booking.com. Founder, Refresh Cambridge.