We here at Impose like to break down the fourth wall between industries (music, media, sports, fashion, Facebooking) and their clientele (you). We’re a bunch who have no qualms exposing the unseen filter through which media output flows, so let’s level about the SEO-race that has become the Best of The Year list: List(icles).
You see, the quarterly Best of the Year list—once called the “Year End”—is actually a race to own the very Googleable phrase “Best of (insert year here)”. The earlier you can get up your “Best of (insert year here)” list, the earlier you can start generating clicks from those in search for new (and AWESOME) music. Of course, there is some legitimacy to these lists, after all, we have hit a certain point in the year and as BuzzFeed has proven, people love truncated information in easily digestible forms. In fact, the legitimacy has risen to Vegas heights thanks to Sports Betting Dime offering up odds on Sam Smith or Banks like you’d bet the ponies at your local Downs track. But are we to assume that it was just coincidence that most music blogs felt the need to make the same exact listicle at the same exact time? And who are we to judge? Still, the RACE IS ON.
Instead of joining the race (we don’t run unless someone is chasing us), we’ve decided to aggregate and review the lists that have already been provided for us. No longer do you have to go clicking through all the Best of 2014 (So Far) lists, because we’ve presented it all here for you to click through. Because let’s be real, we like clicks too. Here, apparently, are the BEST albums of 2014 so far, according to the frequency in which they appear on the 24 lists (15 from FACT) we have rounded up and recapped in slideshow form below. You can thank us for doing all the mouse work with a share and a smile. 😉
11 Best Albums of 2014 So Far
(in order of number of appearances)
Stereogum’s The 50 Best Albums of 2014 So Far
Stereogum took the most holistic look at the stratified music industry for their mid-year list, pulling from big labels, and Top40 “indie” rock discs like Beck and St. Vincent to the farther corners of rap, electro, scuzz metal and even country releases to gather up enough albums to hit magically clickable number 50. Verdict: Take the bait if you need a crash course in what the young professional happy hour set listens to.
Spin’s The 50 Best Albums of 2014… So Far
Also featuring a magically-baity 50 albums, scrolling through Spin’s “So Far” slideshow feels like a well-designed Powerpoint of music press releases from mainstream alternative acts. Of course, Swans is great but like… Pharrell? Really? The best? Verdict: Takes more bandwidth than it’s worth.
Spin’s The Best Overlooked Albums of 2014… So Far
Ah, the “overlooked” list. The “we fucked up, so we’re making up for it now” of lists. These “overlooked” picks aren’t all that overlooked. Then again, where does the average Spin page-viewer look for their music? Verdict: By “best overlooked” you just meant “best,” right?
Pitchfork’s Staff Lists: Overlooked Albums 2014
Since their compilation of year-end “Best of” list probably takes a full year to put together, the staff list of overlooked albums was a good choice for Pitchfork to fill a noticeable void of “Best So Far” posts on their site. Funny that it doesn’t even say “So Far” in the title, a little presumptuous, no? Verdict: Basically everything Impose covers.
NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums of 2014 (So Far)
NPR starts off strong with a Chilean rapper, before sliding into those indie releases that a cool Volkswagon-driving mom and dad team will be streaming from Spotify through their iPhone’s bluetooth straight into their car speakers, because, technology! Amiright? Verdict: There’s no way our kids will grow up to be Republicans if they listen to these albums.
Pigeons & Plane’s The Best Albums of 2014 (So Far)
P&P turned over some of the more obscure, synth-driven rocks to find their 30 best albums of this half of 2014. The collection is good for a pop-hop and eccentric electro kids. Verdict: Best albums for saccharine space beats behind rap game out-there and/or drifting R&B vocals.
AdHoc’s Our Favorite Albums of 2014.5
“Who the fuck are half of these people?” is the most overheard phrase you’ll hear when scrolling through AdHoc, which is also what makes them great. Of course, there’s a few mainstream hip-hop albums to ground them in reality, but reality is not what their strength is. Maybe the best list of this bunch if only for the sake of discovery. Verdict: For those of you who link DIY with working toilets.
Flavorwire’s The Best Albums of 2014 So Far
Listen, we’ll be honest, we didn’t look past the first slide. There’s something about listicles that make you hit “next” while waiting for the page to reload that makes us cringe. But according to the tags on the front page, it’s a lot like Stereogum’s list. Verdict: For those with at least 15-minutes to kill reading a list.
Fact’s Contributors Picks: The Best Albums of 2014 So Far*
A bit misleading, this is actually 15 lists in one slideshow. The problem(s) is that, I don’t know who these contributors are. And the repetition of albums that don’t appear most anywhere seems like a case of early release link sharing in the office. Verdict: Everyone there likes Kassem Mosse more than everyone else.
Huffington Post Canada’s The Best Indie Albums of 2014 (So Far)
So random, we know. However, HuffPost’s Canadian music outlet actually hit some good albums that go unmentioned everywhere else. Using “indie” in the title, though, is a big faux pas. The writer does concede to the term’s troubling definition but then proceeds to put Columbia Records’ darlings Haim on the list. Verdict: Haim is not fucking “indie.”