2014 has been a good year of new albums for Dado, and he’s taken the time to share with us what he considers to be the cream of those albums. For you to read below is his top ten albums of 2014.
10 Slash – World On Fire
It’s six years since Axl Rose last released an album, and fifteen years before that. I still love him but in that time Slash has shown him up somewhat. While Axl thinks about the possibility of maybe possibly contemplating new music, Slash has gone from strength to strength and at the moment can do no wrong. Since 2010 Alter Bridge lead singer, Myles Kennedy, has sung on his solo albums. Now, with a settled band, he finds himself in the top ten all over the world. Both of his earlier ‘solo’ long players have been strong but from the title track onwards it is clear that World On Fire should be turned up loud and proud.
9 Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Not a proper Springsteen album in the true sense of the word, more a collection of ones that didn’t make it before. Still a top album that made number one all round the world. The title track is outstanding, ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ finally got a studio recording worthy of the song but it is the reworked, rocked up, version of ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ with Tom Morello on guitar that is the highlight of the year for me.
8 Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
2014 finally saw the release of a Damon Albarn solo album. The wife called it a druggy album (and not in a good way) but I thought it an excellent soundtrack to my new London life. Nestled among many excellent tracks here is 3 minutes and 43 seconds of music bliss in ‘Mr Tembo’. There is a real variety of songs in Albarn’s armoury not just on Everyday Robots but over his entire career to date Albarn never stands still so who knows what he will do next.
7 Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Ghost Stories is a far more understated album than previous long players from Coldplay. At first I wasn’t keen but it gradually crept up on me, nagging away, bit by bit, until I gave in and admitted I loved it. Lead single ‘Magic’ sets the tone and proves again that this band can do anything. To some they are a Phil Collins tribute act but to me they are one of England’s best bands. It seems incredible that Coldplay have been together since the mid-to-late nineties although if the rumours are true they may only have one more album left in them. I for one will miss them.
6 Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott – What Have We Become
I’ve seen Heaton play live on several occasions over the last seven years. He played in support of his excellent solo albums Cross Eyed Rambler and Acid House. They still had the sharp Heaton wit and were as catchy as ever yet without the female voice the Beautiful South fans stayed clear (The Housemartins fans never went away). He reunited with Jacqui Abbot and this year they produced an album as good as any Heaton has done since those early days in Hull. Both ‘D.I.Y.’ and new track ‘Real Hope’ have the classic Heaton sound and prove once again that he is one of Britain’s finest lyricists and master of the catchy pop song.
5 U2 – Songs of Innocence
Considering the uproar over giving an album away for free people seemed to forget if you didn’t want the U2 album then you could have deleted it. It wasn’t difficult! Anyway, that aside what of the album itself? Well luckily it was a bit of a cracker. They may never hit the creative heights of years gone by but this is a remarkable album from a band nearing 40 years together. Has there ever been another band producing quality music that long into their career? Long may they continue.
4 The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell
I hadn’t heard of Taylor Momsen at the beginning of this year but after watching 30 seconds of the ‘Going To Hell’ video I was pretty sure I was in love with her. She oozes sex appeal but backs it up with a hell of a rock voice and music to mosh to. I’m not convinced by the band as a whole, they seem more like vehicle for Momsen, but on this, their second album, they moved up a few rungs on rock’s ladder. This has been on constant play all year.
3 Matt Sorum – Stratosphere
Surprise of the year was not that the ex-drummer of Guns n Roses, The Cult and Velvet Revolver should release a solo album but that said album should be a highly accomplished one. Not only does he sing (and not at all what you think he would sound like) but he also plays guitar, piano and no drums; talented guy. Ok so some of the lyrics may be a little simplistic at times but a genuinely excellent album and I look forward to hearing what he does next.
2 David Gray – Mutineers
Four years away for Mr Gray but he returned in 2014 with one of his best studio albums to date. He is an artist that isn’t going to attract many new fans these days; people have made their mind up one way or another (except in America, 5 top twenty albums on the trot). That is a shame though as he has continued to produce quality material and here is an album to turn off the lights, close the eyes and lose yourself in.
1 James – La Petite Mort
Since James reunited in 2007 they have been on a creative high. Not just rehashing old material, going out on greatest hits tours and reliving their past. Instead this is a band that has made great strides to keep moving, not reinventing so much as progressing both lyrically and musically.
Released in June, La Petite Mort annoyingly missed the top ten by a few sales, instead landing at pesky number 11. In doing so it missed out on what would have been a well-deserved place in the top-tier. The album is not only a lyrical high for the band but in ‘Moving On’ the album contained one of their best ever songs (with a stunning video to boot) and in ‘Curse Curse’ a huge party anthem of the year (OK so it didn’t actually chart but that’s because there is no justice in music these days). This is an album about death, but like the band themselves, extremely uplifting.