Albums of the Year – the “Didn’t Quite Make the Top 30” List!

It was an excellent year in terms of the breadth and depth of music available. I don’t think I have ever struggled quite so much to get down to 30 or even 50 albums, and that is without even getting deeply into folk or country music, two genres I do enjoy but just haven’t given the time to this year, so can’t really comment too much on the best in those areas.

It is also gratifying that the quality of some of the biggest selling and most mainstream artists is so high. Listen to the albums by Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Taylor Swift for instance – all huge global sellers, but also really talented artists with a clear vision and brilliant songs. Even One Direction produced a pretty decent album!

And yet there was one disappointment for me. I struggled with my top 30 because of the number of good albums around. But I struggled with my number one because I didn’t find a single “great” album this year. Nothing I think that will threaten the all-time top 30, 50 or even 100 albums list in the future. Any of last year’s top 4 or 5 would have been number one this year. And one album that many critics made their number 1 was a problem for me too. St Vincent is just the sort of artist I normally love – quirky, indie, female, clever singer-songwriter. She’s even a very talented soccer player – yes, really, look it up on YouTube. But although I quite enjoyed it, I just didn’t quite “get it” unlike the music writers in the NME and the Guardian for instance, who both made it their top album of the year.

Anyway, today, I’m going to list some of the albums that I enjoyed but didn’t quite make it into my top 30. Amazingly, there are 27 of them!

And we will back with the beginning of the big top 30 countdown on Monday.

Ryan Adams Ryan Adams His best for some time, straight ahead rock with occasional country touches
Alvvays Alvvays Promising debut from Canadian fuzzy, tuneful indie popsters
Augustines Augustines Heartfelt, emotional Springsteen type rock
Beyonce Beyonce Varied, odd in places but exciting R‘nB album
The Bots Pink Palms Two young US brothers, energetic and promising blues rock
Caribou Our Love Critically acclaimed clever electronic dance
Cherry Ghost Herd Runners Tuneful country-pop
Childhood   Lacuna Tuneful floaty indie-shoegaze-pop
Clean Bandit New Eyes Huge commercial singles, classical influenced dance-pop
Comet Gain Paperback Ghosts Quirky, clever veteran UK indie rock band
Coves Soft Friday Psychedelic garage-pop tuneful boy-girl duo
Drive By Truckers English Oceans More rock than country this time from intelligent but tough Southern US band
Eagulls Eagulls Pretty intense UK indie -punk, Joy Division influence
First Aid Kit Stay Gold Lovely country-folk harmonies from Swedish sisters
Foo Fighters Sonic Highways Strong rock tunes as usual
Happyness Weird Little Birthday Excellent debut from London trio, dreamy and often quirky indie-rock songs
Jungle Jungle 80s influenced disco soul throwback, with Busy Earnin’ one of the tracks of the year
New Pornographers Brill Bruisers Canadian indie rock supergroup with another collection of clever songs
Perils of Being Pure at Heart Days of Abandon     JUST missed out on top 30. Lovely indie pop songs, romantic lyrics , guitars from acoustic to buzzsaw on different songs.
Tom Petty Hypnotic Eye A return to form, classic Petty tough indie-rock blues
Rival Sons Great Western Valkyrie Good old fashioned (Zeppelin influenced) blues-rock
Ed Sheeran X You know, Ed Sheeran! A great pop songwriter
Strands of Oak Heal Tim Goshen, folk singer songwriter, draws on classic rock here – not sure how it didn’t make the top 30!
St. Vincent St.Vincent Highly critically acclaimed, clever indie
Taylor Swift 1989 You know, Taylor Swift! Listen with open mind... great songs
Twin Peaks Wild Onion Chicago garage punk lives in these 2 minute bursts of energy!
Lucinda Williams Down Where the Sprit Meets the Bone Another set of great country-rock songs

And here are just a handful of those artists to whet your appetite.

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