I only continue to do this because Village Voice forces me via the Pazz & Jop ballot. The 2014 lists are dedicated to young one Rik Mayall. Rik, your death continues to fill me with profound sadness.
JG2’s TOPPEST ALBUMS OF 2014
1. Babymetal – BABYMETAL
Who knew Kawaii could save metal from itself? Japanese school girls bring ABBA-esque melody and untold charisma to extreme rock’s grim battlefield, setting off an hour that would wow Francis Scott Key. BABYMETAL is the year’s black and blue dance party pinnacle.
2. Run The Jewels – RTJ2
Another swift upper cut from the dynamite Killer Mike + El-P combo. No time wasted, so space misused, so very authentic. Any other rappers who might brag about “teabag[ing] a piranha tank” would be laughed off the Internet. Extra points for the Zack De La Rocha cameo.
3. Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom To Baked
Death metal and pot have paralleled each other in ascent to the mainstream, so perhaps death metal about pot was inevitable. A hilarious grind even if you’ve never cradled a bong or owned Eaten Back To Life on vinyl.
4. Riff Raff – Neon Icon
All the benefits of cotton candy with none of the hangover. Sealed his place on this list the second he referenced Mario Kart in the slippery party starter “Kokayne.” What a crime that song wasn’t released as a single.
5. Ghostface Killah – 36 Seasons
“Staten Island ain’t the same”; thankfully Ghostface is, which means we’re in a renaissance. This hip hop + soul gumbo simmers on the stovetop. You can feel the heat but it’s oh so comforting.
6. Brody Dalle – Diploid Love
If Dalle is looking to secure a Joan Jett legacy this is a rabbit kick in the right direction. Feisty, self-assured, endlessly anthemic (thanks mostly to Brody’s smoky vocal heft). Extra points for the Shirley Manson cameo.
7. The Oath – The Oath
Roaring doom rock worthy of soundtracking your next exorcism. Johanna Sadonis’s ghostly wail has a numbing effect, which is perfect salve for the sonic panzer behind her. Unfortunately, these evil nieces of Heart have already broken their Oath (the band dissolved last year).
8. Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage
Meanwhile, below the Mason-Dixon Line, gnarly shit-kickers tell it like it is, even when it doesn’t benefit their agenda (see “The South’s Too Fat To Rise Again”). If rock is dead Nashville Pussy’s trying to punt the corpse, and that’s plenty entertaining.
9. Del The Funky Homosapien – Iller Than Most
Technically a mixtape that Del himself described as “nothing super heavy,” but Iller packs plenty of finely focused disco robot punch. The Homosapien flow slips and slides all over, never going off track, occasionally offering refreshing candor (see the Beastie Boys shout out).
10. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes
Delightfully growling and disaffected effort from this Brit pop garage duo. May not be their strongest composition-wise but it sets a fine mood (if you enjoy standing in moderate rain at the bus stop).
JG2’s TOPPEST SINGLES OF 2014
1. Riff Raff – “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz”
Captures all the bleary intrigue of staying awake until sunrise.
2. Brody Dalle – “Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy”
A cold, futuristic ballad whose melancholy crashes into nihilistic punk sneer.
3. Run The Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”
This density traps you under its rigid thumb, slowing you to an intense crawl.
4. Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
To paraphrase J. Lydon, don’t accept the old order, destroy it.
5. “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Handy”
If Al decided to focus on nerdcore rap I don’t think any of us would complain.
6. Primus – “Pure Imagination”
Just demented enough to satiate.
7. RHCP2014 – “Abracadabralifornia”
Jon Daly gets the Chili Peppers in his cross hairs and I shit myself laughing.
8. Sia – “Push (Feeling Good On A Wednesday)”
More uplifting than a “South Park” spin-off has any right to be.
9. Kidz Bop – “Wrecking Ball”
This is probably how Disney era Miley would have approached it, right?
10. The Oath – “All Must Die”
Sexy swagger de la muerte.