Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN program director Bruce Warren shares his favorite albums of the year.

There’s always this internal debate I have with myself about year-end lists, and it’s always this battle between whether I should go with “best” or “favorite.” “Best” is usually saved for the “critics;” which is not to say I am one or not. I’ll leave it to the Pitchforks, the New York Times and the Robert Christgaus of the world to attach some higher level of artistic and cultural significance and importance to records.

But in so many ways, I am a critic. I just don’t use big words. Music is “best” when it has singular appeal to anyone who wants to say “this is the best album of the year,” or “this album is one of the top five albums of the year.” You see, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong when it comes to what “the best” is. When it comes to my albums of the year, I typically list the records that are my favorite. Are they the best? Sure they are; to me anyway. And if for some reason some of my favorites hit the critics year end polls as “the best” (in a music critic kind of way) then I guess I get bonus points. So here they are: My favorite five albums that entered into my musical universe in 2014.

Field Report – Marigolden

The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream

D’Angelo – Black Messiah

FLying Lotus – You’re Dead

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

Honorable Mentions:
Strand of Oaks – HEAL
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear
Saba Pivot – Comfort Zone
Hozier – Hozier
Spoon – They Want My Soul