top of page

TEN *MORE* CELEBRATING TEN: EDITOR'S EDITION

2014 was filled with so many fantastic releases from all our favorite artists, our editors complied a list of ten more albums celebrating 10 year anniversaries in 2024 so plug in your headphones and get ready to relive 2014 sonically. Make sure to keep an eye out for the return of these albums to live stages throughout the year and share your favorites from 2014 below!


SKOOL LUV AFFAIR - BTS


Skool Luv Affair is the second release of a chronological mini-album series produced by BTS. This album is grouped into the “School Trilogy” with “2 COOL 4 SKOOL” (2013) and “ORUL82?” (2013) which focuses on the lives of young adults and teens in school. While the first two albums fixate more on young peoples’ dreams being crushed, the third album focuses on the hopes and dreams of teens as well as love - a feeling that flourishes within school walls. 



The theme of love is present in every song on the album. "Just One Day" is a slow somewhat upbeat ballad about dreaming of your crush, hoping one day your dream romance will become a reality. This quickly changes with "Boy in Luv" which is a much edgier track featuring rock guitars and heavier bass compared to their typical tracks, but still explores a school love interest as the overarching theme suggests. This track is more straightforward where the last verse roughly translates to “What do you really want?” Overall, this release is a fair mix of heavy guitar-based rap about the motivation to follow one’s dreams and emotional romantic ballads pertaining to what love can feel like for a teenager.



ISSUES - ISSUES


Issues is the debut studio album by Atlanta-based metal core, R&B conglomerate, Issues. The album first hit streaming platforms on February 18th, 2014 via Rise Records and additionally debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200, selling over 22,000 copies in its first week. As the breakout album for Issues, Issues really put the artists on the map in the music industry though the reviews weren't all around fantastic upon its initial release. Whereas Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and Kerrang! praised Issues for it's diversity and progression, other publications commented on how it felt Issues threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. Regardless, the tracks are innovative and further evolve the typical metal core genre by incorporating elements of R&B, pop, and nu metal. Songs like "Stingray Affliction" and "Never Lose Your Flames" are beloved tracks amongst Issues' supporters and contributed to the overall album's success. The album marked a significant entry point for the band into the metal core and alternative music scenes, establishing them as a notable force in the industry to be reckoned with.



Lyrically, Issues explores a range of personal and emotional themes, delving into topics such as relationships, self-discovery, and overcoming challenges. The lyrics often reflect introspection and self awareness, and the band addresses both internal struggles and external influences throughout the compositions. The primary focus of the album explores the complexities of relationships, love, heartbreak, and the challenges that arise in romantic connections, through lyrics addressing harsh, yet relatable, realities. The album explicitly addresses moments of self-doubt, insecurity, and grappling with conflict internally on the journey to self-discovery with an underlying empowering message. The lyrics often touch on the pressure to conform with societal expectations and the desire to break free from preset constraints while referencing to border social issues and societal norms, which ultimately was the outcome of this album based on critical acclaims. Musically, Issues has a strong foundation in metal core, featuring heavy guitar riffs, aggressive breakdowns, and intense drumming, yet, what sets Issues apart is their incorporation of R&B elements into the metal core framework. The band seamlessly integrates soulful melodies, vocal harmonies, and occasional electronic beats, creating a unique and genre-blurring sound which can be heard particularly in tracks such as "Mad At Myself" and "Never Lose Your Flames." Issues by Issues is a genre-defying album that effortlessly blends metal core, post hardcore, and R&B influences. The lyrical content is emotionally expressive and introspective, allowing all listeners to find something appealing within this release.



HOME, LIKE NOPLACE IS THERE - THE HOTELIER


Home, Like Noplace Is There is the second studio album by Massachusetts rock band The Hotelier. Released in February of 2014, the album received widespread critical acclaim and became recognized as one of the best emo revival albums of all time. The album is deeply emotional, described by vocalist Christian Holden explicitly, "Our new album deals with some real dark stuff. So to all my brooding and slightly damaged friends, have your a happy album or Rugrats in Paris nearby. It's partly about my experience with friends and loved ones in the past three years which were very complicated, toxic, and abusive. But laid within is a lot about the deconstruction of self for personal growth and transformation. I hope it helps you live and stuff. Apparently we are emo now." Metacritici, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, awarded the album an average score of 91, indicating "universal acclaim." The album scored high rankings across multiple publications' top albums lists for 2014 and their success was further amplified by their immense fanbase who began to share personal experiences in response to the emotional resonance of the music. The album was released through Tiny Engines, an independent record label which allowed The Hotelier to maintain artistic control and authenticity, which undoubtedly contributed to the album's success.



Home, Like Noplace Is There has sustained it's popularity over time, to date the album is still appreciated by both new and existing fans, making it one of the most significant and enduring works within the emo genre. The album is characterized by its emotional intensity, raw energy, and a mix of post-rock and punk influences though it falls within the emo and indie rock genres. The Hotelier employs dynamic song structures that often build and release tension throughout all nine tracks. This adds an emotional depth to the music, with shifts between softer, introspective passages and more intense, climatic moments that stick with listeners. The vocal delivery from Christian Holden is just as engaging as the instrumentation, conveying a sense of vulnerability and sincerity, enhancing the impact of the deeply personal lyrics. The vocals aesthetically transition between clean singing and more impassioned, strained deliveries which makes the tracks lyrically driven with a focus on loss, identity, and personal struggle. Much of the instrumentation can be described as intimate and reflective, showcasing clean guitar tones and melodic lines, sometimes taking on a more atmospheric quality, creating a sense of closeness with the listener. All in all, this album is one of the best that came out of 2014, the album exhibits a cohesive and consistent sound throughout, maintaining an artistic continuity that strengthens its thematic impact and resonates with listeners. The band is still very much so active in the scene so we truly hope for a ten year anniversary tour to celebrate Home, Like Noplace Is There.


THE HOTELIER | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


GOING TO HELL - THE PRETTY RECKLESS


Going To Hell is the second studio album by American rock band The Pretty Reckless, officially released on March 12, 2014 by Razor & Tie with a debut spot at number five on the Billboard 200 chart. The album sold 25,000 copies in its first week, becoming the band's first top-10 album on the chart. Going To Hell spawned five singles, including "Heaven Knows" , "Messed Up World (F'd Up World) , and "Follow Me Down" all three of which reached number one placements on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs Chart. The band initially began recording in 2012 at a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey, however, Hurricane Sandy hit and completely destroyed the recording space as well as some of the songs meant for Going To Hell causing the band to, basically, start from scratch. After parting ways with Interscope Records in September of 2013, the band began their recording process under the management of Razor & Tie as well as Cooking Vinyl in Australia.



The band began releasing teaser tracks to the album in 2013 until, finally, in early 2014 when the track listing, album cover, and release date were announced in January alongside a number of limited pre-order bundles. Lead singer, Taylor Momsen, stated the cover image was inspired by Pink Floyd, "that photograph of the women sitting by a pool, nude, with all the record covers painted on their backs? That's one of my favorite posters, so I stole the idea," she told Rolling Stone. Musically, the album exhibits a blend of hard rock, alternative rock, and even pieces of blues approaches. Ultimately the album is rooted in hard rock, with pounding guitar riffs, powerful drumming, and a generally robust sound, however, blues influences shine through frequently, particularly evident in Taylor Momsen's vocals. Momsen's raspy and soulful singing style draws on blues traditions, adding a distinct flavor to the compositions which are heavily guitar-driven. The album prominently features guitar-driven moments, with Ben Phillips providing both melodic and heavy guitar work. The album contains some of the most transcending guitar riffs and solos which contribute to the album's overall rock authenticity of The Pretty Reckless. The overall production of the album maintains a raw and edgy quality, allowing the natural gift in Momsen's vocals and the energy of the instruments to shine through. This album is a staple in the hard rock scene and really kicked off Taylor Momsen's career has a rockstar instead of movie star.


THE PRETTY RECKLESS | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


THE NEW CLASSIC - IGGY AZALEA


The New Classic is the 2014 breakout studio album of Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, released by Def Jams Recordings on April 21, 2014. The album is primarily classified as a hip-hop production, however, The New Classic ranges further, featuring elements of EDM, dance-pop, and trap. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 52,000 copies in the United States. The New Classic was the highest-charting female rap album since Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012) and the highest chart entry for a female rapper's debut album since Minaj's Pink Friday (2010) entered at number two. The album also moved up to number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums and Top Rap Albums, making Azalea the first non-American female rapper to reach the summit of these charts. The album produced five singles, including international success "Fancy" featuring British singer-songwriter Charli XCX. The fifth single, "Black Widow," featuring British singer Rita Ora peaked at number 4 in the United Kingdom and became Azalea's highest charting single as a lead artist on that chart, also peaking at number 3 in the United States. In 2014, the album was certified gold in Canada and Australia, followed two years later by a platinum certification in the United States. The album was further named the second most-streamed album of the year overall in the US, third in the UK and globally on commercial music streaming service Spotify in 2014.



The New Classic primarily falls within the hip-hop and rap genres, featuring a mix of catchy hooks, electronic production, and Iggy Azalea's distinctive rapping style. The album appeals to a wide range of listeners, with an overall hip-hop tendency that showcases Azalea's rap skills fused with incorporated pop rap elements, making it digestible to a broader audience. Beyond this, the music also reflects some Southern hip-hop influences through certain production elements and Azalea's delivery style. The New Classic is simply a feel-good album all around, most of us can scream along to the songs word for word and dance around naturally to it from the endless radio play the tracks received. Thematically, the album exudes confidence, Azalea addresses themes of success, individuality, and overcoming challenges which comes off as empowering and radio-friendly. While the album has a cohesive sound all around, there is diversity in the production style across tracks. From more club-orientated beats to smoother, more melodic arrangements, this album has something for everyone to love. The New Classic is stellar and pristine in production quality. The album's fusion of hip-hop and pop elements contributed to its commercial success and played a significant role in establishing Iggy Azalea as a prominent figure in the music industry.


IGGY AZALEA | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


REAL - THE WORD ALIVE


REAL. is the third studio album by Phoenix-bred metalheads The Word Alive. Released on June 10, 2014 through Fearless Records, the album was produced by Cameron Mizell, from the likes of Avril Lavigne and Sleeping With Sirens, as well as engineered by John Feldmann, lead singer/guitarist of Goldfinger. REAL. is one of the most diverse albums in the Word Alive's discography. Lead vocalist, Tyler Smith, mentioned, during early press conferences, how this album would feature some of the heaviest songs in the bands career as well as some of the most melodic, with no unclean vocals in some tracks. The band began teasing REAL. in December of 2013 with clips of them in the studio on social media, but no singles were teased leading up to the release. The album ultimately received positive reviews from music critics, receiving an overall score of 75 out of 100 by Metacritic.



REAL. is characterized by a combination of metal core and post hardcore elements, featuring punchy guitar riffs, dynamic vocals, and a mix of aggressive and melodic passages. The Word Alive are known for their metal core approach stylistically and REAL. continues to embrace this foundation. The album features intense breakdowns, fast-paced drumming, and heavy guitar work, which are hallmarks of the metal core scene. Tyler "Telle" Smith, as the lead vocalist, showcases a dynamic vocal range throughout the album. His performance includes powerful screams, pugnacious growls, and clean singing. The versality in vocal delivery adds an additional depth to the music that enhances The Word Alive's usual approaches. REAL. continues to evolve The World Alive's sound through electronic and synth integration, enhancing the atmosphere and modern aspects of their sound. These elements add texture to the overall sonic landscape of the album which contributes to the stark impact the album had on the metal core and post-hardcore scenes.


THE WORD ALIVE | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


ULTRAVIOLENCE - LANA DEL REY


Ultraviolence is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, released on June 13, 2014 by Polydor and Interscope Records. Originally dismissing the possibility of releasing another record after her major-label debut Born To Die in 2012, Lana Del Rey began planning the follow-up album, Ultraviolence, in 2013 alongside producer Dan Auerbach. The album saw additional contributions from producers such as Paul Epworth, Greg Kurstin, Daniel Heath, and Rick Nowels, featuring more guitar-based melodies than Del Rey's previous album. Ultraviolence received widespread positive reviews, praising the album's lyricism, cohesiveness, production, and Lana Del Rey's vocal performance. Ultraviolence additionally became a global success, debuting at number one in eleven countries, including the United States with first week sales of 182,000 copies, becoming the best-selling debut week of Del Rey's career, and reached the top five in over twenty territories.



Ultraviolence showcases Lana Del Rey's signature cinematic and nostalgic sound, characterized by a mix of dream pop, psychedelic rock, and indie pop influences. The album is sensationalized for it's dreamy and atmospheric production, creating a lush sonic landscape. The production style incorporates reverb-laden guitars, ethereal synthesizers, and haunting orchestral arrangements, contributing to the album's cinematic quality. Ultraviolence often features slow tempos and deliberate pacing, the measured and languid musical arrangements create a sense of melancholy and contemplation throughout the album. Lana Del Rey comes in with a velvet voice, a defining feature on the album, establishing a seductive and emotive quality in the music. She effortlessly transitions between lower registers and higher notes, creating a captivating vocal presence while discussing themes of love, passion, and darkness, addressing complex and sometimes controversial topics. The album is very guitar-driven in its sound, led by bluesy and psychedelic elements that add a vintage and retro feel. Expanding upon this, there are psychedelic rock influences woven in the album's fabric which is evident through trippy and expansive instrumentals as well as the use of unconventional chord progressions and arrangements. Certain tracks on this album even incorporate minimalist and cinematic orchestration, through strings and orchestral elements, the album becomes dramatic and grandiose. In summary, Ultraviolence is hands down a standout album from 2014, it is musically rich and atmospheric in all the best ways and will have you hooked with one listen to the opening track.


LANA DEL REY | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


5 SECONDS OF SUMMER - 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER


As the breakout album from Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer, 5 Seconds of Summer rocked the world and truly kickstarted the quintet's career. Released through Capitol Records in June of 2014, the album was supported by four singles and a tour supporting One Direction that spanned two years internationally. Following the release of 5 Seconds of Summer, the band embarked on their first ever global headlining tour in 2015 which sought immense success in ticket sales and promotion. The leading single off the track, "She Looks So Perfect," came a few months before the full-length release and peaked at number one on the Australian Singles Chart, New Zealand Singles Chart, Irish Singles Chart, and UK Singles Chart. The single also peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 25 on the Canadian Hot 100. The album has been certified triple platinum in Australia, double platinum in America, and platinum in both New Zealand and Britain.



The self-titled debut studio album by 5 Seconds of Summer showcases a blend of pop punk, pop rock, and power pop elements, reflecting the bands energetic and youthful sound. The album stands out for it's upbeat and catchy melodies, contributing to its pop-orientated sound with infectious hooks and memorable choruses. The relatability and accessibility of this album has appealed to a broad audience and received hours of radio play, even years later. The lyrics often explore themes relevant to a teenage audience, including love, relationships, and adolescent experiences I am sure everyone can reminisce on. The straightforward lyrical content resonates with the band's target demographic and ultimately contributed to the massive success 5 Seconds of Summer received globally, many referenced this album as their soundtrack to the summer of 2014. One thing that always caught my attention, personally, from this album were the engaging harmonized vocals which are contributed to the music from every single band member. There are tracks where multiple members are filling in harmonies beyond the melody lines which adds an experienced, dynamic and cohesive quality to the music, especially during the choruses. While known for their energetic sound, 5 Seconds of Summer provides a large sonic selection including ballads and slower-tempo tracks to compliment their fast-tempo, passionate hits.


5 SECONDS OF SUMMER | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | X | FACEBOOK


1989 - TAYLOR SWIFT


1989 is the fifth studio album by America's most beloved singer, Taylor Swift, released on October 27, 2014 by Big Machine Records. Inspired by 1980s synth pop, Swift conceived 1989 to recalibrate her artistry to pop after critics disputed her status as a country musician when she released the cross-genre Red to country radio. The process for recording 1989 was long winded, spanning across studios all around the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden with six producers employed on the project, including Max Martin, who previously produced tracks on Red, Shellback, Jack Antonoff, Ryan Tedder, Nathan Chapman, and Imogen Heap. Swift and Big Machine promoted 1989 extensively through tie-ins and media endorsements but withheld the album from free streaming services, which prompted an industry discourse on the impact of streaming. In support of the new album, Swift also embarked on the 1989 World Tour, which was the highest-grossing tour of 2015. 1989 additionally spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard 200 charts and was certified nine-time platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America as well as certified multi-platinum globally in many countries. 1989 won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards and was later re-recorded in 2019 following a dispute regarding the ownership of Swift's back catalog. The title, 1989, comes from Swift's birth year and is intended to be symbolic her artistic rebirth.



1989 is filled with classics the whole world seems born knowing, from "Blank Space" to "Wildest Dreams" this soundtrack has countless hits which received high chart listings and widespread radio play worldwide. This album marked a significant departure from Swift's earlier country sound, fully embracing a pop-orientated direction that made her a world wide phenomena as her production continued to evolve. The album incorporates elements of synth-pop and electropop, featuring synthesizers, electronic beats, and 80s influences, both sonically and thematically. In this way, this album feels timeless, it is something every age group, every music lover, can appreciate and fall in love with. In the same way, the lyrics continue to reflect personal experiences and relationships, although with a more mature perspective, which has always added relatability and sincerity to Swift's music that attracts a die hard fanbase. The album features well-crafted melodies that contribute to its radio-friendly and accessible nature even further allowing Swift's voice to seamlessly integrate with the electronic and synth-prominent production. Throughout 1989, listeners witness Swift experiment with voice modulation and vocal effects, adding a modern and additional electronic touch to certain tracks. 1989's transition to a pop sound broadened Swift's audience immensely and established her as a force to be reckoned with in the pop music landscape.


TAYLOR SWIFT | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | X


HONORABLE MENTIONS


Four - One Direction


Four, as the title suggests, is the fourth studio album by the British-Irish boy band One Direction. The album continues to explore pop and rock influences while incorporating more mature and diverse sounds compared to the band's earlier releases. Four maintains a pop-centric foundation but includes more rock elements in comparison to previous releases from the artists discography, the guitars and drums play a far more prominent role, contributing to this pop-rock fusion. In typical One Direction nature, the band was heavily involved in the songwriting experience alongside producers and other songwriters Julian Bunette and John Ryan, thus their personal experiences and maturity shines through in the lyrical content as well as the professional production. One Direction's signature harmonies are still a focal point on Four, with all the member's vocal performances being a key-strength, blending individual voices together seamlessly harmoniously. Instrumentally, Four demonstrated a willingness to experiment with different sounds and production techniques. Some tracks incorporate live and studio elements, creating a dynamic sound that adds a sense of authenticity to the music which captures the energy of the band's performance. Other tracks incorporate subtle folk and indie elements, introducing a more eclectic range of influences and adding an additional depth to the overall sonic palette.


Days Before Rodeo - Travis Scott


Days Before Rodeo is a mixtape showcasing Travis Scott's unique blend of hip hop, trap, and psychedelic influences, setting the stage for his subsequent successes in the rap scene. The mixtape prominently features trap elements such as heavy bass, aggressive beats, and hi-hats, all trademarks of the trap sound that was gaining popularity in hip-hop during 2014. A key to Scott's success story is his experimental production, and Days Before Rodeo continues to advance his unconventional beats, creative sampling, and atmospheric soundscapes that contributed to the mixtapes distinct and immersive sonic experience. Building upon this, Days Before Rodeo projects an otherworldly ambiance Scott established throughout every song with dreamy and psychedelic elements in the production. Travis Scott further enhances this through his usage of distinct auto-tuned vocals, creating a melodic and futuristic dimension to his sound while further allowing him to explore a range of melodies within his rap verses. Days Before Rodeo features many large names in the industry, including Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, and Big Sean, which add extra variety to the mixtape while also highlighting Scott's ability to work with a diverse range of artists yet still maintain his individuality. Days Before Rodeo is a listening experience from start to finish, it is an album you play from the opening track to the closing line and listen to all the way through with no skips. The mixtape infuses mood shifts and seamless transitions between tracks, creating a cohesive listening experience by connecting songs with an overall narrative flow and engaging interludes. The production is overall cinematic, creating an expansive and large-than-life feel, which aligns with Scott's ambition to deliver immersive and grand musical experiences.


Hesitant Alien - Gerard Way


Hesitant Alien is the debut studio album by Gerard Way, exploring alternative rock, post-punk, and Britpop influences. Famed for his position as the lead vocalist in My Chemical Romance, Hesitant Alien is unlike Gerard Way's previous project, taking a different musical direction and showcasing Gerard Way's versatility as an artist. The album is a departure from the emo and punk influences associated with My Chemical Romance, the album reflects Gerard Way exploration of different musical styles. The album especially draws inspiration from the British alternative rock scene of the 1990s, evident in the melodic structures, guitar tones, and overall sonic aesthetic. The release is very guitar-driven with Gerard Way noted as one of the main creative forces behind the catchy guitar compositions. The most evident contrast between Hesitant Alien and endeavors pursued through My Chemical Romance is the lyrical content and ambiance as a whole, which is more energetic, upbeat, and lighthearted, featuring lively tempos and dynamic arrangements. This departure from the darker and more theatrical elements of My Chemical Romance’s music showcases a more optimistic and pop-oriented side of Gerard Way that excited supporters upon its initial release. The album allows Gerard Way to explore different facets of his vocal range, moving away from the more theatrical and intense style associated with his previous work, Hesitant Alien is far more spacey and atmospheric in all the most satisfying ways.


BLACK VEIL BRIDES - BLACK VEIL BRIDES


Black Veil Brides, the self-titled fourth release by American rock band Black Veil Brides, continues the band’s blend of glam metal, hard rock, and post-hardcore elements, showcasing their theatrical and anthemic style. Black Veil Brides embraces the glam metal tag and aesthetic the band had become associated with over time, drawing inspiration from the theatrical and visually dramatic aspects of bands like Kiss and Mötley Crüe. This influence is reflected in both the music throughout this album but also the band's physical image at the time, which emulated KISS in many ways. Despite glam rock shining through within this release, the album is rooted in hard rock, featuring driving guitar riffs, dynamic drumming, and anthemic choruses. The album features memorable sing-along moments that contribute to its popularity and appeal to a broad audience. Some tracks even incorporate symphonic elements, adding a layer of orchestration to the music, which if you’re a longtime Black Veil Brides fan like myself, you’ll recall how phenomenal their string sections are, especially when performed live. The orchestration doesn’t disappoint in this release whatsoever and continues to become more refined as the band's overall sound advances sonically. Another hallmark characteristic of Black Veil Brides is their dual guitar harmonies, which Black Veil Brides weaves into essentially every song, contributing to the overall richness of the compositions and making this ear candy to headphone listeners. The band’s commitment to anthemic choruses, theatrical elements, and a visually striking image contributes to Blaxk Veil Brides' appeal within the rock and metal scene. 

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page