Monday, 8 December 2014

Our Albums Of The Year List 2014 And How We Chose The Records On It

For the next 15 days Breaking More Waves will be posting about our 15 favourite albums of 2014. There will be one post a day, at 8.30am, except for today's which goes up at 9.00am.

How have we decided what our favourites are? 

Simple. In previous years we’ve used a complex spreadsheet that has taken into account a variety of factors to mathematically compute our favourites (the idea being that it takes into account the whole year – not just an snapshot decision based at one point in time towards the end). However this year we’ve massively simplified things. Quite simply we’ve kept a tally of the number of times we’ve played any album that was released in 2014. Then we’ve divided the number of plays of the album by the number of months since we first heard the album, giving each one a figure for number for plays / month. Our logic is that for a record to be a favourite it should be the most played. Argue that statement till the cows come home, but that’s how we’ve decided.

So we’re calling this list Albums of 2014, but it could easily be called ‘Our Most Played Albums Of The Year (Taking Into Account The Number Of Months From When We First Started Playing It)’ but that’s really not a very catchy title is it?

There’s a couple records that you probably won’t see on many other end of year lists. There’s some that appear on many. If you think 'duh that's a bit obvious, everyone is putting that on their end of year list' its probably obvious because its good - it connects with people - and if it connects with us we'll have probably played it a lot, so it makes the list.

There will be some albums on this list that will come as no surprise to regular blog readers, but also some that may surprise.

Last year our favourite album of the year was a debut, produced by a band (Chvrches) that we'd named as our number one One to Watch at the end of the previous year. It seems that we got that prediction / tip 'right'. How will our Ones to Watch  2014 artists fare in this forthcoming album list? The year before that Lana Del Rey produced our favourite album of the year. 2014 brought Ultraviolence, her second release. Will that also find itself at the top of the tree? Did we play it anywhere near as much as Born To Die?

Of course, if we’re to believe Mr Ergatoudis of Radio 1, playlists are the future, not albums. He might be right, after all some of the biggest selling albums every year in the UK are the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations. They’re playlists of a sort. But Ergatoudis misses off an important point. Nobody cherishes a playlist in the long term. That’s why at the end of the year you don’t see many people publishing their ‘Favourite playlists of 2014’ lists. There’s something more substantial and long term about an album. The best albums bring a body of work together by an artist and give it a bigger cohesive picture. Playlists are the musical equivalent of a one night gang-bang. An album is a long term relationship with a singular individual.  

Enjoy our albums of 2014 posts. Of course there will be ones we’ve missed – records that we haven’t heard. Nobody can listen to everything. But of the ones we have, the next 15 posts detail our most played of 2014 that were also released this year. We start today with our 15th most played at 9.00am and then every day after that at 8.30am.

Here's our previous albums of past years since Breaking More Waves has been running:

2013 - Chvrches - The Bones Of What You Believe

2012 - Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

2011 - The Unthanks - Last

2010 - The National - High Violet

2009 - Blue Roses - Blue Roses

2008 - Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

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