After initially enthusiastic starts to recent years which subsequently, nay predictably, gave way to something of a drought, 2014 proved to be the year where I didn’t even try to pretend. A sum total of one post has appeared since we finished doing this whole list shebang last Christmas and that was a slightly stroppy moan about media in general, rather than music. Why? It’s hard to say. I’ve spent more of this year with my head in books rather than behind my computer. I’ve had a steady flow of reviews to turn in for the good folk at Clash, as well as doing more online pieces for them. I’ve recently started doing an online show of sorts for RadioAktiv which allows me to play the music I’m loving rather than scrabbling about for a pithy phrase to conjure its majesty for you. All of these go some way to explaining it, but ultimately it still tracks back to a piece Charlie Brooker wrote some time ago about not feeling the need to add more and more ‘noise’ into the world. That said, I genuinely love the interaction that doing this list each year brings and I know that a number of you reading this now have purchased music because of past lists and may well do so again in light of what lies ahead.
As is customary, the Just Played Albums of the Year list will be counted down between now and Christmas Eve. All thirty albums will have accompanying write-ups justifying their inclusion and, wherever possible, clicking on the album artwork will load a means of listening to that record. There’ll be some other bits and bobs as we progress, including a few of the things I penned for Clash in 2014, and the annual prize draw will kick in once the festivities are upon us. Please do let me know what you think of the list over the coming weeks, either here or on Twitter. I’ll be including tunes from the list in my weekly shows as well as putting together something of a sample mix just for this place. To give you an idea of whether those broadcasts will be your cup of tea, I’ve embedded the most recent one below, along with the music-only mix of some of 2013’s finest from last year’s countdown. Give them a play, why don’t you? The show goes out on Tuesday nights at 20:00 GMT via this link.
It’s hard to escape the sense that 2014 hasn’t been an entirely vintage year, but I’m still pretty confident that you’ll find more than a couple of things to warm your ears and tickle your soul over the course of this countdown. Oh, and just to avoid anyone getting too excited when it still hasn’t appeared and we’re up to the top five, I should tell you that the Kasabian album hasn’t made it.