Happiness Is In the Doing, In the Making: My Favorite Albums of 2014

I’ve had a hard time boiling my year in music down to a couple paragraphs. It’s not because I don’t feel as strongly about the albums on this list as I have in years past – the opposite, in fact. I think this year saw some of the most powerful pieces of art to come out of the punk/emo world in years. And it’s not because I didn’t have awesome musical experiences in 2014. I went on my first tour, released my first full-length album, and I saw Jimmy Eat World play “23” on my twenty-third birthday. It really doesn’t get better than that.

What I realized in the process of making this list was that my 2014 was defined less by what I was listening to and more by what I did. This was a better year than the one before it because I made it that way. I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone, to take chances, to have new experiences. Some of those were small, like eating new kinds of food that I wouldn’t have touched in the past, and others were much, much bigger, like the aforementioned first tour, a nine day trek around the midwest with City Mouth and Mighty Ships. Most importantly, 2014 was the year I finally left my hometown. Moving to Chicago has been the biggest step I’ve taken in adult life so far and huge source of personal growth. Compared to this time last year, I’m more confident, I’m happier, and I’m downright excited about what’s to come.

Albums:

  1. The Hotelier – Home, Like NoPlace Is There
  2. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties – We Don’t Have Each Other
  3. Counting Crows – Somewhere Under Wonderland
  4. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  5. Copeland – Ixora
  6. Fireworks – Oh, Common Life
  7. Bleachers – Strange Desire
  8. Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten
  9. Hostage Calm – Die On Stage
  10. La Dispute – Rooms of the House
  11. Antarctigo Vespucci – Soulmate Stuff
  12. The Menzingers – Rented World
  13. Seahaven – Reverie Lagoon (Music For Escapism Only)
  14. Braid – No Coast
  15. Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness – Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness
  16. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
  17. You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing
  18. Restorations – LP3
  19. Noah Gundersen – Ledges
  20. Chris Farren – Like a Gift From God Or Whatever

EPs:

  1. Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
  2. AM Taxi – King of the Pond
  3. Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills On a Dead End Street
  4. The Appreciation Post – Slip Away
  5. Hailey, It Happens – Under the Brilliant Lights

Shows:

  1. Mineral – Double Door – 9/13
  2. The Wonder Years – Castle Theatre – 10/1
  3. Beach Slang – Township – 10/10
  4. Guster – World’s Largest Block Party – 9/13
  5. Jimmy Eat World – Castle Theatre – 10/11

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