10. Depeche Mode – Spirit
Spirit is a really good record. Not as balanced as I hoped, yet still pretty good. Some songs are superb, specifically opening Going Backwards with its catchy guitar riff and radio hit-predestined Where’s the Revolution or poisonous Poison Heart. Unfortunately, no every song is as strong as these, but still, this legend’s latest electro-driven creature is a joy to listen if you are a fan of those black-clothed guys. It’s as simple as that.
9. LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
Groovy. LCD Soundsystem’s comeback sounds a little bit like some older Bowie songs… and that – of course – is a compliment. Well… actually it sounds a lot like Bowie in some parts. American dream is energic, with a lot of oldschool electronics and reminds me The Cure as well. Ok, so here we have the album which reminds two big legends… I think there is nothing else to say about its qualities, right?
8. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
Mogwai went back to guitars after latest significantly electronic album Atomic. They are still ethereal but with Every Country’s Sun there is again more of rock’n’roll in their sound. These songs have a more distinctive rhythm but they are hypnotic as usual. If you know Mogwai, you’ll know what to expect – it’s just more of the same, to be honest. No experiments, they just do what they are best at and we can not blame them. Simply, if you need another dose of Mogwai – a hypnotic post-rock ride – you you won’t be disappointed. The experience is almost transcendental (especially when listening Don’t Believe th Fife which is Mogwai at its best).
7. Linkin Park – One More Light
I grew up on Hybrid Theory and Meteora but I don’t listen to these albums anymore because… well because these were most of all for angry youth. But with Minutes to Midnight, which is still my most favorite LP, Linkin Park got out of their comfort zone and started experimenting with various genres. No, One More Light is not one of their best albums, but seems to be the most personal one, and because of songs like One More Light, Talking to Myself, Sorry for Now, Good Goodbye and Sharp Edges it simply deserves its spot in this list. Oh, and yes – Chester’s vocals are just amazing, stunning in various shades & colors. Rest in peace, Chester.
6. Me and That Man – Songs of Love and Death
To be honest, I don’t like country. I don’t like it at all. But Adam Darski’s dark country project Me nad That Man is just damn great. Yes, that Adam “Nergal” Darski from Behemoth has made a country album…well sort of. It’s no ordinary country, it’s much more than that. You can feel a good and wise storyteller (like Nick Cave or Tom Waits) in it. The sound is heavy and the melodies are smashing. It’s dark, it’s depressive but if you are in the right mood, it can be a really good companion. Dark, calm and wise companion.
5. Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex
I was looking forward to this one because I just adore Cigarettes After Sex’s first EP, simply called I. Finally, here we have their first long playing self-titled album and it’s exactly what you’d expect – a melancholic pop with blurry sound, calmly vibrant and darkly atmospheric. The whole album maintains its unique feeling from beginning to end and listening to it is just like living through one smoky black & white story. A great music for daydreaming, remembering or just dreaming.
4. Nine Inch Nails – Add Violence
Ok, Add Violence is just an EP but it doesn’t matter because its single Less Than is one of the best things (maybe the best thing) I’ve heard for the whole year… so this album just has to be here. It is more accessible than its predecessor, Not the Actual Events, but it doesn’t mean that it is less distinctive, no, not at all. Can’t wait for the last piece in this soon-to-be EP trilogy.
3. Queens of the Stone Age – Villains
Well, Queens of the Stone Age have released a new album, what else do you need to know? Whatever they are doing, turns into gold. They are still idiosyncratic, crisp, original, powerful with their raw guitar sound and incisive melodies. Listening to them always feels like watching a 70s Grindhouse movie full of hillbilly villains, bottle-demons, roaring american cars and dangerous strippers – and their 7th LP is no exception. Every single song is as cool as the LP’s hella-good cover artwork, again made by Boneface. Lovin’ it!
2. Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
The God of F*ck is back! His previous album, The Pale Emperor, was an interesting move, an awesome rock album with shades of blues, mostly thanks to the new guitarist (and soundtracks composer) Tyler Bates. In Heaven Upside Down Manson remembered his earlier works, especially Mechanical Animals and Antichrist Superstar, which means more raw and brutal songs (Antichrist) and more electronics and glam-rock tendencies (Mechanical Animals). Anyway, Tyler Bates remains in his place and he is the main figure of this LP because the guitars are just amazing! Oh, and yes, you can still feel The Pale Emperor in some songs – mostly in KILL4ME (my new favorite!), Saturnalia or Threads of Romance. With his tenth album, Manson showed us that he still has a lot to offer although his live performances are no longer what they used to be. On this album every song is a success.
1. Lorde – Melodrama
Lorde… she is the Queen of this year. Her second album is just stunning. Every piece of it. Really. It’s unbelievable how that young girl managed to create such an adult record. Melodrama is deeply emotional, distincitive, layered, rich in motives and catchy. And also very personal. You’ll love Lorde in the position of angry midnight viper (Green Light), heartbreak tamer (Liability) or touching storyteller (Writer in the Dark). The whole album is a party-flavored drama about young loves & losses. And when it reaches the final Perfect Places, which is incredibly energic, you’ll want to experience it all over again.