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HTF’s Top 50 Albums Of 2014 – Who Will Take The Crown?

Who will take our number 1 slot? Check out our top 50 albums of 2014 right here and find out!

After another year of incredible music it’s time to reveal the list you have all been waiting for. We have had the entire HTF staff force (editors, contributors, photographers, interviewers, EVERYONE!)  busy over the last few weeks voting for their favourite albums of this year and we are finally ready to reveal them to the world. Who will take this years crown and claim that all important number 1? Let’s find out!

50 – H A R K – Crystalline

Welsh bruisers H A R K prove sludge can be smart with their debut full length Crystalline, with meaty riffs, complex rhythms and a touch of psychedelic wonder. – Jay Hampshire

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49 – Lily Allen – Sheezus

Lily returned to pop in 2014 with her confidently titled album, Sheezus, and her most diverse album yet with nearly every song having a different sound. Highlights include the more TLC R&B inspired tracks such as ‘Our Time’ and ‘Close Your Eyes’, as well as Lily’s witty songwriting in songs such as ‘URL Badman’ and ‘Hard Out Here’. – Fabio Magnocavallo

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48 – Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

Whilst they’ve always showed promise as a band, at the beginning of this year few people knew who Moose Blood were. Fast forward to releasing their debut album and touring with Balance and Composure and Mallory Knox, they are now the band on everyone’s lips. If you’ve listened to I’ll Keep You In Mind…, you’ll know that this hype sues incredibly well deserved. Moose Blood’s debut is punchy, honest and filled to the brim with massive choruses. From wistful opener ‘Cherry’ to the explosive ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’, this album has everything you look for to soundtrack your life. – Santhi Weiss

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47 – Ab Soul – These Days

These Days is the Ab-Soul album that everyone always wanted, and the album everyone previously expected from him. It’s parameters are wider and more complex than say ‘Control System’, and it’s lyrics much more dense than ‘Longterm Mentality’. Spend some time with this great album. It will take more than a few listens to understand it. – Nial Fox

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46 – Charlie Simpson – Long Road Home

From a pop star, to post-hardcore hero, to acoustic solo artist Charlie Simpson has managed each step of his career with a surprising authenticity.

Long Road Home is the follow up to the singer-songwriter’s debut solo record, Young Pilgrim. A softer affair, it beautifully weaves Simpson’s warm vocal harmonies with slight rock tinged melodies. There’s a genuinely positive feeling that emerges from each track, whether he’s singing about death, on ‘Haunted’ or the end of love, on ‘Winter Hymns’. This hopeful sentiment perhaps echoes the singer’s own experiences, as he entered married life last summer. Much like his life, Charlie Simpson’s record is the sound of someone finally finding their place. – Natalie Gardiner

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45 – Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!

Flying Lotus’ latest LP turned out to be his most straightforward and least glitchy yet, but in doing this also made it his most compelling. The album is a sonic journey taking us through the many phases of death. He uses a lot of live instrumentation often reminiscent of Jazz legends like Miles Davis as well as blending Hip-Hop (like the Kendrick Lamar feature) into his brand of electronic music.

This album could be Flying Lotus most brilliant and most cohesive album to date. – Jack Keating

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44 – PVRIS – White Noise

PVRIS are relatively new to the scene, but that hasn’t stopped them from absolutely dominating with their debut, White Noise. The trio haven’t even set foot in the UK (yet, they will be in April in support of Lower Than Atlantis so make sure to check them out!), but this stunning record has managed to gain them a huge following in both the UK and worldwide. ‘St Patrick’, ‘White Noise’ and ‘My House’ have been released as singles, and have wowed audiences with their incredible mix of electronic and rock styles. This is definitely a band to watch out for in 2015! – Madison Convey

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43 – Ariana Grande – My Everything

Whilst we know her for her punchy, powerhouse pop in smash singles ‘Problem’ and ‘Break Free’, Ariana Grande’s second album My Everything merely showcases that there is a lot more to this singer than meets the eye, or the ears in this case. Not only is the rising soprano able to provide a roaring chorus in ‘Why Try’ but she can also tame it down in tear-ssrkers such as ‘Just a Little Bit of Your Heart’. We also can’t forget that the album possesses ‘Love Me Harder’, an alluring piece of electro pop which might just be Ariana’s most accomplished release yet. – Joe Hopkins

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42 – Jessie Ware – Tough Love

As huge fans of Ware’s debut album Devotion, we were very conscious how her second album would play out. Tough Love is not only a better album overall than her debut, but it has a lot more versatility. Devotion had the same sound throughout the album but Tough Love is much more experimental at times. Tracks like ‘Want Your Feeling’ and ‘Midnight Caller’ show the growth in her sound over the years, but overall, she is still able to maintain her signature sound without selling out and doing something way out of her comfort zone. – Fabio Magnocavallo

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41 – Catfish and the Bottlemen – The Balcony

Packed with songs that could easily fill a stadium, this debut album doesn’t have a single dud with all tracks having the same lustre as singles ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Fallout’. After some extensive touring in 2014, including playing the prestigious Reading & Leeds festivals, these guys have really made their mark on the UK rock scene and definitely have the kind of lastability that will see them well into 2015 and on to bigger and better things. – Corinne Cumming

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40 – The Xcerts – There Is Only You

Respectfully, when a band takes four years to release a follow-up album, alarm bells sound. While some musicians drop off the radar completely, Brighton based three-piece The Xcerts used that time to create a compilation of fast-forward, emotionally driven tracks that have sealed their place in the UK’s melodic rock circle.

From first single ‘Shaking In The Water’ to turbo charged ‘Kick It’, There Is Only You explores tranquil themes of love and heartbreak in a way which pays homage to songwriters like Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen.

Lashed with lyrics that pull on your heart-strings and riffs that put a fanatical teenager, who’s been let loose on their Les Paul Christmas present to shame, there’s no denying that the offering is one of the strongest records of 2014 and arguably the band’s best album to date. – Emma Matthews

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39 – Fearless Vampire Killers – Unbreakable Hearts

Fearless Vampire Killers are back and better than ever with their newest album Unbreakable Hearts. More guitar fuelled, fist pumping anthems from the lads, topped with lyrics soaked with more tales from the fantasy lands of Grandomina. Here’s to a killer 2015 for FVK, finishing off 2014 with this stellar album! – Mitch Emery

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38 – Twin Atlantic – Great Divide

Embracing a new sound that’s lashed with pop sensibilities, Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic’s latest release Great Divide, sees them embrace wistful stadium rock at it’s very best. Equipped with dance-along lyrics and boisterous riffs, the album was released in August and has kept the four-piece busy ever since with headline tours and major festival slots.

If that wasn’t enough, hit singles ‘Heart and Soul’ and ‘Brothers and Sisters’ are two of the summer’s biggest anthems and seal Twin Atlantic’s fate as one of Scotland’s biggest rock bands. Not a bad day job, if we do say so ourselves. – Emma Matthews

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37 – Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

We’re all used to Mr Albarn providing us with a level of characterisation seen only in the most in-depth of novels, so the prospect of an account as personal as a debut solo album really was exciting. In Everyday Robots we had a beautiful piece of work which touched on the wildly varying styles of his past work to bring an album most certainly living up to his majestic standards. – Bart Williams

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36 – Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron

The groovy rapper from the west coast – Schoolboy Q – finally released his debut album Oxymoron this year. Throughout his career, it’s been rare to see the mature side of Schoolboy Q, but this attitude sets the album’s tone as we experience the constant battles between right and wrong in the ongoing oxymoron paradox that his life has dealt him.

For general listeners, Oxymoron may have been too raw for people to easily connect with but, in his genre, Q’s album was clearly one of the, if not the, best rap releases of 2014. – Josh Pratt

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35 – George Ezra – Wanted On Voyage

2014 has been a great year for George Ezra, the 21-year-old Bristolian with a big voice. Since the release of his debut studio album we haven’t stopped hearing his catchy tracks on every radio station. Featuring hit singles Budapest and Blame It On Me, Ezra’s rich bassy voice, folksy guitar and sing-along choruses took the top spot in the UK albums chart in October and we can certainly see why!

Wanted on Voyage is packed with a great mixture of chill-out tunes, toe-tappers and soft ballads. George Ezra is bringing back folk music with a storm, and we can’t wait to see what he has to offer us in 2015! – Trudy Williams

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34- Blitz Kids – The Good Youth

2014 was really the year Blitz Kids exploded onto the UK rock scene, and it’s all thanks to this album. From its opening track, ‘All I Want Is Everything’ (one of the highlights of the whole record), they establish a distinct sound they carry through the rest of the album. With common threads of great guitar led rock and the occasional string accompaniment and intense harmony lines, the release features hard-hitting rock anthems and slightly softer, more emotional (yet still shamelessly rocky) tracks, giving it everything you could want. – Jenna Young

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33 – Beck – Morning Phase

If one word comes to mind with Beck, it’s experimental. From his hip-hop influenced early hit ‘Loser’ to his book of sheet music, Song Reader, Beck is uncompromising in his artistic vision and creates his own trends. So it comes as a shock then that an album so straightforward and introspective sits among the best of his recent output.

Even with this ground already covered with ‘Sea Change’ over a decade ago, it’s somehow refreshing to see a stripped back Beck performing swooping and soaring tracks that wouldn’t feel out-of-place on an album by The Byrds or Neil Young.  Not to say that the album is completely Beck with a guitar, orchestration and symphonics reign supreme over the bare tracks to make an album that is lush and ambitious while accentuating the loneliness of Beck’s brand of affecting outsider folk. – Martin McDonnell

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32 – The Horrors – Luminus

The Horrors continue to astound with every album, adding slightly to their nuggets of themed psychedelic tones with sounds that push forward as much as they look back. 

This year’s Luminous was perhaps let down in the sense that the singles that preceded the album’s release didn’t really work amazingly well in isolation, causing the album to drift out of the public consciousness with relative speed.  Those who stuck with it for repeated listens however, were rewarded with an album that opens new sonic highways and nuances with each listen. Luminous is truly an album that takes you along for a ride and beckons you back into the car to hit the road again. – Martin McDonnell

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31 – The Vamps – Meet The Vamps

Guitar-driven boy band The Vamps released their debut album this year, upgrading them from YouTube fame to invasion of the airwaves. Dominated mainly by upbeat, catchy tracks, Meet The Vamps provides plenty of opportunities to dance and sing along. Between the radio hits, there are also a couple of loved up ballads and even a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Cecilia’. Infectious to say the least, here’s an album that will make you feel like it’s summer all year round despite whatever storm may be brewing outside. – Santhi Weiss

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30 – Manic Street Preachers – Futurology

In a world infested by Nigel Farage and UKIP, who will save society from inevitable ruin?

The Manics have sprung forth with their second album in the space of a year. Following on from 2013’s introspective and acoustic Rewind The Film comes Futurology, an album celebratory of the same Europe that everyone seems to be avoiding like ebola. 

Taking it’s cue from the likes of PIL, Simple Minds and Scritti Politti (of whom singer Green Gartside appears) the album conjures up a cultural celebration that sounds as fresh and invigorated as the band have ever been since the heady days of The Holy Bible. – Martin McDonnell

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29 – Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien

It’s fair to say Hesitant Alien probably shouldn’t be quite as good as it is. Gerard Way is undeniably talented, but the album is a pop rock at it’s finest.

Combining elements of post punk, shoegaze and Britpop, Gerard shoves stadium rock choruses into tight pop songs and rolls them around in the dirt, adding a much-needed grit that has been missing from mainstream rock this decade. The whole album feels effortless but epic. ‘Action Cat’ is anthemic and on any other album wouldn’t sit right alongside the sugary sweet ‘Millions’ and the straight up hard rock of ‘Juarez’. But, Hesitant Alien works because it’s never a bad impression. It takes its influences and creates something new. The songwriting is infectious, as every song will be rattling around your head for weeks. And despite being released in September, Hesitant Alien was made to be the sound track to any and every summer. – Aaron Page

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28 – You+Me – Rose Ave

Many people will argue what was the best album of 2014 was, but Rosa Ave – the debut album by You+Me (the duo of Dallas Green and Alicia Moore (P!nk)) was by far one of the most overlooked and incredible.
Ten of the most emotionally moving and inspiring, honest, and beautiful tracks that have been made all year. A genuine diamond in the rough, full of alternative & acoustic folk wonders, that the worlds needs to wake up and hear such beauty. – James Matthews

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27 – One Direction – Four

As the boys’ fourth album in less than four years, you would be forgiven for passing FOUR off as just another quickly produced record for the masses. However after one listen it’s clear that this is something quite different from the five-piece, swapping their teeny-pop vibes for tunes that feel much more grown up. This show of versatility proves that they might just having some staying power in the industry and we can’t wait to hear more! – Claire Rollins

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26 – Marmozets- The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets

Their seems to be a lot of female fronted rock bands these days, but very few ‘great’ female fronted rock bands. Marmozets break all the moulds going!

Much akin to Eva Spence of Rolo Tomasi, vocalist Becca MacIntyre has a split vocal personality with deep growls on one end and a melodic singing voice on the other. With everyone seeing the band live this year prior to the albums release it made for some high anticipation; would they be able to transcend their chaotic nature into their recorded material? You only really need to listen to a single track of The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets to realise they got it spot on.

Jumpy chaotic mess that teach us what ‘mathcore’ really is? Check! Slower ballad type tracks? Check! Everything in between? Double check!

Whatever presents itself to the band this year, we know they’ll rise to the challenge. – Rhian Westbury

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25 – Beartooth- Disgusting

With front man Caleb Shomo’s previous musical venture being the US Attack Attack, expectations were not all that high. Despite this, not only did Beartooth shock us all, but they went on to create one of the best rock debut albums of 2014. Listening to the album you’d be forgiven for thinking the band had the typical dual front person thing going on with a screamer and a clean vocalist, but amazingly the vocal talents all come solely from Caleb and his incredible ability to manipulate his voice.

Every track across Disgusting is catchy, has parts you can sing along to, but it still keeps enough heaviness to instigate a one person mosh pit in your living room. Every track is unique and holds it own, the only problem is we can’t pick a favourite! – Rhian Westbury

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24 – Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

A more than worthy follow-up to the 2012 smash album Daybreaker, Lost Forever // Lost Together once again proves that Architects are more than capable of keeping up with the big boys. With an arsenal of heavy metal anthems such as ‘Gravedigger’ and ‘Naysayer’, each support that signature sound that Architects have developed over the years. The guitars scream, the drums boom and Sam Carter’s vocal performances are monumental. Lost Forever // Lost Together is by far the best we’ve seen from the UK rockers, and has raised the bar for all those looking to compete. – Luke Smith

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23 – The Black Keys – Turn Blue

Sometimes it’s the slightest of tweaks to a formulae that have the best results. The Black Keys have shown that yet again with a third minor tweak to their winning formulae, a recipe that has seen them going from poor man’s White Stripes to stadium fillers in the space of 5 short years.  

This time around the band has taken a turn for the trippy, adding Spector style choirs and psychedelic nuances to their no-nonsense bluesy rock. Tracks like ‘Fever’ and ‘Weight Of Love’ display this to full effect, drawing you in and holding you on their little trips.  Not to say the album isn’t fun, just take closer ‘Gotta Get Away’ as a prime example of how modern rock can have guts while keeping a sense of humour about itself also! – Martin McDonnell

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22 – Temples – Sun Structures

With Tame Impala’s Lonerism inspiring a new generation of young listeners to swap the light wash for tie-dye, Temples saw their chance and took it; establishing themselves as Britains’s answer to the Aussies with Sun Structures – a debut album oozing with the kind of psychedelic energy you’d expect only from the most experienced of 60’s acid trippers – Bart Williams

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21 – You Me At Six – Cavalier Youth

It was hard to know how You Me At Six were going to follow 2011 album Sinners Never Sleep, but Cavalier Youth does it pretty damn well. It swaps the last album’s dark undertones for upbeat, punchy rock without losing their much-loved gritty, honest edge, showing us yet again why You Me At Six are one of the UK’s best bands. – Sam Lawrie

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20 – Caribou – Our Love

Our Love is Dan Snaith’s fourth album as Caribou’, and it’s easily his most accomplished work to date. The rough edges have been smoothed with each track making a solid statement before drifting into the next. Combining his almost ambient soundscapes with contemporary house, the result is a dichotomy of arresting background music. The mellow ‘All I Need’, drifts into the pounding ‘Back Home’ building to the uptempo latter half of ‘Second Chance’ and the now anthemic title track. Our Love is an engaging album with a depth that set it apart from almost anything else this year.” – Aaron Page

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19 – Frnkiero AndThe Cellebration – .Stomachaches.

2014 has been a great year all round for Frank Iero. He’s put My Chemical Romance behind him and brought out a great raw sounding album, full of gritty punk sounds and passion. Unafraid of starting at the bottom again, he played it live for the first time in the UK at the tiny Camden Barfly, further pushing the punk sounds of .Stomachaches. and proving he has a long career as a frontman ahead of him. – Jenna Young

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18 – Issues – Issues

Cross-breeding genres is not a rare thing in today’s market. However, no other band did it as naturally and seamlessly as Issues this year. Their self-titled debut album is masterclass in innovation, and that’s why it has held our attention for 10 months and counting. – Matt Borucki

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17 – Alt-J – This Is All Yours

Two years ago, alt-J were catapulted into the limelight after they won the Mercury Prize for An Awesome Wave. Their new album This Is All Yours proves that the band is still keen to explore their sound and push themselves creatively despite their mainstream audience. With songs constructed from various vocal samples, including the lead single ‘Hunger of the Pine’ which features a sample from Miley Cyrus’ ‘4×4’, the album is brave and delivers dazzling hooks and delicious layers of abstract sounds and unexpected instruments. From ‘Intro’, with its repetitive church chorales and vocal overlaps to the tender ‘Bloodflood Pt II’, this album will draw you into the mystical world of alt-J and engulf you in their latest playful adventure. – Sophie Meeson

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16 – Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were

Following his first studio album Every Kingdom back in 2011, Ben Howard has returned in 2014 with a much more established sound. I Forgot Where We Were holds a lot more body, his voice taking a back seat within the mix of instruments and the production proving his further maturity and diversity in making music. Whilst Every Kingdom was the soundtrack to your Summer, Ben’s new L.P is your all-year-round album, from up lifting tracks to deeper, soulful vibes. – Fleur Cook

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15 – Slipknot – 5: The Gray Chapter

5: The Gray Chapter blasted Slipknot back into the limelight after their 6-year hiatus. Slipknot perfectly recapture the animal nature of their previous work with tracks likes ‘The Negative One’ and ‘Custer’ by offering tear your face off guitar riffs and hellish vocal work from heavy metal overlord, Corey Taylor.

Despite there being two new members on this record, the original Slipknot power still remains. This album is huge, colossal in fact. 5: The Gray Chapter is a solid statement that the nine have returned, and they have no plans on calling it quits any time soon. – Luke Smith

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14 – Bury Tomorrow – Runes

A bands third full length album can be a career ender or a game changer and fortunately for Bury Tomorrow, it was the latter. The band have developed so much since their sophomore album Union Of Crowns, gelling as a band and pushing boundaries to become the band you see slaying festival stages today. Runes sees the band go back to their heavier roots with Dani’s vocals pushing further than fans may have thought possible. With so many riffs, it should come with a warning that metal core has a new face. – Rhian Westbury

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13 – Of Mice and Men – Restoring Force

Restoring Force is very much an evolutionary album for Of Mice & Men. It’s helped them become a more accessible band, yet at the same time not losing the breakdowns, and the aggressive screams from Austin Carlile, which the band has become known for. They’ve purely added to their repertoire and what they’ve created is something incredibly infectious and heavy at the same time.

Being incredibly varied in what it has attempted, you’ll never become bored or exhausted with the same sounds over and over again. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into its writing and it’s paid off fantastically. Think of this as a launch pad for Of Mice & Men to really rocket up in people’s expectations. – Callum Thomson

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12 – Lower Than Atlantis – Lower Than Atlantis

There is no denying that Lower than Atlantis have always been a diamond in the rough. Threatening with every record to break free from the hardcore noose hanging around their necks, in a bid to spread their polished rock to a wider audience, with their self-titled fourth record it was mission accomplished.

Lower Than Atlantis is a record labels wet dream, chock-full of radio ready anthems that has seen them reach the lofty heights of 16 in the album charts.  From the attitude laden ‘Here We Go’ to the sprightly funk of ‘English Kids In America’ the Watford lads have proved that sticking to your guns and not giving a fuck can be rewarding. – Antoine Omisore

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11 – FKA Twigs – LP1

FKA Twigs is mesmerizing on every level imaginable. Since coming across the hypnotic ‘Papi Pacify’ on her release EP2, it was inevitable that the world was witnessing something truly special without even knowing. But no one was prepared for what was about to be unleashed on this stellar debut album.

This is a practice in everything that is right, liberating, beautiful, and mysterious from not just electronic music, but from a truly gifted female artist, setting the standard and the bar for everyone in her path. Stunning in every aspect, FKA Twigs is the world’s next greatest female artist. Embrace her for what she gives us all, for those special things in life should not be tainted. – James Matthews

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10 – Taking Back Sunday – Happiness is

Having been a band for over 15 years now, it’s no surprise that Taking Back Sunday have made it in to our top list. Their most recently released record, Happiness Is, dropped in March of 2014 and was their first release on Hopeless Records. Singles ‘Flicker, Fade’ and ‘Stood A Chance’ did a fine job of proving that the New York quintet still know how to produce a stellar record and we won’t be surprised if 10 years from now this album has cult status, not unlike that of the band’s first release. Tell All Your Friends! – Madison Convey

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9 – Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour

Sam Smith is undoubtedly the man of the moment but unlike many of the world’s A-listers, there’s no myth as to why this one is so successful. It is easy to forget that In The Lonely Hour is Sam’s debut studio album, given his already-huge worldwide commercial popularity. Singles including ‘Money On My Mind’ and ‘Stay With Me’ feature on the album but in no way steal the limelight from the rest. In fact, the soul record is strong from start to finish. Having co-written on all the tracks, Sam’s incredible falsetto really engages with the lyrics, giving them raw emotion and feeling – something that so many other young artists fail to do. The album is all about unrequited love and – for the most part – is slow and melodic, exposing Sam’s vulnerability. Stand-out tracks include ‘Leave Your Lover’ and ‘Life Support’, which are simply stunning. This album certainly deserves its Top 10 position. – Hannah Dix

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8 – Jamie T – Carry On The Grudge

After four years completely off the radar, Jamie T’s return was always going to be exciting. But with the release of the moody masterpiece ‘Don’t You Find’ and the dancefloor-filling ska anthem ‘Zombie’, Jamie T’s third album started to look like it could be something really special. And he certainly delivered.

Unlike his previous albums, Carry on the Grudge was a dark, atmospheric, intricate affair. There was almost no rapping, and very few upbeat songs at all, but somehow it all worked perfectly – every song fit perfectly in its place. ‘Peter’, the heaviest song to feature on a Jamie T album, is an angry, snarling beast of a song which is followed by the gorgeous, acoustic ‘Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away’ – the sharp contrast of these two songs perfectly sums up way that this album feels like an emotional rollercoaster.

Despite four years away, Jamie T has proven that he can write an album that sits proudly among his back catalogue, and thoroughly deserves a place as one of the best of the year. – Jamie Firby

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7 – Ed Sheeran – X

There was no doubt that when X would make its debut it was going to land with a bang.. Unlike certain musical stars, Ed has no need for theatrics and heavy production, just his guitar, a notepad and his voice; of course.

Whether it’s his romantic side that shines in ‘Tenerife Sea’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ or it’s his raw honesty that permeates tracks such as ‘Don’t’ and ‘I’m A Mess’, Ed knows exactly how to express the feelings we experience in our everyday lives. Other notable tracks include ‘One’, ‘Photograph’ and ‘Afire Love’, the latter being one his most moving and vulnerable and such is what makes him so likeable and engaging as an artist. When it comes to finalising Ed’s album ‘multiply’, it’s safe to say there’s no ‘divisions’ when it comes to liking his music. – Joe Hopkins

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6 – Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways

Eight songs, written and recorded in eight cities in eight weeks. Now that’s a release to get your head around. But would you expect anything less ambitions for Foo Fighters eighth studio album? Not really.

From the soar of ‘Something From Nothing’ to the expansive ‘Outside’, Sonic Highways is everything you’d want from a Foo Fighters record. It’s fast, it’s riff-heavy and it’s got enough ups and down’s to put an Oasis biography to shame.  Sure, just like any big release, the offering did divide opinions. Whereas some, praised universal nice guy Dave Grohl’s ability to let rip on the nation’s skeletons in tracks like ‘ The Feast And The Famine’ and ‘Subterranean’, others claimed the frontman’s curveball melodies and shrill screams have been done time and time again.

But, whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the record sealed Foo Fighter’s place as being one of the world’s biggest rock bands. Twenty years on and they’re still as relevant as ever, and with stadium shows confirmed for later this year and rumoured festival line ups in discussion, that isn’t going to change anytime soon. – Emma Matthews

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5 – 5 Seconds Of Summer –  5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds Of Summer have managed to pull off an incredible feat with their debut by managing to create an album that has appealed to the One Direction generation yet still giving them some credibility within the world of pop-punk and rock.

Obviously not everyone on the pop-punk and rock scene is going to agree with this, but with their album produced by Goldfinger’s John Feldman and working alongside All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth, they certainly have their pop-punk credentials in check. Let’s also not forget, these boys started out on YouTube doing Mayday Parade and A Day To Remember acoustic covers so we are not talking about another manufactured McFly/Busted-esque band here. If this album had been released by Good Charlotte or All Time Low everyone in the pop-punk world would be all over it but, for some anyways, that “supported One Direction” stigma may linger a while longer.

Either way, 5SOS have released an album of incredibly fun and punchy tracks that combined make it one of the most catchy releases of the year and I know we at HTF are pretty excited to see what’s next from these boys. If you haven’t given them a chance yet put your pre-conceptions to one side and get involved. – Chris Hines

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4 – Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

EL-P & Killer Mike refreshed the music scene in 2014 as they reinvented the raw sounds of rap with a modern twist in their album Run The Jewels 2. With no room for error, the album sustains a highly intense performance from beginning to end with a constant flow of hard, raw beats from EL-P, which he then destroys along side Killer Mike with their aggressive lyricism and powerful flows.

Generally speaking, if an art form is that good then all people can appreciate it, even if it’s not individual’s preference and this is what separates the great from the good. Run The Jewels are a prime example of this. It’s rare to see this type of music appeal to so many different people, but it’s purity is the core reason why this album will be remembered as a classic album and well deserving of its place in our top 10. – Josh Pratt

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3 – Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

So Long. See You Tomorrow was proof that Del Boy Trotter was right. Who dares does indeed win. Bombay Bicycle Club always seem to be the bridesmaids and never the bride, when it comes to album awards. Nominated for the Mercury and lost, Flaws lost out for an Ivor Novello and now they just miss out again at the top spot. What more do the quartet have to do, they easily glide from genre to genre and have maybe written two of the best singles of the decade with ‘Luna’ and ‘Shuffle’.

So Long See You Tomorrow was yet another risk for the band, who wanted to move away from the guitar focused indie rock and test themselves. But this is no Kid A experimentation, this is an album full of richly brilliant tunes and melody that capture the feel of the band live. And again they are championing new talent as they did with Lucy Rose by including Rae Morris’s beautiful vocals on ‘Luna’.

With Radiohead currently going further up their own arses, Bombay Bicycle Club are the most interesting indie band on the UK scene, well until maybe The Maccabees release their new album. Rejoice in the geekness of BBC and join me in throwing odd shapes to ‘Carry Me’. – Francis Jolley

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2 – Taylor Swift – 1989

Taylor Swift has arguably become the new queen of pop after an amazing 2014 and the release of her fifth studio album 1989. Exploding back into the music scene with her most poppy sound yet, lead single ‘Shake It Off’ certainly caused a stir, peaking at number 2 in the UK charts after its release in August and still sitting in the top 40 now!

‘Blank Space’ is just as catchy and epitomizes the entire record – witty lyrics that tell a story almost everyone can relate to, plus a couple of classic Swifty breakup anthems that boast addictive pop beats to match.

Taking such a change in direction was a brave move but nobody is in any doubt that it certainly paid off, earning her second place in our list. Album highlights include ‘Wonderland’, ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘New Romance’ but each song gets better and better with every listen even after all this time! – Claire Rollins

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1 – Royal Blood – Royal Blood

For a band that only formed in 2013, to say moodily-chic rockers Royal Blood have had an incredible year would be an understatement. Storming onto the scene with raspy choruses and riff heavy verses, the pair’s blues meets rock dynamism struck a chord ever since the release of their first EP Out Of The Black.

Featuring hit singles ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Come On Over’, the four track offering was a just a teaser of what to expect from the Brighton duo’s debut album, and my what a teaser it was. By the time August rolled around, distorted bass guitars and pounding drums where the only thing on anyone’s mind and the self titled record peaked at number 1 in the UK album charts.

Lashed with eerie vocals that pay homage to the likes of The White Stripes, Black Keys and Queens Of The Stone Age, critics couldn’t praise the release enough and within hours it was verified by the Official Chart Company as being the fastest selling British rock debut album in three years. Who said rock and roll was dead? – Emma Matthews

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