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All in all, 2014 was a pretty incredible year for music. Many fresh, new faces made huge impacts in their respective genres, veteran musicians continued to add to their varied discographies, and together they gave listeners a plethora of quality albums to indulge in.

Yet when it comes to compiling a best-of list for this year’s music releases, it strikes me as a somewhat futile endeavor.

In all actuality, there’s no way to make a comprehensive list of the best albums of the year, because music is a completely subjective thing. A truly representative best-of-the-year list cannot and will not ever exist.

That’s why I love music, though. It’s many things to many people; what resonates with some falls flat with others, and what some consider masterpieces, others consider garbage. It’s a language that transcends borders and creeds, and yet it’s also the barometer by which we measure the generation gap. We use music to annotate our lives, we attach our memories, emotions and experiences to it. Just hearing a few notes of a certain song can send us back in time far more effectively than any DeLorean ever could.

What follows are my choices for the year’s best. These are the albums that resonated with me and stood out from their contemporaries. Regardless of whether you think my choices are spot-on or miss the mark entirely, you’re right. Nonetheless, I encourage you to give each of these albums a listen, as I feel they are truly among the year’s best.

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