Essential Top 20: The best albums of 2014

In music, 2014 was a year mostly defined by the past. 90s superstars Aphex Twin and D’Angelo reemerged after spending the better part of the 21st century in hiding, and surprised everyone with their renewed vitality. Madlib, Killer Mike and El-P recaptured the furious energy of their youth and reminded a resurgent underground hip hop scene that there’s life in the old dogs yet. The War on Drugs wrote the best Springsteen album since the 80s. The Men, Parquet Courts and Ariel Pink mined 50 years of music history to inform their modern brand of grubby-kneed rock.

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