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D’Angelo’s Black Messiah Was Music Critics’ Favorite Album of 2014

D’Angelo in October 2014.

Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Each December’s year-end music lists are as varied as they are debatable, but if there’s one way to best gauge how music journalists, as a whole community, really felt about the year in music, it’s the Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop list. Every year, the newspaper polls more than 600 music journalists and critics (including some at Slate) to create two master lists of the year’s best albums and singles. 2014, like the previous year, forced many critics to add a late-breaking album to their list with D’Angelo’s Black Messiah.


While Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise came in at No. 4 for 2013, D’Angelo’s comeback scored the No. 1 spot on this year’s list—despite actually tying Run the Jewels’ sophomore album in number of overall votes. War on Drugs, St. Vincent, and FKA Twigs rounded out the rest of the top five. Critics also named Future Islands’ “Seasons (Waiting on You)” as the year’s best song, while Taylor Swift appeared twice in the top five singles along with FKA Twigs and Kendrick Lamar. For the full albums and singles lists, a more extensive breakdown of the numbers, and several personal essays on 2014 in music, check the Village Voice’s page for Pazz and Jop.


Top 10 Albums
1. D’Angelo, Black Messiah
2. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
3. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
4. St. Vincent, St. Vincent
5. FKA Twigs, LP1
6. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
7. Taylor Swift, 1989
8. Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness
9. Spoon, They Want My Soul
10. Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Top 10 Singles
1. Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting on You)
2. FKA Twigs, “Two Weeks
3. Taylor Swift, “Blank Space
4. Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off
5. Kendrick Lamar, “i
6. ILoveMakonnen feat. Drake, “Tuesday
7. Sia, “Chandelier
8. Charli XCX, “Boom Clap
9. Beyoncé (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), “***Flawless
9. DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What