It's amazing how many modern offices have music playing through high-end speakers all day. I want to work in a place like that. They crank up bands like Coldplay (who just released a single) and put Adele on endless repeat, but I'm here to tell you: There were much more eclectic artists who released albums this past year.
Since I'm a bit of a music connoisseur, I've scoured my playlist and come up with my top 10 albums of the year. Any one of these will liven up your work crew.
Buy this album right now. Seriously. You won't be disappointed. Grimes is a "synthpop" artist who produces her own stuff, layering her vocals in a way that's downright unworldly. The song "California" is a perfect fit for any Silicon Valley startup.
Named after the main guy (his name is Dallas Green, so think about the correlation there), this band is a loungey alt-rock band with mellow lyrics and vocals. The songs "Runaway" and "Lover Come Back" both have a feel-good vibe.
Almost goofy in a '70s-rock throwback sense, Darlingside is a band that consists of four guys singing in unison with mostly an acoustic guitar. It's awesome. If you can get through the song "Harrison Ford" without thinking of the upcoming Star Wars movie, you are not in touch with reality.
There's no better way to combine swirling piano bits with electric and acoustic guitars. This band, which used to be called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. for some unknown reason, wraps tightly into your synapses and can get people doing a lot of fist pumps and chair-spins.
Make sure you give this one a try if you have any fondness at all for R.E.M. While they mostly sound like a cover band, the songs are just as catchy and memorable. At least try the song Roman Ruins, which is the best song Michael Stipe never wrote.
A weepy collection of acoustic folk songs from a master of the genre, this tribute to the artist's mother is heartbreaking, melodic, and eclectic in every sense of the word. Stevens sings about his childhood memories and tries to piece them all together again.
The title song to this folk-rock album is worth the price alone. It's about fading memories of youthful exuberance, and the music is straight out of a classic rock reunion tour. Listen to the warmly and well-orchestrated drum fills and bass parts.
Highly poetic writing is at the center of this grungy alt-country band, which chronicles a few break-ups and relationship conflicts. No one in the office will mind, especially since the music is sometimes sparse and sometimes incredibly motivational.
I don't normally like grunge-goth rock, but this one is special. It has a guttural feel, all droning electric guitars and synths, but the emotional resonance isn't meant to cause pain as much as catharsis. I listened to this one front to back multiple times when it came out.
My favorite of the year, this classic soul album could have been released about 30 years ago. The musicianship is astounding, especially if you know anything about bass and guitar. I still listen to this one just to get a boost in my own morale.