The 10 Best Electronic/Dance Albums of 2014


If 2013 marked a comeback year for the dance album, 2014 saw its momentum multiply. From top-earning DJs to underground mainstays, many rising artists made much-anticipated debuts on the LP format, while some veterans returned after significant hiatuses. Read on for our picks for the best EDM albums to emerge this year. (And see our list of the 10 best electronic/dance songs here.)

Billboard 2014 Year in Music: See All of Our Coverage Here!

10. SkrillexRecess
Ignored by the Recording Academy that previously gave him six Grammys, Sonny Moore’s debut album represents the climate of constant touring in which it was made. Recess is an understandably diverse blend of collaborative tracks that veers between crushing dubstep, dancehall fusion and experimental electronica. While far from a cohesive whole or a career-defining statement, Skrillex remains one of the most talented producers in dance music and it still shows here.

9. Answer Code Request - Code
Known for his punishing techno sets at Berlin’s notorious Berghain nightclub, the German artist’s debut album on Ostgut Ton represents a far more thoughtful and forward-thinking affair. Variably meandering and mesmerizing, Code is an impressive collection of tracks situated at the intersection of ambient electronica, breakbeats and techno that challenges the latter’s club-centric format.

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8. Röyksopp & RobynDo It Again
This super-pairing made too much sense. Swedish pop star Robyn lends Röyksopp the vocal presence that their synth-driven electronica deserves, while the Norwegian duo backs her brilliantly. One of the only knocks on the album is the fact that it’s arguably eclipsed by their superb joint live show.

7. Gorgon CitySirens
The smooth British house duo’s debut album more than lived up to expectations. The thirteen-track outing became a respected benchmark for bass-driven deep house, spawning vocal singles “Ready for Your Love,” “Here for You” and “Go All Night,” while avoiding filler territory altogether with non-single standouts like “Imagination.”

6. Dillon FrancisMoney Sucks, Friends Rule
Just about the only thing consistent about dance jester Dillon Francis’ first full-length is the quality. The 27-year-old’s attention-deficit album serves up a stylistic buffet of crunchy club cuts, booming trap beats and radio-ready big room anthems alongside the moombahton on which he made his name. Sporting a bevy of marquee collaborators like Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, and Major Lazer, this album is stacked with potential singles and should see significant longevity extending into 2015.

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5. Porter RobinsonWorlds
While ditching the trappings of EDM became en vogue this year, few have doubled down to the degree of Porter Robinson. Disillusioned with compromising his creative vision for festival and club constraints, the 22-year-old executed a full career transition on his first full-length. The quirky and fanciful album represents one of 2014’s most unique offerings, sporting strong cuts like dreamy robot duet “Sad Machine,” triumphant ode “Lionhearted” and the stirring ambience of “Sea of Voices.” Worlds is not without its overwrought moments, but the release marks a courageous and impressive debut from a young producer with great potential.

4. deadmau5while (1<2)
The controversial Canadian superstar channeled the trials of a tumultuous year on this sprawling double album, which he hailed as “the first album [he’s] ever done that [he] would even call an album.” Slick progressive house productions like “Infra Turbo Pigcart Racer” and “Mercedes” coexist with more experimental offerings “Avaritia” and “Gula,” interspersed with pensive piano ballads in the vein of his morose 7 EP. While the sentiment may not yet extend to his Twitter feed, deadmau5 has never sounded more mature than he does here.

Thom Yorke's BitTorrent Release Hits 1 Million Sales, Free Downloads

3. Thom YorkeTomorrow’s Modern Boxes
In September, Radiohead’s frontman made good on his pointed criticism of Spotify by becoming the first major artist to release an album exclusively via Bittorrent’s new pay gate. It was shades of the trailblazing “pay what you wish” model used on 2007’s In Rainbows. Aside from being an industry zeitgeist, Yorke’s second solo album represents his purest electronic outing to date. Skittish broken beats and dour piano chords complement Yorke’s absorbing songwriting on such highlights as “Guess Again!” and resigned closer “Nose Grows Some,” while haunting beatless ballads like “Interference” recall his stronger Amnesiac moments. The album marks a welcome return by one of electronic music’s most creative minds.

2. Aphex TwinSyro
Aphex Twin’s first release in thirteen years was exactly what many supporters anticipated. Rather than unleashing a conceptual commentary on the current dance climate to accompany his interviews, the enigmatic artist simply did what he does best: create refreshingly unpredictable electronic music that stays true to his devil-may-care eclecticism and -- most importantly -- still somehow sounds distinctly his own.

1. Joris VoornNobody Knows
In an era where singles are too often stitched together in a Frankenstein amalgam and christened an album, 2014’s top EDM album pick eschews the approach entirely. The Dutch artist’s third full-length album is a carefully crafted atmospheric masterpiece that sacrifices club relevancy for conceptual identity. Focusing on songwriting and recording many of its elements live, Voorn channels indie and abstract electronica influences in lush and melodic arrangements that manage to mesh together despite the album’s diverse list of collaborators (including Kid A, Matthew Dear, and Voorn’s own father).


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