AOTY Tournament: Recap and Individual Lists

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When WRVU announced the winner of 2014′s edition of our annual AOTY (Album of the Year) tournament, hardcore rap duo Run the Jewels emerged on top. Run the Jewels joined the ranks of Vampire Weekend and Tame Impala, who won the tournament in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

The tournament isn’t the whole story though. While its an exciting way to narrow down an overall winner, it doesn’t completely explain why we liked what we did. Additionally, there’s a worry that popular voting is biased against niche releases; it’s certainly not required that voters listen to each and every one of the 32 contenders to better inform their decision.

In the interest of calling out as much great 2014 music as possible, this post compiles the individual top 10 lists from our DJs. But first, a few tournament-related consolation prizes.

The Alternate Universe WRVU-AOTY Award

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Run The Jewels 2 Wins the Album of the Year Contest

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The results are in! Run the Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 has bested FKA Twigs – LP1 by a slim margin of 3 votes.

Arguably the second most popular album during nominations (Mac Demarco - Salad Days being the first), Run the Jewels 2 claims its spot as the top dog of WRVU this year.  This is hardly surprising, given Run the Jewels’ sold-out concert at Exit/In earlier this semester and the sheer hype the album generated upon release.

Run The Jewels 2 Album Cover
Run The Jewels 2 wins 20-17

Killer Mike and El-P have outdone their previous self-titled success with a sequel that hits harder, shouts louder, and tackles tougher issues in its rapid-fire verses.  Whether it’s the club-ready bangers like “Oh My Darling, Don’t Cry”, the more solemn and serious tracks like “Crown”, or the silly tracks littered with El-P’s jokes and sci-fi references like “Lie, Cheat, Steal”, there is something on here to scratch every hip hop itch.  Check out my full review published around its release.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the contest!  You all made this tournament possible.

El-P and Killer Mike
El-P and Killer Mike

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Elite 8

The Sweet 16 round of the Album of the Year tournament has come to a close.  The round featured some very close finishes, with two matchups determined in tiebreakers. Click the box to find out what remains.

Click to see bracket!
Click to see bracket!

The remaining eight albums can be called elite, but they’re by no means champions. For that, they need to win three more times. Let’s take a look at this round’s matchups.

Mac Demarco - Salad Days and Beck - Morning Phase face off for a spot in the Final Four.  Salad Days’ popularity in the nominations indicate it as this matchup’s favorite, but don’t count out the Grammy-nominated Morning Phase.

Swans - To Be Kind and its small, loyal following look to derail R&B star FKA Twigs’ LP1.

Run the Jewels - Run The Jewels 2 looked strong in the first two rounds of voting. We’ll see if it can maintain its momentum against Aphex Twin – Syro.

St. Vincent – s/t takes on Flying Lotus - You’re Dead! in what may be a close matchup with no clear favorite.

But you already know who you’re voting for, don’t you? Go on, then.

VOTE HERE

Read on for a recap of round one.

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http://wrvu.org/tourney-8/

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Top 32

For us college kids, 2014 was consumed by late nights studying, barely passed exams, countless job and grad school apps, and maybe a few parties, concerts, and vacations to keep us sane. 2014 meant we were one year closer to the real world, except we didn’t feel older.

For music fans, 2014 meant a continuous stream of new music to sift through: a lot of it good, more of it bad, and some of it downright confusing. At the end of the day, it’s the good we remember, and 2014 had plenty. A pop left turn from America’s best-selling artist. A disconnected folk artist’s rumination on aging and death. Celebrated hip-hop producers and emcees honing their craft. These artists all made it to WRVU’s collection of the 32 best 2014 albums, but now they compete to be crowned album of the year.

Click to see bracket!
Click to see bracket

Tournament seeds were awarded based on rankings from our DJs. Higher ranked picks received more points. Over 100 unique albums received votes, and the top 32 appear in this tournament. 16 will advance past the first round. Your favorite albums need your votes to advance. Your least favorite albums need your votes against them to be stopped. At the end of the day, only one will remain: the 2014 WRVU Album of the Year.

VOTE HERE

Design credit to William Doran.

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http://wrvu.org/aoty-tourney/