Who says music critics are cold, heartless, cynical cranks? Surely we wouldn’t be naming a collection of sweet-voiced love songs the best Minnesota music release of 2014 if that were true.
After three straight years of putting edgy, innovative hip-hop albums at No. 1, local music pundits are showing their love for classic, Beatles-y pop-rock. Jeremy Messersmith’s fourth record, “Heart Murmurs,” was the top album in our 12th annual Twin Cities Critics Tally, a roundup of 27 music writers’ and local-centric radio playmakers’ top 10 lists for the year. Messersmith also won TCCT in 2010 with his previous disc, “The Reluctant Graveyard,” before hip-hop took over the top spot with albums by Doomtree, P.O.S. and Lizzo.
His runner-up this time is another longtime critics’ favorite, Haley Bonar. Two acts who were too young to even have driver’s licenses in 2010 made the top five, Allan Kingdom and Hippo Campus. Nine other first-timers ranked among the top 20 — though one, Sonny Knight, is hardly new. The 65-year-old soul man and his group also topped the tally for best local live act, while Lizzo returned atop the best song category.
Interestingly, the groups with the best-selling records and concerts of the year, Trampled by Turtles and longtime TCCT dominator Atmosphere, didn’t make this list. So yeah, maybe the voters still are a bunch of cranks.