Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two

8. The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream
(Secretly Canadian)

After the feud between the War on Drugs and Sun Kil Moon this past year, it's nearly impossible to talk about or listen to the former's album, Lost in the Dream, without picturing Mark Kozelek sneering in the background. As it turns out, that's not a bad thing; Kozelek's barrage of insults forced listeners to think about the merits of subtle, lyrically-based folk versus big rock tunes, and realize that both can be profound.

The "beer commercial lead guitar" of Adam Granduciel has as much nuance, and tells as many stories, as Kozelek's singing, and it's not making crass and misogynistic commands like "suck my cock." Granduciel lets his guitar do the talking when he can't find the words, and on Lost in the Dream, that unified voice conveys truths about loneliness and depression that no lyrics could capture. (Greg Bouchard)