50 Best Albums of 2014

U2 unleashed a brilliant surprise, Bruce Springsteen hit a new peak, St. Vincent made deliciously weird noise and more

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War on Drugs, 'Lost in the Dream'

23. War on Drugs, 'Lost in the Dream'

These Philly dudes broke through by tripping out on a classic-rock vibe, Eighties style: "Boys of Summer" melodies, Nebraska harmonica, Brothers in Arms guitar shimmer. But the album's pleasant aimlessness – as songs choogle past the five-minute mark and lead lines curlicue across the sky – says plenty about right now.

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