5. Beck - 'Morning Phase'
Until the release of Morning Phase earlier this year, Beck fans were starting to get a little impatient. There hadn't been a new album since 2008's Modern Guilt, and the songwriter seemed fixated on other projects, like re-recording classic albums by Leonard Cohen and INXS and the 2012 sheet music work Song Reader. "I didn't have a label anymore," he told Rolling Stone last year. "I wasn't sure if I was going to put out a record – or if I should put out a record. It felt like I was standing still, while everything else was in such flux." After shelving a few in-progress albums, he returned to a series of songs he cut in Nashville back in 2005, essentially jump-starting his creative process and leading to the material on Morning Phase. The songs are all set in the early morning hours. "It's not heavy-handed, but it's in there," Beck said. "There's this feeling of tumult and uncertainty, getting through that long, dark night of the soul – whatever you want to call it. These songs were about coming out of that – how things do get better."