malbin’s Top 30 Albums & Mixtapes of 2014

10. Saba – COMFORTzone

Saba ComfortZone


Chicago’s music scene is about as deep as the Atlantic Ocean, & this year a new artist arose from the creative city to prove that they are a future star. SABA released his most complete project to date with the release of COMFORTzone project, a free-album that was able to compete with some of the major label releases in 2014. Largely self-produced, the album’s production feels like you’re eating rainbow ice cream on top of a mountain at dusk. Visually speaking, if you look at the Denver Nuggets’ retro uniform, you can imagine how the large part of the album sounds. SABA has the full package of being able to cater to average blog reader (ie: ‘Butter’ & ‘Burnout’), Chicago citizens (ie: ‘Scum’ & ‘United Center’), & the everyday person (ie: ‘401k’ & ‘Tell You’), and as his resources continue to grow, you can only come to expect better music. After hearing COMFORTzone, it’s hard to even imagine even better music.

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9. Kevin Abstract – MTV1987

Kevin Abstract MTV1987


Kevin Abstract was a “new-comer” this year with the release of his MTV1987 album, & it probably caught a lot of listeners by surprise, including myself. The project is the quintessential release of kids raised in the internet generation, as it fondles up a vast amount of feelings only certain kids will understand and feel. The project has some very noticeable influences from Kid Cudi, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, and a few others, but Abstract was able to create a captivating project through all of that with his own imperfect sound. The first half of the project features a dark, almost frightening sound with standouts like ‘Hell/Heroina’ & his most popular song to date, ‘Drugs’. At the halfway point of the project, the album shifts to a more pop friendly sound, with feel good tracks like ‘Tame Cab’, ‘Camp Green Lake’, & indisputablely one of the best songs of the year, ‘Degas Park’. Abstract wants to be a pop-star, and MTV1987 shows it is only a matter of time until that becomes a reality.