For whatever reason, 2014 was the year where a ton of musicians decided to get their acts together and reunite, come out of retirement or finally release that album we have been desperately craving for more than 10 years. Here are 2014's eight best comebacks:
Has there ever been a band with a more jarring gap between their best and worst songs than Weezer? After spending the last 10 years undoing all the good will they had acquired from their classic first two albums, Weezer returned in 2014 with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, their strongest effort since the criminally underrated Maladroit from 2002. It is not a masterpiece, but when played side-by-side with Raditude, it almost sounds like one.
2. Ryan Adams
Ever since his 2000 solo debut Heartbreaker, alt-country star Ryan Adams has been one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in America, releasing 13 full-length albums between 2000 and 2011, which is why it was so shocking when we heard nothing at all from him in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, however, Adams came roaring back with not just an excellent self-titled album, but also two EPs — 1984 and Vampires — and two stand-alone singles: "Jacksonville" and "Do You Laugh When You Lie?"
3. Aphex Twin
Though the influence of Aphex Twin has been pervasive throughout 21st-century electronic music, from Boards of Canada's ambient soundscapes to Radiohead's paranoid techno, there had not been a new Aphex Twin album since 2001. That is, until this past September, when Richard D. James dropped Syro, a mind-blowing piece of music well worth the 13-year wait.
Much like Ryan Adams, Prince is one of the most prolific artists of his generation, but the last four years have been the Purple One's longest stretch without releasing a new album. But he made up for this break by releasing two new albums in 2014: Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum, the latter being the debut album by his new band 3rdeyegirl. Aside from releasing his best music in years, Prince also gave the most memorable Saturday Night Live musical performance in recent memory in November, playing an unprecedented eight-minute medley of his new songs.
Following the death of bassist and founding member Paul Gray in 2010, it would have been easy for Iowa metal band Slipknot to call it quits, and based on how long it took the band to put out their new album .5: The Gray Chapter, it seems like they almost did. But The Gray Chapter proved to a be a triumphant return for Slipknot, earning the band their second No.-1 album on the Billboard charts.
Olympia, Washington, punk trio Sleater-Kinney were one of the most consistently brilliant bands of their era, which made their recent career-spanning box set Start Together such a wholly satisfying experience. What made Start Together even more exciting, however, was the inclusion of a bonus single titled "Bury Our Friends," which was the band's declaration that they have reunited and will be releasing a new studio album No Cities to Love, their first in nearly 10 years.
7. Garth Brooks
Of all the comebacks in 2014, Garth Brooks's seemed the most unlikely. Though he is remarkably one of the best-selling artists in the United States — third behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley — Brooks retired from the music business entirely in 2001, only to somewhat return in 2009 for a Las Vegas residency and one-off concerts. In 2014, however, Brooks made a proper comeback with his first world tour since 1998 and his first new studio album since 2001.
This past summer, D'Angelo promised that the long awaited follow-up to his 2000 album Voodoo would finally be released by the end of the year, but as December rolled around, it was looking like 2014 would be yet another year without a new D'Angelo album. But in this post-Beyoncé world — or post-In Rainbows world, really — albums can drop with little warning, and with less than three weeks left in 2014, D'Angelo finally released Black Messiah, and miraculously it was well-worth that wait.
What were some other great comebacks in 2014? Let us know down in the comments section.