Monday, January 12, 2015

The Ultimate Playlist for 2014, Music Rules!

2014 was the year of the lady in music--Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Arianna Grande, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Sia, Katy Perry, and the list could continue. Noticeably absent from my list this year-- Rihanna who laid low, Lady Gaga who cut a jazz record with Tony Bennett, and Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson who all had babies.

The release of a new Ed Sheeran album brought many hits for the young artist who continued to dominate the charts. Adam Levine's success on The Voice may have inspired possibly his best album yet with Maroon 5.

Newbies also dominated, a young man by the name of Sam Smith made many believers with his soulful voice and vulnerable lyrics. Iggy Azalea, though not fancy in her delivery, proved that she was a black widow on the charts, though, she hasn't made my list. Hosier took us to church with his powerful vocals, and Meghan Trainor wrote and sang a clever song about what else? Booty.

I can't wait any longer-- here's the playlist---

0 to 100 by Drake-- In a year where Drake didn't release an album, it doesn't surprise me that he wrote this song in an effort to tell his competition that he will always dominate rap/ R&B music. The song has been nominated at the Grammy's for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

Ain't it Fun by Paramore-- One of my absolute faves of the year. A group lead by Hayley Williams with mainly a rock style, Ain't it Fun showed musical diversity adding some soul and gospel, actually going back to Williams' childhood. The song written by Williams and guitarist Taylor York is nominated for best rock song at the Grammy Awards and climbed all the way to number one on the US Top 40. I love the strong lyrics.  I love the fun video for this song too..... ingenious....

All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor-- She had a breakout year all because she wrote a clever song about what else......... booty. Hailing from Nantucket, MA, Meghan attended Berkley College of Music and got a deal with a record company writing songs for the likes of Rascal Flatts. She wrote All About That Bass and wanted to give the song to an artist but when it didn't work out she recorded the song herself, L.A. Reid heard it and signed her to Epic records, and the rest, they say, is history. She song made it to number one on the Top 40 Charts and is nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Girl Power!

Animals by Maroon 5-- Adam Levine said that V, the group's fifth album is their best, and he is quite possibly right. Animals showcases Levine's disinct vocals, his range, and that killer falsetto. The video, although creepy, features Levine and real life wife Behati Prinsloo. This was the tenth top ten for Maroon 5 and a number one on the Top 40 Charts.

Automatic by Miranda Lambert-- In Automatic, Miranda Lambert writes about the good times, being young and carefree, and the song encourages people to live life more simply, Although not a number one, Lambert is nominated for Best Country Song and Country Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards.

Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj-- What happens when you take three powerhouse artists, one who is a prolific rapper and two powerhouse vocalists? You get the song Bang Bang, this banging collaboration full of punch and fire. The song appears on Ariana's album My Everything and Jessie J's album Sweet Talker. They have a great chance of picking up the Grammy for Best Pop Duo Group Performance, and if they don't win, their competition better move out of the way.

Birthday by Katy Perry-- I'm not sure, but I believe the reason why I like this song so much is because of the disco beat. Perry is probably at her strongest in terms of songwriting with this song, and she has help from Bonnie McKee. Full of double entendres, Perry makes some sexy references while at the same time celebrating her significant other's birthday. The song made it to number three on the Hot Dance Charts and it's easy to see why because this is a definitely a song that anyone can dance to.

Blank Space by Taylor Swift-- Another one of my favorite songs of the year because it showed the dark and crazy side of Taylor Swift. Just kidding, it actually satirizes Swift's relationships as viewed by the media. The song replaced Swift's first single from 1989, Shake It Off at number one. Swift became the first female artist to replace herself at number one.

Break Free by Ariana Grande featuring Zedd-- This is the song for me where Ariana Grande proved her vocal chops. We heard her demonstrate them in her debut single The Way but we weren't sure if it was a fluke or not. Nay-sayers be silenced now because Ariana is pint sized but her vocals are grande. She became the second female to have three songs in the top ten: Break Free, Bang Bang, and Problem; Adele was the last one to do it in 2012.

Chandelier by Sia-- Sia is one of those artists who is so true to herself and who she is as an artist. Chandelier tackles the issue of alcoholism and wanting to drown problems away by drinking. Sia's vocals soar and she scored four Grammy noms as a result-- Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Solo Pop Vocal Performance, and Music Video of the Year.

Dangerous by David Guetta featuring Sam Martin-- 

Don't by Ed Sheeran-- I love Ed Sheeran. Supposedly, this song was inspired by his relationship with Light's singer Ellie Goulding and her suspected tryst with Niall from One Direction. My question is, Ellie, how could you do that to Ed Sheeran. But then when I think about it again, I think, it did inspire one heck of a song.

Drunk in Love by Beyonce-- How could I put Partition on this list without putting Drunk in Love on it. Beyonce's flow is the best part of this song, I like how she sings but also has a hard speaking style on this song. She and Drake need to collaborate soon because they would sound blend so well.

The Heart Wants What it Wants by Selena Gomez-- Selena released this song at the end of 2014 and said that it was about everyone knowing her feelings and why she did what she did. It's about anyone who ever judged her choices or judged her heart. I think that most will say the song is about the end of her relationship with Justin Bieber (hopefully it's over for good), but the truth is we will never truly know.

Hideaway by Kiesza-- I read what the song is about and was inspired by and it makes no sense to me but I do like the song, and I think it's one of the best dance tracks I've heard in a long time.

I'm Not the Only One by Sam Smith-- I think Sam Smith was the new artist of 2014. What a breakout year this young man had. I'm Not the Only One was only a part of that........ Latch, Stay with Me, Money on My Mind, Restart.... the list goes on. In the Lonely Hour, was, in my opinion, the debut album of the year. Sam Smith deserves every accolade that comes his way.

Jealous by Nick Jonas-- Robbed of Sexiest Man of the Year by People magazine in my humble opinion. I think Jealous was everyone's guilty pleasure song for 2014. It was on their playlists even if they didn't want to admit that it was. Jonas says the song was inspired by his relationship with his girlfriend Olivia Culpo.

Love Me Harder by Ariana Grande feat. The Weeknd-- Called by critics the best track off My Everything, Love Me Harder is probably my favorite Ariana track ever. I love the pairing between Ariana and The Weeknd,  their voices just work well together. It's still climbing the charts and is the fourth top ten hit off Ariana's album. For me, it wins the award for sexiest track of the year. 

Don't get the video but dig the live performance on SNL.

Maps by Maroon 5-- This is a single that I am surprised didn't receive more attention in terms of awards, etc. There are a lot of ways in which it reminds me of a Sting (with the Police) type of song. Strong sound, strong, vocals, strong song, and solid album.

New Flame by Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross-- After being released from prison for violating terms of his probation, Chris Brown said he wanted to focus on his music. Despite the fact that the singer remains to be troubled in many ways, he is still a performer at the top of his game. Brown first released the song with just him and Rick Ross and released it with Usher and Rick Ross over the summer. Arguably the song became significantly stronger with Usher proving that he still has something special when it comes to an R&B jam. The latter became a number one R&B hit after all.

Partition  by Beyonce-- By far the most underrated R&B song of the year; it didn't make it to number one and should have. With sexy as hell lyrics and an equally sexy music video, Partition has an initially saccharine pop sound that changes into a hip hop sound that explores Beyonce's (or Yonce in this songs) Houston roots.  Penned by Beyonce, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, The Dream, and a supporting cast, the song has satisfyingly catchy lyrics that play to Beyonce's sensuality. You might have to take a cold shower after watching the video.

Pills N Potions by Nicki Minaj-- We couldn't have a best of 2014 without Nicki. Pills N Potions to me represents Nicki's serious and soulful side. There is a heart and sincerity in there that really comes out in this single. The song explores something that happens to everyone-- loving someone who has wronged you.

Play It Again by Luke Bryan-- He can crash my party any time if he keeps writing and singing hit after hit. Bryan had a banner year in 2014 and it only looks to get better. Play It Again was a number one country hit single.

Rather Be by Clean Bandit-- Rather Be is the case of the hit single by the group we've never heard of before. Clean Bandit is by a British electronic group and features the vocals of Jess Glyne. It became one of the fastest selling singles in the UK, and gained even more fame for it's music video that went viral with over 200 million views to date! The song made it all the way to number one on the dance charts and what culminated the year for the song was the nomination for Best Dance Recording at the Grammy's.

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift-- I bet if you asked Taylor Swift if she had the year of her life and career in 2014 she would tell you yes. All signs point that way after all. Swift took a major risk making an all pop music album and departing her country roots with the release of 1989, but Swift says she knew her fans would take the journey with her. Shake It Off was major proof of that. Not only was it risk that it wasn't country, but it was a risk that Shake It Off was so uptempo, something that Swifty's aren't used to. I think what resonated most though, and made the song so popular so quickly was the message of the song. The idea that we should just take all that negativity, bad stuff, bad people, and just shake it off. Once again, she manager to connect with her fans and the results: another number one hit, nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Pop Solo Performance of the Year (at the Grammy's), and a sold out stadium tour for next summer.

She Knows by Neyo-- He has written countless hit songs for other artists and never forgets to deliver the goods when it comes to himself. Neyo has yet to release his new album Non Fiction, but if She Knows is a sneak preview, I'm in. The song is a bit of a departure for Neyo, it's a little less clean cut then usual, it gets a little dirty, while still showcasing Neyo's precise vocals. At number eight on the R&B charts and still climbing, it seems as though Neyo's success lives up to his album title.

Sing by Ed Sheeran-- You all know from earlier in this playlist that I love Ed Sheeran, and initially when I thought of him, I thought of that alternative sound like Lego House. Sing changed my mind about all of that. It took Ed Sheeran out of that box, he proved that he has versatility, and, dare I say it, credibility in terms of possessing a soulful voice! Sheeran wrote the song with Pharrell Williams and says that Justin Timberlake's vocal stylings inspired him. I'd say he came pretty close, and even more convincing is Ed's falsetto.

A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay-- Not much is written about the song, but it sure is good isn't it? I may have tired from hearing about Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's uncoupling but I will never tire of this song. Listen to it, and when Chris Martin stops singing and all your hear is music that's when you start jumping up and down. Try it, I bet it will make you feel good.

Somethin' Bad by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood-- What happens when two of the most prevalent females in country music record a song together? The answer: Somethin' Bad! And I mean that in the best way possible. Carrie Underwood admits that it's been a while since two country females got together and did a song that, "in your face". Apparently Somethin' Bad was good cause Miranda and Carrie earned a Grammy nod for Best Country Group/ Duo Performance.

Take Me to Church by Hosier-- Take Me to Church is the impressive debut single from the Irish artist Hosier. It was quite the year for Hosier who was covered by The Voice, sang in the Victoria's Secret fashion show, and was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammy's for a song that he wrote himself. Hosier says that the song ultimately is about comparing his lover to religion. With this as his debut, I cannot wait to see what Hosier does next.

Team by Lorde-- Wise beyond her years, mature beyond her years, Lorde is a lyrical master. This song is proof of her greatness. I doubted her at first, but I can honestly say, this playlist would not have been right without her on it.

Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran-- He's the only artist to appear on my playlist for 2014 three times. Well deserved Mr. Sheeran, I bet that every woman on the face of this Earth wishes she were your dance partner in this video.

Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson-- It had been a while since Bruno Mars released something new, and then all of a sudden I started hearing about this new project he was working on with Mark Ronson, and I only had to hear the song once to know it was the real deal. I was hooked from the first lyric. Bruno Mars is a throwback, he sounds like he should be from another time, but we are blessed enough to have him here right now. Uptown Funk is so stylized and so right that only Bruno could pull it off in true Bruno Mars style. Don't believe me....... just watch!

I believe that this song is going to go all the way to number one.

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