As 2014 is coming to a close, it is time to look back and reflect on some of the best music that has been released this year. There has been several high profile releases over the course of the year, and so many of them have vastly modified the sound of pop music. Read on under the list for my list of the Top 10 Albums of 2014 to see if your favorite albums made the cut!
10. Jason Derulo, Talk Dirty
Jason dominated the charts this year with his outrageously sexualized singles Talk Dirty, Wiggle, and most recently Trumpets all of which are included on his Talk Dirty album. Sure, several of the tracks contain nonsensical lyrics, but that is part of the beauty of them. Jason had fun with this album, and there is a nice blend between the raunchier dance tracks (Wiggle) and the more emotional R&B jams (Marry Me). Jason teamed up with some fresh new faces such as Jon Bellion on Trumpets, and he played with some fresh new instrumentation including a saxophone on Talk Dirty. Is the album a masterpiece; maybe not, however it still is a nice offering from a familiar face!
9. Broods, Evergreen
Broods is comprised of sister and brother Georgia and Caleb Nott, and the dreamy pop duo released their debut album, Evergreen, this September. There is a dreamy, aural quality to the duo’s music that is refreshing in the face of dramatically overproduced EDM music that has been filling radios in the past few years. Mother & Father is a personal favorite from the pair, as it features them singing about the struggles of moving out on their own in the real world. The album as a whole is a lush listen, so be sure to give it a chance!
Download: Mother & Father
8. Christina Perri, head or heart
Earlier this year I saw Christina Perri live, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only song that I was familiar with was her debut single, Jar of Hearts. The concert was a pleasant surprise, and I greatly enjoyed Christina’s bright vocals and joyful performance style. As an album, head or heart is equally promising. Artistically, Christina Perri covers a lot of ground on the album, and she displays a great deal of maturity on the release. My personal favorite is the soaring human, a song about accepting our flaws and using them to improve ourselves. The entirety of the album is uplifting and brilliant, a good listen for a darker day.
7. You+Me, Rose Ave.
You+Me is comprised of Alecia Beth Moore (you may know her as P!NK) and Dallas Green, and the duo released their collaborative debut album this year. Moore steps away from her pop-rock roots for a folksier sound on the album, a collection of mid-tempos and ballads about love and the dangers associated with the emotion.
Download: You and Me, Capsized
6. Nick Jonas, Nick Jonas
Boy Bander Nick Jonas reintroduced himself to the pop music scene this year, and he is leaving behind the pristine pop image and sound of his past in favor of a more mature sound on his self-titled album. From lead single Jealous (check out the reworked duet featuring Tinashe HERE) to the hip hop influenced Numb (featuring a verse from Angel Haze), to the soaring duet with Demi Lovato Avalanche, Nick is relishing in his new image. There is a maturity to the release as well as an undercurrent of sexuality to a majority of the tracks.
Download: Jealous, Numb (feat. Angel Haze)
5. Troye Sivan, TRXYE
In the last year I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with Troye Sivan. The South African born and Aussie raised YouTube persona turned musician released his first full length EP, TRXYE, this year, and it is definitely one of the best albums of 2014. TRXYE is a mature offering from the young musician, and it expertly blends a variety of genres into a sound that is wholly Troye Sivan. Whirring synths and a luxurious bass line make up the debut single, Happy Little Pill, and the magic continues throughout the entirety of the compilation. Troye’s release is promising, and I cannot wait for more new music from the artist in the years to come! Follow Troye on YouTube HERE to stay up to date on any possible future releases!
Download: Happy Little Pill
4. Mary Lambert, Heart On My Sleeve (Original Review)
After the success of her feature on Macklemore’s massive Same Love last year, poet and artist Mary Lambert compiled and released her debut album Heart On My Sleeve this year. Mary’s training as a poet is evident on this experimental album, as the lyrics are breathtakingly beautiful and daringly different. Mary Lambert sings of love in a refreshing manner, but she manages to stay true to the promise that she wears her heart on her sleeve. The album is wholly honest and doesn’t shy away from any topic. Mary’s warm voice is uplifting on the spoken word Dear One, eerily dark on the hip hop influenced Ribcage, filled with longing on her cover of Jessie’s Girl, and lusciously inviting on When You Sleep. The album covers a variety of emotions and is a promising first release from an incredibly talented artist.
Download: Ribcage (feat. Angel Haze and K. Flay), Jessie’s Girl, When You Sleep
3. Charli XCX, Sucker (Original Review)
Charli XCX absolutely exploded into superstardom this year with her first solo hit, Boom Clap. Since then, she has gone on to release Sucker a punk-pop masterpiece that is vastly different from everything else in pop music right about now. Sucker boasts a tight production and incredibly expressive lyrics that cover a variety of topics, though the most notable topic is rebelliously breaking the rules. Charli is a modern punk princess on the album as she boasts about her antics, breaks out of school for some dancing, proclaims that it is more than alright to love yourself, and generally runs the world. The album is a mature, experimental offering from Charli, and I fell in love from the first listen. I don’t want to go to school (or work), I just want to listen to Sucker on repeat.
Download: Break the Rules, Doing It, Die Tonight, Caught In The Middle
2. Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint (Original Review)
Nicki’s The Pinkprint was a revolutionary release for the queen of hip hop. Sure, she drops venom on more than a few tracks and pulls some EDM influences for others, but the album is overflowing with deeply personal lyrics that reveal a new side of Nicki Minaj. Nicki does away with her varied, overdramatic personas and instead opts to play one role on the entirety of the album: Herself. The fragile album is a refreshing release from Nicki Minaj, but it does nothing be reiterate that she is the original and the best female rapper in the game.
Download: Feeling Myself (feat. Beyonce), Grand Piano, All Things Go
1. Sia, 1000 Forms of Fear
Sia has become known as one of the most talented songwriters and producers of our generation. Her work has been included on some of pop music’s most prolific artists’ albums including Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Rihanna, and Britney Spears. Since the Aussie native is such a powerhouse behind the scenes, it is easy to forget that she is also an incredibly talented musician with several albums already under her belt. 1000 Forms of Fear was Sia’s first solo release since 2014, and she makes up for lost time with a collection of some of the most powerful music that she has ever written. From the explosive and possibly autobiographical lead single Chandelier, it is evident that Sia isn’t holding anything back. The album is filled with soaring vocals, addictive choruses, and Sia’s distinctive voice that is truly impossible to replicate.
This powerful release is by and far one of the best albums of 2014. Sia’s material is fresh, eerie, quirky, and absolutely amazing.
Download: Chandelier, Free The Animal, Elastic Heart, Straight for the Knife
What were your favorite releases? Let me know in the comments below!