Best Music of 2014
|Meghan Trainor in "All About That Bass"|
Specifically, his song 'Stay With Me' was nominated for Record of the Year. The four other tracks nominated are 'Fancy' by Iggy Azalea, 'Chandelier' by Sia, 'Shake It Off' by Taylor Swift and 'All About That Bass' by Meghan Trainor.
Iggy Azalea has a nomination for Best New Artist too. The 24-year-old Australian does hip hop music in EDM form. Her music is even record-breaking. She's the fourth, solo, female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100. She also ties The Beatles when she achieved having a #1 and #2 song simultaneously on the charts.
Sia who is also Australian is mostly a songwriter for bigger acts like Christina Aguilera, Eminem, David Guetta, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and Celine Dion. Having worked for so many artists might garner her a lot of votes at the Grammys.
Taylor Swift has crossed over from country music to pop music, which also will help garner her more votes. What also helps is the fact that other than the soundtrack for Frozen, Swift has the best-selling album of 2014. At age 25, her album 1989 is her third album to sell a million or more in one week.
I didn't think I would encounter a more addictive track than Swift's 'Shake It Off,' but the Grammy nominations have enlightened me to the likes of Meghan Trainor. Her 'All About That Bass' is one that is endlessly playable. It's the cleaner, whiter version of Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda,' only slightly less controversial.
Along with Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith, the other nominees for Best New Artist are the four-piece, English rock band Bastille, country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark who was on my Best Music of 2013 list and California pop-rock band Haim who was also on my Best Music of 2013 list.
Brandy Clark is also up for Best Country Album for her 12 Stories. Clark is particularly interesting because she's lesbian and she joins a growing list of gay singers in country music, including Steve Grand, Steve McAnally and Chely Wright.
Notably, two male country artists, Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman, both came out as gay on the same day, November 20, 2014, one inspired by the other. In other LGBT news though, Arcade Fire was nominated for Best Music Video for 'We Exist.' The video stars the new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, as a transgendered woman.
One last category of the Grammys to watch is Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. The nominees are Paul Epworth, John Hill, Jay Joyce, Greg Kurstin and Max Martin.
Epworth won the Oscar for his song 'Skyfall,' from the James Bond film of the same name. Hill does a lot in pop and hip-hop. Joyce does a lot in rock and country music. Kurstin works a lot with Sia and Lily Allen. He's even nominated for a Golden Globe for his song 'Opportunity' from the film Annie (2014).
However, Martin is 43 and from Sweden. He has the interesting distinction of writing 19 songs that have all gone to #1. That's more than any other songwriter, except Paul McCartney with 32 and John Lennon with 26. Max Martin started in 1999 with Britney Spears' 'Baby One More Time' and he's here in 2014 with Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off.' Given that track and given he's never won a Grammy, he seemingly deserves one.
Aside from the late-year release Black Messiah by D'Angelo, his first album in 14 years, the critics seem to think Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs, a Philadelphia rock band, is the best album of the year. It's followed by St. Vincent by St. Vincent, Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels and LP1 by FKA Twigs, which all got high scores and high-rankings on Top Ten lists, according to Metacritic.
|Bry'Nt in the video for "Explain"|
Instead of just spitting rhymes, which any rapper can do, Bry'Nt actually tells a story. His vocals at times remind me of Ray J but his style is all his own, and if 'Explain' is a great song, it's so for the line that Bry'Nt says so bluntly, "Prince Charming's a fairy tale, perfect niggas just don't exist."
Each selection on my Best Music list is an album released within the calendar year. Each album is listed only if I liked the majority of the songs. At the end are singles from albums that either weren't released this year like Bry'Nt's or didn't contain a majority of songs that I loved. My absolute favorite song of the year has to be 'Ring the Bell' by White Hinterland. It was a song that felt so primal and so powerful that it actually made me tear up.
Okay! Here is the list of 2014. Hope you enjoy!
Best Folk / Country
PLATINUM by Miranda Lambert
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE ETERNAL SUN by Damien Jurado
SUPERNOVA by Ray LaMontagne
X by Ed Sheeran
HOZIER by Hozier
Best Rock / Alternative
THEY WANT MY SOUL by Spoon
BENJAMIN BOOKER by Benjamin Booker
MANIPULATOR by Ty Segall
GIST IS by Adult Jazz
THIS IS ALL YOURS by alt-J
GREETINGS FROM CALIFORNIA by The Madden Brothers
BLUE FILM by Lo-Fang
LISTEN by The Kooks
SUPER CRITICAL by The Ting Tings
Best Pop / Electronic
ST. VINCENT by St. Vincent
CAUSTIC LOVE by Paolo Nutini
THE INEVITABLE END by Röyksopp
THE GOLDEN ECHO by Kimbra
ANIMAL HEART by Nina Persson
NICK JONAS (DELUXE) by Nick Jonas
HEART ON MY SLEEVE by Mary Lambert
FOUR by One Direction
WE LOVED HER DEARLY by Lowell
Best R&B / Soul
FOOD by Kelis
THE LONDON SESSIONS by Mary J. Blige
GIRL by Pharrell Williams
ME. I AM MARIAH... THE ELUSIVE CHANTEUS by Mariah Carey
IN THE LONELY HOUR by Sam Smith
A PERFECT CONTRADICTION by Paloma Faith
MEAN LOVE by Sinkane
TOUGH LOVE (DELUXE) by Jessie Ware
JHUD by Jennifer Hudson
MUSIC SPEAKS by Candice Glover
Best Rap / Hip Hop
NOBODY'S SMILING by Common
JUST BE FREE by Big Freedia
GRAVITAS by Talib Kweli
DARK COMEDY by Open Mike Eagle
P.T.S.D. by Pharoahe Monch
2014 FOREST HILLS DRIVE by J. Cole
Best Singles from Non-Listed Albums
"Ring the Bell" by White Hinterland
"All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor
"Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift
"Forever Don't Last" by Jazmine Sullivan
"Bang Bang" by Jessie J f/ Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
"Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson from Xscape
"Heart on Fire" by Clean Bandit f/ Elisabeth Troy
"Heart's on Fire" by Passenger (Michael David Rosenberg)
"Explain" by Bry'Nt
"Since Last Wednesday" by Highasakit
"Try to Make a Fire Burn Again" by Dawn Landes
"Sing Along" by Robert Ellis
"(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" (2011) by Cee Lo Green
"Step Out" (2013) by Jose Gonzales
"A Better Tomorrow" (2014) by Wu-Tang Clan f/Tekitha
"Cross My Mind" by Twin Forks
"Dreaming" by Imelda May [ukelele cover of Blondie song]
"Feels So Good" by Kylie Minogue
"Tremors" by Sohn
"Lost Stars" by Adam Levine
"Trouble in Utopia" by Wunder Wunder
"Thank You" by Jennifer Nettles
"Wake Me Up" by Aloe Blacc
"Gold" by Chet Faker
"Cycle Song" by Imogen Heap