Album sales have dropped precipitously in the last few years, but the format isn’t dead yet, at least when our biggest stars like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake are concerned. But what about a stretch when most of those stars don’t release an album? In a year when Billboard replaced the album with “album equivalent units,” the biggest storyline in pop music was the absence of albums from the likes of Rihanna, Adele, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne. Think back to the buzziest pop moments of the year, and most of them were entirely separate from the album cycle: the “7/11″ video, the Shmoney Dance. Hell, Drake dominated his genre by releasing a few loosies and features.
With this changing role of the LP, the EP has seen a boost in relevance. Once the realm of half-formed ideas, album session scraps, and stopgap material for diehards, the EP is more important than ever as a statement of artistic purpose. For acts fighting to reach that top tier, the EP can help refine an aesthetic or identity, while labels can invest in a viral star and test the waters with an EP instead of rushing to production on a full-length flop for a Kreayshawn scenario.
So big-picture, it may have been a down year for pop, but at the increasingly vibrant EP level, some stellar things happened. Here’s our list of our 14 favorite EPs from 2014. More »
In early November, we asked Idolator readers to vote for their favorite albums from the first half of 2014, and followed that up two weeks ago with a poll featuring LPs released between July and December. And now the results are in, the numbers have been tallied and we’re presenting you with the 10 Best Albums Of 2014, as chosen by you!
Altogether, nearly 74,000 votes were cast for the 40 albums included on both polls, with each album within the Top 10 racking up at least 1,000 of those votes a piece. Two of the albums represented below even wound up on our own 10 Best Albums Of 2014 list, as chosen by the Idolator editors.
Head below to see the results for which 10 albums were voted by you as the best of the best this year! More »
When it comes to one-hit wonder lists, industry critics mainly focus on hip-hop, pop or country hits from the ’80s and ’90s. But what about the true underdogs — the European techno artists? Well today (December 16), that is all going to change! We at Idolator are shaking things up a bit, as we look back at some of the best (and most underrated) euro-dance one-hit wonders from the 2000s.
Save for one exception, the criteria was simple: the artist had to be from a European or British country, and their single had to have cracked the Top 40 of Billboard Hot 100. So throw on some neon glitter, crack open your glowsticks and dance along to our picks after the jump! More »
Truly great albums were hard to come by in 2014, but the land of pop music was flooded with amazing singles over the past 12 months. In fact, we had a field day re-visiting the sounds of this year in order to compile this list, which you’ll find is filled with everything from synthed-up R&B jams to housey club cuts to twangy guitar pop to sassy rap joints.
So let’s just hop to it. Below you’ll find Idolator’s roundup of the 20 Best Pop Singles Of 2014. (Also, if you didn’t already check out our list of the Best Albums Of 2014, it serves as a nice companion piece!) We’ve even thrown in a handy Spotify playlist featuring each track — well, except for the Beyonce one, which we had to substitute with a dodgy, generic “as made famous by” cover version. Enjoy! More »
With 2014 coming to an end, social media networks are taking a look back at the biggest moments in pop culture over the past year, including Spotify and YouTube. (Did you watch the YouTube Rewind yet?)
And today, Twitter’s giving us the lowdown on the highest numbers.
According to new data released by the social network, it’s a great, big Belieber world: Justin Bieber was the most tweeted-about artist of 2014, followed by One Direction‘s Niall, Harry and Liam. (Sorry, Zayn!)
And it’s probably a wise move on the NFL’s part to have Prism princess Katy Perry as their Super Bowl half time show act, because she had the highest growth in followers (13 million!) this year, followed closely by the Biebs and Miss Taylor Swift.
To no one’s surprise, when it comes to stans, Bieber’s wildly loyal fanbase (the Beliebers) also took the crown as the most talked about fan base on Twitter, followed by 1D’s Directioners and, somewhat more surprisingly, Kesha‘s Animals.
Were you one of the ones tweeting or following Katy, 1D and Justin this year? Check out the full lists below via Variety, and sound off about the stats in the comments below. More »
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Okay, scratch that, because no one is ever going to declare that 2014 was a bang-up year as far as pop music is concerned.
Sure, there were some big releases over the past 12 months. But nothing, save for maybe Taylor Swift‘s 1989, felt like a real moment. Oh, by the way, sorry Swifties — didn’t mean to get your hopes up just now. 1989 didn’t make the cut for our own Best Albums roundup.
What you will find are 10 albums that Idolator’s editors selected from artists who make up both pop’s new crop of talent and well-seasoned veterans. Our tastes proved to be eclectic this year: R&B, house, pop, rock, electro and soul are all represented here, underscoring the fact that while Beyonce and Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry and Rihanna skipped 2014 as far as releasing new LPs goes, there were still some great sounds worth hearing.
So let’s get to them… More »
Synth-pop has never really gone away since breaking into the mainstream with a little help from Gary Numan and MTV in the ‘80s, but the genre has certainly fallen in and out of favor since then.
As luck would have it, we’ve been riding high on a synth spike for about 10 years now, with things really exploding in the late aughts as Passion Pit, La Roux, chillwave, and Lady Gaga helped spark a renewed interest the sounds of noodly keyboards and syrupy hooks.
Modern triumphs for the genre continued to pile up, and soon enough M83’s “Midnight City” accompanied a Victoria’s Secret commercial just as Drive’s ‘80s-mimicking space disco soundtrack amassed rave reviews. At the moment, Chvrches carries the torch for the durable category, but just this year dozens of new acts wielding Moogs, Korgs, Casios, and maybe even keytars entered the fray. So we’ve compiled some of our favorites from this new crop to see what could be on the horizon for the genre. Check out these 14 under-the-radar synth-pop acts we fell in love with in 2014. More »
In 2013, top acts like Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry chucked out their most recent pop albums. Given the absence of those heavyweights — and the fact that Rihanna has taken an unusually long break from releasing music — this past year proved to be a window of opportunity through which many new acts jumped.
Yes, 2014 created a sort of vacuum wherein, if you were an artist who had a solid viral-ready video under your belt, a rabid, established following on YouTube, an inclination for ’90s house music or a connection with, say, Justin Bieber‘s manager, you could mark your territory on the pop landscape — much like the 21 artists we’ve highlighted above did! More »
Wait…what? It’s December already? Guess we should get the rest of this thing going, then.
Last month we presented you with the first part of Idolator’s reader’s poll on the best albums of 2014 — one where we had you vote on your favorite releases from January through June. Let’s just say that Michael Jackson‘s fans were present and counted for with that one, as were the members of Mariah Carey‘s Lambily.
Now it’s time for part two, where you have free reign to help determine which LPs released between July and December are the best. There are plenty to choose from, so let’s just get to it below, shall we? As usual, when all is said and done, we’ll tally up the results from both polls and sort out what Idolator readers deem to be their 10 favorite records from 2014.
Note: As this is a two-part poll, it’s also a two-part process. Once you vote, we also want you to leave your thoughts in the comments box below on why you chose that particular album. We’ll be reading all of your feedback and including some of it when we post the Best Albums Of 2014 Readers’ Poll results.
So get to voting below, then remember to write out why your fave deserves to be in our year-end roundup of 2014’s best albums! More »
Between Jay Z and Beyonce’s On the Run Tour and the arrival of Taylor Swift’s behemoth pop album 1989, 2014 has had quite a few key music moments. And now it’s that time of year when we try to figure out sort out what to give as holiday presents. So what do you do when your favorite music fan already owns all their favorite albums or has seen more concerts than they can count?
With the end of 2014 around the corner, there are still lots of bits and bobs you can stuff stockings with. For instance, what about getting your friend a book this holiday season? To help you out, we rounded up some of the reads that might have slipped under your radar. Whether you want to read up on some music history or learn more about an iconic musician, these are some books that you might want to grab for your pop-loving best friend or maybe even for yourself. More »