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 »
These days, another week just means a further stretch at the top of the Billboard 200 for Taylor Swift‘s 1989. As mentioned before, Billboard has changed its chart methodology for the main album roundup to include official streams as well as sales, so if you need a refresher on how all that works, just go here. Altogether, 1989 racked up another 274 units, which put it well ahead of the 221,000 runner-up That’s Christmas To Me by Pentatonix did.
There isn’t too much else of note this week other than a light flurry of other holiday LPs making their way back into the Top 10 (mainly Idina Menzel‘s Holiday Wishes at #6 and Michael Buble‘s old chestnut Christmas at #7), plus AC/DC debuting at #3 with Rock Or Bust while Mary J. Blige enters with The London Sessions, one of Idolator’s picks for our 10 Best Albums Of 2014 list. 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 »
Ariana Grande and Big Sean stole the show during A Very Grammy Christmas, the CBS TV special that aired December 5. As they likely realized, this performance would be their first as a couple. While rumors of them dating have been flying since August, and past performances together hinted at their romantic status, Grande didn’t confirm their relationship until October.
So when the couple performed My Everything‘s “Best Mistake,” they did so as if they had nothing to hide. Before they met at center stage, they exchanged meaningful glances across the room. Once they did, Grande playfully started pushing him away. Then Ariana and Sean walked off the stage holding hands, to cheers from the crowd.
Grande’s next single is reportedly “Best Mistake,” a business decision that seems exploitative given the featured artists’ dating status. Still, at least their recent public displays of affection feel sincere — from Big Sean, especially.
Watch Ariana Grande and Big Sean perform “Best Mistake” at A Very Grammy Christmas up top, then see snippets of other performances by Pharrell, Maroon 5 and Mary J. Blige below. More »
Pharrell Williams and Ed Sheeran were up bright an early today to make the announcement of the initial nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards on CBS This Morning. And, probably no surprise here — each of them landed nominations in at least one of the five categories announced so far. (The rest of the categories will be revealed throughout the day on Twitter, and we’ll be updating right here, so keep checking back!)
Sheeran’s x is up for Best Pop Vocal Album, where he’ll compete with Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and others. Pharrell’s G I R L is up for Best Urban Contemporary Album, as is Beyonce‘s 2013 self-titled LP (another one Pharrell worked on). As for the biggest award of the night (Album Of The Year), nominees included the “7/11″ singer, Smith, Pharrell, Sheeran and Beck. 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 »
The Recording Academy’s A Very Grammy Christmas special just got even bigger, as Sam Smith has just been added to the lineup! The UK crooner will perform at the one-hour entertainment special, joining the likes of Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Mary J. Blige, Tim McGraw and Maroon 5.
Grande’s segment with Big Sean, along with the other artists, were previously taped on November 18 in Los Angeles, so it’s possible that Smith will perform live. A Very Grammy Christmas is set to air on December 5 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS. That same evening at 10 p.m., the academy plans to announce the 2015 Grammy nominations for Album of the Year. More »
Mary J. Blige stopped by Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night (December 1) as part of her promotion of her 13th LP The London Sessions. The singer effortlessly performed “Therapy” off the album (it is officially out today, by the way!) as The Roots backed her up with their bluesy instrumentals.
The London Sessions fuses ’90s UK house with tender R&B rhythms and features collaborations with Disclosure, Sam Smith, Emeli Sande and more. It includes tracks like “Whole Damn Year,” “Right Now,” “Follow” and “Nobody But You.” It is also available for streaming here. More »
Ever the innovator, Mary J. Blige packed a suitcase and flew to London to record her new LP, the appropriately-titled London Sessions, in just 20 days. While there, she worked with some of the hottest producers and songwriters in the UK including former collaborators Disclosure, the unstoppable Sam Smith (he penned lead single “Therapy”) and “Next To Me” hitmaker Emeli Sande.
Written by the above-mentioned Scottish diva and produced by Naughty Boy, “Whole Damn Year” is one of the rawest cuts on The London Sessions with hard-hitting lyrics about overcoming abuse — both physical and emotional. The gritty, black-and-white video reflects that subject matter. We see footage of Mary J. singing the song intercut with unsettling scenes of domestic violence. Watch up top. More »
Next week sees the release of Mary J. Blige‘s The London Sessions (on December 2), the 13th studio album in the legendary R&B diva’s storied career, and today Idolator is bringing you another look behind the scenes at the making of the LP. This time we’re giving you a glimpse at Blige in the studio in London with fellow singer-songwriter Emeli Sande and her right-hand man, “La La La” songwriter-producer Naughty Boy, as they work on the track “Pick Me Up.”
Like Mary’s electrifying Disclosure collaboration “Right Now” from the album, “Pick Me Up” is one of the project’s more upbeat numbers — so much so that a segment in the video below shows her hitting up the DJ booth at a London club to premiere the track in front of an enthusiastic audience. More »