I don't know if it's just me, but it feels like hardly anything came out this year? That, and the fact that I wasn't paying much attention to alternative albums being released as I usually do. I'll be honest, I haven't really listened to modern music this year. However, I noticed a huge change in mainstream music this year, all for the better. 2014 was an amazing year for pop albums and pop female artists. I admired this year's pop artists like Sam Smith, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift (shamefully, but have you seen the Blank Space video?!), and of course my queen, Beyonce. I can't really call myself a music critic, this year, or at all, but I still would like to share my eight favourite albums, along with my favourite single of 2014.
1. FKA twigs - LP1
I found out about FKA twigs very recently through Tumblr and Dazed and Confused magazine, and was very impressed by her sound, look, and her ability to bring something entirely new to the music industry. Her avant garde sound is hauntingly beautiful, and gives me space-y futuristic vibes. A couple of my favourite songs include "Two Weeks" and Video Girl". FKA twig's sound and her video for "Two Weeks" remind me of the movie "Metropolis", similar to Janelle Monae's interest for it.
2. Jack White - Lazaretto
Before I say anything about the album, Jack White forever has a place in my heart and I will love anything he does, so my opinion on "Lazaretto" may be a tad biased. I love "Lazaretto". I had the chance to see Jack White at X-Fest in Calgary, but did not have the funds at the time, which I will forever deeply regret. I love Jack White's style, and like me, his love for the old. Most of his songs from his solo project have a blues/ old rock and roll influence, which his visual style goes hand in hand with. Similar to how The White Stripes had an all red, black and white colour palette, Jack White as a solo artist, has a blue and black colour palette. This is evident in any of his live performances, or in his music videos, such as "Would You Fight For my Love?", which is featured below.
3. Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint
I find that people either give Nicki Minaj shit or not enough credit. People often criticize her for her ridiculousness or "immodesty". In truth, Nicki Minaj is one of the most successful rappers of our time, and the highest selling female rapper of all time. Nicki is a very smart lady, and knows how to become successful. Her sex appeal and her ridiculousness works in her favour. Nicki Minaj takes a new turn, for her new album "The Pinkprint". Through this album, Nicki has reinvented herself beautifully. Although she is still her sexual, out-of-the-ordinary self, she talks about a number of heartbreaks and losses in her life, that show how mature and serious Nicki can be. She also sounds and looks amazing while doing it.
4. Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste
Another artist who I find doesn't get enough credit is Azealia Banks. I'm sure if it wasn't for her negative attitude, her masterpiece of an album would have been more successful this year. Homophobia and transphobia aside (which is not at all excusable), I think Azealia Banks is a very talented lady and that her album is fantastic. Each song on the album is completely unique, and still manage to flow together incredibly well. Azealia's first hit "212" is featured on the album as well as "Yung Rapunxel". Similar to Prince, Azealia is able to cover a variety of genres and styles in one album and make it sound great. Halfway through the second track, "Gimme a Chance", Azealia breaks into Spanish. Her cover of "Nude Beach a Go-Go" by Ariel Pink, adds a touch of surf rock to this eclectic hip-hop album. If anything, this album is raw and stylish, and I'm glad we waited this long to hear it. Another bonus is that the title of the album is "Broke With Expensive Taste" which I strongly relate to.
5. Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour
Sam Smith is incredible. His album "In The Lonely Hour" is one of my favourite albums of 2014 because of how genuine his words are, and his beautiful voice. I am so glad that we have someone like Sam Smith in popular music this year, and that we have multiple popular LGBT artists in the music industry who strive for equality and aren't afraid to discuss sexuality. "I'm Not The Only One" and "Make It To Me" both speak to me on multiple levels, and I am forever grateful that music like this exists.
6. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
I have loved First Aid Kit since their first EP, and Stay Gold has to be my favourite album of theirs so far. This album is great for road trips in the warmer seasons, when you're decked out in your floppy hat, and sunglasses. This Swedish duo bring happiness to my ears as well as sadness (if you haven't been able to tell already, I really like sad music). First Aid Kit's beautiful boho-inspired melodies and fashions inspire me for the coming seasons.
7. Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
Personally, I think Lana Del Rey is one of the worst people in modern day music, but I absolutely adore her music and writing. "Ultraviolence" has definitely become one of my favourite albums ever along with "Born To Die" and "Paradise". Since I am such the visual person, one of the most important things for me in music is the imagery in the writing. Throughout Lana's career, she has managed to create many different glamorous, sultry, and sad visuals, for me to daydream about. Her images of the 50's, blues singers, sex, heartbreak, fame, Coney Island, the summer, and Lolita give me an endless amount of inspiration, when it comes to my art, what I wear, and continuing to be a bad bitch. In Ultraviolence, Lana explored an even darker and sadder side of her love, sex and life than before. If I had one word to describe Lana Del Rey and Ultraviolence, it would be "bittersweet" or "wellthat'sdepressing".
8. Banks - Goddess
I hadn't heard about Banks until a month ago, and I feel like everyone needs to listen to her as soon as possible. Her album, "Goddess" has definitely gotten me through this rough month. Her songs are beautifully written, somber, and heart-wrenching. Banks has the ability to put my feelings into songs. "Beggin' For Thread", "Under the Table", and "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From", are three of my favourite songs on the album that inspire me and break my heart all at once. Her writing reminds me of Lana's, but I find that Banks is far more talented vocally. I hope to hear more from her in the coming years.
I hope to pay attention to the music scene in 2015 much more closely, and am already anticipating albums coming in the new year. My favourite single of 2014 (with the album dropping in 2015) is definitely "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. Mark Ronson though. He is dreamy. I loved his 2007 album "Version", and am very excited for his new release in 2015. "Uptown Funk" really puts me in a good mood, and makes me want to dance until my legs turn into jelly. I hope listening to this song puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day.