Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a holiday in America where we celebrate people getting fat before pillaging all the natural resources of the continent. But onto lighter and more pressing topics, it is a day to give thanks for all the amazing things to happen throughout the year. Good thing for you, most of those reasons happen to be music related! So here are 9 reasons why 2014 has been an amazing year in music, plus something extra to get excited for in 2015.
1. The 90's House Revival
While Disclosure and Duke Dumont had set the tone of this movement back in 2013, 90's house finally came back in full force during 2014. As we all know, the EDM movement has pretty much died out and house music was a great place to go to next. No other popstar embodies this amazing concept better than Kiesza. Since the very beginning, she set out to get people moving while setting an atmosphere of nightlife and mystery: pretty much the definition of what everyone needed in 2014. And she dances! What a woman. Up and coming pop artists like MNEK and Moko have followed suit in creating their own twist on this genre while Clean Bandit have managed to cross the shore and make this revival noticeable on the charts. While it may get tiresome by 2017, until then, we can rest assured that our local nightclubs will have us grooving to some deep house for a while.
2. Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" Music Video
Taylor Swift becoming a true bonafide popstar is reason enough to be grateful for this year (thank you Max Martin for showing her the light). 1989 is most likely going to end up album of the year even though I haven't heard it yet (getting it for Christmas though!). That's how much Taylor has owned 2014. But nothing compares to the music video for "Blank Space." Though it isn't the best song off the album, it pretty much sums up Taylor Swift in a catchy pop song. But the video! A hot man, seduction, cute playing around in a lavish mansion, animals in random places, Taylor literally going insane. IT HAS EVERYTHING. It mixes the anger of "Since You Been Gone" with the novelty of "Bad Romance" and yet, in 50 years, will remain a classic. I thought "Fancy" was going to end up as video of the year, Taylor blew us all away with this masterpiece. I dedicate the apple pie at dinner to you Tay Tay!
3. People Recognizing Terrible Music
While America has a ways to go in terms of understanding the difference between "good" and "shit" music, we have come to a point where legacies don't have such a hold on popular music. The most obvious case I can think of at the moment is Eminem, a homophobic, misogynistic waste of space in this industry we call music. Even though everyone went a little insane over that "Guts Over Fear" song, it is understandable as Sia had a part in it. However, from the new lyrics involving beating up Lana Del Rey and raping Iggy Azalea, the public at large is finally starting to see just how terrible he is and hopefully, his hold on rap can move to someone better deserving of his status aka Nicki Minaj. Furthermore, Robin Thicke, Mariah Carey, and Jennifer Lopez all had pretty bad albums this year AND the fans noticed too! This isn't meant to insult these artists, but rather encourage them to step up their game to deliver some legendary hits we know they can make. Good luck for the future you guys!
4. People Recognizing Amazing Music
In more positive news, 2014 has been the year I have been most proud to be an American pop fan! Seriously, so much good music has entered the charts this year and gone on to give immensely talented artists the recognition they deserve. From international dance groups to some of my favorite popstars, it was hard for me to find a time when the Top 10 didn't impress me. The following are some highlights of the past year that actually did pretty well on Billboard:
1. Ella Henderson - Ghost
Peak Chart Position: #75
Did It Deserve To Get Higher: Yes, very much so. But considering it just cracked the iTunes top 10 and Ella is still making the promo rounds, it's only a matter of time.
2. Sia - Chandelier
Peak Chart Position: #8
Did It Deserve To Get Higher: Yes, at least #1 for a week. Sia has been writing hits for the past 3 years and it was nice seeing her first single in a while do so well in America. Not to mention her album campaign has been PURE GENIUS and "Chandelier" will definitely be on the Best of 2014 list.
3. Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne - Rather Be
Peak Chart Position: #10
Did It Deserve To Get Higher: Maybe #5, but not more than that. Probably the biggest dance song of the year, AND it includes violins. Well done Clean Bandit.
4. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - Fancy
Peak Chart Position: #1 (all summer)
Did It Deserve To Get Higher: No, this did sufficiently well. Iggy may have become way more commercial, but unlike all the idiotic haters on the Internet, that has been a good thing. Stay Fancy hon.
5. Tove Lo - Habits (Stay High)
Peak Chart Position: #3
Did It Deserve To Get Higher: Very much so. Wouldn't it have been amazing if 2014 closed with Tove Lo #1 in the US? It would be a Q4 miracle. Tove is definitely the best singer-songwriter in Sweden and is probably my favorite new act of 2014, even if Habits did come out A YEAR AND A HALF AGO! But I'm ahead of my time, what else is new?
6. Charli XCX - Boom Clap
Peak Chart Position: #8
Did It Deserve To Get Higher. DEAR GOD YAAAAAASSSSSS. The only way 2014 could have been perfect is if Tove, Taylor, and Charli passed the #1 spot to each other for at least 75% of the year.
5. Azealia Banks Released Her Album
SHE FINALLY FUCKING DID IT! Azealia Banks, full time Twitter beefer, part-time rapper, and occasional Illuminati aficionado, pulled a partial Beyonce & released her 2 and a half year delayed debut album Broke With Expensive Taste this past month! The release itself is a cause for celebration, forget the music. BUT WAIT, the music is actually really amazing too! I had thought that Azealia would be the person to have the best album of 2012 and if she had released this back then, it probably would have. But thanks to our little Ms. Banks, you can add the freshest most innovative rap album of the millennium to your collection.
6. One Direction Released A Good Album
It is a known fact that girl bands > boy bands. And having never been a huge One Direction, I wrote off this album as a sad ending before breaking up. However, I listened to it recently and here is my conclusion: it is very good.
7. Fleur East On The X Factor
The X Factor have made a wonderful return to form thanks in large part to Cheryl and Mel B acting as proper judges. Also, the singers have been pretty good as well, regardless of what Stevi Ritchie has made you think. Since the beginning, there were only two acts that could have become true sensations after the competition and one of them has already been eliminated (Only The Young for those who don't know). Thankfully, the one true popstar is still in the competition and her name is Fleur East. From the very beginning, Fleur embodied what music should be all about: style, choreography, diva-isms, signature look, iconic song choices, and most of all, a multi-talented vocalist that knows who she is. JUST LOOK AT THE ABOVE PERFORMANCE! If Fleur doesn't win the X Factor, we should all just give up and go home but hopefully, 2014 will bring the best winner of the show since the days of Leona Lewis and Joe McElderry.
8. Lorde's Hunger Games Soundtrack
Thank the Lorde! Movie soundtracks often contain one good song and a bunch of crap, as "Boom Clap" clearly demonstrated. However, in the hands of a true popstar and lover of music, they can actually be amazing collections that not only convey the themes of a film, but also sound like individual hits in their own right. Lorde's contributions are great themselves but roping in the likes of Stromae, HAIM, Ariana Grande, Major Lazer, Kanye West, CHVRCHES, Tinashe, XOV, Tove Lo, Charli XCX, and GRACE JONES? Simply legendary.
9. NONSTOP ON TOP POP WAS STARTED
2014 has been a wild ride but the highs this year have severely outweighed the lows. Starting this blog has been one of the highlights of the year. It's gonna get a little sentimental but music has been one of those things that has saved my life time and time again by being my friend, supporter, confidante, and first real love. From hugging my favorite singer to speaking with dear friend to the blog YYZ, I am so happy to be able to give back to the industry that has given me so much. So let me just say that 2014 has been a blast and 2015 can only get better. Happy (day after) Thanksgiving!