By HANNAH DZIEZANOWSKI
It is a new year, and you know what that means – new music! Who knows what 2015 holds in store for us; the past year was so full of surprises that it will be impossible to predict what may be brewing on the horizon. So, while we wait for the next “Shake It Off” to grace us with its release and subsequent infiltration of our lives, let us take a moment to look back at the music of 2014.
First of all, though it was technically released at the end of 2013, Beyoncé’s fifth and latest studio album Beyoncé took the pop music world by storm by showing up, unannounced and entirely unexpected on iTunes in December. This surprise album promptly climbed to the top of the charts, earning Beyoncé her fifth consecutive number-one album in the U.S., and it notably became the fastest-selling album in the history of the iTunes Store. Therefore, despite her album dropping in 2013, Beyoncé dominated 2014 by not only ruling the radio, but also by just ruling, in general. To illustrate what I mean, last semester, one of my professors attempted to help my class understand an ancient Chinese god by comparing his power to that of Beyoncé’s.
Of course, we also witnessed the emergence of Taylor Swift from her country cocoon last year with the release of her first pop album, 1989 (you can check out my full review of this album on The Hill News online). We knew it was inevitable, but no one predicted her venture into the pop business to be as wildly successful as it has been. Swift was the headliner on New Year’s Eve at Times Square and invited the whole country to shake 2014 off and welcome in the new year – her 1989 tour will begin in May and run through October, so 2015 is likely to be a big Swift year as well.
Now, though Beyoncé and Swift were two of the biggest names of 2014, a handful of other artists returned or rose to the spotlight last year. Ed Sheeran’s second studio album, X, has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, being that of Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year; Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj both dropped huge hits including “Fancy” and “Anaconda,” respectively; and even Nick Jonas made a statement as a solo artist last year with his self-titled album that came out in December (along with his new JT-like image).
However, perhaps the greatest gain we got from 2014 was Sam Smith and his verging-on-Adele’s-“Someone Like You”-hit, “Stay With Me.” After first rising to fame in the UK in 2012, he caught our attention exactly one year ago, and quietly, yet rapidly, rose to stardom in the U.S. He has been nominated for six Grammy Awards.
So, thank you, 2014, and hopefully you have set us up for a great musical year in 2015. Stay tuned for the Grammy Award results next month! Also, if you are not quite ready to move on from 2014 just yet, check out DJ Earworm’s 2014 mashup on YouTube – it features 25 of the year’s top hits, all seamlessly combined into one cohesive song and music video. If I was to convert this article into music, that would be it.
Happy new year, everyone, and happy listening!