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R & B

10 Must Hear ‘Traditional’ Christmas Carols

December 15th, 2014 7:41pm EST
10 Must Hear ‘Traditional’ Christmas Carols
It’s not called “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing! With the holiday season ago – the hustle and bustle – what better to enjoy the season than some must-hear traditional carols? Sure, not every musician sticks to the formula on this list (cough* Justin Bieber), but regardless, all ten performances are definitely ‘something’ if nothing else.

1) Pentatonix featuring Tori Kelly, “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy” (That's Christmas To Me, 2014)

Call this a two-for-one, and who doesn’t like a two-for-one? Pentatonix slaughter (in a good way) this rendition of “Winter W...
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Early Grammy Predictions: Who Will Win?

December 14th, 2014 11:00am EST
Early Grammy Predictions: Who Wins Album, Record And Song Of The
Now that the burning questions have been answered – those Grammy nominations of course – more burning questions loom on the horizon. What are these questions? Well, it’s who wins album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, and best new artist. Sure, there are plenty of categories within the Grammys, but none are more coveted and hyped than the ‘big four.’ Here are early prediction for album, record, and song of the year, as well as best new artist.

Album of the Year:

Nominees: Morning Phase, Beck; Beyoncé, Beyoncé; X, Ed Sheeran; In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith; Girl, P...
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Taylor Swift Still Tops On Billboard

December 11th, 2014 10:59am EST
Taylor Swift
The Billboard 200 may be completely revamped, but Taylor Swift’s constant stay atop the chart regardless of changes is unsurprising. After three consecutive weeks, a week in the runner-up slot, and last week’s return to the top, Swift now sits at five weeks at #1. Baller status – yep, definitely – she’s a playmaker. Overall, including overall “consumption” to quote the new chart language, Swift’s impact was 274,000. Again, only a portion of that were sales, specifically 230,000 copies. Regardless of technicalities, Swift rules.

But enough about Taylor, what about the newbies to th...
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J. Cole Leads Albums to Check Out: This Week In Music

December 10th, 2014 8:00am EST
J. Cole performs at Made In America concert in Philadelphia Phil
Who has dominated the fall (musically)? Taylor Swift has dominated the fall. While her dominance continues onward towards Christmas, the week of December 9 does have some notable new efforts dropping. The biggest album to watch is one few know little about – J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Can Cole put some pressure on Taylor Swift? It’s possible as he put some pressure on Kanye West in 2013. Cole does indeed lead albums to check out this week, which also includes Carrie Underwood’s greatest hits compilation.

1) J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Columbia)

J. Cole gives rap fans ...
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57th Grammy Awards Nominations: Reactions, Snubs and Surprises

December 8th, 2014 2:13pm EST
Reactions To The 57th Annual Grammy Awards Nominations
Think of the Grammys as a musician’s Super Bowl – it’s kind of a big deal. On Friday, December 5, the 57th Annual Grammy Awards nominees were revealed to the world. After much speculation, here’s some thoughts on some of the bigger nominations. These aren’t predictions – just thoughts on deservingness, snubs, and surprises.

Record of the Year:

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX

“Chandelier,” Sia

“Stay With Me,” Sam Smith

“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift

“All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor

Ultimately, the nominations for record of the year are solid. Snubbed is Pharrell Wi...
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2014's Biggest Breakthrough Musicians

December 7th, 2014 11:00am EST
Biggest Breakthrough Musicians Of 2014
Some succeed and some don’t. It’s a very simplistic statement, but a true one that’s applicable to any number of things. In the case of musicians in 2014, whether it’s fair or not, some crashed and burned, while others excelled. Excelling doesn’t mean that the respective musician sold a lot of albums (few did), but it does mean these artists established their brand, making a name for themselves. Here are the biggest breakthrough musicians of 2014.

1) Iggy Azalea

Don’t we all wish we could’ve had as “Fancy” a year as Iggy? Nicki Minaj can throw all the shade she wants, but one fem...
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Taylor Swift Rules The ‘New’ Billboard 200

December 4th, 2014 12:11pm EST
Taylor Swift
Out with the old and in with the new. The Billboard 200 has changed its charting formula that doesn’t just solely include albums sales, but also streaming and digital tracks. It’s definitely a contrast, but also makes complete sense given the current music climate. The days where it just comes down to album sales and nothing more are simply done – look at albums sales in 2014 alone. Still, the good old Nielsen Soundscan tabulates the sales via the Top Album Sales Chart.

But enough technicalities – time to jump right into the Billboard 200 – new or old. The holder of the number one sp...
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Will You Like Mary J. Blige's New Album 'The London Sessions'?

December 3rd, 2014 2:18pm EST
Mary J. Blige Keeps On Shining On 'The London Sessions'
Sometimes changing things up can be a terrific thing. Other times, change is a pain in the butt. For veteran R&B diva Mary J. Blige – best known as the “Queen of hip-hop soul” – change works out splendidly overall on her latest studio album, The London Sessions. Tapping out some of the best talent in London, England, Mary J. Blige reaps the benefits of expanding her musical palette beyond the tried and true.

The London Sessions opens in electrifying fashion with the funky, upbeat “Therapy,” a stark contrast from Blige’s previous work. Focusing her vocals in her surprisingly powerfu...
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Mary J. Blige Leads Albums To Check Out: This Week in Music

December 2nd, 2014 9:56am EST
Mary J. Blige
Back in 2005, one of the holiday season’s smartest album releases was Mary J. Blige’s The Breakthrough. The Breakthrough is considered to be one of the preeminent R&B albums of 00s, no questions asked. Besides its savvy R&B IQ, why was the release so smart? The reason is because it ended up selling 727,000 copies to debut commandingly at #1. Blige has never surpassed or matched those numbers again, but one has to think that she’s a frontrunner among new releases this week with The London Sessions.

1) Mary J. Blige, The London Sessions (Capitol)

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J....
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One Direction Score Fourth Number One Album With ‘Four’

November 27th, 2014 9:03am EST
One Direction Score Fourth Number One Album With ‘Four’: This We
'Tis the season where album sales are elevated and the music industry breathes a sigh of relief – until the deadness of January that is. While there have been few victory laps (besides Taylor Swift’s 1989), the numbers are stronger than earlier in 2014. That said, reliable chart-topper One Direction scored a fourth number one album with Four. Although 1D got it done, there is a ‘but’ to the scenario.

Four landed at a familiar spot for 1D, but did so in somewhat underwhelming fashion. Sure the 387,000 copies the British-Irish boy band moved is exceptional, but falls below both prognostic...
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