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40 Best Songs of 2014

December 28th, 2014 6:00pm EST
The 40 Best Songs of 2014
As Judge Judy once said, “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.” What does that have to do with a list of the best songs of 2014? Well, little, though the honorable judge’s prudent words can be transformed into relevancy for the music industry: “Album sales fade, but songs continue forever.” In other words, while albums are selling horridly, songs themselves continue to flourish and dominate the music industry.

Limiting a list to just 40 songs is tough, given the number of great songs that characterize 2014. That means there will be omissions – maybe even big-time snubs – stones might be throw...
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CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)

December 22nd, 2014 7:17pm EST
CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)
It’s hard to say anything negative about a compilation album that houses Billy Talent cuts like “Try Honesty,” “Rusted From The Rain” and “Viking Death March,” but by that same token, it’s hard to see the necessity of a greatest hits album after only a handful of studio releases. Regardless, that’s what we have with Billy Talent’s Hits, a collection of the best the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada quartet has to offer. From old school heavy hitters like “Nothing To Lose” and “Red Flag” to more contemporary offerings like “Surprise Surprise” and “Stand Up And Run,” Hits is arguably the best Bill...
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What Were The 25 Best Albums Of 2014?

December 22nd, 2014 11:00am EST
25 Best Albums Of 2014
Another year, another group of albums ranging from awesome to nothing short of horrid – blah! Although sales overall for 2014 have been at times as dreadful as a four-letter word, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some awesome, truly dynamic albums to be found. The motto of 2014 definitely would have to be, “don’t judge an album by its sales.” Some truly terrific albums grace this list of the best albums of 2014.

1) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

On his debut album In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith shared with the world that a star was born – one transcendent of genre and otherwise. ...
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J. Cole Debuts Big On Billboard 200

December 18th, 2014 10:21am EST
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive
For J. Cole, the number one spot is a familiar one. For the third time in his career, J. Cole sits atop the Billboard 200. This time, he earns the largest sales of his career as 2014 Forest Hills Drive sold a robust 354,000 copies. Translated to the Billboard 200’s new formula of ‘units’, J. Cole’s latest impacted 375,000. Even more remarkable about J. Cole’s numbers is the lack of a single to drive album sales – “Apparently” was issued upon the album’s release as a single. Initially, the album was forecasted to sell more than 300,000 copies.

So with the debut of J. Cole, Taylor Swif...
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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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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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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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CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'

December 1st, 2014 7:33pm EST
CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'
An impressive array of profound, heart-on-sleeve showmanship (“Next Stop, Fall City”) mingles with slightly less weighty offerings brimming with precision hooks and captivating melodies (“The Ordinary,” “Dreams Equipped”) throughout Part II, an EP that offers up a lot to like as a mere six-song clip. There’s the Jimmy Eat World meets Something Corporate meets Get Up Kids swagger of the opening single “The Pace Car” and the deliciously not-so-subtle underlay of keys on the subsequent “Summer Song,” not to mention the set closer “All the Salt In the World,” which somehow manages to encapsulat...
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