By: Allison Wisyanski ~Arts & Entertainment Editor~
Taylor Swift – “1989”
Swift has yet again impressed us with her upbeat songs and strong, confident vocals. The album is diversified throughout with different song paces, such as the fast tunes “How You Get the Girl” and “Shake It Off ” and the slower “This Love” and “Clean.” Swift impressed listeners with the focus and density of her voice. She successfully transitioned herself completely into the pop genre with this album. Her album made it to the number one spot on Billboard’s top 10 albums of 2014, and earned the largest sales week, selling 1.287 million copies.
Sam Smith – “In the Lonely Hour”
With his effortless vocals, Sam Smith lures listeners in with his brilliantly written songs about love and heartache. This album features his hit singles “Not the Only One” and “Stay With Me,” capturing his emotions and hooking listeners with his angelic voice.
Sam Hunt – “Montevallo”
Hunt released an energetic country album with pop influences evident on some of the tracks, such as “Single for the Summer.” Although Hunt moves past the traditional country sound with “Montevallo,” his smooth sing-talk draws listeners in and keeps them wanting even more of his music. “Montevallo” erases the border between pop, R&B and modern country. With hits like “Take Your Time” and “Leave the Night On,” it is no wonder Hunt became the first country singer in over 20 years to hit Number 1 on three genre charts simultaneously.
Lana Del Rey – “Ultraviolence”
Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Lana Del Rey brings her indie-noir and psychedelic- pop anthems to the music scene with this album. “Ultraviolence,” wraps seduction, sexiness and melancholy into one cohesive album. Del Rey covers angst, desire and sadness in “Old Money” and the title track “Ultraviolence,” closing the album with the single “West Coast,” a deep, musical masterpiece capturing her dream-like voice.
Ed Sheeran – “X”
Sheeran expands his pop scene profile with his acoustic melodies, heart-driven lyrics, and smooth vocals, veering away from the conventions of mainstream pop. He leaps between “Sing,” a Justin Timberlake–inspired track, and “Don’t,” an upbeat, fun soul hymn featuring subtle piano keys.