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Music: Best of 2014

  • YOUTUBE.COM
    “Pretty Hurts,” with its winning accompanying music video, tackles the insecurities anyone and everyone feels, and Beyonce’s rising vocals bring Sia’s words to life, including lyrics like “it’s the soul that needs surgery.”
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "Game of Thrones" is the top most discussed TV show on Facebook.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn is the top best-seller.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    "The Lion King" is the top Broadway show with $95.1 million.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the top grossing movie with $332.5 million.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sunday Night Football is the top TV show with 21.5 million viewers.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Frozen
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Katy Perry
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    One Direction
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SONGS

1. "Pretty Hurts," Beyonce: Contemporary music’s top singer and songwriter — Beyonce (pictured) and Sia — join forces to create a song that is heavy, deeply felt, emotional — but most important, beautiful. "Pretty Hurts," with its winning accompanying music video, tackles the insecurities anyone and everyone feels, and Beyonce’s rising vocals bring Sia’s words to life, including lyrics like "it’s the soul that needs surgery." I could cry.

2. "Chandelier," Sia: Being selfish is a good thing: Sia, who has written for Rihanna, Katy Perry and others, decided to keep "Chandelier" for herself, and thankfully so. The upbeat party anthem can get anyone in the right mood.

3. "I’m Not the Only One," Sam Smith: Yes, Sam Smith stole your heart with "Stay with Me," but "I’m Not the Only One" proves he will be around for a long time. His honest delivery, lyrically and vocally, makes him so irresistible it makes you wonder who was so foolish to have broken his heart.

4. "All About That Bass," Meghan Trainor: The year’s most viral and colorful song still sounds good months after its release. "All About That Bass" is addictive and empowering, and it showcases bright newcomer Meghan Trainor, who we think won’t fall into the trap of one-hit-wonder status.

5. "Bailando," Enrique Iglesias featuring Sean Paul, Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno: It doesn’t matter if it’s the Spanish or English version, Enrique Iglesias’ "Bailando" is the track with the year’s most swag. I wanna be contigo, and live contigo, and dance contigo!

6."Don’t Tell ‘Em," Jeremih featuring YG: The other song of the year full of swagger is Jeremih’s "Don’t Tell ‘Em," thanks to DJ Mustard’s grungy but digestible production. Call him producer of the year: He also helmed Tinashe’s "2 On," Big Sean’s "I Don’t" and Fergie’s "L.A. Love (La La)," among other favorites.

7. "Take Me to Church," Hozier: Hozier’s humane and emotional lyrics, matched with his commanding voice, make for a bluesy, soulful, indie rock treasure with "Take Me to Church," likely to win the Grammy Award for song of the year.

8."Day Drinking," Little Big Town: "Why don’t we do a little day drinking?" Little Big Town asks — rather sings — on their latest hit. And why not? It would feel even better doing so while listening to this summer anthem, highlighted by the foursome’s awesome harmonies and that guitar solo.

9. "Turn Down for What," DJ Snake and Lil Jon: Do I really need to explain why this is so good?

10. "Blank Space," Taylor Swift: Kudos to Tay Tay for writing a song about the media’s portrayal of her love life — or the multitude of them. It’s creative, smart, funny and cool.

Honorable Mention: "Cool Kids," Echosmith; "Rather Be," Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne; "i," Kendrick Lamar; "Boom Clap," Charli XCX; "Waves," Mr. Probz.

ALBUMS

1. "In the Lonely Hour," Sam Smith: Sam Smith’s album was an emotional roller coaster — a ride you couldn’t get off of even if you tried. The songs, anchored by his piercing voice, had the power to make you cry, smile, shiver and even dance. Tracks like the radio hit "Stay With Me" and "Leave Your Lover" are intense and emotional, making for an honest, beautiful album that soothes the soul. There can only be only reply when he sings, "Oh, won’t you stay with me?" That would be a resounding, "Yes."

2. "2014 Forest Hills Drive," J. Cole: The insanely talented rapper captures so much on his third album, tackling various topics from losing his virginity to growing up in Fayetteville, N.C., to contemporary rappers, who should take note. His rhymes are smart, and he is a powerful storyteller who, at times, echoes rap king Nas.

3. "LP1," FKA twigs: FKA twigs’ ethereal and eerie album is heavenly. The English singer’s soft vocals layered over weird beats make this 10-track set a must-listen, thanks to addictive tracks like "Two Weeks," "Numbers" and "Lights On."

4."Sucker," Charli XCX: Let’s boom clap for Charli XCX and her top-notch album, "Sucker." The mix of rock and pop songs are confident and catchy, and prove that although Charli XCX was the side chick on songs like Iggy Azalea’s "Fancy" and Icona Pop’s "I Love It," she’s the real leading lady.

5. "Aquarius," Tinashe: Tinashe, who is also part of the alternative R&B movement, delivered an album that moved the needle this year. Though she had a huge hit with the addictive "2 On," the singer proves she’s much more than a one-hit wonder on "Aquarius." Her whispery vocals glide over the song’s beats so nicely you’ll constantly hit repeat. "Just Like Vegas" is only one of the many standouts.

6. "Evergreen," Broods: The parents of brother-and-sister duo Broods should be proud. The New Zealand group’s album, "Evergreen," is a winner, with instrumentalist Caleb Nott shining on the eclectic, alternative production, giving Georgia Nott a platform to showcase her calming vocals, especially on "Killing You" and "Mother & Father."

7. "My Everything," Ariana Grande: Ariana Grande has already launched four Top 10 hits from her second album, but there’s so much more that bangs beyond "Bang Bang" on "My Everything." The powerful vocalist nails it with a cool blend of R&B and pop songs that’s almost as good as her revering 2013 debut.

8. "Montevallo," Sam Hunt: Props to singer-songwriter Sam Hunt for blending country music with elements of R&B, electronica and hip-hop. It might sound wild, but it works on his debut album, mainly thanks to Hunt’s swagger and sexy sing-talk vocal delivery. Smith isn’t the only Sam stealing hearts.

9."Do It Again," Robyn and Royksopp: Swedish singer Robyn and Norwegian duo Royksopp’s five-song dance EP is oh so good, and a tease. Full album please?

10."1000 Forms of Fear," Sia: From "Chandelier" to "Elastic Heart" to "Eye of the Needle," Sia’s latest album is just another laudable effort in her rich catalog, which is worth exploring if you’ve just discovered the gem this year.

TOP 10 TOURS
(In millions of dollars; total gross)

1. One Direction, $290.2
2. Justin Timberlake, $203.8
3. Rolling Stones, $143.4
4. Eagles, $127.9
5. Katy Perry, $108.1
6. Paul McCartney, $107.2
7. Bruno Mars, $96.6
8. Beyonce and Jay Z, $96.0
9. Lady Gaga, $80.7
10. Michael Buble, $74.2

Source: Billboard

10 MOST WATCHED MUSIC VIDEOS
(In millions of views)

1. Katy Perry featuring Juicy J, "Dark Horse," 717.3
2. Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno & Gente De Zona, "Bailando," 589.6
3. Shakira featuring Rihanna, "Can’t Remember to Forget You," 443.5
4. Shakira, "La La La," 419.1
5. Jason Derulo featuring Snoop Dogg, "Wiggle," 401.4
6. Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, "Fancy," 388.0
7. Sia, "Chandelier," 371.2
8. Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass," 365.3
9. Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off," 359.0
10. Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda," 327.8

Source: YouTube

10 BIGGEST-SELLING ALBUMS

1. Various artists, "Frozen" soundtrack
2. Beyonce, "Beyonce"
3. Taylor Swift, "1989"
4. One Direction, "Midnight Memories"
5. Eminem, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2"
6. Lorde, "Pure Heroine"
7. Luke Bryan, "Crash My Party"
8. Katy Perry, "Prism"
9. Garth Brooks, "Blame It on All My Roots"
10. Florida Georgia Line, "Here’s to the Good Times"

Source: Billboard

TOP 10 TV SHOWS
(In millions of viewers)

1. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 21.5
2. "The Big Bang Theory,"•CBS, 20.0
3. "NCIS," CBS, 19.8
4. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS 16.0
5. "Dancing with the Stars," ABC, 15.2
6. "The Blacklist," NBC, 15.0
7. "The Voice," NBC, 14.6
8. "Person of Interest," CBS, 14.0
9. "The Voice (Results)," NBC, 13.9
10. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 13.7

Source: Nielsen

TOP 10 GROSSING MOVIES
(North America, in millions, as of Dec. 14)

1. "Guardians of the Galaxy," $332.5
2. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1," $276.9
3. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," $259.8
4. "The Lego Movie," $257.8
5. "Transformers: Age of Extinction," $245.4
6. "Maleficent," $241.4
7. "X-Men: Days of Future Past," $233.9
8. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," $208.5
9. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," $202.9
10. "Godzilla," $200.7

TOP 10 BROADWAY SHOWS
(in millions, as of Dec. 14)

1. "The Lion King," $95.1
2. "Wicked," "The Book of Mormon," $82.7
4. "Kinky Boots," $65.9
5. "Aladdin," $55.5
6. "Beautiful," $55.3
7. "Motown the Musical," $52.3
8. "Matilda," $52.2
9. "The Phantom of the Opera," $46.4
10. "Jersey Boys," $39.1

Source: The Broadway League

TOP 10 BEST-SELLERS

1. "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn (Broadway)
2. "Orphan Train," by Christina Baker Kline (William Morrow)
3. "Gray Mountain," by John Grisham (Doubleday)
4. "The Goldfinch," by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)
5. "Gone Girl" (movie tie-in trade paperback), by Gillian Flynn (Broadway)
6. "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee (Grand Central)
7. "Gone Girl" (move tie-in mass market paperback), by Gillian Flynn (Broadway)
8. "Sycamore Row," by John Grisham (Dell)
9. "Inferno," by Dan Brown (Anchor)
10. "The Invention of Wings," by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)

Source: Nielsen Bookscan

10 MOST DISCUSSED TV SHOWS ON FACEBOOK

1. "Game of Thrones"
2. "Orange Is the New Black"
3. "The Walking Dead"
4. "The Big Bang Theory"
5. "Downton Abbey"
6. "American Horror Story"
7. "Sons of Anarchy"
8. "True Detective"
9. "How I Met Your Mother"
10. "Scandal"

Mesfin Fekadu, Associated Press

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