With each passing year, the music industry delivers a spectacle of sounds, happenings, and sights that bulge from the seams of both the local and international scenes. 2014 has been nothing short of surprising, with new acts, albums, sudden re-appearance of favorite artists, and even boo-boos that make music pleasingly (and sometimes awfully) entertaining this year.
To sum up the best and worst of this year, we’ve rounded up last year’s hit makers in mock award-giving style.
Biggest Local Hurrah of the Year: Eraserheads Releases Two New Songs
Video via EsquirePh
More than a decade after calling it quits, the band that shaped the country’s alternative scene released two new songs through an exclusive Esquire issue for the month of September. Titled “1995” and “Sabado,” these songs made their legion of fans feeling all sorts of euphoric emotions, after the hard acceptance of the band's parting in 2002. The references of the songs’ lyrics on social media sites were abundant, and “buti na lang Sabado bukas,” was the favorite caption for Instagram posts for several weekends after the release.
These tracks, along with a surprise performance, displayed the band’s indelible legacy to the music scene regardless of the age of the listeners.
Hottest Baby Makin’ Music of the Year / Biggest Comeback: D’Angelo Releases “Black Messiah”
After 14 years of taking a break from creating oozing-ly sexy songs, soul icon D’Angelo ended 2014 with a hot and groove-luscious record filled with old school and new school soul and funk tones, making his fans more than elated that he’s back in the scene. Black Messiah instantly became a favorite for the year, with several reviews citing it to be possibly 2014’s best musical resurrection.
Best Packaging: Ariana Grande
Amidst diva rumors, Ariana Grande proved to be one of the biggest stars of the year and it’s not only because of that high ponytail. Her Lolita-esque looks mixed with a jazzy voice gave her the attention that led to the appreciation of her as a whole.
Aside from her own songs, Grande sure knows who to work with in order to put her singing in familiar planes as possible. Case in point: Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” where she also sang, and her track “Problem,” featuring Iggy Azalea.
Speaking of Iggy…
Most “Pleasing-to-the-Eye Rapper”: Iggy Azalea (Also: Best Booty Collab)
The curvy Australian rapper broke out in the mainstream scene with lots of critics, but it didn’t stop her from broadening the genre and bringing it into a whole new market. “Fancy” was one of the biggest hits of 2014, especially with that Clueless-inspired music video.
As of December 2014, Azalea has already won 22 awards for her music, including two American Music Awards. The rapper also sang alongside the original ass-advocate, Jennifer Lopez, with the aptly titled “Booty.” Sadly, some things just don’t really sound as steaming hot as they look.
Breakout Female Award: FKA Twigs
Video via FKA twigs
Though generally labeled under “experimental R&B” or trip hop, the English singer’s whispery, high-pitched voice mixed with a roll of musical atmospheres makes it difficult to put her in a specific genre. Nevertheless, FKA Twigs is both entrancing and talented. The 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist released a critically acclaimed album called LP1 in August and quickly became every alt girl’s new favorite female act.
Breakout Male Award: Chet Faker
It was a big year for indie acts promoting their music on social media, and it paved the way for Aussie artist Chet Faker. Faker broke into the online stage with his rendition of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” in 2013, but it was in 2014 that he was able to release his first record called “Built on Glass” and it received favorable reviews from Metacritic and Pitchfork. Faker could very well be an artist that sprung out from the musical production genius of James Blake, and we’re totally not complaining.
The Foo Fighters and The Smashing Pumpkins both released records in 2014, but Beck’s Morning Phase was the most well-received international rock release of the year, providing the artist’s familiar emotional pull similar to what he did in his 2002 opus, Sea Change.
Other notable indie and alternative releases this year belong to Cibo Matto’s Hotel Valentine, St. Vincent’s self-titled record, and Thom Yorke’s solo sophomore album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. In December, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s comedy record Mandatory Fun, debuted at #1 in Billboard, the first comedy album to hit the top spot in Billboard since 1963's My Son, The Nut by Allan Sherman.
Our advice: Go pick up these gems now!
On January, Daft Punk performed their hit with Pharell, “Get Lucky,” along with “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” and Chic’s “Le Freak.” The funky disco medley got even the most frigid Grammy audience members dancing on their feet. Stevie Wonder was also in on the mix, serving up an electronic-laced live version of his hit, “Another Day” with the French duo. Too bad Stevie couldn’t see those robotic head gears that would have gotten him panning his head harder, better, faster, and stronger (ba-dum-tss).
Best Tribute Performance: Nirvana Gets Female Vocalists for Semi-Reunion Performance
April’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in Brooklyn officially made room for grunge legend Nirvana into its halls. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic recruited Joan Jett and contemporary wonders St. Vincent and Lorde during the induction performance to sing Kurt Cobain’s lyrics. If that wasn’t cool enough, a report says that the living members of the band were once again joined by Lorde in performing “All Apologies” in a hole-in-the-wall bar in Brooklyn after the ceremony (Whoa!).
Best Female Performance: Beyoncé's MTV VMA’s Medley
Those who worship Beyoncé consider this 14-song August performance as the moment that lifted their fandom and devotion into galactic heights. The singer showered her fans with all sorts of emotions, pitch-perfect notes, accurately-timed choreography, and a plump, fishnet-covered booty that jiggled the night away. Queen Bey isn’t the most searched person of 2014 for nothing.
Most Memorable Locally-Held Concerts
2014 saw the arrival of several heavy-hitting international acts to our shores, giving our country the reputation as a live music destination in Southeast Asia. On January, French indie legends Phoenix performed for a packed audience at the World Trade Center. Highly-favored indie acts such as The National, Warpaint, and Mogwai, graced local fans on February.
One of the most memorable performances was laid out by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Clark for the 7107 music festival last February, and it was topped off by Kendrick Lamar’s bass-thumping set in the same event. This year’s Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in March in Puerto Galera festival saw the arrival and musical decadence of Robert Glasper, Jose Gonzales, and Omar, and it paved way for local artists and musicians to exhibit their homegrown talents.
The Lemonheads also gave a stellar performance on December, presenting a nostalgic tinge to local fans while Swedish electro-synth act, Chvrches, brought in aural flavors for the new generation. As for the best local gig? We'd give it to Teeth’s reunion concert in May, which gathered local grunge heads to hear the live version of their penultimate hit, “Prinsesa,” one more time.