Here’s the second chapter in a look at 2014’s releases…
Lana Del Rey
Yet another ‘marmite’ artist, the jury is still out for me on Lana del Rey. I do find her voice amazing at times, but it is slightly numbing that her belated success has only come after a re-branding process that saw her become Lana, after previously going by ‘Lizzie Grant’. Her second album ‘Born to Die’, was a mixed bag for me, her talent undoubtedly there but the diversity of the songs proving to be pretty non-existent, most were slow, trudging ballads that eventually got somewhere but took the longest route possible to get there.
With rumours of new electronic influences, and performances announced for the Coachella extravaganza, 2014 is going to be a big year for Ms Del Rey, whether it’s successful or not, is another matter…
Blink were a band at their peak in the late 90’s/early 00’s period that saw pop-punk become mainstream. Since then, they’ve had a greatest hits release, a hiatus and a return, all in the space of 5/6 years. Well now their second post-reunion record is being prepped for a 2014 release and they’ve got a headliner slot at the prestigious Reading & Leeds festival sorted for August, the year is looking good for the guys. With most of my generation having some sort of contact with the band during their childhood, it’ll be nice to see them on a big stage setting, rattling through a stackful of hits! Hopefully the upcoming album exceeds the decent predecessor ‘Neighborhoods’, but even so, it is just nice to see them back again.
Frank Ocean is one of the most interesting artists out there at the minute. His debut solo album is something I still listen to on a fairly regular basis and is such a thoroughly, creative urban album, perhaps rivalling even ‘Yeezus’, in those stakes, but achieving so much more success with it. With his flows genuinely amongst the most unique in the business at the moment, Odd Future member Ocean is one to watch for sure, with an album coming in the latter half of the year, he is sure to build on his debut’s success, and cement his reputation as one of rap’s most unique performers.
A band I’ve only got into fairly recently, St. Albans finest, Enter Shikari are an interesting bunch. They can be described as anything from metalcore to trance and even drum and bass! What we get is a meld of a number of different acquired tastes, that when given a true chance, is actually surprisingly decent. Their famed live performances are also worth a watch too, for the energy of frontman Rou Reynolds alone, and you can be sure to catch them in a high slot at R&L come August-time. It’s hard to know where the band are going to take their sound next, it really could become anything; reggae and heavy metal anyone?! A band that never fail to entertain at least.
Yes, the ‘Yeezus’ man has only just popped back into the mainstream with his infamous collection of tracks last year, but rumour has it that he is working on an immediate follow-up for late 2014. For me, I enjoyed his latest record, for it was a challenging, daring record that I think drastically outreached people’s expectations- albeit some were more negative than positive. His antics in pop culture, are also a hit-miss combination, but it means that he is amongst the most-talked about musicians on the planet…good job team Kanye!
This, along with the long-awaiting follow-up to the Jay-Z collaboration ‘Watch the Throne’, also in the pipeline, means that love him or hate him Kanye is gonna be around for a little bit longer yet- cringey music videos, debatable releases and all!
The oft-forgotten about sibling of another famous Knowles, is pretty talented. The song below is from her release last year, and it is a catchy, pop ballad that is distinctively different from her big sister’s most recent efforts. No, Solange is more delicate than her powerful sis’ vocals, and it works well with an electro-pop soothing quality to her tunes. She played at Glastonbury last summer, and is already pencilled in for some tasty slots around the world, with a fourth studio album believed to be just around the corner. Expect more of the same, as gradually critics and fans are beginning to flock to Solange.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!