“Sucker” by Charli XCX
The spunky counterpart in hits like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” Charli XCX released her sophomore album “Sucker” at the tail end of a successful year. Much of this album reflects the long-running theme of youth and rebellion present in much of her work. With tracks like “Break The Rules” and “Doing It,” XCX paints a portrait of teenage defiance and delivers it with a tone of dreamy innocence and sharp wit. “Boom Clap,” the sixth track on this album, was written for the highly anticipated film “The Fault in Our Stars,” for which it received a great deal of praise, and rightly so. While her lyrics are not particularly profound, “Sucker” stands as a token of edge and rebellion while dropping the cheeky persona that pop music has carried on its back. Charli XCX delivers a genuine and intelligent perspective of female empowerment, one that’s made her pop music’s current It Girl.
“Uptown Special” by Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson, who has written songs for the likes of Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney and Lana Del Rey, has debuted a new album of his own, “Uptown Special,” which was released on Jan. 13. Ronson has delivered a contemporary take on classic funk and R&B with this album, which be-gins with a harmonica melody performed by Stevie Wonder. “Uptown Funk,” a track that could easily be mistaken for a song by the 1970’s funk rock band Wild Cherry, features Bruno Mars belting over trumpets, drums and electric guitar a la James Brown. “Uptown Funk” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Ronson’s first No.1 single. Lyrically, this album is both innovative and highly reminiscent of the sexual ambience
pervasive in the 1970s, featuring lines like “When I met you last night baby, and you let me roll the dice, you said I’d be your lucky lady, I hit those numbers all night,” in the track “I Can’t Lose.” Accompanied by Ronson’s extensive credentials and the florid composition of each track, “Uptown Special” has the potential to give resurgence to a genre of music that once ruled the nation.
“Title” by Meghan Trainor
In her debut album released earlier this month, Meghan Trainor paired gusty vocals with brassy melodies to create songs that dominate radio waves and glue themselves to the subconscious of everyone with a pulse. Trainor said she intended this album to be for all ages as a source of empowerment, drawing on her experiences throughout life during the creative process. She draws much of her inspiration from doo-wop music of the 1950s and 60s, as evident in tracks such as “Title” and the popular “Lips Are Movin,” which deliver cheery piano tunes and percussion supported by the high tenor of her background singers. Her biggest hit, “All About That Bass,” capitalized on last year’s posterior obsession, juxtaposing classic jazz sounds (appropriately heavy bass, drums, and electric guitar) with her signature mix of rapping and singing. Trainor belts about embracing her curves and criticizes society’s view of body images with lyrics like “I see them magazines working that Photoshop, we know that s— ain’t real.” She definitely earns points for adding substance to what could have been another stale profit on the biggest trend of 2014 (Looking at you, Nicki Minaj).