By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
If you had not had the chance to read part two of my countdown, click here: http://jakes-take.com/2014/10/jakes-take-best-albums-of-2014-part-two/
This is it!
Today, you will learn which artists and groups made the top spots in this year’s Best Albums countdown!
5. “V” by Maroon 5
I love seeing my favorite bands grow as artists! Ever since the release of Hands All Over, Maroon 5 has evolved their sound from Indie Rock to Pop Rock. Their fifth studio album, V, showcased a diverse group of undertones ranging from a sexual stalker (“Animals”) to the transition from friends to lovers (“It Was Always You”). V showcased the return of founding member keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, who returned after a two-year-absence. Listeners also saw Adam Levine at his collaborative finest with some of the industry’s heavy hitters: Sia, Shellback, Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco, Stargate and fellow Voice coach Gwen Stefani, who dueted with Levine on “My Heart Is Open.” Many Maroon 5 fans (including myself) are excited to see what energy the band brings to their upcoming world tour.
Tracks to Download: “Animals,” “It Was Always You,” “Unkiss Me,” “In Your Pocket,” “Coming Back For You” & “My Heart is Open”
4. “PTX, Vol. III” by Pentatonix
A cappella group Pentatonix has continued its gigantic leap towards success with its fourth extended play (EP) album! PTX, Vol. III showcased their takes on current Top 40 hits ranging from Ariana Grande & Iggy Azalea’s “Problem” to a medley of Sam Smith’s epic collaborations: “La La La” (with Naughty Boy) and “Latch” (with Disclosure). The group also introduced three impeccable original songs (which one was written by the quintet), which were strong highlights of the EP. Between the strong vocals from Mitch, Scott and Kirstie and the impeccable group harmonies, PTX, Vol. III is this year’s best EP!
Tracks to Download: “Problem,” “On My Way Home,” “La La Latch,” “Rather Be,” “See Through” & “Standing By”
3. “Blue Smoke” by Dolly Parton
It was a true honor and privilege to interview the Queen of Country earlier this year! She has had multiple hits over six decades! When I interviewed her, Dolly stated that Blue Smoke represented all of the colors of her career. From bluegrass (“Don’t Think Twice” and the title track) to gospel (“If I Had Wings”), Ms. Parton delivered beautiful songs! However, one highlight of the album that will definitely make listeners emotional is her collaboration with her longtime friend of 30 years: Mr. Kenny Rogers-“You Can’t Make Old Friends.” This track brilliantly showcases the duo’s longevity in the music industry and also touches their mortality.
Tracks to Download: “Blue Smoke,” “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” “Home,” “Lay Your Hands on Me,” “If I Had Wings” & “Try”
2. “Partners” by Barbra Streisand
Like Dolly Parton, the EGOT entertainment icon has had multiple hits in six decades! But, what sets Ms. Streisand apart from Dolly and other female singers that put out albums this year was that the Funny Girl actress reinvented several of her hits by collaborating with the biggest names in the music industry (Andrea Bocelli, Blake Shelton, John Legend, John Mayer and Josh Groban). From her outstanding tribute to the Big Apple with fellow New Yorker Billy Joel (“New York State of Mind”) to rekindling “The Way We Were” with Lionel Richie, Partners showcased a different side of Ms. Streisand that reached out to multiple generations.
Tracks to Download: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “New York State of Mind,” “I’d Want It to Be You,” “The Way We Were,” “I Still Can See Your Face” & “Somewhere”
1. “Smokey & Friends” by Smokey Robinson
For the first time since the introduction of iTunes, I downloaded an entire album! The lucky album belongs to…Motown icon and music legend Smokey Robinson! His duet album: Smokey & Friends. Each of Mr. Robinson’s guests added a plethora of ingredients that made this album, my number one album of 2014! Steven Tyler infused rock into “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” British songbird Jessie J added her sexy, dynamo vocals to “Crusin’” and the uncanny trio of Miguel, Aloe Blacc and JC Chasez would make the Temptations proud when they tackled the group’s signature song with the Kennedy Center Honoree. For his versatility of guest collaborators and reviving the Motown classics for another generation, Smokey & Friends is my Album of the Year!
Tracks to Download: “Track of My Tears,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Crusin’,” “The Way You Do (The Things You Do),” “The Tears of a Clown” & “My Girl”
I do not own the clips that are featured in this article; they belong to the artists and their respective record companies.