Sounds like: The West Coast girl who loves forests and mountains lost a husband but got a new one—and got pregnant—while making her beautiful fifth collection.
Free association: Harkens back to a time when feathered hair folkies went gold.
For fans of: Linda Ronstadt x Eleanor Friedberger, Heart + Cat/Joni, plaid shirts, hiking boots.
Sounds like: Aluna Francis and George Reid are an electronically-minded duo who’ve made the debut of the summer (maybe the year?), a new genre-mashing favorite.
Free association: They took their time. There’s tight production and vocal charms galore.
For fans of: Disclosure + Quadron x James Blake, Robyn/Little Dragon.
Sounds like: Capitalizing on an increasingly sexualized and desensitized populous, Thicke cashes in on the production power of Pharrell to get to that next level.
Free association: Yeah, he’s white and married, but his sexy R&B is so damn good.
For fans of: Gaye/Redding/Green x Justin Timberlake, Maxwell, pompous seduction.
In a World Like This
(BMG Rights Management/K-BAHN)
Sounds like: Well, that’s a half hour of my life I’ll never get back. They’re marking the 20th anniversary of their inception by trying desperately to stay relevant.
Free association: So many little babies make better vanilla-produced synth radio pop.
For fans of: Owl City x ‘N Sync/98 Degrees, Take That + One Direction, watching it all unfold.
Sounds like: If he weren’t so handsome, it’d be easier to talk shit about how mediocre dude’s pop game is. He too often veers into American Idol-level stardom-grabbing.
Free association: Somehow, he got Rick Ross and Busta Rhymes on his fourth.
For fans of: Jason Derulo x Ne-Yo + Jeremih, Trey Songz/weak Usher, mixed muscle bros.
PW's Music Issue 2014