In my life, I've been pretty lucky in love, work and family, but if there's one thing that alludes me, it's my desire for tradition. Luckily, one thing has remained constant in an ever-changing world for me: The Moosey Awards. The Mooseys are my little slice of annual tradition shared with you, my friends, every year and given out to the good, the bad and somewhere-in-between in the music world.
Best Trend of 2014: The slow death of EDM and the growth of minimal and British House.
With bright hopefuls like the Full Crate x Mar ( the deepest soul vocalist around ), MNEK ( the second ), Katy B, Tensnake, Gorgon City, Kiesza and even Sam Smith, this was the year I predicted that EDM would start to lose favor and we'd return to more disco-level beats. All of the above, helped along by the success of last year's Disclosure breakthrough, made huge strides this year, combining slow R&B with grime and hip hop for a very seductive, thoughtful, intelligent sound.
Best Comeback of 2014 ( tie ): Toni Braxton/Babyface's Love, Marriage & Divorce, tied with Lisa Stansfield's Seven.
Both came back from zero this year and went straight back to their prime roots. Braxton worked on an epic concept album with her lostthen found againmaestro, Babyface for a heart-wrenching journey of love and hate; and Stansfield did it with her original producer/writer/husband on a return to form as good as her peak. It's like neither ever left, and yet neither sound of their time.
Worst "Comeback" of 2014 ( tie ): Prince/3rdEyeGirl tied with Pixies.
Not that either album was necessarily bad, but we expected better. Prince had the opportunity to use the big Warner Bros. money again and put out not one but two mediocre CDs that sounded like an obvious grasp at Top 40 instead of being the work of the true artist he used to be, leaving us feeling nothing. Pixies made their first album of new material in two decades, but did it without key vocalist/guitarist Kim Deal. So in the end, it wasn't really Pixies. Why bother?
Best Substitute of 2014: Ã‰milie Simon for her album, Mue.
With Kylie Minogue releasing Kiss Me Once, her most bland album in 20 years, Thank god for French singer Simon who put out a slinky Kylie sound-alike CD, Mue. Imagine a more stripped down and heartfelt version of Kiss Me Once, but in French. If you close your eyes, you're taken back to when you couldn't unhear the mediocrity of Kylie's grab at US fame.
The "Congrats, Now Go Away" Award: Iggy Azalea.
You couldn't swing Ariana Grande's ponytail this year without hitting an Iggy song in some form, and we congratulate her. However, in all honesty her album was middling at best, she's pretty unlikable, and isn't the best emcee or writer. Our prediction is she'll have a huge step down to obscurity on the next album. Stay tuned.
Album of the Year for 2014:
While new acts like Tinashe, Future Islands, Sohn, BANKS, Kwabs, RY X and Rhye put out some of the most innovative and beautiful releases in years, the LP that hit me the hardest was by two veterans, You+Me ( City and Colour's Dallas Green and Alecia Moore, aka P!nk ). Somewhere in between Heart and The Everly Brothers, the album Rose Ave. is a flawless, simple affair with every song as well-crafted and artfully harmonized as the next. Rare is any album with no peaks and valleys, just perfect, goose-pimply listening.
And finally a posthumous Moosey goes to our beloved Frankie Knuckles. We lost a real pioneer and legend who truly changed dance music worldwide and left a giant footprint on Chicago music forever.