The year 2014 solidified something that’s been clear for a few years now: When it comes to pop music, the ladies are killing it. Sure, the men put in a good showing (click here to see our list of the year’s top guys in music), but when you turn on the radio (or stream through Spotify or Pandora or beam in from space on Sirius XM), you’re going to hear a lot of women. These are our picks for the women who made pop music the world that it was this year.
Technically, her album came out in December of 2013, but there’s no denying that it was one of the biggest hits of 2014, giving us all a chance to say “surfbort” to each other and worship at the throne of Queen B. Plus, her new cover of her own “Crazy in Love” turned the “50 Shades of Grey” trailer into something genuinely steamy.
It was impossible to escape this pint-sized pop-star this year. Her album “My Everything” generated three top tracks: “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea), “Break Free” (featuring Zedd) and “Love Me Harder” (featuring The Weeknd), Grande by far proved her Nickelodeon days are forever behind her.
Taylor Swift’s reign continued this year with the mega success of her first strictly pop album, “1989.” It debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and her “Shake It Off” video is one of the most watched of the year with over 356 million views. Her album, plus a massive stadium tour and endorsements helped the 25-year-old earn a cool $57 million this year.
Being honored as CMT’s Artist of the Year wasn’t the only accolade Miranda Lambert racked up this year. She also is up for four Grammys. If she wins, it will be her first time taking home one since 2010. But don’t call it a country comeback – her fans have long been supportive of Mrs. Blake Shelton.
Eighteen year old Lorde went from singer to producer this year by curating “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” soundtrack. Including artists such as CHVRCHES, The Chemical Brothers as well as releasing her own song “Flicker Beat,” got her respect from critics and teen fans alike.
Sometimes singing about sex clubs and getting high can pay off – it did for Swedish singer Tove Lo who broke big here in the States this year with her song, “Habits (Stay High),” which reached number three on the Billboard charts.
Last weekend’s “SNL” musical guest has been around the music industry for a few years now, penning 2012’s megahit “I don’t care” for Icona Pop. But this year saw her breakthrough on her own, with “Boom Clap” on the “Fault in Our Stars” soundtrack becoming a must-have for bookish teens everywhere.
The Florida-by-way-of-Australia rapper had what might have been one of the biggest breakthrough years in recent memory, teaming up with Charli XCX for “Fancy” and Ariana Grande for “Problem.” And regardless of where she goes next, she’s already claimed a piece of history: She’s the only act besides the Beatles to have her first two top 100 Billboard hits rank number 1 and number 2.
If you’ve gotten “Anaconda” out of your head once since you first heard it, we’d be surprised. Minaj scored another huge hit with this one, as well as garnering tons of hits for the sexy/funny music video co-starring Drake. The video set a Vevo record for the most views in its first 24 hours online, with 19.6 million hits.
Singer St. Vincent has come a long way from her time as a member of the Polyphonic Spree. After her much-loved team up with David Byrne in 2012, she came back with 2014’s eponymously titled “St. Vincent,” perhaps her biggest success yet — the album ended up with a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.