Prism is the fourth studio album by American singer Katy Perry. It was released by Capitol Records on October 18, 2013. While the album was initially planned to be “darker” than her previous material, Prism ultimately became a prominently dance-inspired record. The singer worked with several past collaborators, while enlisting new producers and guest vocals. Much of Prism revolves around the themes of living in the present, relationships, and self-empowerment. Many critics praised the album’s lyrical content for being more “mature” while others considered Prism to be more formulaic than her previous material.
The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with 286,000 copies sold, becoming Perry’s best opening week to date. The album also peaked at number one in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Prism became Perry’s fastest-selling album, the second best-selling album in Australia in 2013, and the second best-selling album released by a woman in the United States in 2013. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reported that Prism was the sixth best-selling album in the world in 2013, the best-selling album in the world in 2013 released by a woman, and labeled Perry “a global phenomenon.”
It has globally sold 4 million copies as of August 2015. The album’s success continued throughout 2014, ranking within the top 10 of the annual charts for 2014 in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and earned Perry a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
The release of the album was preceded by the release of two singles. “Roar” was released on August 10, 2013 as the album’s lead single. It became a commercial success and topped the Billboard Hot 100. “Unconditionally” debuted on October 16, 2013 as the record’s second single and was a moderate commercial success worldwide.
In between the release of these two tracks were the releases of promotional singles “Dark Horse” on September 17 and “Walking on Air” on September 30, 2013. “Dark Horse” was released as the album’s third single three months later on December 17, 2013, and also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Birthday” and “This Is How We Do” were the fourth and fifth singles, respectively. Prism was further promoted through The Prismatic World Tour.
1989 is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on October 27, 2014, through Big Machine Records. Swift began preparing for the album during the same year that Red was released, and during a significant amount of media scrutiny. Over the course of the two-year songwriting period, she primarily collaborated with producers Max Martin and Shellback—Martin served as the album’s executive producer alongside Swift. The album’s title was inspired by the pop music scene of the 1980s, particularly Swift’s birth year.
The album represents a sonic departure from the country music of her previous albums, and is described by Swift as her “first documented official pop album.” In contrast to Swift’s previous work, the production of 1989 consists of drum programming, synthesizers, pulsating bass, processed backing vocals, and guitars. 1989 received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics and it was ranked as one of the best albums of 2014 by several publications, including Billboard, Time, and Rolling Stone.
After debuting at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, 1989 sold 1.287 million copies during the first week of release. The total U.S. sales figure from the debut week of 1989 was the highest since 2002, and made Swift the first artist to sell one million or more copies of an album in a week-long period for three albums. 1989 eventually became the best-selling album of 2014 in the U.S. market and has sold over 5.7 million copies as of February 2016, while selling 8.6 million worldwide.
Six singles have been released from the set: “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space”, and “Bad Blood” all reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, while “Style” peaked at number six, “Wildest Dreams” at number five, and “Out of the Woods” peaking at number 18 in 2014. The first five singles have all reached number one on the Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40 and all have received a multi-platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
1989 won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, making Swift the first and only female artist so far to win the top prize at the ceremony twice with her own works, having previously won in 2010 for Fearless, and her third nomination overall after Red in 2014. The album also won Best Pop Vocal Album, Swift’s first victory in the category.
The first two singles “Shake It Off” (in 2015) and “Blank Space” (in 2016) were both nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. The “Bad Blood” remix featuring Kendrick Lamar was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and won the award for Best Music Video.
The Documentary 2 is the sixth studio album by American rapper The Game. The album is the sequel to The Game’s debut album The Documentary (2005). The Documentary 2 is a double album that was released as two separate discs one week apart. The Documentary 2, the first disc, was released on October 9, 2015, by Blood Money Entertainment and eOne Music. The album features guest appearances from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Q-Tip, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Drake, Dej Loaf, Future, Jelly Roll and Kanye West, among others.
The Documentary 2.5, the second disc, was released on October 16, 2015. The album also features will.i.am, along with other guest appearances from Nas, Busta Rhymes, E-40, Scarface, DJ Quik, Lil Wayne, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, YG, Problem, Skrillex, and Ty Dolla $ign, among others.
The three-disc collector’s edition of The Documentary 2 was released on January 22, 2016. The bonus disc features guest appearances from Trey Songz and Meek Mill.
The album was supported by the singles “100” featuring Drake and “El Chapo” with Skrillex.
In June 2015, in an interview with Power 106, The Game said that the album was about 90% done, and that he had been waiting on Dr. Dre to get back from vacation, so he could finish the album. He said that his children were his motivation to finish the album, and spoke about being confident on his growth as a rapper: “I listened to my first album and everybody thinks it’s so amazing, but I think I’m better than that. I listened to it and heard all of the flaws of the young me, and I’m like, ‘Man I would have never done this song like that today.'”
According to The Game, Dr. Dre was excited about the album and called The Documentary 2 the best rap album in five years. On July 21, 2015, The Game revealed that Diddy said The Documentary 2 is “his best album yet”.
Animal Ambition (released with the subtitle Animal Ambition: An Untamed Desire to Win) is the fifth studio album by American rapper 50 Cent, who also served as executive producer.
The album was released on June 3, 2014, by G-Unit Records and Caroline Records. All 11 tracks on the standard edition were issued as singles prior to the album’s release; in order, they are “Don’t Worry ‘Bout It”, “Hold On”, “Pilot”, “Smoke”, “Hustler”, “Chase the Paper”, “Everytime I Come Around”, “Irregular Heartbeat”, “Winners Circle”, “Twisted”, and “Animal Ambition”. The album features guest appearances from Yo Gotti, Trey Songz, Kidd Kidd, Jadakiss, Mr Probz, Guordan Banks, Prodigy, Schoolboy Q and Styles P.
On December 4, 2013, while doing a press run for the launch of his SMS Audio line of headphones and speakers he announced that a “full body of work”, titled Animal Ambition would be released in January 2014. In a December 2013, interview with DJ Whoo Kid, he reiterated plans for the album, saying: “I’m going to drop it in January, it’s a full body of work, I wouldn’t call it a mixtape because it’s a higher grade than the material that I put out on mixtapes. I recorded so many album quality songs that I’m going to put the Animal project out as my viral marketing plan and then it will come out after, Street King Immortal.
“In January 2014, while visiting the Consumer Electronics Show, he explained his motivation to release new music in early 2014, saying: “I’m so anxious to put out material. It took me so long to get the business portion of music straight, because I had went through an auditing process because it was the last record required for Interscope Records. And now, I got Animal Ambition, I was inspired to write this. It really has to be current. If it’s not like right now, what I feel is like the hottest thing, I know it’s done right, but it’s not necessarily what I should be doing right now.”
In a January 2014 interview with Sonic Electronix, he said that he was recording heavily in preparation for both of the albums, saying, “I want to put Animal Ambition out in the first quarter. And then it’ll lead up to Street King Immortal. So it’ll be twelve weeks. That’s why I’m working so hard, when I leave here I go straight back to record again.” He also said that Animal Ambition has a shared sound and theme throughout, saying, “With Animal Ambition, the project is about prosperity.
I got an interesting way of writing it, ‘cause I wrote it from a distorted vision or viewpoint. When Biggie was doing ‘Damn, niggas wanna stick me for my paper, damn,’ that’s about when you get something, the effects of others responding to you doing better. The jealousies connected to it, there’s so many different ways to write it, that the album has those facets to it. The overall theme is ambition and prosperity.”
Burning Bridges is the thirteenth studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi. The album was released worldwide on August 21, 2015 through Mercury Records. It was produced by John Shanks, and it is the first studio album without former guitarist Richie Sambora, who left the band in 2013 (but receives a co-writing credit on the single “Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning”).
Burning Bridges is the final album released through Mercury, marking the end of a 32-year-old relationship. According to Jon Bon Jovi, the album serves as a “fan record” to tie in with an accompanying international tour: “It’s songs that weren’t finished, that were finished, a couple of new ones like the one we released as a single “We Don’t Run”.
Burning Bridges will be followed by This House Is Not For Sale, the band’s fourteenth studio album that will be released in March 2016.
Burning Bridges was conceived to fulfill Bon Jovi’s commitment to Mercury Records, as the band and label could not agree on adjusted terms for the band’s recording contract. “I’ve stayed at that label my entire life — 32 years. I am the longest tenured artist on Mercury, or whatever they are called this week. But my deal was up, and that’s that,” said Jon Bon Jovi in an interview with Billboard. The album’s title track makes explicit reference to Bon Jovi’s dissatisfaction with the label. According to Bon Jovi, “This hits it right in the head and tells you what happened. Listen to the lyrics because it explains exactly what happened. And that’s that.
“Regarding the split, a representative for Mercury Records stated, “Jon is a rock ‘n’ roll icon, and we are so proud of his 30-year collaboration with Mercury, which brought extraordinary commercial and creative success. We wish Jon only the best.”
Ludaversal is the ninth studio album by American rapper Ludacris. it was released on March 31, 2015, by Disturbing tha Peace and Def Jam Recordings. Recording sessions took place during 2011 to 2015, while the production on the album was handled by several producers; including Mike Will Made It, Rico Love, Giorgio Tuinfort and Da Internz, among others.
On March 13, 2012, Ludacris announces the album, titled Ludaversal would be released on September 11, 2012 (which is on his birthday). One of the songs recorded for Ludaversal, titled “Ocean Skies” originally featured vocals from singer Anita Baker.
Later, Baker’s vocals were later replaced by singer Monica.
On October 9, 2014, Ludacris announced an EP, titled “Burning Bridges” will be released in December 2014, and then his album Ludaversal will be follow-up on March 31, 2015. On October 31, 2014, Ludacris released the lead single from his EP, titled “Good Lovin” featuring American singer Miguel.
On March 3, 2015, Ludacris held a listening party for Ludaversal with Def Jam. The tracks “Ludaversal (Intro)”, “Not For Long” featuring Usher and “Come N See Me” featuring Big K.R.I.T. were revealed to the public.
To Pimp a Butterfly is the third studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on March 15, 2015 by Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath Entertainment, and Interscope Records a week earlier than scheduled due to a label error.
The album was recorded in studios throughout the United States, with executive production from Dr. Dre and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. Boi-1da, Flying Lotus, Terrace Martin, Pharrell Williams, Knxwledge, Sounwave, Thundercat and several other hip hop producers also contributed. The album incorporates elements of free jazz, funk, and spoken word and its lyrics explore themes concerning African-American culture, racial inequality, depression, institutional discrimination, and materialism.
To Pimp a Butterfly debuted atop the Billboard 200 and received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its musical scope and the social relevance of Lamar’s lyrics. Additionally, it was ranked as the best album of 2015 by many publications, including Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork Media.
It was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 58th Grammy Awards. Its singles “i” and “Alright” each won Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, while “These Walls” won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
It was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). By January 2016, the album had sold 788,000 copies in the United States.
Rebel Heart is the thirteenth studio album by American singer and songwriter Madonna. It was released on March 6, 2015, by Interscope Records. Following the completion of the MDNA era, Madonna worked on the album throughout 2014, co-writing and co-producing it with various musicians, including Diplo, Avicii, and Kanye West. She teased by uploading pictures of her recording sessions on her Instagram account. Working with a number of collaborators posed problem for Madonna in keeping a cohesive sound and direction for Rebel Heart, unlike her previous efforts where only a few people were involved.
Thematically Rebel Heart represents the two different sides of the singer, her romantic and her rebellious side. The themes grew organically during the writing and recording sessions. Musically, it is a pop record which merges an array of genres such as 1990s house, trap and reggae, as well as the usage of acoustic guitars and gospel choir. Some of the songs are autobiographical in nature while others talk about love and introspection of Madonna’s career. Rebel Heart features guest appearances from boxer Mike Tyson and rappers Nicki Minaj, Nas, and Chance the Rapper.
The record had been set for a March 2015 release, with the first single to be released on Valentine’s Day. But after a flurry of unexpected album content leaks, Madonna released the album for pre-order on iTunes Store on December 20, 2014, with six songs being available for download. Police investigation led to an Israeli man being arrested, who was charged for hacking into Madonna’s computer and the leaks. The cover art for the deluxe edition of the album became popular, leading to numerous memes being created on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. To promote the album, Madonna made several television appearances and performances, including the 57th Annual Grammy Awards and the 2015 Brit Awards. Further promotion happened from the Rebel Heart Tour, which started from September 2015 and continue till March 2016 through North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. “Living for Love”, “Ghosttown”, “Bitch I’m Madonna”, and “Hold Tight” were released as singles from the album.
Rebel Heart received predominantly positive reviews from music critics; multiple reviewers called it her best effort in a decade. They found that unlike her previous two studio efforts, Hard Candy (2008) and MDNA (2012), the album was progressive in its sound. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and the UK Albums Chart. Rebel Heart also peaked at number one in various countries across the world, including major music markets such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, while reaching the top ten of the charts in France, Ireland, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden, and attaining Gold certifications in some of the regions.
Piece by Piece is the seventh studio album by American recording artist Kelly Clarkson. It was released on February 27, 2015, through RCA Records. The follow-up to her first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red (2013), it is her first studio album to completely contain original material since Stronger (2011), and her final studio album under her recording contract after winning the first season of the television singing competition seriesAmerican Idol in 2002.
Piece by Piece sees Clarkson reuniting with frequent collaborators Greg Kurstin, Jesse Shatkin, Jason Halbert, Eric Olson, and Chris DeStefano. Her pregnancy hurdled her efforts to write more than five songs for the album. As such, she gathered material from songwriters such as Sia, Matthew Koma, MoZella, Bonnie McKee, David Jost, Semi Precious Weapons lead singer Justin Tranter, and former Cobra Starship member Ryland Blackinton, among others.
Inspired by the orchestral production on Wrapped in Red, Clarkson wanted for all the songs on Piece by Piece to resonate like its own film soundtrack, taking a cue from the soundtracks of the feature motion pictures Cruel Intentions (1999) and Love Actually (2003) and commissioning orchestral arrangements by Joseph Trapanese. The album is illustrated as a concept record telling a single story, using themes of heartbreak, personal struggles, peace, and empowerment.
Piece by Piece was released to positive reception by music critics, who applauded Clarkson’s vocal performances. Criticism mainly targeted the album’s production, as well as its belaboring on midtempo arrangements. Commercially, it became her third album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart with 97,000 units sold. The album was preceded by the release of its lead single “Heartbeat Song” in January 2015, which became a top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The record’s second single, “Invincible” was released in May 2015, while its supporting tour, the Piece by Piece Tour, began on July 11, 2015. On December 7, 2015, Piece by Piece received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Being her fourth nomination in the category, Clarkson broke her previous record of the most nominations in which she once shared with Madonna, P!nk, Sarah McLachlan and Justin Timberlake. The albums lead single, “Heartbeat Song”, also received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.
In 2013, Clarkson released her first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, which to her represented a beginning for a second phase for her career. In the midst of recording it, she also collaborated with recording artists Robbie Williams, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood in their respective albums Swings Both Ways (2013), Everlasting (2014) and PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit (2014). In an interview with Billboard magazine, she announced intentions to release a set of pop and country records, as well as a potential Broadway album, as a follow-up to Wrapped in Red.
RCA Records chief executive Peter Edge also revealed in their 2014 mid-year assessment that they were in a process of finding new music and directions for some of the their established acts — primarily with Clarkson. Early stages of development for a follow-up studio album began as early as June 2012, with Clarkson commissioningRodney Jerkins in recording a potential track She remarked, “We’re already working.