5. Azealia Banks
After blowing up on YouTube and building a rabid Internet fan base, Banks quickly became the one to watch. For nearly two years, fans and critics have been waiting for an album that never materialized. Then there was that homophobic Twitter feud with Perez Hilton and her last-minute cancellation of a headlining performance at Lollapalooza. Sorry Azealia, time’s up. In 2014, we’re banking on Angel Haze.
4. Kanye West, Bound 2 Music Video
While no one can take away from the critical success of Yeezus, there have been a few questionable moments in the promotion of the album. The worst (and biggest disappointing) moment of them all was the music video for the standout track, “Bound 2.” The Lisa Frank-inspired video featuring a half-naked Kim straddling Kanye’s literal motorcycle was not the visual anyone expected. When compared to the other outstanding videos the rapper has produced, it was hard to understand how or why anyone involved thought this was a good idea.
3. Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience Pt. II
Even though VH1 listed Justin Timberlake as the year’s biggest comeback, it doesn’t takeaway from the disappointment of his second album this year. Given the strength and success of The 20/20 Experience, it felt greedy (and unnecessary) to release a second album of original music that didn’t hold up to the first.
2. Lana Del Rey, Tropico Short Film
First question: Why? Second question: No, seriously, why? Given the success Lana Del Rey had this year (earning Original Song Oscar buzz for “Young & Beautiful” and scoring her first Top 10 hit with a remix of “Summertime Sadness”), it really makes no sense why she released a 30-minute short film featuring three old songs other than to hold onto people’s attention as she makes fans wait for her next album. If the video had been good, then no one would be bothered but it wasn’t. The film was a bloated, awkwardly literal version of three less-than-stellar tracks. Gaga she’s not and considering Gaga’s year, LDR might want to channel someone else in 2014.
1. Lady Gaga, Artpop
Perhaps in a decade from now, fans and critics alike will look back on this album as something special for the music it delivered. Until then, Artpop will just be regarded as a massive commercial failure focused squarely too much on stunts and not on the music. Given how much Gaga outdoes herself with each new album, it is no surprise that Artpop buckled under the pressure. However no one is feeling the pain more than her record label, which sank $25 million into making this spectacle profitable while Lorde, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus easily ran away with all the success and the attention.