DAR Music: 6 Important R&B Albums From 2014

By @TrueGodImmortal

2019 is clearly on the horizon. With the new year almost here, we figured it would be good to take a look at some of the albums that were released almost 5 years ago and see how they hold up. Some of these albums are underrated, some have been discussed regularly, and we found 6 of those albums from 2014 to discuss. Which albums did we select? Read on to find out.

*Luke James- Luke James

-Known now more for his role as Johnny Gill in the BET New Edition saga than his music, Luke James is actually a solid artist for the genre. His debut album wasn't met with as much fanfare as it should have been, but it was a solid listen in a year that saw the quality of R&B rise slightly from the year prior. Luke delivers on songs that allow him to belt out his vocal range, as tracks like "I Want You", which was nominated for a Grammy, "Make Love To Me", and more. Luke gave the masses an album that should have brought a bit more stardom, but I'm sure award nominations make up for that.

*Chris Brown- X

-I think this is one project that could have solidified Chris as the "King of R&B" as he has been dubbed by fans of this generation. The thing about that however is this album is good, but perhaps a few changes to it and it could have been beyond good. Chris has a habit of having numerous filler on his albums and that seems to be the issue with his projects as is. At 21 songs, this album is a bit much, but the highlights are some of his best work. Tracks like "Fine China", "Love More", "New Flame", "Loyal", and "Songs On 12 Play" are among the best of the best here. Chris doesn't have an actual classic IMO, but he has solid albums and this was one of them.

*Trey Songz- Trigga

-It is sad in a way. Trey Songz was never the man in R&B from the sense of being the biggest star, but he had a run at one point. He still has a ton of loyal fans, which is expected, but his music quality has been hit or miss for quite some time. However, with this album, he mostly misses, despite having a few hits here. Songs like "Na Na", "Smartphones", and "Foreign" were moderate radio hits, but none of those songs are special honestly. I did like the opening track "Cake" and "All We Do", but otherwise this is a by the numbers album that does nothing new for Trey. Still, it was a noteworthy release.

*Toni Braxton and Babyface- Love, Marriage, & Divorce

-Whenever we look back on the careers of both Babyface and Toni Braxton, the truth of the matter is that these two are rarely given their credit for being pioneers in their own right. Babyface is given credit as a writer and producer, but as an artist he was also top tier. That being said, Toni and Babyface combine for theit first joint album, which features some great music. The best tracks here are the hit single "Roller Coaster", "Hurt You", "Where Did We Go Wrong", and "Take It Back". This is the best that either of these two had put out since the 2000s began, which says a lot honestly.

*Prince- Art Official Age

-So, back then, whenever a new album from Prince would release, I have a moment or two where I'm unsure if I want to listen to it. In this day and age, I hold Prince's music so near and dear that I'll listen to whatever they put out, but the truth is, Prince was such a perfectionist that I would try my hardest not to judge his music in that way. After a couple successful albums in the 2000s, Prince embarked on what would sadly be his last journey as an artist, with this very solid and slightly underrated album. The highlights here include the amazing "Clouds" with Lianne La Havas, "Breakfast Can Wait", and "Way Back Home". Prince delivers big time here and reminds us of his legend.

*D'Angelo- Black Messiah

-The album of the year. Period. The genre doesn't matter. This is the album of the year. D'Angelo returned after a 14 year hiatus and delivered an album that was better than just about anything we could hear that year and might still be the best album released in the genre since. Released at the end of 2014, this album has a while before it officially turns 5, but it is still the most important album released. The hiatus did nothing to D'Angelo's voice and writing skills as he gives us great music all around here like on the elite track "The Charade", the smooth "Really Love", and the epic classic "Another Life", which is the perfect end to such a good album. Time away only seemed to make D'Angelo stronger, and that album is my fondest musical memory of 2014 by far.



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