D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, Charli XCX’s Sucker, and 2014 albums that aim to seize the zeitgeist.

December 17, 2014 2:01 PM

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D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, Charli XCX’s Sucker, and 2014 albums that aim to seize the zeitgeist.

I couldn’t agree more with Ann’s point that having women’s voices and names dominate the charts is insufficient without equal prominence behind the scenes, especially in the studio. The Fader did a great virtual roundtable about the shortage of female producers this fall, from that site’s more dance-oriented point of view. And it made me uneasy to watch one of my favorite self-producers of the past several years, Grimes, release a single that expanded beyond her previous artist’s-loft insularity (it was originally written for Rihanna) and face an enormous indie fan backlash. She then reportedly trashed her new album (she said it “sucked”). It’s hard to imagine a male artist going through quite the same wringer.

I’m cheered, though, by Charli XCX, who, after a couple of years of sparkling on other people’s hits (on “Fancy” as well as Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” which she wrote), finally made herself the focus of attention with “Boom Clap” (one of the songs of the year that makes me swooniest) and, just this mo...

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