50 Most Important Musical Artists in 2014: 40-36

Who are the most significant musical artists in the United States today? That is the question that this list attempts to answer. Today, numbers 40 through 36 are featured, including a funky android and a plucky folk rock group.


40 – Pharrell Williams

The present king of the collaboration thanks to his appearances on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (the latter of which he also produced). Both singles were massive successes on the pop charts and on music critics’ end-of-year lists. Like Beyonce, his ranking will improve considerably thanks to his recently released album Girl and its lead single “Happy.”


39 – Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe has the music press kneeling with her neo-soul music and futurist aesthetic. Following up an album as acclaimed as 2010’s The ArchAndroid was a tough proposition. Monáe was unfazed and last year’s The Electric Lady proved that she had staying power. She has struggled to win over the pop charts with her solo work, but did score her first #1 hit with a guest spot on Fun’s “We Are Young.”


38 – The Lumineers

The Denver folk rock group has capitalized on the recent roots revival, with their deliberately simple songs resulting in Grammy Award nominations and crossover success. “Ho Hey” is the group’s biggest hit to date, going to #1 on the Hot 100 and helping their debut album sell over one-million copies in the United States.


37 – Miley Cyrus

America’s latest enfant terrible shed her Disney-approved image decisively in 2013, coinciding with release of her album Bangerz. Bangerz went platinum and produced two singles that appeared in the year-end top 20 (“We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball”). Along the way, she created a fair bit of controversy (largely due to her former image rather than any truly scandalous behavior) and won over more arch-leaning critics on the way to becoming the most legitimate heir to peak-era Madonna.


36 – Lady Antebellum

The country pop trio is one of the most consistent commercial performers on the albums chart today. Although Lady Antebellum has yet to match the success of 2010’s Need You Now and its eponymous hit single, the group’s last two album have debuted at #1 and have combined for more than 2.5 million albums sold.


Image Credit: Marc Baptise / via Spin

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