50 Most Important Musical Artists in 2014: 10-6

Who are the most significant musical artists in the United States today? That is the question that this list attempts to answer. In this installment, numbers 10 through 6 are revealed, featuring EDM titans and pop royalty.


10 – Rihanna

While she’s unlikely to ever top modern pop masterpiece “Umbrella” in the minds of music critics, Rihanna has managed to release monster hit after monster hit over the past several years. Her performance on the year-end Hot 100 has been unmatched, placing six songs on 2011’s chart, seven on 2012’s, and three on 2013’s. Of these, “We Found Love” was her biggest hit, coming in at #8 in 2012.


9 – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Impressively, the Seattle hip hop duo’s top-ten placement is based solely on the success that they had last year. “Thrift Shop” was the #1 single of year on the Billboard charts while their album The Heist was among the 25 best-selling albums of the year. Whether or not they can survive the not inconsiderable backlash against them remains to be seen, but even if not, they will always have 2013.


8 – Katy Perry

Katy Perry suffered the same fate as Lady Gaga in 2013, with her latest album and lead single “Roar” being viewed as disappointments. This lukewarm reception was not enough to keep “Roar” from going to #1 and receiving a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. Even if 2013 turned out better than expected for Katy Perry, it was but a shadow of her 2011 campaign, wherein she had two of the top five songs of the year.


7 – Daft Punk

For their latest release Random Access Memories, Daft Punk decided to record a disco album instead of retreading on their French House roots. Although Daft Punk’s effort was essentially guaranteed to win over music critics (“Get Lucky” topped the Pazz & Jop poll), it was something of a surprise to see “Get Lucky” become one of the most ubiquitous songs of 2013. Even more surprising was the group’s success at the Grammy’s, winning both Album and Record of the Year.


6 – Fun.

Fun is the highest-ranked group or duo on this list, as well as the highest-ranked rock act. How did this happen? Fun had two of the biggest hits of 2012 with “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” which helped to bolster sales of the group’s album Some Nights. Meanwhile, Grammy voters fell hard for the band, giving them a nomination in each of the three major categories and awarding them the Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”) trophies.


Image Credit: NPR / David Black

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