New Music From Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Kygo, & Zayn Malik

Iggy Azalea "Team" Cover Art (Def Jam Recordings) 

This past week has been filled with hot singles dropped by some of the industry’s brightest stars. ZAYN, who left One Direction behind in 2015, has been on fire with his first solo album, dropping “LIKE I WOULD” this past week. Though the song is quicker than “PILLOWTALK”’s sensual, slow rhythm, its energy demonstrates another side to the solo artist as he steps out of the shadow of One Direction. ZAYN has always been evidently talented, but his release of the singles from his upcoming album, “Mind of Mine,” coming out March 25th has validated his talent to awaiting fans. In addition, ZAYN has released two other singles, “BeFoUr” and and “iT’s YoU” that do not carry the punch that “PILLOWTALK” or “LIKE I WOULD” do, but they are still heavy contenders in demonstrating ZAYN’s new pop artistic identity.

Another recently single lighting the charts on fire is Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman.” This single carries the same name as the title of her new album, dropping mid-May. The vibe of the song is extremely sexual and slow, creating a more mature image to the young artist as she breaks into her newest album since “My Everything” from 2014 when her star originally exploded. The single is the perfect demonstration of her growth and maturity since “Problem” and “Love Me Harder,” two hits from her original album that carry a more pop-typical feeling. “Dangerous Woman” unveils Grande’s voice as a powerful, dangerous seductress. She has also released “Be Alright” that holds a beat good for an upbeat shopping venture or jog. It is enjoyably lighthearted and fun in contrast to “Dangerous Woman.” 

Kygo also released a new single, “Fragile,” today. It is slow and includes many unique backbeats that compliment that pop/R&B genre that “Fragile” falls into. Kygo’s beautiful vocal range is shown off in the song, as well; he hits the high notes that many male singers cannot reach, which adds a level of talent to Kygo’s resume. The song is relative to what listeners hear from bands like OneRepublic. 

Iggy Azalea dropped “Team;” she also is building her next album since releasing music around the time of Ariana Grande’s last musical climax. The song’s sound is similar to the Iggy listeners hear in “Black Widow.” Her unique rap tone in combination with a pop chorus is typical to the hip-hop artist’s repertoire. “Team” is a catchy tune that could easily land a common listen on the radio, but it does not have much depth to climb out of the box of Iggy’s music that first landed her a rising star a few years ago. 

Album Review: Demi Lovato Finds Self Love & 'Confidence' on Smash New Album

Confident album cover (Hollywood Records/Island Records).

Demi Lovato's development through her music career has been a roller coaster. From her Disney start to admittance of self-harm, Lovato has demonstrated the strength that a woman in the spotlight must have in order to grow past her obstacles. Her new album, Confident, is Lovato's version of a promotion of that strength and self love she has found through her journey. The album includes the summer smash, "Cool for the Summer," as well as her recent hit, "Confident." Both singles promote the ‘ballsy,’ vibrant vibe that the rest of the album procures. Confident also includes features from other strong female artists including Iggy Azalea. From the cover artwork to the lyrics, Lovato seems to be tapping into the prime of her career.

One song that explains Lovato’s journey to a healthier state of mind is “Old Ways.” It’s the third track on the album following her two singles. She begins, “It was fun playing with knives until a blade stuck in the left side of my chest, surprise.” She continues, stating, “And I’ll just keep changing these colors, I’m not in the same place that I was, but if somebody tells me I’ll go back to my old ways, I’ll say no way...” This is Lovato’s blatant argument in her newfound strength and determination to remove herself from the weaker mental and emotional state she used to hold. It is her fight song and “screw you” against the haters and nonbelievers who might doubt her. She argues, “I’m not burning out, I’m not afraid to fall.” This is the perfect song to put on when a listener needs some motivational music. Defiance is the key word to “Old Ways” and is a perfect follow up to her two hits in the beginning of the album.

Lovato’s song with Azalea, “Kingdom Come,” is another powerful song on Confident. Not only does the song portray two strong female voices, it also includes techno/pop backbeats like the rest of the album that create great dance music, as well. The chorus begins with a slow, “You’re my kingdom come,” and concludes with Lovato singing, “Sit me on your throne.” Azalea comes in partway through the song with her rap and beat that adds a sound very similar to her hit with Rita Ora, “Black Widow.”

By far the most vulnerable and sentimental song on the album is Lovato’s last song, “Father.” It explains her emotional status in regards to her broken father figure. In addition, Lovato describes a mix of hatred but understanding for his weakness that created the separation from her as a child. The song is slower and much less dance-party than the rest of her album. The song also hints at his death and recognition of his place in heaven. The open, emotional wound he has left is something that touches the listener and creates a contrast to the powerful defiance of “Old Ways” and “Kingdom Come.” “Father” also displays the range and beauty of Lovato’s voice. Her vocal quality is impressive to say the least, and the ballad offers her fans a full experience of this.

Confident is exactly what the album title’s name implies: it is Lovato’s growing confidence as an artist, female, and fighter. Everyone has obstacles to conquer in life, and she had to go through hers under the bright spotlight of fame. However, Lovato has come out the other side stronger than ever musically and personally. Fans will enjoy the album as a dance, pump-up playlist but also as a tap into her emotional growth and understanding.

Best of 2014: Top 10 Photos & Videos

We've gathered our favorite moments of 2014 in photos and videos from all of the shows we went to this year. See them below:

10. Wiz Khalifa's "Under The Influence of Music" Tour:

(Benjamin Esakof/Romans Rap-Up)

9. Bea Miller being super adorable during our interview:

8. Demi Lovato being a boss as always on her world tour:

(Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up)

7. Justin Timberlakes "20/20 Experience" World Tour:

(Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up)

6. Little Mix doing an album signing for "Salute":

(Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up)

5. Drake making a hilarious (and late) VMA acceptance speech:

. Timeflies doing an insane freestyle for us:

3. Ty Dolla $ign lighting up during our interview:

2. Jennifer Lopez striking a pose at Kiss Concert:

(Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up)

1. Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX performing "Fancy" together at Jingle Ball:

(Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up)

Best of 2014: Top 10 Songs of the Year

As the year comes to a close, we've taken the time to go through the Billboard Charts and our own playlists to compile a list of the Best Songs of 2014. See if your favorite single made the list below:

10. No Love (feat. Nicki Minaj) - August Alsina

9. Hold You Down (feat. August Alsina, Chris Brown, Future & Jeremih) - DJ Khaled

8. Loyal (feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga) - Chris Brown

7. Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) - Iggy Azalea

6. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) - Clean Bandit

5. The Heart Wants What It Wants - Selena Gomez

4. Lips Are Movin' - Meghan Trainor

3. Flawless Remix (feat. Nicki Minaj) - Beyoncé

2. My Hitta (feat. Lil Wayne, Rich Homie Quan, Meek Mill & Nicki Minaj) - YG

1. 2 On - Tinashe

PHOTOS: iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball Tour Brings Music's Biggest Stars To Boston

Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX perform onstage together at KISS 108’s Jingle Ball 2014, presented by Market Basket Supermarkets at TD Garden on December 14, 2014 in Boston, MA (Benjamin Esakof/Roman's Rap-Up).

iHeartRadio's annual Jingle Ball Tour lit up Boston's TD Garden on December 14th, 2014, bringing with it some of the industry's current heavy-hitters. Kiss 108's Jingle Ball featured performances by Charli XCX, One Republic, Rixton, Shawn Mendes, Kiesza, Iggy Azalea, Meghan Trainor, Jessie J, Calvin Harris, Magic!, 5 Seconds of Summer and special guest host Nick Jonas.

Check out the photo galleries below to see all the action from on-and-off stage:

5 Seconds Of Summer:

Iggy Azalea with Charli XCX:

Meghan Trainor:


Lil Jon:

Jessie J:

One Republic:


Shawn Mendes: