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Brent M Faulkner Brent M Faulkner
Starpulse Contributing Writer
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Hi, I'm Brent – one of those eccentric musician types who live and breathe music. Kentucky bred (don’t judge). Besides being a certified music teacher, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, I've been passionate about the music industry and music journalism for years. I've contributed to various music sites over the past five years – there's nothing better than being quoted!

What Were The 25 Best Albums Of 2014?

December 22nd, 2014 11:00am EST
25 Best Albums Of 2014
Another year, another group of albums ranging from awesome to nothing short of horrid – blah! Although sales overall for 2014 have been at times as dreadful as a four-letter word, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some awesome, truly dynamic albums to be found. The motto of 2014 definitely would have to be, “don’t judge an album by its sales.” Some truly terrific albums grace this list of the best albums of 2014.

1) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

On his debut album In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith shared with the world that a star was born – one transcendent of genre and otherwise. ...
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D'Angelo Returns With An R&B Masterpiece

December 21st, 2014 7:15pm EST
DAngelo and the Vanguard
What is better than a surprise Christmas gift? The answer is nothing. For the music – even more specifically the R&B world – D’Angelo delivered the best, most surprising gift of the year, by way of Black Messiah. Black Messiah is D’Angelo’s third studio album, but more notable than that is the fact that it is his first in 14, nearly 15 years. Dropped in Beyoncé fashion, Black Messiah, much like Beyoncé was in December 2013, is nothing short of exceptional. If 2014 hadn’t experience a three-point jumper Black Messiah delivers the game winner.

Black Messiah opens drenched in soul from t...
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Grammy Predictions: Who Wins In The Pop Categories?

December 21st, 2014 11:00am EST
The 57th Grammy Award Predictions: Who Wins In The Pop Categorie
The cream of the crop of the Grammy Awards resides in what’s known as the ‘big four’ – record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist. As previously stated via Early Grammy Predictions: Who Wins Album, Record And Song Of The Year?, British pop/R&B newcomer Sam Smith was a heavy favorite. Of the genre-specific categories, arguably the most interesting is pop, namely four specific awards: Best pop solo performance, best pop/duo group performance, best traditional pop vocal album, and the coveted best pop vocal album. So, who wins in those standout pop categori...
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J. Cole Debuts Big On Billboard 200

December 18th, 2014 10:21am EST
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive
For J. Cole, the number one spot is a familiar one. For the third time in his career, J. Cole sits atop the Billboard 200. This time, he earns the largest sales of his career as 2014 Forest Hills Drive sold a robust 354,000 copies. Translated to the Billboard 200’s new formula of ‘units’, J. Cole’s latest impacted 375,000. Even more remarkable about J. Cole’s numbers is the lack of a single to drive album sales – “Apparently” was issued upon the album’s release as a single. Initially, the album was forecasted to sell more than 300,000 copies.

So with the debut of J. Cole, Taylor Swif...
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J. Cole Is Fiery On ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’

December 16th, 2014 3:12pm EST
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive
Sometimes the best musicians don’t receive the recognition that they should – call it the ‘underrated bug.’ For rapper J. Cole, being underrated seems to be his middle name. Sure, he’s racked up two number one albums, but the über talented rapper still feels less heralded than some of his contemporaries. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, much like previous effort, Born Sinner, exemplifies why J. Cole ranks among the best in the game.

Following the mysterious “Intro,” “January 28th” finds Cole is on autopilot – cocky and confident from the jump. “The real is back, the 'ville is back,” Cole spi...
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10 Must Hear ‘Traditional’ Christmas Carols

December 15th, 2014 7:41pm EST
10 Must Hear ‘Traditional’ Christmas Carols
It’s not called “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing! With the holiday season ago – the hustle and bustle – what better to enjoy the season than some must-hear traditional carols? Sure, not every musician sticks to the formula on this list (cough* Justin Bieber), but regardless, all ten performances are definitely ‘something’ if nothing else.

1) Pentatonix featuring Tori Kelly, “Winter Wonderland/ Don’t Worry Be Happy” (That's Christmas To Me, 2014)

Call this a two-for-one, and who doesn’t like a two-for-one? Pentatonix slaughter (in a good way) this rendition of “Winter W...
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Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint’ Leads Albums to Check Out

December 15th, 2014 11:36am EST
Nicki Minaj’s ‘The Pinkprint’ Leads Albums to Check Out: This We
As the fourth quarter nears its close, fewer albums of note arrive for consumers to partake of. Few artists/labels are brave enough to release big-time albums in a time where Christmas album sales inflate and the select few albums with staying power dominate sales. While the releases have slowed, Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint leads five other albums to check out this week.

1) Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint (Republic)

After being delayed, Nicki Minaj finally releases her highly anticipated The Pinkprint. After a so-so start with tame single “Pills N Potion,” Minaj turned up the heat and ...
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Early Grammy Predictions: Who Will Win?

December 14th, 2014 11:00am EST
Early Grammy Predictions: Who Wins Album, Record And Song Of The
Now that the burning questions have been answered – those Grammy nominations of course – more burning questions loom on the horizon. What are these questions? Well, it’s who wins album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, and best new artist. Sure, there are plenty of categories within the Grammys, but none are more coveted and hyped than the ‘big four.’ Here are early prediction for album, record, and song of the year, as well as best new artist.

Album of the Year:

Nominees: Morning Phase, Beck; Beyoncé, Beyoncé; X, Ed Sheeran; In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith; Girl, P...
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Taylor Swift Still Tops On Billboard

December 11th, 2014 10:59am EST
Taylor Swift
The Billboard 200 may be completely revamped, but Taylor Swift’s constant stay atop the chart regardless of changes is unsurprising. After three consecutive weeks, a week in the runner-up slot, and last week’s return to the top, Swift now sits at five weeks at #1. Baller status – yep, definitely – she’s a playmaker. Overall, including overall “consumption” to quote the new chart language, Swift’s impact was 274,000. Again, only a portion of that were sales, specifically 230,000 copies. Regardless of technicalities, Swift rules.

But enough about Taylor, what about the newbies to th...
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J. Cole Leads Albums to Check Out: This Week In Music

December 10th, 2014 8:00am EST
J. Cole performs at Made In America concert in Philadelphia Phil
Who has dominated the fall (musically)? Taylor Swift has dominated the fall. While her dominance continues onward towards Christmas, the week of December 9 does have some notable new efforts dropping. The biggest album to watch is one few know little about – J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Can Cole put some pressure on Taylor Swift? It’s possible as he put some pressure on Kanye West in 2013. Cole does indeed lead albums to check out this week, which also includes Carrie Underwood’s greatest hits compilation.

1) J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Columbia)

J. Cole gives rap fans ...
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