Ann Powers Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.

Tinashe, whose hit "2 On" was produced by DJ Mustard, performs on stage in December. Emmerson/Corbis hide caption

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Emmerson/Corbis

Top 10 Top 40 For 2014

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Brandi Carlile's fifth studio album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, will be out on March 3. David McClister/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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David McClister/Courtesy of the artist

01The Eye

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    Song
    The Eye
    Album
    The Eye
    Artist
    Brandi Carlile
    Label
    ATO
    Released
    2014

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Beyonce's performance during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August included clips of a speech about feminism by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV hide caption

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Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV

In 2014, Pop Followed Beyonce's Lead

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African-Americans on their way to church. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel 1926-1936

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Portrait in New York, in Lead Belly's final days, 1948-49 Dr Richard S. Blacher hide caption

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Dr Richard S. Blacher

01I'm So Glad, I Done Got Over

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Hayley Williams (left) of Paramore and Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars, perform together on a version of the song "Hate To See Your Heart Break" from the deluxe version of Paramore's self-titled album. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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18Hate To See Your Heart Break feat. Joy Williams

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01The Same Road

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For No One

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03Eye Makeup

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    Song
    Eye Makeup
    Album
    88 92
    Artist
    Wild Moccasins
    Label
    New West
    Released
    2014

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Marianne Faithfull's new album, Give My Love To London, comes out Nov. 11. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Give My Love To London

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album is released.