The good, the better and the bad of 2014

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First Posted: 12/30/2014

As it usually does, pop music provided many headlines throughout the course of 2014. These three names are all artists that spoke with “Ralphie Tonight” in 2014 and had noteworthy years; most for better, some for worse.

Taylor Swift has the best week ever

She defied management. She defied her record label. It seemed as if everyone around Taylor Swift told her not to take the chance of releasing a purely pop album; to also cater to country fans as she had on previous releases.

The artist, who turned 25 on December 13, stuck with her gut. Her confidence yielded big-time dividends.

Swift released the most ambitious album of her career, “1989,” on October 27. It debuted at number one, selling almost 1.3 million copies in its first week; the highest sales week since 2002. The “Shake It Off” singer became the first artist to have three albums sell a million or more copies in a week.

“It’s been the best week I ever had,” Swift told me on the Friday of release week. “I put out this album that was very different from anything I had done before. Taking kind of a bold move and saying, ‘I choose this genre over that genre for this album’ was taking a bit of a risk. For people to completely see what I was doing and understand it and get it and love it… was the most amazing feeling.”

And that was before the album’s lead singer, “Shake It Off,” received Grammy nominations for both “Song Of The Year” and “Record Of The Year.”

Sam Smith is here to stay

Speaking of Grammy nominations, Sam Smith picked up six of them thanks to his debut album, “In The Lonely Hour.”

“I always really try and mark each moment, celebrate each moment,” Smith told me in June, “because it could all end tomorrow. And then you haven’t celebrated.”

His album went on to sell a million copies in the U.S. and U.K. The crooner will headline arenas in 2015. Surely Smith will have many more moments to mark in his promising career.

Mariah Carey’s year to forget

It was a far more tumultuous year for the biggest selling female artist of all time. Things were looking bright for Mariah Carey when I sat down with her in February: She just came from the premiere episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” she was gearing up for the release of her fourteenth studio album, and there were no signs of disarray in her marriage to Nick Cannon.

“There’s a lot of up-tempo, fun, happy moments,” she said earlier this year of the LP, which would be titled “Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse,” “and yet, there are those moments of complete and total misery.”

Sadly, it seemed that more of the latter followed. The LP was the lowest selling release of the star’s career, reports speculate that she is on the verge of divorcing her husband, and unfortunately no one can forget Carey’s performance of “All I Want For Christmas” at the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony.

However Carey did end the year with a string of holiday-themed, sold out shows at New York’s Beacon Theatre. And looking ahead to 2015, if anything is certain, it’s that America loves a good comeback story.