Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

"I think the audience is becoming more aware," he said backstage at the last date of his fall tour with Method Man. "Smarter."

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Bella Howard/Charli XCX

The 22-year-old U.K. star infuses her gleaming songs with punk spirit on her second album, SUCKER. The result is one of the best pop albums of 2014.

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Julien Bourgeois/Courtesy of the artist

The duo's sibling harmonies jump out at first, but it's the haunting arrangements that stick.

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Courtesy of the artist

Hear beautiful, layered electronic music from one Liverpool singer who sounds like two.

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Maggie Starbard/NPR

Surveying a year of concerts that took place behind a desk in NPR Music's offices, we offer up highlights from T-Pain to the Pixies to a 12-piece Balkan brass extravaganza.

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