Top 35 Songs of 2014

Another year, another list. After last year, I decided to cut down the amount of songs to a more refined 35. A good year all the same for music with the soundtrack to Mockingjay- Part 1 providing some outstanding tracks. Kimbra’s The Golden Echo was the album I was most looking forward to, and it seriously excelled my expectations. Hozier’s debut album Hozier is without a doubt the album of the year. It’s an album of great substance and it really packs a punch. I was really looking forward to Charli XCX’s Sucker but I found it to be disappointing and slightly juvenile in style. Charli is smart and she can create great music and I know what she was doing in creating this album. It’s kind of a teen pop/punk “edgy” album. A lot of people will enjoy it, heck if I was 14 I’d be revelling in these songs. It will do well and you know, bills gotta be paid so fair enough. I wish her the best. 😛

On we go with the the top 35 songs of 2014:

35: Main Street – Angus & Julia Stone. 

Album: Angus & Julia Stone

I’m a big fan of Angus Stone’s 2012 album Broken Brights. This song has a very dark feel to it, and both have a sultry tone to their voices. It’s weird to think that they’re brother and sister, especially in the lines “My bones are aching for yours. You rode me on your bicycle down Main Street.” It has a connotation of lovers singing to each other. There’s definitely a longing in the song.

34: Torn Apart (Bastille VS. Grades) – Bastille.

Mixtape: VS. (Other People’s Heartache p. III).

Bastille’s mixtapes are often their best work. A good up tempo song. Nice beat to it with an electronic chorus. There’s this backing vocal that’s pitched deeper which can be heard throughout the song. It’s one of the things I like in electronic music.

33: The Driver – Bastille.

Mixtape: VS. (Other People’s Heartache p. III).

Great guitar work in this song. The pre-chorus is impressive with heavy guitar riffs. “Everything will change tonight.”

32: Warm Water – BANKS. 

Album: Goddess.

Her voice is so delicate in the chorus and the beat is subtle throughout.

31: Every Other Freckle – alt-J. 

Album: This is All Yours.

Great progression throughout the song. From the guitar riffs to the heavy synths and then the guitar again in the last movement. I feel like this is a very sexual song. “I want to do all the things your lungs do so well. /  I wanna be every lever you pull/ And all showers that shower you. / I’m gonna kiss you like the sun browns you.” Lyrically, it kind of reminds me of Now Now’s “Wolf.”

30: No Ordinary Love – Leah McFall.

Album: N/A.

The best thing about this song is the backing track in the chorus. It makes me think of Miami in the 1970’s (I’m guessing, I wasn’t actually there) – print shirts at the ready! It gradually grows higher in pitch. Leah’s voice is brilliant and she has great range. Overall, a really relaxing song.

29: Year In Review – The Black Keys. 

Album: Turn Blue.

Apply named song considering the purpose of this post. Good rock song. Great guitar work here and the chorus is pretty good. “You don’t wanna know more/ And you’ve been down this road before.” A bit of harp thrown in in the outro is well. And I love me some harp!

28: Dead Air – CHVRCHES. 

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Great synths and beats. A good song from CHVRCHES, not their greatest but still great all the same.

27: Everything We Touch – Say Lou Lou.

Album: Lucid Dreaming.

Just found this duo this year and their singles are really impressive. They haven’t even released an album yet. Great instrumentation in this song and it has a dream pop feel to it. Really compelling lyrics : “Days of ashes and nights of flame.”

26: Scream My Name – Tove Lo.

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Another song from the HG soundtrack. This lyrics are so good. They speak of fame and post death remembrance. “When I’m dead and gone will they sing about me?”  Also those “ah ahs” remind me of Ellie Goulding for some reason.

25: Innocence – Electric Youth.

Album: Innerworld.

This duo have a real 80’s synthpop feel to them. I remember them from the Drive (2011) soundtrack when they collaborated with College. They’re heavy in their use of synths and this song is no exception. The synth beats are quite appealing aagainst Bronwyn’s seemingly laid back and mellow voice.

24: Rescue Him – Kimbra.

Album: The Golden Echo.

Seriously impressed by this album. Where Vows (2011) had a jazz feel to it, this album has a funk and R&B sound. The best thing about it is that it has these little sounds throughout the whole album that really contribute to it as a whole. As for this song itself, the bass really gives it that funk. The synths just left the whole song up to another level. Kimra’s voice is so affecting, especially during the emotional climax right before the key change.

23: Boom Clap – Charli XCX.

Album: Sucker.

Just want to say, I didn’t like TFiOS (the book or movie), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t listen to this song a lot when it first came out. Of course there are other good songs on the album but this is a nice song so I included it. It’s a pretty catchy some with some punch. Those heavy beats are a great contrast with Charli’s voice. When she’s like “on and on and on and on” it’s similar to the na na na na’s in “Break The Rules.” Someone once said something along the lines of “a song is never complete with na na na’s.” Must be true for Charli. 😛

22: Turn Blue – The Black Keys.

Album: Turn Blue.

This song has got a kind of 70’s vibe going on. It’s so laid back and the guitar is almost psychedelic. I love the little electronic thrill at the end of the chorus. I’m really liking 70’s inspired style at the moment, you can hear it as well in Kimbra’s album.

21: This Is Not a Game – The Chemical Brothers ft. Miguel. 

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

What a monster of a song. The chorus is so heavy it literally sounds like a chainsaw. Contrasted then with the lighter verses and Lorde’s “there it is.” Definitely one of the meatier songs from the soundtrack.

20: My Song 5 – Haim.

Album: Days Are Gone.

I remember seeing these guys back in 2012 when they were supporting Florence + The Machine. I thought that their studio work was good but a bit light for me personally. When I saw them live I was blown away, their sound was like 10 times as heavy as that of the studio. This song is akin to what they were like live. Impressive guitar riffs blended with heavy brass instruments (I think?). They sound heavier than trombones, probably tubas. Also love the way the voices are pitched lower in parts. Great beats too. “Honey I’m not your honey pie.”

19: Fancy – Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX.

Album: The New Classic. 

Charli makes a lot of appearances on these lists. Great blend of Iggy’s rapping and Charli’s singing. I heard this song pretty early so it was a bit annoying when everyone kept over playing it (Yeah I know that sounds quite hipster of me).

18: Fiona Coyne – Saint Pepsi.

Single: Fiona Coyne/ Fall Harder.

Another song with a 70’s feel. Found this guy this year and his songs have such a retro vibe. The guitar blends greatly with the trumpets here.

17: Real Love – Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne. 

Album: New Eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, “Rather Be” is great song as well but people just overplayed it. Jess has a brilliant voice and mixed with the electronic work of Clean Bandit, it produced a great song. The slow intro with the piano and celloreally shows respect for good musicianship.

16: Chandelier – Sia.

Album: 1000 Forms of Fear.

Really have to pay dues to Sia for finally getting the recognition for her work. Songs she’s written for other people have done well and songs she’s been featured in but finally her own song has done well. The chorus is explosive and her voice soars. What I find funny is that song is mostly just pre-chorus and chorus. The first verse lasts 20 seconds and the second last only 10 seconds. Not that there’s anything worn with that, I think it’s an amazing song. Just funny to note.

15: Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene – Hozier. 

Album: Hozier.

Technically from the 2013 EP Take Me To Church, it was re-released in Hozier’s self titled album. Great blues song.  It’s an eclectic mix of humming, blues singing, clapping, guitar and a little church organ thrown in for good measure. “Feeling more human and hooked on her flesh.” The guitar solo at the bridge is the highlight.

14: Losing – Becky Hill.

Album: TBA.

I’m a big fan of Becky and she hasn’t even released an album yet. She was in last years list as well. For this song, she has to great progressive beat. I just love her voice. “Is there someone out there who really loves you?”

13: Shades of Cool – Lana Del Rey.

Album: Ultraviolence. 

A vast change in direction from her previous albums. I take my hat off to Lana for doing that. The album has this Hollywood Noir feel to it and the instrumentation is highlighted in this album. As for this song, the chorus just lifts the soul. “My baby lives in shades of blue/ Blue eyes and jazz and attitude.” How sensual is that? The highlight of the song has to be the guitar riff towards the end. It’s like catharsis. Everything just lets rip.

12: Gecko (Overdrive) – Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill. 

Album: N/A.

More Becky! A mad yet electronic song. The backing track works perfectly with Becky’s vocals. And the vocals are lowered in parts!

11: Love in High Places – Kimbra.

Album: The Golden Echo.

This song a great example of background sounds adding to the overall sound of a song. For example, after she says “I will be your lotus” there’s a little thrill. There’s also these intricate electronic sounds throughout. The bas gives it that funk feel and the bass solo before the long outro is impressive. There’s also these seemingly paradoxical phrases throughout the chorus like “find me in the drier in the rain,” “find me in the forest, in the fire.”

10: All My Love – Major Lazer & Ariana Grande. 

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

This song is mental. The chorus just doesn’t hold back. It contrasts greatly with the verses and Ariana’s vocals suit it perfectly.

9: Heavenly Father – Bon Iver.

Soundtrack: Wish I Was Here.

Quite poignant this song. It’s the last song ever to be released by Bon Iver following their indefinite hiatus. There’s a vocal repetition in the backing track throughout the whole song. Some of the lyrics are really affective. “I was never sure how much of you I could let in” is like being with someone but being afraid to let them see or know your inner most thoughts, secrets and feelings. “I’ve just been up here for God damn years” & “I know about it darling I’ve been standing here” is like you’ve known something for a very long time while everyone else has been oblivious. It’s almost like people have forgotten you or they just overlook you. It’s quite an emotional song with a person aching to be noticed.

8: Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow.

Album: Post Tropical.

Brilliant album name. Such an emotional song. It’s minimalist but quite moving. Love the line “I remember my first love.” I think everyone relates to that thought with certain poignancy and nostalgia. I love the delicate beat and quiteness in the first movement which builds up to this massive second movement. The trumpets are a great touch.

7: Big Eyes – Lana Del Rey.

Soundtrack: Big Eyes.

Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Song. The orchestral backing track really gives this song grandeur and movement. The trumpets in the chorus are a personal favourite. The introduction of the drum beats in the third verse really transforms the song and there’s great transitions and movements in the school as a whole. What I find weird is that the song feels really familiar. I know I’ve listened to many of Lana’s songs and the drum beat is similar to “Gods & Monsters” but I feel like I’ve heard this song before- in another life or something. :L All in all, a great contender for the award.

6: Meltdown – Stromae ft. Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip , HAIM.

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Great collaboration here with a multitude of artists. Lorde really is on fire and her voice is superb. It has this sultry, smoky tone. Contrasted greatly with the backing track and Pusha T. “It’s a full meltdown/ Take em out.”

5. Goldmine – Kimbra.

Album: The Golden Echo.

I love the backing vocals in the intro and chorus: both the guy and the kind of tribal singing. Great beat and backing track. “I’ve got a goldmine, it’s all mine.” Kimbra says it’s a metaphor for inner strength and you can really feel it in the chorus. There’s this distorted vocal uplift right before the second verse that’s really impressive and you have this little sounds throughout the song that really add to the overall sound. The bridge then has these distorted noises followed by the climax right before the final chorus. It’s a real gutsy song filled with interesting sounds. Hats off to you Kimbra.

4. Arsonists Lullaby – Hozier. 

Album: Hozier. 

The guitar here is so heavy and you can feel how good this song is. You can feel it in your bones and you know that this is a passionately produced song. Carries a punch with the drums and guitar. “Don’t you ever tame your demons, always keep them on a leash.” This reminds me of a verse I wrote about 3 discoveries a guy makes- as a baby, as a young man and as an old man. In this song Hozier sings of 3 times during someone’s life- as a boy, as a 16 year old and as a man. Obviously, that’s not my reason for loving the song, but the idea is compelling. Love his voice.

3. In The Woods Somewhere – Hozier. 

Album: Hozier. 

Brilliant song. What I love about this song is that it plays out like a folk song. It tells a story and there’s a movement in terms of the speaker. It’s also set in the woods which really attracts me to the song. “I heard a scream in the woods somewhere.” You get the feel of the woods, the wind and the scream in the non-verbal singing in the chorus. It’s absolutely haunting and beautiful. The heavy drums and guitar are of great contrast to the verses. I love the line “The creature lunged, I turned and ran.” Just so appealing how much this is like a story. It feels more like a folk tale. Genius.

2. Kingdom – Charli XCX ft. Simon Le Bon.

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

A beautiful song. The piano is so delicate and intricate. It’s perfect with Charli’s vocals in the higher register. It transitions greatly with the introduction of heavy beats and then the string backing. There’s also these small noises right before each chorus that really add to it. The drum roll beat with the backing track really helps with the introduction of Simon Le Bon- who incidentally really brings this song to a new. His voice has great inflection, especially when he says “flowing under factory holes.” The outro is so beautiful. “But if I could I’d turn back around.”

1. Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde.

Soundtrack: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Also nominated for Best Original Song at the Golden Globes. It’s perfectly represents the story of The Hunger Games. We can also read it as an anti-establishment piece. It’s so critical of the system and getting revenge on adversaries. Great voice and movements between the verses and chorus. Love the beat and Lorde’s voice is so rebellious and suave. The whole song just feels like one big “fuck you” to the system. She doesn’t care about what people think. “They used to shout my name now they whisper it.” It’s like Lorde became massive and now the top dogs are afraid of what she’ll say or do. I love it. I’ve a feeling this might take the award. I just feel like Lorde is doing a clean sweep of everything at the moment. You know Lorde means business, she’s bringing down the system.

And what better way to finish this years review than Lorde’s own words: “This is the start of how it all ends.”

Songs by country tally up as follows:

UK: 10 ( England: 8, Scotland: 1, Northern Ireland: 1).

USA: 9.

Ireland: 4.

New Zealand: 4.

Australia: 4.

Sweden: 2.

The Netherlands: 1.

Belgium: 1.

Canada: 1.

*Note: Say Lou Lou are from both Australia & Sweden and both are awarded 1 for the one song so there is a discrepancy in the numbers.


One comment on “Top 35 Songs of 2014

  1. […] released in previous years e.g. Major Lazer’s “All My Love” which appeared on my 2014 […]

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