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:

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Passion & Performing

I love seeing people getting really passionate about what they’re doing. There’s nothing better than seeing someone getting really into something an lose themselves. You can tell they love what they’re doing.

Firstly, a guy I find who’s really passionate about his work is the movie critic Mark Kermode. Apart from being a movie genius and wonderful critic, he has linguistic charm. He can cut deep down into a film and see its layers for what it is. He has an expansive knowledge of cinema. He also tells it how it is. He’s unafraid yet he knows when to give credit to honourable and ambitious films where it’s due. What I love though is when he gets really animated when he’s talking and he uses his hands. It shows true passion. Great insights and diction; enjoyable just to listen to him.

A singer who I love listening to and who really gets into her performances is Kimbra. She’s a great singer in the studio but her live performances really are something else. Look up any of her live performances and you’ll be blown away. You can watch one of my favourites below of Plain Gold Ring which is like from 2010. I love how she throws her voice around live but again what gets me is her hands. She dances and grasps the air as if the music and the beat were somehow physically tangible and she can feel it. She moves through the music and lives in it for that 4 and a half minutes. She’s a performer who’s in the music. She just lets go towards the end. Brilliant.

Another musician/ singer who is really cool to watch is Martin Doherty of the Scottish electronic band “CHVRCHES.” He’s pretty animated when he plays synths but he’s the singer for like one song I think: “Under The Tide.” I love how he dances, as if he’s in his bedroom alone. He goes mental at the chorus. It’s brilliant and we should all dance as if no one’s watching. 🙂 Also his Scottish accent is charming as fuck!

I also love how Florence Welch performs (of “Florence + The Machine”). She’s a Goddess. Her stage presence is amazing and she’s such a free spirit. I remember she said something in an interview that I always try to remember:

“What I really like seeing from the stage is people having their own moments, when people are doing some performance of their own.”

I like the idea of just doing your own dance and having your own moment and not caring about what’s going on around you. You could also extend that to real life: do your own thing and not care about what others are doing.

Another good performer I like is Lorde. The way she dances is so authentic and erratic.

I also like how Charli XCX dances during the first 20 seconds of “What I Like.”

Top 50 Songs of 2013

So after seeing all the “year in reviews” that are going around, I decided to do a of of my own. After hours of cutting down lists of songs, I finally got to a solid 50 songs! 2013 was a great year for new artists as many pop singers were taking a break to work on their new albums. I think 2012 was a better year for music but 2013 still had its moments. So here we go, counting down my 50 favourite songs:

50: Misty Mountains – Howard Shore.

Album: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Love the booming voices of the male choir and then the instrumental that follows. And of course The Lord of The Rings theme makes an appearance. 

49: Sleeping Ute – Grizzly Bear.

Album: Shields.

Slightly psychedelic with synths and guitar riffs. Tad bit creepy which is always good!

48: Closer – Tegan & Sara (Brad Hale Remix). 

Album: Closer Remixed.

Great remix by Now, Now’s drummer. Heavy electronic chorus relieved with light verses. Expect heavy synths and clever remastering. 

47: Up In The Air – 30 Seconds to Mars.

Album: Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams.

30STM takes a more electronic route with their new music. It is a departure from their older stuff. However they are just as epic as ever. This song a stand out in their album. Mashes up electronic with violins, guitars, heavy bass drums and a choir with Jared singing over as course. 

46: Walking on Air – Katy Perry.

Album: Prism.

I haven’t listened to her album a lot, but from a few sittings I know that it’s not “Teenage Dream.” This song, however, is a stand out in the album. It has a 90’s dance feel to it. I loved it.

45: Treasure – Bruno Mars.

Album: Unorthodox Jukebox.

It’s an upbeat, funky song. It’s light and puts me in a good mood. What’s not to love?

44: Hurricane – MS MR.

Album: Secondhand Rapture.

One of the new artists I discovered this year. Really like the singers voice with the unique sound. The lyrics are so dark. “Welcome to the inner workings of my mind,” great line. There’s a great video for this song, found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brJozYDT0Ts . Such a mishmash of pop culture and retro imagery.

43: Silhouettes – Of Monsters & Men.

Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

One of the many songs on the “Catching Fire” soundtrack which feature on this list. I love OMAM and this is another great song. Love their voices and the instruments! What can I say?

42: Daydreaming – Paramore.

Album: Paramore.

Again, there’s a lot of Paramore songs on this list. I will explain my thoughts on their new album another time, but I have included some of their songs because I like them in their selves. This is a cute, little song. It has a sleepy feel to it and is relaxing. It’s a small bit sad if you pay attention to the lyrics. When Hayley sings “Just don’t wanna be here no more” it’s so sad. 😦 But it gets hopeful towards the end.

41: F For You – Disclosure.

Album: Settle.

Another great new act this year. I’m a big fan of Disclosure after their debut album. Great house track.

40: Fantasy – MS MR.

Album: Secondhand Rapture.

The chorus with the pounding drums is amazing. “My reality could never live up to my fantasy” is a great line.

39: Handshake – Two Door Cinema Club.

Album: Beacon.

Another catchy song from the lads up north. The chorus is so infectious. “She said the devil will want you back, And you’ll never find love in an open hand.” It was stuck in my head for days when I first heard it. 

38: Follow Me – Muse. 

Album: The 2nd Law.

This album is a must. Muse always make good music and this is another solid album from them. It’ has a massive, arena filling sound. This song is a personal favourite from the album. It has a heavy electronic chorus. Truly epic. I was surprised when I heard it at the end of World War Z. Fitted in perfectly though!

37: Demons – Imagine Dragons. 

Album: Night Visions.

Epic band here! They’ve got their typical pounding drums in this song. The singer is pretty good too, he can sing with such emotion. It’s like you can hear the pain in his voice.

36: Drinking From The Bottle – Calvin Harris ft. Tinie Tempah.

Album: 18 Months.

I have to say, “18 Months” is one of my favourite all time albums. It ranged from 2011-2013, 3 years! and had so many features. So much amazing songs. If this was 2012 the list would have been filled with his songs. It does contain some though. I can’t remember how many times I’ve danced to this song in nightclubs. Perfect drinking song, gets me hyped up every time!

35: Hearts A Mess – Gotye.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

Ok I know this song was released years ago, but it was re-released as part of The Great Gatsby‘s soundtrack, so it counts. Amazing soundtrack. One of the best I’ve ever heard. Anyway, love how smooth and suave this song is. Low the instruments, beats and how he almost shouts in the chorus.

34: Crazy In Love – Emeli Sandé ft. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra.

Album:  The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

This is an amazing cover of Beyonce’s song. It fitted perfectly into the soundtrack and movie. I love the inclusion of the trumpet. An amazing jazz song. It’s one of those song where it’s almost impossible not to dance. Her voice is suits to music.

33: Girlfriend – Icona Pop.

Album: Icona Pop.

Icona Pop had a great breakthrough last year with “I Love It.” This is another fun, upbeat song about living life to the fullest. Perfect club song!

32: Atlas – Coldplay.

Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

I was addicted to this song when it first came out. It fits into the theme of The Hunger Games perfectly. The chorus is just an explosion of melody. It’s just so transcending and hopeful.

31: Ain’t It Fun – Paramore.

Album: Paramore.

This is a big departure from the typical “Paramore” sound. It’s funky, soulful and has a nice beat to it. The line “Don’t go crying to your Mama” has so much soul in it, especially with the addition of the backing choir. I love it!

30: La La La – Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith.

Album: Hotel Cabana.

Relatively unknown until recently, both artists have charted due to their collaborations. Great beat to this song and a catchy tune. 

29: Solo – Rudimental ft. Ella Eyre & Mark Crown.

Album: Home. 

Yet another new artist & more feats! I’m loving Rudimental. This song is over 9 minutes but is amazing. What I love is the trumpet going through the whole song. The first half is mostly instrumental but then features singers in the second half. The latter is a live recording of the singers messing about with beat-boxing,  beats and singing. It’s really interesting and fun just listening to them come up with a tune from very few resources.

28: Baby – Rudimental ft. MNEK & Sinead Harnett.

Album: Home.

I can’t enough of Rudimental! This one’s a house tune. The singers really make this one. They’re a great accompaniment and overlap perfectly with the beat and melody.

27: Superstar – AlunaGeorge.

Album: Body Music.

New artist alert! These guys really know how to make unique music. They’re a perfect mixture of Garage and electronic. Aluna’s voice is so delicate and her accent is brilliant! 

26: Powerless – Rudimental ft. Becky Hill.

Album: Home.

This song blends so smoothly with Becky’s voice. When it gets to the drum & bass chorus, her voice just triumphs. When she reaches the higher notes, I get them feels! Amazing voice.

25: 22 – Taylor Swift.

Album: Red.

Just a fun, little pop song. It’s catchy and I can’t help but like it. 

24: Burn – Ellie Goulding.

Album: Halcyon Days.

Ellie’s really on fire. I love her transition into more electronic songs. Her voice fits perfectly into the melody of this song. The back track is infectious and the repetition of lyrics throughout the chorus makes this a really catchy song. 

23: Lost & Found – AlunaGeorge.

Album: Body Music.

Aluna’s voice is so good here. It’s actually so clever what they do in this song. The sounds they make with her voice and the melody.

22: Part II – Paramore.

Album: Paramore.

One of the stand out tracks from their album. Classic Paramore sound here, reminiscent of “Riot” (2007) or “Brand New Eyes” (2009). It is the sequel to “Let the Flames Begin” which is featured on “Riot.” Hayley’s voice is powerful and full of emotion. One of my favourite all time Paramore songs.

21: Waiting All Night – Rudimental ft. Ella Eyre.

Album: Home.

Great drum and bass tune here. Accompanied greatly with Ella’s voice. The inclusion of a trumpet is also a personal favourite.

20: Summertime Sadness – Lana del Rey (Cedric Gervais Remix).

Album: Born to Die: Paradise Edition.

I love the original version. It’s so sad and depressing. This club remix really brings it to another level. It’s like upbeat and sad at the same time. Love the idea, makes it really catchy.

19: Latch – Disclosure ft. Sam Smith.

Album: Settle.

Another house song! Sam’s voice is superb in this song. The melody is infectious. It’s clean and refreshing.

18: You (Ha Ha Ha) – Charli XCX.

 Album: True Romance.

What I love about this is that it samples Gold Panda. The sample works perfectly with her voice. 

17: Grow Up – Paramore.

Album: Paramore.

This song is a prefect mix of rock and electronic. They bounce off of each other nicely and Hayley’s voice is shown off. The first line is badass: “I told them all where to stick it!” That’s the Hayley I know! What I also love is how the song gradually goes from heavy to light. It’s subtle but really smart. The light electronic outro is is nice addition.

16: Of The Night – Bastille (Kove Remix). 

Album: Bad Blood.

The original is amazing in itself but I decided to choose the remix. It’s a monster of a song and goes from a light piano back track to a massive club tune. The low pitched remaster of the singer is epic. Both the original and remix are beasts of songs. Great production.

15: Stay The Night – Zedd ft. Hayley Williams.

Album: Clarity.

I always wondered what a club song would sound like with Hayley. This is it. Song is good and Hayley gets to use some of her vocal range. Would have liked to have heard more of it though. But great song, really catchy too! Loving Zedd at the moment too!

14: You Know You Like It – AlunaGeorge.

Album: Body Music.

This is the track that got me into AlunaGeorge. Aluna’s voice is as good as ever. I loved that kind of muted/ dimmed drum beat. And of course the electronic back track. Favourite song by them.

13: Do What You Want – Lady Gaga ft. R. Kelly.

Album: Artpop.

I’ll discuss Artpop another time. But as for the song, a really superb collab here. Their voices are really good together. Love the beat and back track. Love when Gaga sings passionately. 

12: Counting Stars – One Republic.

Album: Native.

A catchy rock pop song from One Republic. Ryan’s voice is amazing in this. Really great song.

11: Radioactive – Imagine Dragons.

Album: Night Visions.

This song was a massive rock anthem throughout the year. It is epic and is the epitome of Imagine Dragons. Pounding drums, shouting chorus and an extremely heavy electronic backing track. The popularization of dubstep is a sure inspiration for this song.

10: A Little Party Never Killed Nobody – Fergie ft. GoonRock & Q-Tip.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

Seriously one of my favourite songs. It’s a party anthem for the 1920’s. Perfect club song and it fits into the movie’s soundtrack. The bridge is amazing and is very 1920’s. It features Fergie speaking about speak-easy’s and such. Great party piece!

9: You, My Everything – Ellie Goulding.

Album: Halcyon Days.

When I first heard this in Skins Fire, I seriously wanted to listen to it non-stop. However, it wasn’t released and there were only pieces of audio taken from the show. I waited months until finally I could listen to the official version. One of the most outstanding tracks of the year. I absolutely love the steady beat at the beginning. It’s so progressive. Ellie’s voice is perfect as usual. The chorus then opens up to a drum & bass accompaniment. Amazing transitions and little electronic bits throughout make it perfect.

8: Together – The XX.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

It took me a while to get into The XX, but when I did I was addicted. This song is so stripped down yet it holds so much power. It begins with a steady electronic beat. It’s hypnotic. Their voices are monotone yet entrancing. That’s what I love about The XX. This song causes inner reflection. The simplicity allows me to connect to the song. It’s amazing how so much emotion is in this song. The violins are surely the root of this. What a masterpiece. 

7: Bang Bang – Will.I.Am.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

What can I say about this? It is a magnificent club song mashed with  1920’s sounds. Perfect for the movie. I loved the trumpets, and big band that played during the verses. The chorus is mental. With Shelby Spillione singing “bang” in a provocative manner and the electronic beat going crazy, it’s just a wonderful experience. Had me dancing many a time.

6: Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Lorde.

Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

I know a lot of people love the original version of this song by Tears For Fears but I thought it was a bit fucked up. They sounded so happy about such a dark theme. Bit twisted/ mental hospital if you ask me. This version is so fucking epic!! Sorry but I can’t get enough of this song. I’ve been listening to it non-stop. It’s like she grabbed the absolute true meaning of the song and encapsulated with the theme of the Hunger Games. I was like “YES! THANK YOU!” Ruling the world is dark, dangerous and fucking corrupted and that is the idea I get when I hear this. Slick voice, amazing and tremendous instrumental, epic beats. I loved how there’s didgeridoos in the song (I know Lorde is from New Zealand but it gives the song a kinda Oceania feel to it), almost like we’ve been transported to an uncharted wilderness.  Amazing. Seriously haven’t been this impressed by a song in years. The final 3 beats at the end just solidify how EPIC this song is.

5: Young & Beautiful – Lana del Rey.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

Loved this song in The Great Gatsby. It’s so sad yet beautiful. Reminiscent and desperate for youth and love. Lana’s voice smoothly wraps around the pounding beats, emotional violins and makes for a masterpiece. Tells the story of Gatsby perfectly.

4: Over The Love – Florence & The Machine.

Album: The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.

Yes I know! The Great Gatsby is dominating this list. But it’s such a good soundtrack! Anyway, on we go. This song is such a powerful song. All F+TM’s songs are but this one is special. Florence’s soul truly transcends the limits of her body in this song. Her voice goes places I didn’t even know existed until now. When she sings in her upper register, my heart just bleeds. My soul is uplifted. It is so beautiful, emotional and powerful. The accompanying beats and melody work perfectly to create an outstanding song. Towards the outro she almost screams and this is like the defining moment of all music. It is so sublime and beautiful. It is like we can see and hear her soul. It is truly amazing.

3: Youth – Foxes.

Album: Glorious.

A really fun and light song. She has a great voice. The song moves from dark to light throughout and is playful. The bridge is my personal favourite. It just has a great sound and is really enjoyable. 

2: Aura – Lady Gaga.

Album: Artpop.

Best song off of Artpop. I love how “in your face” this song is. It has heavy techno, electronic verses. These are alleviated by the light chorus. I love the 3 beats that are repeated throughout the chorus, like as she says “do you wanna peak underneath the cover.” It gives it a nice feel. “Enigma pop star is fun” is great line. haha. Great bridge and really good contrasts throughout the song.

And Number 1…………..

1: Elastic Heart – Sia ft. The Weeknd & Diplo.

Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

The song is amazing. From the very beginning, I love it. It features vocals in the background with sounds amazing with Sia’s greta voice. With the steady beats and instrumental melodies, it’s infectious. Then it turns to The Weeknd. He has such a good voice. It contrasts greatly with Sia’s. I just love how she pronounces words. It’s so unique. It’s just a collision of so many great things. Great production here.

So that’s it! My 50 favourite songs of 2013. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you thought of my list, what’s in your list?

Songs by country tally up as follows:

  • UK – 22.
  • USA – 20.
  • Australia- 2.
  • Canada –  1.
  • France – 1.
  • Germany – 1.
  • Iceland – 1.
  • New Zealand – 1.
  • Sweden – 1.

No Irish artists feature on the list but technically you could say Two Door Cinema Club are Irish…? I dunno, I counted them as UK but it doesn’t really matter.