I’ve hurt my voice trying to hit the high notes in Tough Love. One day I want to be able to explain hurt and love and pain as beautifully as Jessie Ware does on this song. Incredible.
Of all the songs on this list the one that I know every single person reading this has heard is Rather Be. Inescapable in 2014, this song from Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne may be a bit overexposed by now. I really don’t care though. When the most played song of the year is this joyful and uplifting I just can’t be angry when I hear it for the 10th time that day. Clean Bandit will spend the rest of their career trying to recapture the magic that was Rather Be and I doubt they ever will.
Listen to A Sky Full Of Stars and tell me Coldplay are boring. In an album full of brooding love songs and experimental production this is a beacon of light, a rave anthem that just so happens to be sung by the biggest band in the world. It’s no secret that Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall is my favourite Coldplay song and A Sky Full Of Stars feels like the perfect development of this. It’s so uplifting and remains effortless like Coldplay and Avicii happened to bump into each other and this was result. A breathtaking dance anthem.
I hate myself right now. I hate myself for loving Bang Bang so much. I should despise this song. Jessie J and Ariana Grande screaming at each other with their ridiculous oversinging should be terrible. Nicki Minaj should have avoided this collaboration in the first place. Ariana Grande is a terrible performer. I’ve written whole articles about how much I hate Jessie J; but Bang Bang is incredible. It is one of the best songs of the year and manages to be because of these performances, not despite them. It’s the sound of Jessie J fighting for her relevance. She knew this was probably her last shot at a worldwide hit, so why wouldn’t she bring two hot female artists in to make it a smash. Ariana doesn’t bring much to it, but she sounds better here than she does on either of her other big hits in 2014. Nicki is on fire as always, her verse here is definitely one of the best of 2014. That chorus is so over the top, so ridiculous and so crazed that I couldn’t imagine the year without it. Have you ever walked into a room as the ‘Bang Bang into the room’ chorus starts? It feels awesome.
One of the best tracks from one of the best albums of 2013, If I Could Change Your Mind is pop magic. Hearing it was the moment that I knew that Falling wasn’t a one-off. That song was my favourite song of last year and If I Could Change Your Mind is the perfect follow-up. With tight harmonies, and a chorus with about three hooks happening at once this is a wondrous pop record. I’m sure that it won’t be Haim’s last.
Oh Robyn. Please release a song as good as Do It Again every year. I missed including you on this list in 2013, please don’t go away again. Now that Royksopp have ended things please keep doing it; again and again. An absolute TUNE the day I heard it and a TUNE today.
I’ve been unsure whether I should go into the ‘Taylor Swift Journey’ I’ve been on throughout 2014 in my singles or albums list; it could get quite messy. As I notice that I’m steadily approaching 4000 words on this list I’ll try to keep it short. In 2013 I was still fighting with the fact I technically hated Taylor Swift, but was starting to love all of her music. 2014 was the year I gave up. I gave up on caring about what she was like personally and focused on the music. What incredible music it was too. Blank Space is Taylor’s Piece of Me moment. A song that manages to define her sound and take a tongue in cheek look at her persona. It does so without having to ignore having a killer hook, or a career defining performance, it manages to sum up the first part of her career perfectly in the space of 4 minutes. Things could go one of two ways now, she could end up like Britney and never regain that same level of musical quality ever again, or what will most likely happen is that in 2 years time we get Blank Space 2 and it literally breaks the music industry. Taylor Swift owned 2014 and Blank Space is her crowning achievement.
Some people hate Hideaway. It’s a dance song that doesn’t seem to be very danceable. There’s no hook. Nothing happens after the build up. I can understand why some think this. Me personally? Hideaway is the song I will remember when I think of 2014. With the defining 90s sound that has topped the chart more than anything else this year, Hideaway nails it more than any other. It’s 100% down to Kiesza’s performance. Her vocals are on point. She belts her way through the chorus, but still finds it in her to own the dance moves in performances. In short. If I could be any artist and release any song in 2014 I would want it to be Kiesza and Hideaway. This defined my year more than nearly every other song on this list.
Early release or not, Uptown Funk was going to make this list. I was so so tempted to put it at #1 but I just couldn’t dethrone the song that is there. Uptown Funk is perfect. It’s in a very small category of songs where every section manages to be better than the last. Considering how goddamn catchy the opening ‘dum dum dum’s are, by the end it’s an insanely good record. Every section is ‘My favourite bit’ on every listen. When you think Bruno’s vocals can’t be more impressive he pulls another ‘Don’t believe me just watch’ out the bag and shuts you up. Anyone who doesn’t think that Bruno Mars is the most talented male performer in the industry after hearing Uptown Funk is lying to themselves; I literally can’t say a bad thing about this song. How could this possibly be at #2 after I’ve said all that?
If you haven’t heard Comeback by Ella Eyre before you read what I have to say you need to, I’ve attached a video of it below to make things quicker. In a week’s time you will be singing this still. It took me approximately half of my first listen to Comeback to realise it was my favourite song of 2014. I was halfway through the song and had already made up my mind for the entire year. The bridge is one of the greatest pieces of pop music I have heard in years. ‘When he returns he puts you in a situation/But it’s too late to have that kind of conversation/It’s not your job to show this boy some education/Now ain’t it funny how we never seem to work it out.’ is so deceptively simple but the emphasis placed on the words is genius. I hear that bridge now, with Ella Eyre’s soaring vocal into the epic chorus and I continue to be astounded. Nothing is held back on this song, pure anger, passion and emotion go into every expletive on the chorus. Comeback is an incredible pop song, seen in the stripped down piano version that deserves this place as much as the original, but it’s a classic thanks to Ella Eyre’s electric performance. Looking back on the last few years of songs that have topped my list there seems to be running themes. I love brilliantly simple lyrics. I love great production and I love powerful performances. When it comes down to it though, I just love great pop songs and Comeback was by far the best of 2014.