Self-awareness in 2014.
Massive, massive hits reside here. I think all of these tunes are phenomenal. My Top 100 Songs of 2014 (40-26):
40. Allie X – Bitch
A mesmerizing and distortion-fuelled pop gem. Contains one of the most representative-of-the-times lyrics of the year: “I’m your bitch, you’re my bitch, vroom vroom.” (Repeat ’til infinity, bitch.)
39. The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers/Champions of Red Wine
For my money, the two best songs on The New Pornographers’ 6th full-length album. “Brill Bruisers” is a punishing pop-rock pulverizer. It’s catchy as all fuck too. The bo-ba-bo-ba-ba-bo’s are incredible. “Champions of Red Wine” is just… Neko. It’s always Neko, isn’t it? It is for me. Champions of red wine, red hair, red lips, red rum, and all levels of scarlet, crimson, vermilion, cherry, and ruby in between. Seeing red never felt so good.
38. Justin Timberlake – Not A Bad Thing
This song made my Honourable Mention list in 2013, but was released as a single in 2014, the year I really heard the tune, playing the shit out of it. It could be the best song on either 20/20 album, and that’d be an impressive feat, as there are a bunch of high quality tunes in the fold. I think JT does his best work when his silky smooth voice works over deliriously catchy pop tracks, and this is one such example.
37. Kendrick Lamar – I
Didn’t expect Mr. Lamar to go in this direction for his much anticipated follow-up. But that’s why he’s many people’s best rapper alive. Doing the unexpected and killing it every step of the way. “I” gets better with each listen.
36. Manchester Orchestra – The Mansion (Cope)/Cope (Cope)/The Ocean (Cope)/The Ocean (Hope)/Top Notch (Hope)/Indentions (Hope)
If I could only listen to six songs for an entire year and they were the following sextet, I’d be okay. These songs would comfort me, scold me, profess to me, demand of me. I’d need it. I’d want it. I’d have it. I have it. Thank fucking god.
Manchester Orchestra produced the best rock music of anyone in the world in 2014. I believe this and I don’t have an inkling of doubt about it.
That six (6!) fucking Manchester Orchestra songs have placed this high for me in a year with so many good songs is a testament to how incredible their output (two amazing albums!) was in 2014. And oh yeah, I’m not even close to being done listing them on the Top 100…
Bonus: Marc Anthony – Vivir Mi Vida (from 2013)
Discovered it in 2014. Amazing interpretation on an all-time melody.
35. Kyla La Grange – Cut Your Teeth
I like Kygo’s style of remixing. I really dug his take on this track. But I can’t understand why the remix seems to be more popular than the original, which is a slithering, sexy, deep cut of a chomper. One of the most under-appreciated, great pop songs of 2014. Super cool video too.
34. The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure
If you want to go to dream-land, this is your vehicle. If you want to take a trip to the best 60’s/70’s rock song to be released in 2014, this is your vehicle. If you miss Don Henley, this is your jam. If you want your boys to be of summer, this is the season. If you like foreplay and extended climaxes, this is your sex.
33. Bear’s Den – Sahara Pt. 2
It’s fucking criminal that this track/video has just 13k views on Youtube. It happens though. Things are missed. Not everything that deserves ears and eyes gets it. But this more than deserves it.
This is the sound of trekking an entire desert, and the relief that comes at the marathon’s end. The journey made you stronger, didn’t it? It made you feel alive, even when you thought you’d die. It has that power, and you’ll never forget it.
32. Royksopp and Robyn – Every Little Thing
Favourite song from Royksopp and Robyn’s delicious EP. An electro-pop banger of the highest order.
31. Beth Jeans Houghton & Samuel T. Herring – Pelican Canyon
Samuel T. Herring (of Future Islands) like you’ve never heard him before. His and Beth Jeans Houghton’s voices could not be more different, and they couldn’t fit more perfectly against, on top, and combined with each other. This song is from 2014, but it really sounds like nothing else, a sound out of time.
30. Wye Oak – Glory
By far, my favourite track Wye Oak has ever done. The verses, chorus, instrumentation, vocals: everything’s appealing. This song is an uncontained light, and everything is illuminated.
29. Night Terrors of 1927 f. Tegan and Sara – When You Were Mine
I discovered “When You Were Mine” relatively late in 2014 and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. It’s a mostly straightforward synth-pop-rock tune, but I find it so striking, beautiful, and attractive to my ears. Maybe it’s the lyric, maybe it’s the lead singer’s powerful voice, maybe it’s the amazing harmonies, maybe it’s Tegan and Sara. It’s all of it. And I love it.
28. Future Islands – Fall From Grace/Sun In The Morning/A Dream Of You And Me/Like The Moon/Doves
There’s no way I can separate any of these tunes. All five are awesome. From one of the best albums of 2014, Future Islands’ indomitable Singles.
“Fall From Grace”, the hunter, the incapacitating. “Sun In The Morning”, the eye-opener, the life-affirming, the daily reminder. “A Dream Of You And Me”, the ocean canvass, the brush-stroked clouds. “Like The Moon”, the chilly crescent , the mysterious deep sea dive. “Doves”, the cooing pleas, the will-you-please.
Future Islands, the time stoppers, the level jumpers, the artists.
27. Magic! – Rude
Overplayed, yes, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that these canucks wrote an impossibly catchy song. They’ll never top this one, but that’s okay, when you have something this good, you hold onto it and relish in it for all time.
26. Angel Olsen – Windows
I almost didn’t want to link the music video to this track. The song, and in particular, Angel Olsen’s harrowing, heavenly vocals, need no visual accompaniment. There’s a magic in her delivery, in those devastatingly simple words, “what’s so wrong with the light?” It is a good video though; if someone presses play on the link below and likes what they see, then it’ll have been reason enough to link the clip. But I don’t need it. All I need is to open a window, and let this melody disperse into the air, into the world. It will make things better.