Top 100 Songs of 2014 (40-26)

Self-awareness in 2014.

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.

Top 20 Songs of June 2014

The month that popped. As much as I love pop music, I seemed to listen to an inordinate amount of it June. This is only because some awesome pop tunes were released or came to my ears in June. This is a good thing. Here’s the list of my Top 20 Songs of June.

20. jj – All White Everything

All white indeed. Glad to hear them back with new material. They have a way with breezy electronica unlike any other act.


19. Kylie Minogue – Crystallize

Best Kylie song in years.


18. Kyla La Grange – Fly/Get It

I’ve heard a lot from Kyla La Grange this year, being exposed to her for the first time with the immaculate smashes “Cut Your Teeth” and “The Knife”. She just dropped a new album, and there a bunch of super-catchy electro-pop ditties on it. Her lilting falsetto works well with the dark-meets-light synth tracks. This is evidenced best on “Get It” and “Fly”.

Get It:



17. Omar Souleyman – Wenu Wenu

Love this track, and was very fortunate to have seen Omar perform at NXNE’s Vice Island (with Le1f and Future Islands). Not the most demonstrative character, but this song is gitchy galore.


16. Lil Jon – Turn Down For What

Waaaay late to this party. Still, a massive pop/hop/club banger that I couldn’t turn down, no matter what.


BONUS VIDEO: Hilarious video of Star Trek set to “Turn Down For What”.


15. Charli XCX – Boom Clap

One of the best poppers around. Charli’s new single is a winner.


14. Le1f – Boom

“Boom” is hella catchy, and Le1f is really good live. An engaging showman.


13. Royksopp & Robyn – Monument

I think I may have been too quick to anoint “Every Little Thing” the far-and-away best track Royksopp and Robyn’s recently released EP. “Monument” definitely gives ELT a run for its money. Both are dynamic, slithering, pulsating electro-pop gems. “Monument” is even more of a slow-burn, an ode to shooting for the moon, a thriller of a pillar, a huge hoarder of brick and mortar. Royksopp and Robyn are a lethal combination.


12. Sia – Chandelier

I do believe Sia is the best pop songwriter of the past several years. Her touch has lifted so many huge pop singles to glory. She’s kept a massive hook for herself here, and “Chandelier” borders on the outermost limits of the atmosphere.


11. Tove Styrke – Even If I’m Loud If Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You

What’s with amazing pop stars from Sweden named Tove?! Tove Styrke has been away for a few minutes, but she’s burst back onto the scene with a hulking and dizzying dancer of a tune.


10. Foster The People – Best Friend

At present, I don’t love Foster The People’s second record. I quite like two songs from it, “Coming of Age” and the follow-up single, “Best Friend”. This is the song that most harkens back to the wonderfully catchy gaiety of their indomitable debut album.


9. The Griswolds – Red Tuxedo

Short, pretty, and unusually sweet, “Red Tuxedo” is a warm, sunny ballad that possesses just the right amount of nostalgia-laced ache.


8. Wye Oak – Glory

Best song I’ve ever heard from Wye Oak. “Glory” is wickedly catchy.


7. The Alternate Routes – Nothing More

What a fantastic melody. Thanks to TC for the heads up on this band!


6. La Roux – Let Me Down Gently (Sailors Remix)

One of my favourite remixes of the year. Sailors have done an exceptional job retaining the hooks and upping the playfulness quotient, contrasting the brooding original with this reflective yet skip-to-my-louing banger.


5. Ed Sheeran – Sing

It took me a little while to come around on “Sing”. A couple months actually. I was so in love with several of the songs from Ed’s debut record + (“The A Team”, “Drunk”, “Small Bump”, and “Lego House”) that I think I held whatever he released next to an unreasonable standard. And it’s not that “Sing” is necessarily an inferior song to those other tracks. It’s just different, a cocksure pop song designed for radio domination. Perhaps I just like it best when Ed Sheeran lets his voice, guitar, and preternatural way with melody shine through. “Sing” is not that simple, with its knife-sharp sheen and flawless Pharrell production, that it took a while for me to fall for its charms. Fallen I have. It’s just a song mate, and it’s a bloody catchy one at that.


4. 5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect

Completely chock-full of hooks in every fathomable nook and cranny. This is a perfect pop/alt song.


3. Tove Lo – Over

On repeat throughout June, “Over” is a marvellous pop song. Tove Lo’s impassioned vocal dips and soars and prods and pleas in this gem of a tune. Sweden strikes again. (When isn’t that apt? Never.)


2. La Roux – Tropical Chancer

So many layers of pop genius here. This marks the third song that La Roux has released from her brand-new album, and it’s the third monumental track. “Tropical Chancer” sounds like a juggernaut now, and I believe it will hold up as one just like so many of the songs on La Roux’s debut have five years later. What an ear for absolutely perfect melodies and layers Elly Jackson has. The track earns bonus points with me for the subtle but amazing flute (flutish?) flourishes at 2:48. I’ve not an iota of doubt that “Tropical Chancer”, both the song and the album, will be among the best of the year in both categories.


1. Jessie Ware – Tough Love

For the longest time, I had La Roux’s “Tropical Chancer” as my favourite song of June. I listened to it a tonne, and found so many great layers to bask in. It’s a commanding, multi-layered pop masterstroke.

But I felt something different for “Tough Love”. I felt, after only a couple listens, like I was experiencing one of the songs of the year — a new school soul-electro-pop smash supported by shimmering, pristine, jaw-droppingly gorgeous production. I felt like I could see a part of Jessie Ware’s essence floating in, around, below, and above “Tough Love”. I felt like I could hear her spirit — decimated but unfathomably resilient in the hea(r)t of a tumultuous fire — crawling all over this sultry, sizzling, sexy track. Maybe more importantly than that, I think the power of this song tattooed something on me: a reflection, a foil, a consideration, a commiseration.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll be able to. That’s called “Tough Love”.