I’ve had this blog for two years now which means it’s time for one of my favourite annual posts and that is my arbitrary list of favourite songs over the past year.
This year was a terrible year for music. I expected a holy trifecta of Kanye, Kendrick and Frank Ocean. I got nothing. Nothing! And what came instead was mostly middling music. I don’t think there was a record that came out this year I liked front to back. To be honest that’s a rarity to begin with which is why I tend to this list instead of my favourite albums, because I usually don’t have that many, especially this year.
With that being said, I hate most of the year end lists I read because they are wrong. All of them. This is the only right one. For me at least, but it is wrong to you and anyone else, and that’s why year end lists discussing the “best” music of the year is dumb. It’s subjective. This is a stupid list you shouldn’t care about it. But they’re fun to do and they’re fun to discuss.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here are my favourite songs of 2014.
The Top 25 Songs of 2014 (I think)
25. Rise Against – The Black Market
This is a sentimental pick. They used to be my favourite band when they released The Sufferer and the Witness. Then they released that same album three more times. In any sense, I liked this song the best off their last album so it gets an honorary spot at the bottom of the list.
24. Kendrick Lamar – i
Kendrick is a perennial top ten threat on this year end list, but this song is not his best effort I think. The vibe is very cool, and the song takes a very strong turn near the end and the raps are on point as always, but the lyrics are a little cheesy. Either way, still excited to see how he follows up on good kid, m.A.A.d city.
23. Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
After hearing this song ten million times on the radio, I finally decided that I do in fact like it. The chorus is big and catchy and the overall sound is good that it’s hard not to like the song. It’s a shame the rest of the album sounded nothing like it.
22. Banks – Beggin For Thread
Speaking of good song; bad album (this is a recurring theme throughout this list) is Banks. This song is cool, why do I need 16 songs that are nothing like it, Banks? If you don’t know who Banks is, think of it like this: she’s pretty much Lorde, but not anywhere as good and six times sadder.
21. Schoolboy Q – Break the Bank
One of the only rap albums I enjoyed this year, partially because it was among the only ones I actually listened to. The first time I heard that piano beat gave me chills.
20. Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) feat. Zach De La Rocha
There’s a lot of hype surrounding this album, but it’s just not for me. On the other hand this song definitely stands out and while El-P’s beats are usually too frantic for my liking, it is perfect for this song.
19. Mounties – Tokyo Summer
Phoenix seemed to use this musical scale for the entirety of their last album and I guess it inspired some other indie musicians to follow the lead. It works very well here for one of the catchiest songs of the year.
18. The Neighbourhood – Jealousy feat. Casey Veggies
The Neighbourhood held a lot of promise last year with the release of their first album, but they seem to be a band that cannot handle any fame whatsoever and have taken a strange direction with their sound. Their mixtape was interesting, but not as much substance as their debut. This song has a wacky saxophone though that comes out of nowhere so major points there.
17. Sean Leon – Pretty Girls Put Boys in Cemeteries
I don’t think I heard an album this year that blew me away more on first listen than this one. The atmosphere and tones perfectly matched the state of mind I was in when I heard it and I’ve been hooked since. This is the best cut off the album, but I wouldn’t sleep on the rest of it. Toronto’s next big thing.
16. Phantogram – Fall in Love
Good song. Bad album. At the time it sounded very different to everything else on the radio which is why I liked it, but the rest of their offering was very meh.
15. USS – Shipwreck
I used to be obsessed with USS who write some of the catchiest and weirdest songs on Canadian alternative radio. But the lustre has faded a bit with their latest album feeling a bit formulaic. It’s working for them, but they’ve lost a bit of what made them unique by bastardizing their own sound.
14. Against Me! – Black Me Out
One of the best albums of the year. Short, sweet and angry. A very brave record that was one of the most important ones of the year in terms of overall scope. This song closes it out in a perfect fuck you.
13. Alvvays – Party Police
On an album that blends from one song to another in perfect unison, this one stood out for me. The chorus is just haunting over a wailing guitar in perfect harmony.
12. The Black Keys – Fever
One of my favourite bands right now that took a different direction with their new album by incorporating more synths and bass. Fever doesn’t sound like a typical Black Keys song, but it doesn’t matter because that synth riff is just too catchy.
11. Taylor Swift – Style
You knew it was coming… the first Taylor Swift song on the list is perfect from start to finish. The chorus is only rivalled by, well, other Taylor Swift songs in terms of sheer catchiness. I don’t know how you don’t sing along to this, even as a guy where the lyrics just don’t even apply.
(I can’t find this on YouTube, but surely you’ve heard it by now).
10. Death From Above 1979 – Trainwreck 1979
This album was a gigantic letdown for me considering how great this song was. Just kind of boring while this song embodied the dance-punk roots of the band.
9. Drake – 0 to 100/The Catch Up
I don’t even have this song on my iTunes, but I can’t not have it on the list and I can’t not have it in the top ten. When it first came out I told myself I didn’t like this song. I was wrong. This song is a banger. And even if you don’t like it, it’s worth it just for this vine which is peak Drake fakestunt.
8. The War On Drugs – Red Eyes
Hey Sofie, I hear you like the War on Drugs a lot? This song is cool I think?
7. Lorde – Flicker (Kanye Rework)
Everything Kanye touches turns to gold, and this has me dreaming of a possible collaboration with Lorde. How this wasn’t the actual version is a mystery to me.
6. Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Another Taylor Swift song has emerged! Be honest, we’re all surprised this isn’t number one right? I decided to go in a different direction, but I still think that this is one of the catchiest songs of all time. ALL TIME.
5. Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part Of Me
One of my favourite discoveries this year was this band. I probably listen to this album a couple times per week and it was one of my favourites this year. This song is the apex and a perfect embodiment of their sound.
4. Theophilus London – Can’t Stop feat. Kanye West
As I said before, everything Yeezus touches turns to gold. Maybe I was deprived of Kanye for the year so the first hint of any verse gets me uncontrollably hyped, but this verse was straight fire. Huge tune.
3. Schoolboy Q – Los Awesome feat. Jay Rock
Beat of the year award goes to this song in my terrible opinion (I haven’t actually heard enough beats to be an expert). Everything here is on point and there’s no better car jam that came out in 2014.
2. The Black Keys – Weight of Love
The opener to Turn Blue brings back shades of the 70’s with a Western vibe. The guitar parts in this song are wondrous and while the subject matter is a bit corny, the atmospherics blended with the classic rock gives off a perfect sound. Up there with one of the best Black Keys songs they’ve recorded.
1. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
Song of the year. Album of the year. Person of the year. I don’t care. Taylor Swift made 2014 her bitch. I heard Shake it Off and thought there will never be a catchier song ever in existence. Then Taytay pulls this on me? There’s nothing I liked more this year than this song and this album, no lie. We’re at the point of Taylor Swift’s career where no one should even be ashamed of liking her anymore. We all know you’ve got You Belong With Me memorized, but you’d never admit it. With 1989 she’s created a whole new dynamic. Guilty pleasure no more, 2014 became the year it was cool to like Taylor Swift.
Or maybe that’s just how I’m rationalizing putting a pop star at number one.