I think out of almost anything, it’s the music from a year that really defines it and makes that one individual year stick out from those around it to me, and what a year this has been for music! There have been so many good songs, and albums even, that have played around me throughout what has been an important and memorable year.
This list is largely dominated by my favourite artists of this year: Porter Robinson, Clean Bandit and the amazing CHVRCHES. For the first time since I started doing this list back in 2010, most of my songs are actually from this year – so whether that says that my music tastes have become more modern or I’ve just found all of the good oldies by now I don’t know! There are of course ones from a little while back, and I’ll let you know which ones they are, but seeing as the songs have only been added to my iTunes library this year I include them because they’re new to me.
There are few songs I think that deserve an honourable mention that haven’t quite made it this year including: “Fasten Your Seatbelt” by Pendulum, “Beat and the Pulse” (Still Going Remix) by Austra, “Fancy Footwork” by Chromeo, “Closer” by Tegan and Sara & “Alba” by Runrig – which are all great but were only re-discovered this year rather than being new.
But as tough it was to whittle the songs of 2014 down to a list of 40, I did manage to. Here are the songs that were the soundtrack to my year:
40. Porter Robinson – “Lionhearted”
Kicking off the list is the most poppy song from Porter Robinson’s new album “Worlds”, which fits the mould of his older and more electro music roots whilst bringing the new flavours of his newer stuff in as well. It’s a catchy song with a good drop that fits really well.
39. CHVRCHES – “Night Sky” (2013)
One of the many fantastic songs from CHVRCHES’ debut album “The Bones of What You Believe”. It’s quiet and reserved, leaving the vocals to carry the song most of the way with a light drum beat in the back but when it erupts for the chorus it’s a delight of chanting synths. My favourite part is the bridge to the second chorus, with the off-sequence drums just hitting the right note.
38. Clean Bandit – “Cologne” (feat. Nikky Cislyn & Javeon)
“Cologne” is probably the best song from Clean Bandit’s hit album “New Eyes” that they didn’t release as a single, and as such it hasn’t got the sort of recognition I think it deserves. It would be a perfect R&B club hit, with the classical elements and deep house style to it coming together flawlessly with the duet between the guest vocalists playing together really well as well.
37. Porter Robinson – “Fellow Feeling”
Definitely the song that surprised me most this year, “Fellow Feeling” starts off with a classical note before gently folding in electronic elements and drumbeats. Then it throws a curveball at you with a sort of dubstep breakdown that is alien to the entire rest of the album and a drop that reminds you of what Porter was once known. It’s a delight and that feeling of shock will make you remember the song long after it’s over.
36. Michael S – “Sunshine” (2012)
Easily one of the most cheery songs I’ve ever heard, this tune is sickly sweet and just exudes happiness from start to finish. The Avicii influence is clear but it stays clear of having pointless vocals draped over it, with the drop and the constantly dinging bell sounds making it so much fun to listen to.
35. Neon Jungle – “Braveheart”
A bit of a guilty pleasure, Neon Jungle have done really well for themselves by going that little bit further with the dance side of their music compared to the myriad other girl bands that have tried it, with this song’s drop being just has hard-hitting as something you’d find from one of the bigger DJs. It’s all held together with a dark and sinister tone broken only by the high notes of the bridge, and a rap that’s worth forgetting about, but always manages to keep me listening.
34. Lilly Wood & The Prick – “Prayer in C” (Robin Schulz remix)
“Prayer in C” is a great example of when doing a dance song that’s slower works better. Robin Schulz channels the simple art of bringing a groovy flow to a track with understated vocals, as he did with “Waves”, and it works really well as a song that can be enjoyed while listening to it almost anywhere.
33. Kiesza – “Hideaway”
One of 2014’s breakthrough acts, Kiesza brings an amazing voice along with some groovy beats that have made for a few killer songs. “Hideaway” is of course her finest to date, with the simple but impressive drop being a highlight of nights out all year. Couple it with an incredible freestyled video that was shot in one take and this will be one of the songs 2014 is remembered for without a doubt.
32. Knife Party – “Begin Again”
Treading the lines between Knife Party and older act Pendulum, “Begin Again” is Knife Party’s best track from their debut album. It has the energy we’ve come to expect from Knife Party, and while it doesn’t ever descend into the mad, dubstep-infused drops that we expect from them it does give some reason to get up and move.
31. Big Country – “One Great Thing” (1986)
A song that featured heavily in Yes Scotland’s campaign efforts for Scottish independence, it’s a great example of Big Country’s unique and uplifting sound with the guitars straining bagpipe-style. Even though the drama of the referendum is over, listening to this gives a flashback to what was one of the most exciting few weeks/months I can remember.