20. 2NE1 – “I Am the Best” (내가 제일 잘 나가) (2011)
I’m prone to getting little bits of advert songs stuck in my head, and this is certainly the most bizarre of the year. It’s a song by a South Korean girl group of all people, but with a strong EDM influence over what is actually a pretty stereotypical sort of song lyric wise. The bass in the song is fantastic and the chorus is catchy as anything you’ll hear. Shame it didn’t work out that the song was 21st in the list though!
19. The Chainsmokers vs Dragonette – “Let it Go” (Chainsmokers Filter No. 2)
No, it’s not the Frozen one. This is a tune that takes a lighter approach to dance music than we expect nowadays, with a breezy but emotional pop song with the Chainsmokers’ keen sense for catchy melodies. The elements of the song just snap together really well I feel and it makes for a tune that’s great to listen to. And even better, it’s a free download via their Facebook page!
18. CHVRCHES – “Do I Wanna Know?”
For my money the best cover CHVRCHES have done to date, Lauren Mayberry and co. manage to inject the passion and feeling that I think was badly missing from the Arctic Monkeys original. With the way the synth hits a beat or two into the bar it really manages to make things a lot darker and more emotional.
17. CHVRCHES – “Gun” (2013)
One of CHVRCHES’ signature songs, this is one of their highlights in concert. With the two-tiered chorus that they do so well, the first part eases you in by dropping the noise and leaving the chanty vocals of Mayberry before leading you into a rock-infused part that leaves you head-banging like nothing else. It also manages to nail the outro, with the fading out of the vocals as the keyboards keep on going – giving it a haunting quality that makes it stand out.
16. Tove Lo – “Habits” (The Chainsmokers Remix)
Taking what was originally a very slow, sad and melodic song this one of many amazing Chainsmokers remixes that manages to inject life and an amazing energy into it, whilst keeping the bones of what made the song so good. The drop is fantastic while the build-up is typical electro house but laced with the emotion that drove the original.
15. Passion Pit – “Live To Tell the Tale” (2008)
Every end-of-year list I’ve done so far has featured a Passion Pit song, so why would this year be any different? An incredibly powerful love song from their first EP, this is one that falls into the classic homemade geeky charm that the band oozed through their first songs that make them so unique. The awkward lyrics make the feeling feel far more genuine, and the wailing melody and drums keep everything together nicely. In a time where songs are often over-produced and devoid of the sort of magic that they used to, this song shows it still exists.
14. The Chainsmokers – “#Selfie”
Say what you want about how annoying this song may or may not be, there’s no denying how catchy it is. For me, it’s got a great sense of ironic humour and an even better beat going on behind it. It’s a blatant grab at the trend of the day to get famous, but when the song’s so much fun I really couldn’t care less.
13. Clean Bandit – “Dust Clears” (feat. Noonie Bao)
Clean Bandit are great for making songs that blend genres and types of music, and this is one of the best. With the slow and measured start met in the middle with slap bass sections and the obligatory flurry of strings leaving you caught in a whirlwind of great music. Its vocals have a perfect sort of festival sing-along vibe to them as well, something they did well at T in the Park this year.
12. Calvin Harris – “Outside” (feat. Ellie Goulding)
Violins have made a big impression on the music of this year as it’s happened, but none are as dramatic as the ones infused with Ellie Goulding’s magical voice on this brilliant song. The way the song’s beat shuffles through with such ease and still manages to have a drop that’s full of emotion is pretty remarkable.
11. Faul & Wad Ad vs. Pnau – “Changes” (2013)
This is a slick and catchy song, and a mainstay of adverts and montages all year long. With a simple verse repeated over and over again by a children’s choir with a saxophone-led beat in between that is slower but still manages to snap you into a rhythm.