I’ve skipped the most obvious three choices here because I think we can all agree that Get Lucky, Wrecking Ball and Royals absolutely slayed this year. Not to say the rest of my list is full of unknowns, but I feel like I need to look past the songs that dominated, they already got their shine on plenty of other lists. This turned out to be more pop then I thought it would but I can’t help what dominated my Spotify this year!
Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors” — Oh Jessica Biel, you lucky lady. Justin’s biggest and most straightforward love song is unabashedly huge and sentimental. It builds and grows, hand claps and beat box backed as he croons on and on about his love being his mirror. A sonic wonder and one of the best of Justin’s entire career. I can’t stop listening to it – it always delivers.
James Blake, “Retrograde” — It starts off with a melodic, sullen hum with minimal production and one of the most powerful electro ballads I’ve heard in years. James’ haunting vocals lurk over dark synths and will send shivers right up your spine. Suddenly we’re hit, indeed.
Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know?” — This mid-tempo grinder is both sexy and surly with Alex Turner telling us to ‘simmer down and pucker up.’ The percussion hits are like old hip-hop beats and the guitars are moody and distorted – it sounds like it was made for stripping or stumbling around to, drunk and lustful.
Beyonce, “XO” — Picking one song of Beyonce was no easy task but the most obvious pop hit was immediately “XO.” It’s a warm, joyful love song that I think will be one of the summer songs of 2014 – complete with requisite X and O dance moves as seen in the video.
Ariana Grande, “Honeymoon Avenue” — Arianna’s entire album was Mariah and doo-wop influenced pop perfection but this song and it’s incredibly sweet vocals and staccato delivery after the bridge really blew me away.
Vampire Weekend, “Don’t Lie” — It was a shake-up between this “Diane Young.” But this shimmering, harpsichord laden song really hit me right in the gut with Ezra Koenig’s signature mix of falsetto and low vocals.
Drake, “Hold On We’re Going Home” — He started at Degrassi and now he’s here!
HAIM, “The Wire” — These sisters really dominated the second half of the year with their fun, funky, 80’s girl band jams and this track stands out as the best example of that. A natural to clap, stomp and sing along to.
Ciara, “Body Party” — I resisted this one for a while and then I couldn’t stop listening to the simmering, sexy soft vocals over that ‘My Boo’ sample. I think we would all like to have a body party with Ciara after hearing this – it reads.
Sky Ferreira, “Everything Is Embarrassing” — This sounds like it should play over an 80’s prom scene in a movie. Full of young ennui and Skye’s needy, airy vocals it delivers the synth sensation of the season.
Honorable Mentions: Kanye West “Black Skinhead”, CHVRCHES, “Recover”, Lana Del Rey, “Young & Beautiful”, Katy Perry “Birthday”, Rhye “Open”, Lady Gaga feat R Kelly “Do What U Want”, Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas “Instant Crush”, Iggy Azalia “Work”, Bastille “Pompeii”, Jake Bugg “What Doesn’t Kill You”, Beyonce “Grown Woman”, Arctic Monkeys “Knee Socks”, Vampire Weekend “Diane Young”, Justin Timberlake “Pusher Love Girl”