From Sia and Beyonce to YOK alums like Hozier and Sam Smith, 2014 was full of hit singles from a variety of artists. There’s no denying songs like “Chandelier,” “Take Me To Church” and “Stay With Me” blew up the charts this year, but what about the other tracks that were relegated to album cut status? We’d like to point your attention to 15 gems hiding in some of this year’s biggest discs. We’d bet that they would’ve been smashes…if only they were released as singles! Read on to see the deep cuts that we think could have made the grade as major hit singles in 2014.
1. “Blow” by Beyoncé
Pretty much any of the songs off of Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album would have been major hits, but this ’80s-infused dance song made it to the top of Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart in March despite not having an official release as a single! Sure, it’s technically from December 2013, but it’s so good that we don’t care.
2. “Elastic Heart” by Sia
“Elastic Heart,” a collaboration between Sia, The Weeknd, and Diplo, was originally recorded as part of the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but it would have caught fire all the same had it been released as a single.
3. “Outside” feat. Ellie Goulding by Calvin Harris
We love when Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding get together! “I Need Your Love” was the duo’s chart-topping hit from 2012, and “Outside” is its 2014 equivalent.
4. “Judge Me” by K. Michelle
This power ballad from K. Michelle’s Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart? shows off the Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star’s gutsy vocals and impressive range.
5. “18 ” by One Direction
Except for briefly making Billboard’s Top 100 — and, of course, resounding in the hearts of One Direction fans worldwide — “18” seemed to slip under the radar. As a single, there’s no doubt the impassioned track would have been a hit.
6. “Paradise” by Tove Lo
This catchy cut from YOK Artist Tove Lo’s EP would have been a major hit had the Swedish singer-songwriter released it as a single.
7. “Lost On The Way Home” feat. Solange by Chromeo
Solange soulful vocals and Chromeo’s contemporary styles combine to make the funky track “Lost On The Way Home” unforgettable.
8. “Someone New” by Hozier
Hozier’s debut album is full of gems, but this minimalist, buoyant cut would have served the YOK Artist well as a single.
In case you missed it, watch Hozier answer as many questions as he can in 30 seconds in this “Rapid-Fire” video with the YOK artist below.
9. “Seal Me With A Kiss” feat. De La Soul by Jessie J
Jessie J’s mighty pop voice soars over a groovy jam in this dynamite track featuring De La Soul.
10. “Restart” by Sam Smith
How do you construct a hit? Ask YOK Alum Sam Smith! “Restart” has all the makings of one, and would have been HUGE had Smith released it as a single.
11. “Be My Baby” feat. Cashmere Cat by Ariana Grande
This sexy and sassy track off of Grande’s new album is a fan favorite, proving that it would have been a hit all on its own.
12. “W.A.Y.S.” by Jhené Aiko
R&B singer Jhené Aiko dropped her first full-length album, Souled Out, earlier this year, and the track “W.A.Y.S.” is just one of the reasons why she’s earned herself a Grammy nomination.
13. “Video Girl” by FKA Twigs
FKA Twigs’ haunting voice and mysterious persona are enough to grab your attention, but this ethereal, inventive song from LP1 is an attention-grabber all on its own.
14. “Right There” by August Alsina
“Right There,” the smooth R&B jam from August Alsina’s 2014 album Testimony, carries itself well and would be a hit standalone track.
15. “This Is What It Feels Like” by Banks
Banks couples her signature sultry voice with the dark, moody tone of “This Is What It Feels Like,” crafting a song that has just what it takes to climb the charts.
[Photo: Getty Images]