Top 50 Tracks of 2014 (10-01)

#10 Sia “Chandelier”
Sia has been writing hits for other artists for some time now. She decided to start writing for herself again, and the result was her album 1000 Forms of Fear. The album features her great vocals and more of a mainstream production. The first single was the electropop “Chandelier”. As upbeat as the music is, the lyrics are quite sad. Thankfully, most people don’t pay attention to the words even as they sing them. Sia let’s loose about how you only live once, rather than seizing the day, and hoping the people around you will pull you out. It should have been the jam of the summer, but it’s still one of the best songs of 2014.

#09 Joywave ft. Kopps “Tongues”
Joywave‘s electronic indie rock gets a touch more electronic when KOPPS is featured on “Tongues”. It actually gets your heart going with the du-du-du-duditdu beat, followed by the distorted booms. Lyrically it sort of sounds like Jesus waking up from a drug trip in the desert and riding into town “with the palms down” but he can’t understand them. Ok, that may sound a little blasphemous, but that’s just where my head went with it. What I do know is that without a remix this song could do well in the club, on the radio, or even live.

#08 Ariana Grande ft. Zedd “Break Free”
Pop music had a mixed year. For anyone with a distant, muted appreciation for Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, you had to look a bit harder for great mainstream pop music. Enter Ariana Grande. “Break Free” was somehow a grower for me, despite being the least subtle song, like, ever. Nonetheless, once I was once board with “Break Free,” I was obsessed. It’s an electric, unapologetic song that was just about the most fun thing to dance to in 2014. – Mark Steinbach

#07 tUnE-yArDs “Water Fountain”
Being selected for a FIFA video game soundtrack can be a gift or a curse: a gift in the sense that it puts your song immediately into the consciousness of millions of gamers but a curse because depending on how much they play, your song eventually becomes old hat. As I played endless hours of FIFA 15, tUnE-yArDs‘ “Water Fountain” never seemed to get old. In fact with each listen, I felt like I discovered something new about the song. The complexity of each aspect of the song can and should be indulged from the hand-clapped beat to the bombastic voice of Merrill Garbus. My last listen of the track I realized “this bass is amazing.” And it seriously is! – Adam Morgan

#06 Liars “Mess on a Mission”
Perhaps the biggest compliment a band can be given is when they change a hater’s mind. In this case, I always knocked Liars as being purposefully inaccessible and artsy then “Mess on a Mission” came out. The song quickly garnered my interest and eventually my adoration. The chorus’ driving drums, synths, and baritone vocals of Angus Andrew remind me of Danse Macabre-era The Faint but that touchpoint doesn’t prepare you for the maniacal chorus or that repetitive but ever catchy “facts are facts and fiction’s fiction.” – Adam Morgan

#05 Caribou “Can’t Do Without You”
When I saw Caribou live in November, I was struck by Dan Snaith’s childlike smile throughout the duration of the show. All the carefully constructed production in the world can’t drown out the very sincere love and longing that’s in Snaith’s music. But beyond being the model “Emotional Dance Track” of 2014, “Can’t Do Without You” is also just a sonic wonder. Coy and rhythmic at the start, it breaks down in the last minute, giving us one of the most memorable music moments of the year. – Mark Steinbach

#04 Phantogram “Fall In Love”
Was the best hip-hop beat of the year actually produced by a New York electronic rock duo? Yup. Similar to beats like Kanye West‘s “Bound 2” or UGK‘s “”International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)”, the chopped soul samples sing to the highest heights of beat making while Sarah Barthel’s lilt above it. It was perfect and infectious all at the same time. – Adam Morgan

#03 The War on Drugs “Red Eyes”
Dylan and Springsteen fans rejoice! “Red Eyes” is an unapologetic classic rock anthem full of echoed, mellow lyrics and textured guitar riffs. Unafraid to totally rock out, this track is 5 minutes of, ‘run through a lush field underneath a shinning sun’ feelings. You’re free, alive, and possibly wearing a lot of denim. This is dad rock, but oh, so good. – Jana Capozzoli

#02 Future Islands “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
Forget the Letterman performance, forget the “Future Islands 2014 breakthrough” narrative, forget Sam Herring’s endearingly awkward swaying hips. Forget all of that and just listen to “Seasons (Waiting on You).” Appreciate its simple potency. Future Islands swung for the fences on this one and they deserve all the praise coming their way. It will undoubtedly be the song that comes to mind first when I think back on music in 2014. – Mark Steinbach

#01 Run the Jewels ft. Zack De La Rocha “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Every track on Run the Jewels 2 is a banger, making a fool’s errand out of choosing just one to represent it on the top of this list. However, “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” is the perfect representation of everything that makes Mike and El the most important rappers of the year. The track is a veritable hit list, throwing the gauntlet thrown for the downtrodden to pull back the curtain and recognize who runs the show. It is a call to arms, for those who are “protestin’ to get in a fuckin’ lookbook” to take real interest and action in ensuring justice is upheld beyond staying in social vogue. Zack De La Rocha puts a cap on the whole thing by threatening arson on “mansions from Dallas to Malibu”. While Dr. Dre upheld his sleepy spot as the top paid rapper of 2014, Mike and El went and made a new “Fuck Tha Police”. – Dan Derks

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