Top 50 Tracks of 2014 (20-11)

#20 QT “Hey QT”
After hearing producer A.G. Cook’s remix of How To Dress Well‘s “Repeat Pleasure, I was sold. He is killing it this year and his collaboration with SOPHIE to produce “Hey QT” is no exception. It is an undeniably good, and catchy pop song. Thumping beats and strong synth, “Hey QT” is a head-bopping bubble gum, feel good track. Sure to get stuck in your head, this track will be on constant repeat forever. – Jana Capozzoli

#19 St. Vincent “Rattlesnake”
“Am I the only one in the only world?” This is a question from St. Vincent’s “Rattlesnake,” a captivating track with a rhythmic, bleating synth line that allows for Annie Clark to fully show off not just her guitar chops, but her impressive individuality. Her hypnotic riffs and distant voice sound unlike anything else from this year in music (or really any year for that matter). Coupled with lines like, “I see the snake holes dotted in the sand/as if Seurat painted the Rio Grande,” and you can see just why Clark might think she is one of a kind. – Grady O’Brien

#18 Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks “Little Fang”
When considering the best tracks of the year, you have to factor in mileage. You can’t declare a Song of the Year in January, as much as your heart might compel you to do so. And let me tell you: “Little Fang” had mileage. It’s airy and sweet and silly but also compellingly detailed and ornate. It’s somehow infectiously poppy and fun from the start but still a grower. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks probably aren’t the next Animal Collective, but they’ll forever be a success as long as this track sits on their discography. – Mark Steinbach

#17 Jessie Ware “Tough Love”
This year, Jessie Ware delivered yet another elegant track with “Tough Love.” With a digital drum beat comparable to Prince and Ware’s sweet vocals, this R&B/pop song doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. It’s minimalist and powerful, packing an emotional punch that many songs just can’t. Quickly, someone get this woman more radio play for 2015! – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

#16 Jack White “Lazaretto”
Jack White has completed his transformation from pallid guitar shredder to full-on eccentric producer. And the thing is, it’s awesome. When he’s not recording Neil Young singles in a phone booth on The Tonight Show, he’s taking time to prominently enjoy (?) baseball games. Luckily he found time to release Lazaretto, the formidable follow-up to his excellent Blunderbuss. The title track has a hook the size of the Chrysler building with White’s spirited, snarling vocals. And even at 3:39, “Lazaretto” finds time to sprawl with both a killer fiddle solo (yes you read that correctly) and a slowed-down jam section. – Grady O’Brien

#15 Rick Ross ft. Kanye West and Big Sean “Sanctified”
I hate to be the guy who talks about a Ye feature like it’s a Ye track, but here we are. In his clearest post-Yeezus thesis statement to date, his “Sanctified” feature somehow sums up a year’s worth of reactionary and incredulous rants into one biting thought – “when Ali turn up and be Ali, you can’t ever change that nigga back to Cassius”. The one line makes clear that when our frustration with West as a celebrity bleeds into criticism against West as an artist, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. “Sanctified” also marks a return of his sense of humor – God accuses West of being “too aggressive,” to which West can only respond, “Really? Me? Too aggressive?” Seems like everyone’s got an opinion. – Dan Derks

#14 Sharon Van Etten “Your Love is Killing Me”
This song is just heartbreaking in all the right ways. Though many people would just delete an ex’s number from their phone after getting out of a destructive relationship, they know the feeling of wanting to cut their tongue out so they won’t speak to the their ex. Van Etten’s vocals will slay you and the lyrics will hit you in all the saddest places. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

#13 Radiator Hospital “Cut Your Bangs”
When I reviewed Torch Song for StGA, I said that listening to the album felt like reading a box of old letters found in a stranger’s house. The specificity yet universality of “Cut Your Bangs” cannot be overstated – you have no idea what drove Sam Cooke-Parrot to write this song, but you somehow know you’ve been there. You’ve talked your friends down, you’ve stood “bathed in the quiet” after they take their shit out on you. The hair-as-river metaphor and its evolution throughout the song as C-P watches someone he loves dry up and decay is absolutely beautiful, too. – Dan Derks

#12 Royksopp & Robyn “Do It Again”
While Iggy Azalea‘s “Fancy” was widely declared the song of the summer, my summer was not filled with Australian rappers with mediocre choruses. My summer was filled with Nordic dream team of Royksopp and Robyn. The pulsing beat and Robyn’s emotive vocals made for a dance tune that should have topped the charts worldwide but instead Americans preferred some Clueless-inspired video. For shame. – Adam Morgan

#11 Lykke Li “No Rest for the Wicked”
“No Rest for the Wicked” is a sad departure from Lykke Li’s past singles. The desperate lyrics about a breaking a partner’s heart over the booming percussion and sweet piano create so much drama that it sounds so much bigger than one break up. There’s just the tiniest glimmer of hope for a reconciliation among lyrics about letting her true love die; it’s a great song for those sad nights when you’re feeling guilty and alone. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis


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