Lets call a spade a spade here. 2014 was a terrible year for music. After 2013 which saw Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Drake, Jay Z, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West all release new albums along with Beyonce’s surprise album at the end of 2013, I think I was spolit for choice musically last year.
Sadly the same cannot be said for 2014. What with the entire focus of music being on ‘who is next to release a surprise album?’ along with claims of ‘OMG she is totally culturally appropriating in her video!’ and most annoyingly the exhausted debate of who and what makes a true feminist in music, 2014 has failed to deliver even ONE good album in a year that showed so much promise.
However, just because the year didn’t ring in any good albums thats not to say it didn’t give us some great songs. So just like last year I am going to list down my 21 Top songs of 2014 for y’all to agree/disagree or not even care about. See, fun for the whole family!
21. Mariah Carey ft Wale ‘Don’t Know What To Do’
After a broken arm, several delays of her latest album, questions about whether she can actually sing anymore and her marriage breakdown it is fair to say 2014 hasn’t been the kindest of years to the superstar. When the album was released it was welcomed with lukewarm sales adding insult to injury which is unfortunate because with all that being said the album wasn’t that bad. Did it have a ‘We Belong Together’ or a ‘Shake it Off’? No. But it did have ‘Don’t Know What To Do’ where Mariah Carey finally explored the genre of disco she annoyingly never explores. The song is fun, breezy and Wale pays homage to the famous line ‘Me and Mariah go back like babies with pacifiers’ originally said by ODB on the remix to Fantasy. Whats not to love about that?
After all these years in the game and numerous comebacks one thing is for sure- even at her worst Mariah can deliver a great pop song.
20. Robin Thicke ‘Get Her Back’
What a difference a year makes. Last year Robin Thicke was enjoying a career high with his song ‘Blurred Lines’ topping the charts all across the world and experiencing new levels of success almost a decade into his career. Fast forward a year, include Miley Cyrus grinding up on him on stage at the VMAs, accusations that ‘Blurred Lines’ actually promotes rape culture and a few questionable photos online and we have Robin Thicke a broken man trying to win back his wife Paula after she filed for separation.
In a bid to win her back Thicke decided to release an album aptly titled Paula which included lead single ‘Get Her Back’. The song itself isn’t anything groundbreaking or original and I can’t help but think it sounds eerily similar to his breakout single ‘Lost Without You’ BUT I’ve always liked Robin Thicke and his music and this was a welcome return to his RnB style which I love so much. Basically the song, like much of the album, was Thicke’s way of winning back his wife through music. Some may say its cute, others may say that this is a private matter that needs to be dealt with behind closed doors.
And what did Paula herself think of the album? Well she clearly didn’t like it because she filed for divorce shortly after it was released.
19. Danity Kane ft TYGA ‘Lemonade’
Speaking of #MESSY, Danity Kane made their comeback to music earlier this year, minus D Woods, with the ladies spending the bulk if the year in the studio and then eventually going on their #NOFILTER tour which funnily enough I only ever saw clips of on Instagram. The during the tour Andrea quit the band after she became pregnant leaving Aubery, Dawn and Shannon left in the band rebranding themselves as DK3. But then not soon after that Dawn apparently punched Aubery in the face an then the remaining 3 girls decided to call it quits. See what I mean when i say #MESSY?!
Despite their short lived comeback, DK3 did give us the brilliant ‘Lemonade’. The song itself addressed their haters (I’m failing to see a band that hasn’t been around for a good 5 years can have haters but anyway) with TYGA delivering a verse which much like the rest of his I can’t seem to ever remember. But what I liked about the song was that it was sassy, confident and a proper girl band song and when they performed it live on their tour they delivered great vocals and just as good choreography which makes it quite unfortunate that the girls never chose to see past the squabbles and follow through.
The album itself was eventually released, probably due to contractual obligations more than anything else, and it was was a solid effort, You can tell it was just a collection of their studio sessions put together but with a bit of fine
auto tuning the girls could have been onto a winner.
18. Lana Del Rey ‘West Coast’
Yes Lana Del Rey is probably an acquired taste but lucky for me i have that taste her music acquires. ‘West Coast’ was the lead single from her much anticipated sophomore album ‘Ultraviolence’ and I don’t know what is was about this song that I loved so much but I do. Maybe its the hypnotising melody, the seductive delivery or maybe I was so thirsty for new music this year that I latched onto anything I could find. As for the album itself, it was good in parts, a bit blah in others. Highlights include ‘Old Money’ and ‘Brooklyn Baby’ based purely on the fact I listened to them both excessively whilst I was in New York this year walking the streets wistfully feeling like a naive little girl trying to make it in the big city. Okay let me stop there. NEXT!
17. JoJo ‘Caught Up In The Rapture’
As always I find a way to include my darling JoJo into my blog posts and this is no different. 2014 marked the first proper year JoJo was free from Blackground Records and allowed to being the superstar she should already have been for years. So when in February of this year she dropped a Valentines Day EP titled ‘Love Jo’ I was obviously keen to hear what a newly free JoJo had to offer.
Sadly what she offered were 3 cover songs but its JoJo and I knew she’d put her own spin on them. One of those was a cover of Anita Baker’s ‘Caught Up In The Rapture’ and boy let me tell you JoJo did the business on this song! Vocals, production (courtesy of The Internz’), everything was brilliant and I’ve never heard JoJo sound so good. She was singing like her rent, mobile phone bill, gas and electric bills all depended on it. And the general consensus was she did Miss Baker proud with this cover and made it her own with taking away too much of what makes the song so great. With her team earmarking early 2015 as the official comeback trail for Miss JoJo I cannot wait to hear what she has in store.
16. Sam Smith ‘Stay With Me’
Up until recently I didn’t know quite a lot of people didn’t like Sam Smith but that hasn’t stopped me from liking his music which is why his track ‘Stay With Me’ makes my list for this year. Let me just say the song itself isn’t anything new, by soul music’s standards this is a pretty basic soul song and with the choir (which ended up being his own voice just relayed) it was rather cliche. But I am a sucker for soul music and even more so a choir in any song so I grew to love this song and I even had the pleasure of seeing him perform it live. Homeboy can SANNNNG!
15. Drake ‘0-100’
Never has a phrase been more tweeted/memed/ facebooked/tumblr’d or snapchatted than ‘0-100 nigga real quick!’ thanks to Drake. The Degrassi alumni released this song on a whim just randomly biding his time between albums and thats the one thing I like about Drake. He has mastered the skill of remaining musically relevant between major releases by dropping odd songs online here and there which themselves sound like they belong on part of a bigger project, Basically, theres no filler rubbish from Drake when it comes to his music. Also a song that makes reference to Forrest Gump is a winner in my eyes!
14. Katy Perry ‘Birthday’
Bless Katy Perry, she tried so hard to make her ‘Prism’ era match that of her flawless ‘Teenage Dream’ era but it just didn’t work out that way. After the initial success of Roar, followup single ‘Unconditionally’ failed to make any real impact which made way for the speedy release of ‘Dark Horse’ which doesn’t want to go away even now which is why I am deliberately not including it on my list of songs for 2014. The song has been played to death! Its time to make like Frozen and LET IT GO!!
Katy did release two more songs after Dark Horse one of those being ‘Birthday’ which upon hearing when the first (and only) time I heard the entire Prism album I loved instantly. Its funny that the same woman who burst out on the scene in 2008 claiming to kiss girls is now singing about making birthday cakes but what I liked about this song is that its just a innocent fluffy pop song. Nothing more, nothing less. Not every song has to have a deep meaning or a moment or even a purpose. Just make music damn it!
The accompanying video was very much American humour but that didn’t ruin the song for me .All it did was make me wonder how stupid everyone must be in the video to not realise that was Katy Perry. Like come on! Those disguises were terrible!
13. Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj ‘Bang Bang’
Let me just set the record straight. The whole reason this song is good is not because of Jessie J and her incessant wailing. If anything the song would be improved 89% if she wasn’t even in it. In fact lets just call this song ‘Bang Bang’ by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj ft Jessie J.
This song was only released a few months ago which I’m sure gives you a good indication as to how slow this year has been for music when one of the the ‘top’ songs of the year was released only 2 months ago. But this song is just what we needed during a painfully dull Q4. It was loud, it was cheeky and it included a great verse from the new and improved Nicki Minaj. I’m even willing to look past the awful artwork this song had because of how good Nicki and Ariana (with help from Jessie J(ust shut up) sound together.
12. Jennifer Lopez ft Pitbull ‘Booty’
Everyone knows how much I love and adore Jennifer Lopez but the fact she enlisted the help of Iggy Azaelea for the remix of this song, a song about big assess, when we all know full and well when you need a rapper to talk about ass you go to Nicki Minaj, is both criminal and unforgivable. This is why I am listing the album version of this song featuring Pitbull instead where ,for a change, I think he adds something great to the song. Do you remember Pitbull before he became ‘Mr Worldwide’ wearing suits and rapping over EDM? When he used to do reggaeton and used to dress like a missing member of Jersey Shore with his tight jeans and tight white t shirt and black sunglasses? Thats the Pitbull I heard in this song and man I used to like that Pitbull!
The song itself is personally one of the best bangers of the year and was produced by the man who can do no wrong- Diplo and written by the guy who can only ever do wrong- Chris Brown. Part of me felt like this song was a case of too little too late in that J.Lo has always been famously known for her ass but that ass baton seems to have been passed onto to the newer generation of artists. But like I said, I love Jennifer Lopez and if she wants to remind the girls of today about how famous her ass is then J.Lo can damn well do that.
11. Fifth Harmony ‘BO$$’
Britney hates them, Katy Perry doesn’t know who they are but I love them and thats all that should matter right now. The girl group, Fifth Harmony, formed on The X Factor USA have had a tough time trying to establish themselves after coming third in the talent show in 2012. They’ve toured malls across America, released songs including ‘Miss Movin’ On’ and ‘Me & My Girls’ (lets act like the latter never happened yeah?) they’ve released an EP, done collaborations with Boyce Avenue, and yet still haven’t got their debut album out. I’m not sure if the fact they’ve done so much without an album out if a good thing or not but this year I found myself growing tired of waiting for them to get their act together.
When the song came out the girls did say they wanted to go into a more ‘urban’ direction with their sound which I was always going to be here for and though ‘BO$$’ is ridden with corny pop culture references and slang as well as mentions of Michelle Obama only to have it rhyme with Oprah Dollars, this song is a BOP! And I was happy to see the girls pushing for choreography in their videos even if Normani is the only one who can really dance. With Danity Kane now out of the way this leaves Fifth Harmony enough space to make a solid name for themselves in a category with only Little Mix to compete with.
The plan is for them to release their album ‘Reflection’ in the new year after it was pushed back twice so lets hope 2015 marks the year these girls finally get serious.