As the year winds down, cue the countdown, Avid Sound creators and writers have been busy putting together our first ever year-end lists, including Top 20 Songs and Top 15 Albums of 2014.
Below, Avid Sound’s very own co-creator Conor Soper’s Top 20 Songs of 2014, these are the standalone tracks that made the best impression to him or changed the game in his eyes, starting from 20.
20. “Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)” by Clean Bandit
One of the most fun tracks released this year and a one that seemingly came out of nowhere. I remember being showed the song a week or two before it blew up and thinking nothing much of it. If this song teaches you anything, it’s to root for the underdogs.
19. “Silent Partner” by La Roux
Out of all the new tracks off La Roux’s sophomore LP, “Silent Partner” is the obvious standout. It’s a dazzling and daunting seven-minute jam session that shows the techno girl from the first record isn’t gone.
18. “Queen” by Perfume Genius
“Queen” is as mesmerizing as it is beautiful. It’s dark, it’s gay, it’s euphoric and everything that 2014 needed.
17. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” by Against Me!
Laura Jane Grace makes clear the internal and external struggles of being transgender in a world that is largely transphobic and transmisogynistic. Those of us who are cisgendered will never quite understand her pain, but she makes us feel at least an ounce of what she has felt.
16. “2 On (feat. ScHoolBoy Q)” by Tinashe
The DJ Mustard produced “2 On” was one of the year’s top party songs and a breakout for one of the most promising artists out their. Tinashe’s soft vocals and minimal production give the song that chill party vibe every is looking for. Also, I’m partial to the Brooke Candy remix of the song.
15. “Hold On To Ya” by III Bones
Underdog of the year goes to this track. III Bones is a little-known group from Ocala, FL who make bluesy rock and soul-like songs. “Hold On To Ya” is the first single and studio recorded song from the band and if it’s any hint as to what’s coming on their debut album then the world better prepare for the next big thing.
14. “Alibi” by BANKS
Album opener for BANKS’ debut Goddess not only shows the singer’s vocal range, but her lyrical depth and booming production that all create her dark musical atmosphere.
13. “My Blue Supreme” by Interpol
Interpol’s new album showed they were finally able to make new and exciting music with a similar sound palette. “My Blue Supreme” dabbles in some of their finest past moments while simultaneously propelling the listener into new territory.
12. “Magic Mountain” by The Drums
With “Magic Mountain” The Drums have proved their staying power beyond their usual song dichotomy of devastating heartbreak tracks and upbeat summertime jams. It’s a weird song to say the least, but it’s power lies in its strangeness.
11. “Alone Again” by Betty Who
Although most know her for “High Society” and “Somebody Loves You,” there were some other gems on Betty Who’s debut, including “Alone Again.” The bubbling bassline, the glittering production, and popping drums matched with her vocals make the perfect 80s-inspired pop track.
10. “Froot” by Marina and the Diamonds
A late entry for 2014, but one of the top contenders for a good reason. Marina returns from her sophomore album with a new disco twist and a sound more similar to her debut album.
9. “Reservoir” by Metronomy
In an interview, Metronomy stated that they were afraid they were going to get too big after The English Riviera’s massive success, so they toned down their third album to prevent that. Luckily for us, some of that pop seeped into their third LP and translated into “Reservoir.”
8. “Fuck Texting” by Junglepussy
Junglepussy’s debut album, Satisfaction Guaranteed, went largely under the radar for most, I believe it’s because she only released her album through Soundcloud. Regardless, the whole thing was full of quality material, especially the brazen “Fuck Texting” calling ladies to arms to confront their man if they think he’s cheating.
7. “Prince Johnny” by St. Vincent
While St. Vincent’s strongest work usually lies in Annie Clark’s powerhouse guitar slashers, “Prince Johnny” carries a very ethereal weight that lures the listener in and makes one of the years most vulnerable and satisfying tracks.
6. “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs
If “2 On” wasn’t sexy enough for you, then “Two Weeks” will fill the void. Twigs’ breathy vocals and seductive lyricism over a sensual beat will get anyone in the mood.
5. “Chandelier” by Sia
“Chandelier” is easily the powerhouse hit of the year. If you haven’t found yourself attempting to scream the lyrics over Sia while driving and almost flipping your car, then you haven’t lived.
4. “Walk This Way” by MØ
MØ has the formula for making some of the catchiest songs out there and if you want the secret, “Walk This Way” is a good microcosm for her criminally overlooked debut album.
3. “Strip” by Jessie J
“Strip” should have been Jessie J’s lead single or at least a follow-up for her latest underwhelming Sweet Talker. Instead she went for the easy hit “ Bang Bang” with two hype artists, then “Burnin’ Up” with the obligatory rap feature, and most recently for the wannabe heartfelt “Masterpiece.” “Strip” was somehow relegated to the realm of bonus tracks and will likely never see the light of day as a single where it belongs.
2. “Catch” by Allie X
If you’re one of those people who likes to brag about knowing an artist before they get huge, then get listening to Allie X. The pop star in the making has turned down a number of record deals in favor of doing her own thing, which has produced three top notch singles, of which “Catch” is the best.
1. “Love In High Places” by Kimbra
“Abandon” was a word used a lot by Kimbra when discussing this track and her sophomore album The Golden Echo. You can feel that when listening to the barren landscapes of “Love in High Place” that Kimbra fills with forests, rivers, and everything in between. “Love in High Places” is a sonic landscape like no other and some of Kimbra’s most thoughtful work yet.