Whilst we’ve been busy working on our Top 50 Albums of 2014 list (which started on Friday) we’ve had another little side project going on, namely the Top 50 Songs of 2014. It’s a similair concept to what we’re doing with the albums, with the majority of the best songs being lifted from albums in the higher echelons of our (as yet incomplete) Top 50. Today we’re kickstarting this new list with the first 15 songs which made our Top 50. Read on to see what’s made the cut thus far.
50. PULLED APART BY HORSES – HOT SQUASH
This sleazy Americana rocker is the highlight on Pulled Apart by Horses’ recent album Blood, which made it to #41 in our Top 50 Albums of 2014. Its hip-shaking riff is swiftly countered by fierce shouted verses and a raunchy solo.
49. BLACK VEIL BRIDES – WALK AWAY
As we pointed out in our review of Black Veil Brides’ 4th album, Walk Away is a clear highlight thanks to its emotional balladry and intense vocals. The gospel choir may be slightly clichéd, but it still makes for a wholly grandiose affair.
48. CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMENT – KATHLEEN
By far the best track on their recent debut album The Balcony, Kathleen comes at you with a stabbing riff and Van McCann’s whiskey-fuelled rasping vocals in a chorus which sees proclaim, “I gotta give it to you, you give me problems”.
47. ALL WE ARE – I WEAR YOU
All We Are are slowly creeping in from under the radar with their smooth Bee Gees meets Marvin Gaye RnB, with them recently having supported London Grammar throughout Europe. I Wear You encompasses a sharp beat and falsetto-extraodinaire vocals which make it all the more worth checking out this Liverpool-trio.
46. MOTIONLESS IN WHITE – REINCARNATE
Following the silky smooth RnB are a band who find themselves on a completely opposite end of the music spectrum – industrial hardcore metallers Motionless in White. By modern-day metal standards, Reincarnate is purely a generic regurgitation of everything we already know – a crazy Drop-*insert tuning here* riff, arena-lite chorus and encapsulating breakdown. However, Motionless in White do this very well which makes the brutal title track from their recent album all the more exciting.
45. TOGETHER PANGEA – SNAKEDOG
We’re in the midst of a small garage rock reunion, something which Together PANGEA know all too well. These rowdy Americans specialize in slacker-flecked garage rock which gives modern day contemporaries The Orwells and Cloud Nothings a run for their money. The short and sharp riff pulls the song together before exploding towards the end.
44. WE ARE THE IN CROWD – THE BEST THING (THAT NEVER HAPPENED)
Okay, it’s a pop punk song which couldn’t be more generic if Mark Hoppus, Alex Gaskarth and a pre-2000 Billie Joe Armstong had written it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. Right? Frontwoman Taylor Jardine comes at you with sneery lyrics over a mix of programmed drums, distorted guitar jabs and a smooth bass rhythm. The chorus is a pure hands-in-the air, which makes the song all the more fun.
43. SLIPKNOT – THE DEVIL IN I
From the very early moments of ascending and descending reverb you can already sense that Slipknot are about to let loose with all the devices at the exposal. It doesn’t take too long for the guitars to come at you like wild animals on the loose, before Corey Taylor’s subdued vocals are balanced out by fierce growls in the chorus. It’s the highlight on Slipknot’s recent album .5: The Gray Chapter, demonstrating everything the Iowa 9-piece do best.
42. JAMIE T – ZOMBIE
Following what felt like an eternity of waiting, rapping acoustic troubadour Jamie T returned out of seemingly nowhere early this year. With a fantastic new album in Carry on the Grudge, T managed to hit the spot with the super happy Zombie. It starts off as a ballad-esque love song, before going full-on indie disco on us all with its catchy chorus and ghastly laughter. Welcome back, Jamie T.
41. PEACE – LOST ON ME
Peace are a bunch of teases. Their second album, Happy People, is slated for release in January but they’ve already been teasing its contents for months. First came the Madchester-funk of World Pleasure, before the anthemic Money and grooving Lost on Me followed soon after. Lost on Me doesn’t slow down whatsoever for the duration of the track, with the dancefloor-ready bassline keeping this banger alive.
40. CLOUD NOTHINGS – I’M NOT PART OF ME
Alongside the aforementioned Together PANGEA, Cloud Nothings are also sparking some kind of garage rock/grunge revival in 2014. I’m Not Part of Me picks up the pace early on with a speedy drum beat and power punk chords, before an earworm of a chorus makes it way out of your speakers.
39. METRONOMY – LOVE LETTERS
Metronomy’s recent album Love Letters may not be their strongest album on a whole, but it does feature one of the funkiest songs of the year in the shape of its title track. A minute or so of subdued horns slowly builds up into a combination of jazzy pianos and a stomping bassline, before the outro sees a solitary trumpet take the lead. The vocal effect through which we hear Joe Mount’s vocals is purely 1970s, which makes this track so…amazing? It’s hard to sum up Love Letters in one word, it’s that fun.
38. EAGULLS – POSSESSED
Whereas Metronomy may excel in fun, hardcore punks Eagulls excel in pure angst. Possesses is exactly what the title says it is, 3 minutes of angst in which vocalist George Mitchell manically wails over a screeching instrumental combination. He clearly sounds possessed, but that can only be a good thing.
37. ST. VINCENT – DIGITAL WITNESS
St. Vincent is one of 2014’s unsung heroes, and Digital Witness is one of the most underestimated songs of the year. From Annie Clark’s attitude-filled “yeah”’s to the jangly guitars which underpin the whole song, Digital Witness is a fine piece of work which shows exactly why we should look out for this woman in the future. And that future has already begun, because Clark and her crazy antics are only getting bigger and better.
36. BLOOD RED SHOES – AN ANIMAL
Laura-Mary Carter and Steve Ansell, the sole members of Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes, never fail to release at least 1 absolute banger of a track per album. With 2011s In Time to Voices it was Je Me Perds and its hardcore riffage, and this time round its the dance-punk of An Animal which is at the same time ready for pits yet also ready for the indie dancefloor. “So, how does it feel to reveal what you already know?” questions Carter as her and Ansell share vocal duties in the chorus.
35. SPEEDY ORTIZ – AMERICAN HORROR
Modern day grunge at its finest, that’s what many people may say upon hearing Speedy Ortiz’s American Horror for the first time. Intertwining riffs, distortion and feedback all come together to accompany Sadie Dupuis’ bittersweet vocals and extremely witty lyricism.
Check back next week for the second set of songs.