As we approach the end of 2014, we also approach the end of our Top 50 Best Songs of 2014 list. Read on to find out which songs have made it into the first half of our Top 20.
19. DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – GEMINI
Fresh from setting world alight with a fantastic comeback album, The Physical World, are Canadian dance-punks Death From Above 1979. Their second album came out a mere 10 years after their debut cult classic You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, with the fast & furious Gemini being its standout track. It’s a short one, yet it’s 2 minutes and 25 seconds are filled with pounding drums and fiercely constructed riffs.
18. BLEACHERS – I WANNA GET BETTER
Originally intended as a side project for fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, Bleachers have now morphed into a formidable live band whose sets are filled with tons of energy and mutual love for one another. I Wanna Get Better is the biggest anthem you’ve never heard, yet once you do hear it, it’ll be instantly recognizable. From its sampled piano intro to Antonoff’s majestic chant of “before I got carried away”, I Wanna Get Better will brighten up any dark winter days.
17. BLITZ KIDS – SOMETIMES
Although the UK rock scene is starting to become very saturated (mainly due to the pop-punk resurgence and the likes of You Me At Six moving into arenas), there are some bands who are actually doing pretty good for themselves. Blitz Kids is one of these, with Sometimes being a near-faultless rock track with a killer riff a la Bloc Party and euphoric gang vocals.
16. THE WYTCHES – SUMMER AGAIN
The Wytches may just be a group of garage-y doom surfing punks, but their debut album Annabel Dream Reader was nothing short of impressive. It may have touched on the absurd in various places (particularly lyrical content), but in and amongst all the chaotic riffs and howls lies the serene ballad Summer Again. Opening with sweet strummed chords and a descending bassline, the song slowly picks up in intensity through its course with frontman Kristian Bell screaming towards the end as if his heart was being torn out on the spot.
15. ANGUS & JULIA STONE – GRIZZLY BEAR
Brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone may have released a critically acclaimed album this year, but the rest of the time they seem to be going around quite unnoticed. Although the album was much of the same, Grizzly Bear stood out in particular. The Australian siblings cooed “can I take you home? We can go anywhere you wanna go” with such simplicity as a midtempo groove underpinned it all.
14. CHROMEO – HARD TO SAY NO
Self-proclaimed #funklordz Chromeo’s 2014 album White Women was definitely one of the most fun albums we’d heard this year, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been setting the world on fire with their super energetic live show and fantastic dance anthems. Although they’re very much a guilty pleasure for most, we’re definitely not ashamed to be getting down to their great tunes on a regular basis. Hard To Say No carries an effortless groove courtesy of a raunchy beat and jumpy synths which really makes dancing to it nothing short of a yes.
13. THE FAMILY RAIN – VULPICIDE
It may only be the bonus track on The Family Rain’s fantastic debut album, Under the Volcano, but Vulpicide is one of the most emotionally intense rock songs we’ve heard all year. From the off, Ollie Walter is having a good go at his former lover as he boldly claims, “nothing you can say’s gonna change my mind” before the second half of the song flicks it up a notch with a killer solo and near-screamed vocals from the Bath sibling trio’s frontman.
12. ROYAL BLOOD – TEN TONNE SKELETON
Royal Blood are the rock sensation of 2014. After playing nearly 40 festivals this summer and releasing a record breaking #1 album, you’d have forgiven the Brighton-duo for wanting to take a break. They didn’t though, as they’ve been touring non-stop all year. Ten Tonne Skeleton is a fiercely brooding bass-led rocker with an underlying groove which instantly makes you think of Royal Blood. “Cut loose like an animal, fired out like a cannonball” wails Mike Kerr as his distorted bassline is underpinned by Ben Thatcher’s sharp drumming.
11. OF MICE & MEN – BREAK FREE
Mesa-quintet Of Mice & Men released one of the most brutal albums we’ve heard this year in Restoring Force, an album which doesn’t stop to breathe for even a minute as Austin Carlile and co. forcefully power their way through a barrage of riffs and screams. Break Free opens with a faint riff before the chorus sees Carlile brutally shout “you won’t break me, I will break free”. It’s powerful stuff, but it’s certainly done the trick for this five-piece, with 2014 having been a massive year of constant touring.
The Top 50 concludes next week.