Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Best Of 2014 - part 5

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

It only seems like yesterday that I was getting my head around downloads counting towards the singles chart. Perhaps it's because I revisited the mid-'00s (when that happened) a few months ago to count down my favourite songs from those years. In 2014, I had to get used to another new development as the UK singles chart started taking streaming figures into account and the ARIA chart followed suit.

Thanks to a couple of well-chosen collaborations,
Melissa Steel appears twice in my top 20

Yes, that'd already happened in the US in 2013 (they even included YouTube plays), but the Billboard Hot 100 has never been based solely on sales data so it wasn't as dramatic a change. For the purely sales-based UK and Australian charts to include streaming figures meant the times really were a-changing. 

And yes, people pay to use streaming services like Spotify and Deezer (although not always), so there is the notion of a sale in there somewhere but, for me, I still like to own the songs I like in some way. No doubt I'll refer back to this post in five years time when I fully embrace streaming, but for now, let's get on with counting down my top 20 songs (that I own) from 2014...

Number 20 "Won't Look Back" by Duke Dumont

His first two singles topped the UK chart, but Duke Dumont had to settle for a number 2 with this '90s-sounding single. Like "Turn Back Time" by Sub Focus (which we saw in Part 3), uncredited vocals come from Yolanda Quartey of the band Phantom Limb.

Number 19 "Way We Are" by Kove featuring Melissa Steel

Here's another single that sounds straight out of the early '90s - the breakthrough hit for British producer James Rockhill. I expected this to perform much better than its peak of number 30 in the UK, but it ended up as the lowest charting of the four tracks vocalist Melissa Steel performed on in 2014. Another of those is still to come...

Number 18 "Control" by Matrix & Futurebound featuring Max Marshall

A third '90s-inspired dance track now - this time from British drum & bass duo Jamie "Matrix" Quinn & Brendan "Futurebound" Collins. Their biggest hit to date, "Control" features vocals by Max Marshall - Max being short for Maxine.

Number 17 "Begin Again" by Knife Party

Next up, a song that sounds more than a little like Daft Punk's 2000 hit, "One More Time" and is taken from the debut full-length album by Pendulum off-shoot Knife Party. My only issue with "Begin Again" is its length - almost six minutes. A radio edit wouldn't go astray, guys.

Number 16 "Too Close" by St Lucia

Next is another song I'd like a trimmed down version of - album track "Too Close", which clocks in at just under seven minutes. In fairness to St Lucia, the song hasn't ever been promoted as a single (unlike the Knife Party track), but it's one of the highlights from the When The Night album, which only yielded two singles.

Number 15 "Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson / Justin Timberlake

The last time Sony Music trawled the archives for a posthumous release by Michael Jackson, the best they could come up with was the late superstar's version of the Yellow Magic Orchestra/Eric Clapton single, "Behind The Mask" (which just missed my top 100 for 2011). So it was with some scepticism that I approached 2014 release Xscape. Besides its title being identical to a long-forgotten R&B girl group from the '90s, it didn't hold much promise if it consisted of whatever was left in the vaults. 
Little did I know how good unreleased track "Love Never Felt So Good" would turn out to be. Originally demoed in 1983 during a studio session with Paul Anka, the song was never completed and recorded instead by Johnny Mathis. Fast forward a couple of decades, and the demo was polished up for inclusion on Xscape, with the single version receiving additional input from Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and J-Roc. And just like that, it became Michael's best single since the Dangerous album.

Number 14 "Stranger" by Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko

You can hear the influence of Michael Jackson all over this third single by American DJ/producer Chris Malinchak, particularly in the vocal delivery of Mikky Ekko (best known for appearing on Rihanna's "Stay"). Like the Kove song, it's another single I expected to do much better, especially given both artists' track records. Instead, it didn't even make the UK top 40.

Number 13 "I Loved You" by Blonde featuring Melissa Steel

Here's the second single in this batch of songs to feature Melissa Steel on vocals - and this time it was a hit, reaching number 7 in the UK for the duo of Adam Englefield and Jacob Manson. Like Le Youth's "C O O L" (which featured on my top 100 for 2013), "I Loved You" is a house update of a '00s R&B song - in this case, "More" by Tamia.

Number 12 "High" by Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar

Like The Aston Shuffle (who we saw in Part 2), Peking Duk is another dance duo to emerge from Canberra in the last decade - and after several singles that have gone nowhere in the past few years, "High" became one of the year's biggest hits by a local artist on the ARIA chart (and an ARIA Award winner to boot). Scheduled for release in the UK early in 2015, I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the next Australian dance track to break internationally.

Number 11 "Rumour" by Chlöe Howl

Nineteen-year-old British singer Chlöe seemed to be on an upwards trajectory in 2014 with this third single becoming her first to break the UK top 100 - although with a peak of number 84, it was yet another greatly under-appreciated song to make this list. But then, follow-up "Disappointed" lived up to its name by missing the chart completely and Chlöe's debut album was pushed back to a 2015 release.

Number 10 "Hey Now (Arty mix)" by London Grammar

The album hit number 2 and achieved platinum status in both Australia and the UK, but London Grammar's If You Wait was mostly too downbeat for me. Luckily, Russian DJ/producer Artyom Stolyarov kicked things up a notch with his remix of "Hey Now", the sixth of a staggering eight singles released from the album.

Number 9 "Lose You" by Nick Gardner

There was a lot of buzz on the blogosphere about this debut single by British singer Nick Gardner, who proved that artists are still getting discovered on YouTube when he was signed by Interscope Records after posting his versions of songs like "Someone Like You" and "Titanium". A classic-sounding pop tune, "Lose You" might only have been given a promotional release, but it deserved to be a huge hit. Hopefully Nick will receive a big official push in 2015.

Number 8 "Am I Wrong" by Nico & VInz

Here's a song that was a big hit - from Norway (where Nico & Vinz are from) to Australia, and from the US to the UK. Released in Europe in 2013 when Kahouly Nicolay Sereba and Vincent Dery were known as Envy, "Am I Wrong" was credited to the duo's new name of Nico & Vinz when it started to be released around the world in 2014

Number 7 "There Is No Other Time" by Klaxons

We saw an album track from Love Frequency back in Part 1 and here's the lead single from Klaxons' third album - and it's another song that deserved to do better than its number 42 UK chart peak. Something I didn't realise until now is that "There Is No Other Time" is produced by Gorgon City, who've also landed two songs in this top 100.

Number 6 "I Believe" by Bright Light Bright Light

After fiddling around with his debut album for a couple of years, Rod Thomas unveiled his second full-length effort in 2014, Life Is Easy, which contained this - once again - under-rated synthpop gem. 

Number 5 "Last Breath" by Ekkoes

On my top 100 for 2013, they were known as Echoes, but a slight name change (for legal reasons?) later, British synthpop trio Ekkoes returned this year with second single "Last Breath". Once again reminiscent of New Order, it's the sort of music Hurts should be making.

Number 4 "I Will Never Let You Down" by Rita Ora

When she wasn't (kind of) making a name for herself in the States ripping open Zac Efron's shirt and joining the upcoming fourth season of the UK's version of The Voice as a coach, Rita Ora released her finest single to date in 2014. Written and produced by then-boyfriend Calvin Harris, "I Will Never Let You Down" was her first ARIA top 5 single and another UK chart-topper for her. Oddly, despite the single coming out back at the start of the year, Rita is yet to follow it up.

Number 3 "Crying For No Reason" by Katy B

Last year, I posed the question whether "5AM" was a one-off or sign of things to come in terms of me liking Katy B's songs - and here's the answer. An electroballad Robyn would be proud of (and one co-written by Guy Chambers), "Crying For No Reason" is the sound of an artist really hitting her stride. Unfortunately, that momentum came to a crashing halt with the release of follow-up "Still".

Number 2 "Changing" by Sigma featuring Paloma Faith

It had hit written all over it and duly became Sigma's second consecutive UK number 1 when it was finally released there two months after I first heard it. Side note: when are UK record companies going to give up delaying releases to such an extent? It's a very odd turn of events that the Australian chart is so far ahead of the UK chart. Anyway, back to "Changing" - and although I'm not a fan of Paloma Faith's own music, her voice worked a treat on this pop/drum and bass anthem. 

Number 1 "Do It Again" by Röyksopp & Robyn

It was inevitable that this Scandi synthpop event would top my year-end chart, wasn't it? The first new Robyn single since her Body Talk albums and her first collaboration with Norwegian synthpop duo Röyksopp since 2010, "Do It Again" was the lead single - and poppiest track - from the EP of the same name.

My top 200 for 2014 in full: 

1          DO IT AGAIN Röyksopp & Robyn
2          CHANGING Sigma featuring Paloma Faith
3          CRYING FOR NO REASON Katy B
4          I WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN Rita Ora
5          LAST BREATH Ekkoes
6          I BELIEVE Bright Light Bright Light
7          THERE IS NO OTHER TIME Klaxons
8          AM I WRONG Nico & Vinz
9          LOSE YOU Nick Gardner
10        HEY NOW (ARTY REMIX) London Grammar
11        RUMOUR Chlöe Howl
12        HIGH Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar
13        I LOVED YOU Blonde featuring Melissa Steel
14        STRANGER Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko
15        LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD Michael Jackson (with Justin Timberlake)
16        TOO CLOSE St Lucia
17        BEGIN AGAIN Knife Party
18        CONTROL Matrix & Futurebound featuring Max Marshall
19        WAY WE ARE Kove featuring Melissa Steel
20        WON’T LOOK BACK Duke Dumont
21        LET GO FOR TONIGHT Foxes
23        OUTSIDE Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding
24        LOVE SUBLIME Tensnake featuring Nile Rodgers & Fiora
25        LIVING WITHOUT YOU Monarchy
26        SUNLIGHT The Magician featuring Years & Years
27        READY FOR YOUR LOVE Gorgon City featuring MNEK
28        YOUR LOVE Moko
29        DANGEROUS David Guetta featuring Sam Martin
30        COLLAR UP (MONSIEUR ADI MIX) Kate Miller
31        SETTING SUN / GRUM MIX Dirty Vegas
32        IF I GO Ella Eyre
33        LITTLE WHITE LIES Florrie
34        OUT OF MY HEAD John Newman
35        EVERYTIME Broods
36        UNDRESSED Kim Cesarion
37        NEVER SAY NEVER Basement Jaxx featuring ETML
38        POWERLESS Rudimental featuring Becky Hill
39        SOLO DANCING Indiana
40        WHAT I MUST FIND For BDK
41        CLOSE Sub Focus
42        HIDEAWAY Kiesza
43        NOBODY TO LOVE Sigma
44        EVERYTHING WE TOUCH Say Lou Lou
45        GHOST Ella Henderson
46        KISS ME ONCE Kylie Minogue
47        INSTANT CRUSH Say Lou Lou
48        IMPERIUM Madeon
50        ALL OF TIME Avec Sans
52        UP! Samantha Jade
53        WRAPPED UP Olly Murs featuring Travie McCoy
54        10 MILLION PEOPLE Example
55        DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
56        SAVE MY NIGHT Armin van Buuren
57        TURN BACK TIME Sub Focus
58        WHEN THE BEAT DROPS OUT Marlon Roudette
60        REASON Erasure
61        MY HEAD IS A JUNGLE (MK MIX) Wankelmut & Emma Louise
62        BLUE SKY ACTION Above & Beyond featuring Alex Vargas
63        I BELIEVE Jessica Mauboy
64        SEXY LOVE Kylie Minogue
65        UPTIGHT DOWNTOWN La Roux
66        YOUNG HEARTS Strange Talk
67        EMPIRE Shakira
68        SEEYA Deadmau5
69        CRAZY SOMETHING NORMAL Donkeyboy
70        COMEBACK Ella Eyre
71        STUPID LITTLE THINGS Anastacia
72        I’M NOT YOUR HERO Tegan & Sara
73        ALL OF YOU Betty Who
74        LUCKY ONES Monsieur Adi featuring Negin
75        GIRL THAT YOU LOVE Panic! At The Disco
76        LIONHEARTED Porter Robinson featuring Urban Cone
77        OUTLINES Mike Mago & Dragonette
78        DESIRE Years & Years
79        BREAK FREE Ariana Grande featuring Zedd
80        TEAR IT DOWN The Aston Shuffle
81        SEE RIGHT THROUGH Tensnake featuring Fiora
82        THREE DREAMS Syron featuring Horror Stories
83        CURE ME Redlight featuring LOLO
84        HEARTBREAK DREAM Betty Who
85        OUT OF THE DARK Klaxons
86        SUN GOES DOWN Robin Schulz featuring Jasmine Thompson
87        LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE Karin Park
88        SUNDREAM Rüfüs
89        PROTECT Beni
90        GLOW IN THE DARK The Wanted
91        HOLD ME Gold Fields
92        G.U.Y. Lady Gaga
93        ONE MORE DAY (STAY WITH ME) Example
94        BULLET Lovestarrs
95        INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
97        TORN APART Bastille vs Grades
98        NETZWERK (FALLS LIKE RAIN) Klangkarussell
99        HERE FOR YOU Gorgon City featuring Laura Welsh
100      MAGIC (EP) Paperwhite
101      YOU’RE ON Madeon featuring Kyan
102      ME AND MY BROKEN HEART Rixton
103      FEEL YOUR LOVE Le Youth featuring Javeon
104      GO ALL NIGHT Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson
105      MY LOVE Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne
106      36 Redlight featuring Lotti
107      NO PLACE LIKE HOME The Aston Shuffle featuring Kaelyn Behr
108      BLK & BLU Chase & Status featuring Ed Thomas
109      SOMEBODY NEW Jakwob featuring Tiffani Juno
110      BIRTHDAY Katy Perry
111      CRYSTALLIZE Kylie Minogue
112      TONGUE TALK The Holidays
113      CLASSIC The Knocks featuring Powers
114      LOOK CLOSER Morten
115      UNMISSABLE Gorgon City featuring Zak Abel
117      RATHER BE Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
118      GLORIOUS Foxes
119      NO REST FOR THE WICKED Lykke Li
120      GYPSY Lady Gaga
121      THIS IS HOW WE DO Katy Perry
122      MY TYPE Saint Motel
123      SOMETHING BETTER Softengine
124      NO ENEMIESZ Kiesza
125      BREAK THE FALL Laura Welsh
126      FIRST LOVE Jennifer Lopez
128      UPTOWN FUNK Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
129      TAKE ME Rüfüs
130      I WANNA FEEL Secondcity
131      CRYING ON THE DANCEFLOOR Parralox featuring Francine
132      GOODBYE FUTURE The Presets
133      SUMMER Calvin Harris
134      CRAZY STUPID LOVE Cheryl Cole featuring Tinie Tempah
136      CHANDELIER Sia
137      GUST OF WIND Pharrell Williams
138      NEVER BE THE SAME Jessica Mauboy
139      DARK HORSE Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
140      GLOW Ella Henderson
141      LOVE ME HARDER Ariana Grande / The Weeknd
142      DANCE WITH ME Le Youth featuring Dominique Young Unique
143      GIRLS/GIRLS/BOYS Panic! At The Disco
144      ALL I SEE Bondax
145      HEART ON FIRE Indiana
147      FEEL OF LOVE Tensnake with Jacques Le Cont featuring Jamie Lidell
148      PRAYER IN C (ROBIN SCHULZ REMIX) Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz
149      LOSING Becky Hill
150      BLAME Calvin Harris featuring John Newman
151      I KNOW Shift K3y
152      TAKE ME OVER Peking Duk featuring SAFIA
153      WHAT CAN I DO Secondcity featuring Ali Love
154      I GOT U Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones
155      DOWN ON MY LUCK Vic Mensa
156      F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J Blige
157      HERO Donkeyboy
158      JUBEL Klingande
159      24 HOURS Sky Ferreira
160      IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE The Veronicas
161      STRANGERS Seven Lions featuring Tove Lo
162      ELEVATION Erasure
163      LAY ME DOWN Avicii
165      I’M CALLIN’ Tennis
166      NOT GIVING UP The Saturdays
167      SLEDGEHAMMER Fifth Harmony
168      WHEN YOU WERE MINE / DAVE EDWARDS MIX Night Terrors Of 1927 featuring Tegan & Sara
170      MONUMENT (THE INEVITABLE END VERSION) Röyksopp featuring Robyn
171      I WISH WE WERE LEAVING Bright Light Bright Light & Elton John
172      UP Olly Murs featuring Demi Lovato
173      IF I LOSE MYSELF (REMIX) Alesso vs OneRepublic
174      I LOVE THIS LIFE Kim Cesarion
175      GO Grimes featuring Blood Diamonds
176      TOUGH LOVE Jessie Ware
177      MARILYN MONROE Pharrell Williams
178      GIVE LIFE BACK TO MUSIC Daft Punk
179      KINGS The Pierces
180      CAN’T REMEMBER TO FORGET YOU Shakira featuring Rihanna
181      FADE AWAY Susanne Sundfør
182      GOODNESS GRACIOUS Ellie Goulding
183      GIANT IN MY HEART Kiesza
184      TOUCH Shift K3y
185      YOUR LOVE Nicole Scherzinger
186      LIVING WITHOUT YOU Tulisa
187      BABY DON’T LIE Gwen Stefani
188      MAD AT ME Diana Vickers
189      COME GET IT BAE Pharrell Williams
190      CAN I GET A MOMENT Jessica Mauboy
191      SHOW ME A MIRACLE Klaxons
192      SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND Neon Trees
193      BAD BLOOD Bastille
194      SWEET TALK Samantha Jade
195      MOVE FORWARD Stine Bramsen
196      NOT A BAD THING Justin Timberlake
197      XO Beyonce Knowles
198      MAMA AIN’T PROUD Guy Sebastian featuring 2 Chainz
199      DIVINITY Porter Robinson
200      AFTER THE DISCO Broken Bells

The rest of my year-end charts are below, which means I won't do another personal countdown until the end of 2015. But before then, I'll be keeping busy with my usual 25 Years Ago posts, which resume on January 7, and upcoming 30 Years Ago posts, which kick off on January 13. I might even get around to my promised One-Hit Wonders of the '00s posts, too.

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