Jump to FM.tv

Best of 2014

41 Best Songs of 2014

From "Anaconda" to Weird Al to that elevator incident and back again, here are Fuse's picks for the top tracks of 2014

1 / 41

Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, "Problem"

As if that sax hook could conjure up an image of anything but Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea rocking some seriously mod looks! Ariana and Iggy teamed up for one of the most recognizable and seriously addictive tracks of the year, coupling Ariana's sweet soprano with Iggy's sassy verses for a chart-topping hit that spent 25 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. —Hilary Hughes

Click through this list, then check out more of our picks for the Best of 2014:

2 / 41

Beck, "Blue Moon"

The first single off of “Morning Phase” presents the spare arrangement and mellower gold that Beck first showcased on “Sea Change.” The track is so pretty that even when he wails the opening lines “I’m so tired of being alone,” it sounds more heartfelt than whiny. —Jonathan Stern

3 / 41

Beyoncé ft. Nicki Minaj, "Flawless (Remix)"

As if "Flawless" wasn't already, um, flawless, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj combined forces—finally!—on a remix/sequel than was just as good as the original. Beyoncé added an Outkast sample, rapped a reference to the Solange/Jay Z elevator melee and then let Nicki wild out for a blazing minute and a half, resulting in some of her Minajesty's best bars of the year. —Zach Dionne

4 / 41

Bleachers, "I Wanna Get Better"

Jack Antonoff stepped out of the shadow of fun. with Bleachers, his new pop-rock solo endeavor. Strange Desire, Bleachers' debut LP, produced the supremely uplifting "I Wanna Get Better" as its first single. The video is just as tongue-in-cheek as its lyrics, with the added bonus of a little love/work connection going on: Antonoff's girlfriend, Lena Dunham, directed the clip. D'aw. —Hilary Hughes

5 / 41

Cher Lloyd, "Sirens"

Cher Lloyd never tried to hide her cheekiness (her fans are literally called "brats"), but the English singer showed a different side of herself with this stirring ballad. Cher begs a lover to be in the moment with her ("Lay down here / Beside me in the shallow water / Beside me where the sun is shining on us still") before the "Sirens" come to call her away. What are said sirens? It's never explained, but that's perhaps for the best as we've all felt life pressures pulling us away from those we love, so the vague lyrics allow for universality. —Jeff Benjamin

6 / 41

Childish Gambino, "Candler Road"

When the monstrous "Candler Road" broke the Gambino-net in August, it seemed like a crime when it didn't appear on 2013's Because the Internet, Donald Glover's best album so far. Then it showed up on the mixtape/EP double-feature STN MTN / Kauai, and its shine was still bright enough to take over the whole damn thing. —Zach Dionne

7 / 41

Chromeo ft. Solange, "Lost on The Way Home"

The Canadian dance duo hasn’t ditched their silly side—their keyboards still have sexy lady legs, and it’s still the best—but they did grow up a bit on 2014’s White WomenSolange and Chromeo vocalist Dave 1 weave a nuanced tale of loyalty and love in peril that only gets better with (frequent) replays. —Samantha Vincenty

8 / 41

Coldplay, "Magic"

It took a few albums of experimenting, but Coldplay finally found a way to synthesize their dead-simple old-school ballads with a perfectly au courant pop vibe. The emotional, malleable "Magic" sounds analog and digital at once, like it could nestle right between a Rihanna single and 2000's "Yellow." —Zach Dionne

9 / 41

Deadmau5, "Gula"

Like several songs on this year's while(1<2), a stripped-down version of “Gula” was introduced on Deadmau5’s somber, divisive 2013 7 EP. A doleful, piano-driven intro evokes the melody of opener “Avaritia” before bursting into hard-hitting percussion and reedy synths. The result is an intense track that would sound great on headphones, turnt up in the club or at that vampire rave in the beginning of the first Blade movie. —Samantha Vincenty

10 / 41

Drake, "0 to 100 / The Catch Up"

Drake can make a killer album; this is known. And Drake can release a chart-searing single with his eyes closed. But the internet-only "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" felt like something bigger than all that—like Drake taking the crown and gripping it so hard that no one would touch it again for a long, long time. As Drizzy says in the silky, hypnotic coda, he's only 27, and he's only getting better. —Zach Dionne

11 / 41

Ed Sheeran, "Don't"

Sheeran apparently picked up some pointers from BFF Taylor Swift. In “Don’t” he tries his hand at a funky diss track that takes aim at ex-girlfriend Ellie Goulding. As he sings in the chorus, “Don’t f*ck with my heart.” We say, “No sir!” —Jonathan Stern

12 / 41

Eels, "Mistakes of My Youth"

EelsThe Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett is full of hurt and triumph, loss and learning. It builds to the fantastic "Mistakes of My Youth," a song that soothes, ruminates and teaches all at once. Even without the album's arc, the song works incredibly well on its own. —Zach Dionne

13 / 41

Foo Fighters, "Something From Nothing"

2014 has been huge for the Foo Fighters. They attempted to create a "musical map of America" with Sonic Highways, their record which sprawls across the genres and geography of the United States. They also toured behind it, popping up at smaller venues in the eight cities that the album was written and recorded in to play the new tracks and fan favorites for intimate crowds. 

"Something From Nothing" was the hard-rocking single that kicked it all off, with Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick joining the guys for some serious riffing in between Dave Grohl's lung-busting screams. —Hilary Hughes

14 / 41

Future ft. Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino, "Move That Dope"

A first-quarter rap single that manages to keep busting heads in the final weeks of the year is a rare beast. Future's "Honest" burned hot and fast, but "Move That Dope"—produced by the still-killing-it Mike WiLL Made-It—might just last forever. Also: Can Pharrell's verse please run for president in 2016? —Zach Dionne

15 / 41

G-Dragon & Taeyang, "Good Boy"

The K-pop stars' collaboration is probably one of the most accessible joints from South Korea this year with a song structure resembling "Turn Down for What." Hear the BIGBANG bros bring their years of entertainment skills as they blur the lines between rapping and singing throughout one of the 2014's most epic club tracks. Even if your friends are K-pop skeptics, play them this song. You'll thank us later. —Jeff Benjamin

16 / 41

Grimes, "Go"

Grimes tested her pop sensibilities when she crafted a track for Rihanna's upcoming album. The result was "Go," a collaboration with producer Blood Diamonds. "Go" makes for one of the best EDM tracks of the year with its shifts from coo-heavy synth-pop to glitchy EDM breakdowns, highlighted by the singer's emotional cries strung throughout. Rih passed on the track, which makes us think her album better really be amazing, if she's turning down brilliant work like this. —Jeff Benjamin

17 / 41

Gwen Stefani, "Baby Don't Lie"

Gwen's solo effort is rumored to be dropping before the end of the year, and "Baby Don’t Lie" is the first of the new bangers from the No Doubt frontwoman. It's been eight years since Gwen blew our minds with "Wind It Up" and "The Sweet Escape," showing that the pop-punk goddess can embrace a poppier edge with aplomb. 

Thankfully, "Baby Don't Lie" in all its danceable glory is enough to make up for lost time, and we can't wait to hear the rest of what she (and Pharrell and Diplo!) have been cookin' up in the studio. —Hilary Hughes

18 / 41

Hozier, "Take Me To Church"

"Take Me To Church" didn't just catch hold of our hearts for its somber melody and thought-provoking lyrics. It stunned us with its intense music video that called out those who feel like they can judge you for loving the one you're with. (Lookin' at you, homophobes.) 

The single served as the fuse for the blaze of Hozier's mainstream breakthrough, as "Take Me To Church" would go on to receive the cover treatment from both Ed Sheeran and Kiesza long before it bowled over Saturday Night Live and a handful of other late night television audiences. —Hilary Hughes

19 / 41

Jack Ü & Kiesza, "Take Ü There"

"Take Ü There" takes everything you know about EDM and flips it on its head. The "Hideaway" star belts into the song's first drop before a breakdown unfolds that blends brassy horns, hip hop chants and children shouting samples. There's no second verse and the Jack Ü (a.k.a. Diplo and Skrillex) track keeps the crazy going 'til its trippy outro kicks in. You'll need a couple listens to get adjusted and each one is totally worth it. —Jeff Benjamin

20 / 41

Jack White, "Would You Fight For My Love?"

Jack White gives us some freaky “Hotel California” vibes (although it was shot in Denver, Colorado) in his video for “Would You Fight For My Love?" From concept to final cut, the whole visual came together in less than 24 hours. The results are frighteningly good, and it definitely doesn't come across as the product of a project that was thrown together over the course of a single day. That's to say nothing for the single itself, which is just as eerie and evocative as its visual. — Jonathan Stern

21 / 41

Jazmine Sullivan, "Forever Don't Last"

Philly native Jazmine Sullivan digs deep and belts her heart out in “Forever Don’t Last”, a track that is about as optimistic as it sounds. But don’t cry for Jazmine: Heartache is good for those upper-registers. —Jonathan Stern

22 / 41

Kendrick Lamar, "i"

Backed (and blessed) by the the Isley Brothers, K Dot uses the distinct '70s groove of “That Lady” to rock a party that rocks the party. With such a strong single out of the gate, we’re all getting impatient for the new album (which will hopefully show itself sooner rather than later). —Jonathan Stern

23 / 41

Kiesza, "Hideaway"

The hottest thing out of Calgary since the 1988 Flames, Kiesza’s pure electro-pop style on “Hideaway” makes everyone spontaneously break out in dance. Even the well-choreographed Williamsburg hipsters aren't immune to her house whims. —Jonathan Stern

24 / 41

Kool A.D., "Open Letter"

Das Racist is done, but Victor Vazquez ain't. "Open Letter" leads Kool A.D.'s "debut solo album," a pay-what-you-wish Bandcamp release that's indistinguishable in form from A.D.'s many mixtapes. It's a swirly, mesmerizing detonation of everything "the second Latin rapper to like the Beatles" has in his arsenal. And it's the kind of track you can replay 10 times, pause for a sec, then play another 10 times, no problem. —Zach Dionne

25 / 41

Lana Del Rey, "Shades of Cool"

“Shades of Cool” is so cool it should be the opening theme for the next Bond movie. In the equally cool video for this cut from Lana Del Rey’s album Ultraviolence, an older man of mystery (celebrity tattoo artist Mark Mahoney) watches from the wings while she prances around like the '60s Mod seductress that she is. —Jonathan Stern

26 / 41

Lil Wayne ft. Drake, "Believe Me"

After a few years muddling through icky flows and lazy releases, Lil Wayne blasted himself back into rap relevancy with one summer smash. Drake's been running ahead of his mentor since 2011's Take Care, and "Believe Me" saw Wayne competing for the top slot again. —Zach Dionne

27 / 41

Mapei, "Blame It On Me"

We told you to watch out for Swedish-American singer Mapei back in January, and her 2014 genre-blurring debut Hey Hey cements her “breakthrough artist”-worthy status. A flawless pop confection, “Blame It On Me” shares the sunny, self-assured vibe of her buzzed-about single “Don’t Wait.” —Samantha Vincenty

28 / 41

Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"

This feel-good jam combines all the elements of a classic throwback track: There's some Prince with the slick bassline on the verses, a "Le Freak"-esque breakdown after the chorus, not to mention the Michael Jackson "Thriller" vibe with the blend of woozy, addictive synths, too. If there's a song that you, your parents and your grandparents could all love in 2014, it'd be Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." —Jeff Benjamin

29 / 41

Maroon 5, "Maps"

The first single off of V, “Maps” is a prime example of what happens when you lock Adam Levine and company in a room with über-producers like Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco: Hand-clapping beats over a California-cool, Chili Peppers-ready riff that shoots straight to No. 1. "Maps" may have also inspired the most, uh, intense music video of the year, and it only ups the drama quotient for the track itself. —Jonathan Stern

30 / 41

Miguel, “Simplethings”

“Simplethings” couldn’t be more aptly titled. On Miguel’s contribution to the Girls soundtrack, he puts his R&B caress all over a chugging, fuzzed-out guitar riff.  So spare. So sexy. — Jonathan Stern

31 / 41

Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"

Once the world got past the ass-tastic cover art, "Anaconda" got to live the life it deserved. It didn't just sample "Baby Got Back." Nicki's dastardly bars completely claimed ownership over one of the biggest hip hop novelty tracks of all time. The fevered conclusion—an attack on "skinny bitches"—was the icing on the (butt-shaped) cake. —Zach Dionne

32 / 41

Pharrell ft. Justin Timberlake, "Brand New"

Sure, “Brand New” starts with the same four-beat stutter that many of Pharrell’s productions share, and the buoyant duet sounds a bit like a bonus track from The 20/20 Experience. But it’s tough to call “Brand New” formulaic when Justin’s voice comes in like a gust of fresh air at the 24-second mark, and we’re reminded of the first time we fell in love with that Pharrell-Justin collabo magic on Justified’s “Senorita.” —Samantha Vincenty

33 / 41

Porter Robinson, "Sad Machine"

North Carolina-based EDM producer Porter Robinson steps out from behind the laptop and makes his vocal debut with help from a female robot vocalist. Sadly, it’s not ScarJo a la Her. —Jonathan Stern

34 / 41

Real Estate, "Crime"

Real Estate’s music is the rock equivalent of a daiquiri: Simple, tasty and best enjoyed outside. For “Crime," their sound is still bouncy, but when lead singer Martin Courtney sings about “crippling anxiety” and not wanting to die “lonely and uptight," we get the feeling things may not be so chill after all. —Jonathan Stern

35 / 41

Run the Jewels, "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)"

On RTJ2, the second rapidfire album by Killer Mike and El-P, just about every song pumps you up to the max. But when "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)" drops right after the cataclysmic opener "Jeopardy," it's on. El-P's production is as exciting as any sound in modern hip-hop. The flows are vicious and ever-changing; the lyrics are hyper-intelligent and rewindable as hell. It's a Run the Jewels anthem. —Zach Dionne

36 / 41

Sam Hunt, "Leave The Night On"

Hunt took country by surprise when his mix tape and self-released debut EP started turning heads in 2014. "Leave The Night On," his first smash single, offers up some of the catchiest hooks to cross genres in ages. It's a tried-and-true party anthem that bemoans a small town's tendency to close up shop early even though its residents wanna rage. "Leave The Night On" makes for a twangy, updated take on a theme that has people questioning whether or not they—gulp—like country after all. —Hilary Hughes

37 / 41

Sam Smith, "Stay With Me"

Who doesn’t love Sam Smith? From his feature on Disclosure’s “Latch” to his own brilliant album In The Lonely Hour, Smith brings the blue-eyed gospel power to “Stay With Me” that worked so well for George Michael before him. The song caught Mary J. Blige's attention, and she not only appeared with Smith in a re-work of the duet but tapped him to sit in on her own album, The London Sessions. —Jonathan Stern

38 / 41

Sia, "Chandelier"

An explosive single from the reclusive artist was a surprise smash given all its complexities: Its genre would be best labeled "reggae-inspired torch ballad," its lyrics detail alcohol abuse, its vocals are nearly impossible to mimic with jumps from shouty belts to whistle tones and Sia refused to face an audience when she performed the song live. Still, all these facets fused together to make "Chandelier" one of the most brilliant pop songs of the year. —Jeff Benjamin

39 / 41

Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off"

Taylor Swift's evolution and/or devolution, her progression and/or regression, it doesn't really matter in the scope of "Shake It Off." All this single is, and all it needs to be, is fun. Pure fun. Beautiful fun. Hater-blasting fun. Fun-for-grandpas-and-fun-for-babies fun. —Zach Dionne

40 / 41

Teyana Taylor, "Business"

Taylor’s deep love of ‘90s R&B reveals itself on her long-delayed GOOD music debut VII, and “Business” even features a sharp callback to Ginuwine’s 1999 jam “None Of Ur Friends Business.” The visceral ballad smolders as Taylor’s vocals move from sentimental to aching to tough-as-nails over a bedroom-friendly beat, and by the end of the song there’s no doubt Ms. Taylor was worth waiting for. —Samantha Vincenty

41 / 41

"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Foil"

Over the summer, "Weird Al" released eight wonderful videos in eight wonderful days, spoofing all the right things for his new album Mandatory Fun. The parody of Lorde's "Royals," all about the mysteries and delights of aluminum foil, seemed absolutely batty—until you remembered this guy had enough food songs to warrant an entire compilation album 20 years ago. Bonus: "Foil" is as compulsively listenable as its source material. —Zach Dionne

Read more of our picks for the Best of 2014:

User Comments


Photo of the day

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: NSYNC is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Hollywood, Californ

Apr 30: *NSYNC 4EVER

It’s been a while since the guys of *NSYNC reunited. Since their epic onstage reunion at the 2013 MTV VMAs and JC’s 40th birthday, the guys have been doing their own thing, until today! Justin, JC, Joey, Lance and Chris got together to celebrate their new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and as if the day couldn’t get any better, JC reminds us that tomorrow it’s gonna be MAY.