Something You Said’s best songs of 2014

future islands

Having already brought you the year’s best albums and books, now it’s time for somethingyousaid.com’s Top 20 Songs of the Year, as voted for by our team of contributors. It’s official, these are the best songs of 2014:

1. OUR SONG OF THE YEAR 2014 IS: FUTURE ISLANDS – Seasons (Waiting on You)
This infectious synth-pop power ballad builds atmosphere and pathos to climax just at the right time. Amongst textural layers, cathartic rhythms, and of course Samuel T. Herring’s grandiose voice, it’s the anthem of the year, and probably the most intelligent one. Seasons is what Future Islands are all about. Check out the David Letterman performance of this song to know what I mean. Neika Lehman

2. SIA – Chandelier
That massive chorus. That epic dance routine. Sia was already one of Australia’s brightest exports before Chandelier, but this song and video took her to the next level. A gazillion youtube hits and a whole bunch more awards later, Sia Furler has totally nailed it in 2014. Bobby Townsend

3. STRAND OF OAKS – JM
Anything written about Jason Molina is always going to hit a spot with me but JM by Strand Of Oaks…Fucking speechless. An incredible elegy to the most underrated and sorely missed musician of the 21st Century. Seven-and-a-half emotional minutes that sum up the power of Molina’s music better than any written obituary could manage. Showalter’s anguished, incendiary guitar playing and the understated “I had your sweet tunes to play” refrain are just perfect. I had the privilege of seeing this performed live and it was almost too much to bear. Neil Martin

4. CARIBOU – Can’t Do Without You
Slow-building and hypnotic, Can’t Do Without You heads towards woozy frenzy and, just when it feels like it is going to spiral out of control, pulls itself back and lays you gently back where you started, only feeling a whole load more blissed out. Bobby Townsend

5. FKA TWIGS – Two weeks
FKA Twigs. Un-fucking-touchable. Kaya Strehler

6. FIRST AID KIT – My Silver Lining
Any fears that First Aid Kit would be weighed down by the heightened expectations of their ever-growing fanbase – or that the change of label would have a negative impact on their new album – vanished by the first chorus of opening track, My Silver Lining. Goosebump-inducing strings and those trademark vocal harmonies told us in no uncertain terms that we were are in safe hands here. Bobby Townsend

7. YOUNG FATHERS – No Way
No Way is my most listened to song this year and probably my favourite. Granted, I’ve had available to me since its January release but the Scottish trio of Young Fathers had me coming back to it over and over again. Felix Englund Örn

8. ARIEL PINK – Black Ballerina
As with all things Pink, there’s a sufficient dose of creepiness in this track, including a spoken scene in which a jovial old fellow takes his bewildered grandson to LA’s purported best strip club, and the kid gets berated for touching things he shouldn’t. Black Ballerina features a bassline like an evil rubber duckie, leering in the bath when you’re four years old and grinding itself against the ceramic. It leaves you licking imaginary whipped cream from your lips, while Pink asks you politely to take off your underwear and sings to you about elevators. Delicious freakishness from the twisted lo-fi wizard. Chloe Mayne

9. JAMIE XX – Sleep Sound
It’s a bit 2-step, it’s a bit tribal, it’s a bit R&B, it’s a bit afro-soul and it’s a bit dance, yet Jamie xx manages to meld it all together to create something not just coherent, but totally mesmerising. Bobby Townsend

10. PERFUME GENIUS – Queen
Perfume Genius was a huge standout for me this year, and ‘Queen’ itself is a genius of a song that I think addresses a lot of the stigmas surrounding gay men and homophobic hysteria through big sounds and aggression. Melissa Barrass


11. GRIMES – Go

12. THE WAR ON DRUGS – Eyes To The Wind

13. TY SEGALL – Feel

14. MØ – Don’t Wanna Dance

15. LYKKE LI – Gun Shot

16. ALEX G – Harvey

17. REAL ESTATE – Crime

18. BECK – Blue Moon

19. PHARRELL WILLIAMS – Happy

20. PANDA BEAR – Mr Noah


ALSO… HIGHLY COMMENDED

Here are some tunes that didn’t quite get enough votes to make the Top 20, but that our contributors think are worthy of your attention:

BART DAVENPORT – Fuck Fame
One of the highlights of Bart Davenport’s Physical World album was the track Fuck Fame. A slinky 80s influenced track with cutting lyrics about well, fame and money. Smart. Gary Page

AZEALIA BANKS. Photo Credit: RankinAZEALIA BANKS- Heavy Metal and Reflective
Azealia Banks is giving me serious /\/\ /\ Y /\ vibes on Heavy Metal and Reflective. I think the world needs a MIA/Banks collaboration in the new year. At the very least, a double headlining tour – Bad Bitches Tour 2015? Tenley Nordstrom

ULTIMATE PAINTING – Ultimate Painting
Ultimate Painting is the UK’s answer to Australia’s Dick Diver and Full Ugly. Their self-titled debut is full of laid back guitar-pop songs that I will never tire of; they’re songs for any mood. The eponymous first track is drenched in simplicity and cruises comfortably from start to finish, with the jangly ‘oh-oo-oh-oo-oh’ ringing in your ears long after the track has finished. Matt Lengren

THE AMITY AFFLICTION – Don’t Lean On Me
I lost count of the times I played Don’t Lean On Me. Such power. From the heart. Joel Anderson

COURTNEY BARNETT- ‘Pickles from the Jar’
Courtney Barnett’s catchy lyrical wordplay complemented with sharp, upbeat drum and guitar rhythms makes this an infectious fun and light-hearted love song. Loved it from the instant it hit my ears. Heather Vousden

FAT WHITE FAMILY – I Am Mark E Smith
This year, Fat White Family came out with ‘I Am Mark E Smith’, which is a courageous thing to do since everybody shies away of making any particular statement about the ‘man’ from the Fall at all! They even played a show with the band shortly after they released the song too, which had to be nerve-wracking at least I am sure. Nonetheless, I believe strongly that if there is anybody to write a serenade to Mark E Smith, it is the boys from the Fat White Family. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourselves and ‘leave the kettle on’! Julia Boyle

LANA DEL RAY – Shades of Cool
Surprisingly, her album didn’t end up on more top 10 lists this year. I think it’s a really beautiful and tragic record. Shades of Cool is a glorious, jazz-infused, suicidal tinged, melodic nightmare. Golden Lady

JI NILSSON – Heartbreak Free
Heartbreak Free is my 2014 anthem. Sleepy raspy vocals, body percussions and very relatable lyrics. This Swede is absolutely adorable and Ji wrote this song about preserving a friendship. Whilst Gwen Stefani has been accused of ripping off some off the melody to this song, Ji remained unfazed, which is a trait of a true legend. Tammy Potakh

MAROON 5 – Animals
One of my controversial favourites. It’s said that the music video for this track glorifies violence and is sexist towards women, meaning that as a female I should be offended. However like looking at the aftermath of a car crash, I find it hard to look away or stop listening. It seems perhaps, that a song with an upbeat tempo makes slightly stalker-like lyrics okay to listen to. Addy Fong

FOO FIGHTERS – Something From Nothing
In a year that I would argue features on the softer side of the rock spectrum musically, Foo Fighter’s Sonic Highways was a welcome smack in the face. And Something From Nothing is my favourite track off the album, a growing gargantuan beast of a rock song that highlights the best of what the Foo Fighters have to offer. Throw in a little Rick Nielsen (from Cheap Trick) and I’m totally hooked. Desmond Chan

Did we miss any of your best songs of 2014? Tell us in the comments section.

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