As someone who loves discovering new music on a regular basis, and as someone who always needs to have music playing in order to work, pass the time, or function on a basic level, figuring out my favorite music of the year is a difficult task. (The only other list that even rivals in difficulty is the Best TV of the Year list.) Thankfully, Spotify does a helpful roundup of what its users have been listening to throughout the year, which made this list a bit easier to compose.
However, I do take issue with some things that came up on my Spotify Year in Review — especially that my most listened to songs are not necessarily my favorite songs of the year — so I’ve made my own lists. These are my top 5 bands/artists of the year and my top 10 favorite songs (I had to make a lot of really difficult cuts down from 20).
Usually, I list my favorite albums of the year, but 2014 wasn’t about specific albums for me. Rather, I tended to pick and choose different songs by artists I had grown to really love or I listened to all their music together. (If I had to pick one album for 2014, though, it would definitely be Hozier’s self-titled debut.)
A year ago, the British boyband made my Best of 2013 list so anyone who follows this blog should know my love of One Direction pretty well. Although their newest album, Four, isn’t my favorite of their releases (Midnight Memories still holds that title), I listened to enough One Direction this year that Spotify named them my #4 band. Besides, “Steal My Girl” is a good enough single to make up for the lackluster Four.
I’ve noticed that Bastille’s “Pompeii” has a seriously polarizing effect on listeners: either they hate it and can’t stand it or they love it. I fall in the latter camp. Although some of the band’s songs can be hit or miss with me depending on my mood, Bastille’s music is fun to listen to and sing along to, which is primarily what I look for in music.
I stumbled across Sam Hunt on one of Spotify’s Top Hits or Most Listened To playlists that they put together. Spotify updates these playlists with new music regularly and I noticed that I always enjoyed whatever Sam Hunt track was included. The singer’s music is a good mix of country and pop that even those who wouldn’t necessarily call themselves country music fans will enjoy. Full disclosure, though, I’m probably a fan of country music.
The first of Hozier’s songs that I heard was “Work Song” on a Songza playlist way back in early 2014. At the time, there wasn’t much Hozier to be found on Spotify, but I found myself listening to all of his songs on repeat. Usually, I get sick of music and move on, but I consistently listened to Hozier throughout most of 2014 and he has become one of my favorite artists of all time.
Although I disagree with my Spotify Year in Review in many cases, they were correct in that Coasts is my favorite band of 2014. The band has yet to release a full-length album, only a few EPs, but you can be sure I’m waiting for more songs. The Spotify page for Coasts also features remixes of their music done by different artists that are also very enjoyable. All in all, I could put Coasts on repeat and listen to it for the rest of the year and most of 2015 — and still be happy.
My taste in music tends to be rather eclectic, which is definitely reflected in my list of favorite songs from this year. In 2014, however, I did notice that I’m a big fan of R&B — as well as, according to Spotify, Indietronica and Shimmer Pop (whatever that is).
“Emmanuel” by Basecamp
One of my favorite R&B tracks that I listened to this year was “Emmanuel” by Basecamp. I actually like their entire EP, but “Emmanuel” is easily my favorite song.
“No Sugar in my Coffee” by Caught a Ghost
Although I take my coffee with plenty of sugar (and cream), I really like this indietronica song that has a little bit of soul to it.
“Idle Hands” by EXGF
Fun pop-electronica, “Idle Hands” is the only release by the music collective EXGF. It’s enough to make me want to hear more from the group.
“ILYSB” by LANY
I enjoy all the songs on LANY’s aptly titled EP Acronyms (the other tracks are “OMG” and “BRB”), but “ILYSB” really grew on me.
“My Friend Has A Swimming Pool” by Mausi
With a bit of a disco feel, “My Friend Has A Swimming Pool” is a fun summer dance track that I listened to well after summer was over.
“Feel Real” by Movement
I had a hard time choosing between Movement’s “Feel Real” and “Us” because I listened to both tracks on repeat this year. But I ended up landing on “Feel Real” because I like it just a little bit more.
“Bad Intentions” by Niykee Heaton
A YouTube personality who started out doing covers of other songs, Niykee Heaton’s “Bad Intentions” is the most popular of her original songs and for good reason.
“Losing You” by Solange
It was sometime around September when I decided “Losing You” would be on my Best of 2014 list. I had been listening to it for a few months and hadn’t gotten sick of it — a true sign of a good song to me.
“Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon
At the beginning of 2014, I listened to Walk the Moon’s “Anna Sun” on repeat and that almost made the list, but I like “Shut Up and Dance” even more. It’s fun, danceable pop — my favorite kind.
“Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” by Wet
I think I enjoy Wet’s indie-pop track “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” so much because it reminds me of working for an indie pop radio station in college — where I learned my love of indie-pop.