The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 40-21

Part 4 of my countdown of the Best Pop Songs of 2015! Remember that there are links to watch each video if you click on the song name next to its chart position:

40) Galantis – Gold Dust

Galantis always reliably produce tunes with massive sing-along choruses but they surpassed even themselves with the intense sugar rush that is “Gold Dust”. We get a soulful minute and a half long build up featuring some bewitchingly majestic vocals from Vincent Pontare before the drop has us bouncing up and down in a euphoric frenzy.

39) Hozier – Someone New

Hozier proved he was far more than a one hit wonder with this deceptively bouncy song about never being attached to one person. If you listen closely you can hear the hopelessness in his voice which is beautifully contrasted with the jaunty production. He almost fooled us this time but one thing you can guarantee with Hozier is that he’ll never be a cheery fellow. At least you know exactly what you’re getting with him.

38) Jessie Ware – You and I (Forever)

Always the class act, the third single from Jessie Ware’s second studio album Tough Love, further demonstrates her ability to enchant the listener with her soulful vocals and engaging lyrics. On “You and I (Forever)”  she furthers her exploration into matters of the heart but this time, thankfully, she seems all loved up.

37) Troye Sivan – Wild

If you haven’t already heard of Troye Sivan, you’re soon will have. Tipped for big things in 2016, this 20-year old Johannesburg native is already one of YouTube’s biggest stars with 3.6 million subscribers and he has his eye firmly set on being the next big noise in music. He released his debut full length album Blue Neighbourhood this December, peaking top ten in Australia and the US. Lead single “Wild” is a surprisingly mature ode to forbidden love which explores the too often underrated dream pop genre.

36) Disclosure Feat. Lorde – Magnets

Lorde is just keeping us ticking over quietly until her next full length project with tidbits of mind-blowing singles. “Magnets” is one of her finest productions to date, depicting her as a lethal femme fatale who has been hired by a scored woman to punish her philandering lover. Never ones to be outdone, Disclosure threw a lot of production tricks into this one, making this collaboration one of the freshest and most exciting of the year.

35) Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type

On an album chock full of pop treats, “Your Type” stands out as Carly’s most clever and moving song to date. It’s all very Robyn-esque which is never a bad thing. In fact, many critics have liked “Your Type” to Robyn’s fantastic “Dancing on My Own”. Indeed, they do both share upbeat electropop production which conceals their truly heart wrenching lyrics about unrequited love. However, “Your Type” is much softer and more relatable making it the superior track.

34) KDA Feat. Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn the Music Louder

It’s always great to hear new music from the ever elegant Katy B and this time I’ll even overlook Tinie’s cheesy raps as they provide the perfect contrast to Katy’s power soul vocals. This 90’s inspired-house track has us all cranking up the volume in 2015.

33) Justin Bieber – Sorry

Bieber continued his all-dominating streak with this tropical house- influenced apology which saw him knocking Adele off the number one spot in the UK. Sorry Adele! Many see this track as Bieber’s apology for his shocking behaviour over the past couple of years. It just goes to show that all is forgiven as long as you make good music.

32) Selena Gomez – Good For You

Selena has always been a bit of a sex kitten, but this hot ‘n’ spicy had us all hot under the collar. It’s great to see that Selena is adding more subtleties and nuances to her music which allows her to stand tall among other current R&B artists. She manages to restrain herself in both her delivery and lyricism which demonstrates just how much the former-Disney starlet has grown up. Those days seem long, long ago now.

31) Ed Sheeran Feat. Rudimental – Bloodstream

Ed Sheeran’s “Bloodstream” was already one of my favourite tracks off X and Rudimental’s subtle additions to the single version elevated it the stratosphere. The addition of the drum and bass to the chorus is genius and really matches the lyrical themes of the song. An example of a remix done spectacularly right.

30) Karen Harding – Say Something

This soulful deep house banger came from an extremely unlikely source. Karen Harding first became known on the X Factor UK but didn’t even make it to the final 12. Now it seems like the extra creative room and time to breathe has done her the world of good. “Say Something” is a statement of a first single which rightfully scored Harding her first UK top ten single.

29) Tove Lo – Talking Body

Rihanna may not have done much this year (where is the elusive Anti I ask you), but her many imitators kept us going all throughout the year. Tove Lo is, of course, much more than you’re average copycat but the production on “Talking Body” is very reminiscent of Rihanna jams and would fit very nearly amid her cannon. Having said that, “Talking Body” is a surprising layered pop song which features more hooks than a pirate convention and, most importantly, it is miles better than the crass “Bitch Better Have My Money”.

28) Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love

After finishing up with his latest album Motion Calvin decided a change of tack was in order for his next project. “How Deep Is Your Love” is the Scottish DJ’s first foray into deep house but hopefully not his last as it works supremely on every single level. Norwegian singer Ina Wroldsen’s playful, taunting vocals glide over thumping house beats to create one of the freshest, on trend singles of 2015.

27) Ed Sheeran – Photograph

Upon my first listen to X, “Photograph” immediately stood out as the most beautiful and personal track on the entire album. A gentle and delicate ballad “Photograph” was reportedly inspired by Sheeran’s romance with fellow singer songwriter Nina Nesbitt with whom he shared a long-distance relationship.

26) Adam Lambert – Ghost Town

I always felt Adam Lambert had bags of potential but never the quality of material to match it. That was until his gloriously ghoulish comeback this year with the minimal witch house “Ghost Town”. Adam has always conveyed personality to his music, but he’s always seemed like more of a caricature to me, probably due to his over-exuberant nature. But this time he pitched it perfectly, incorporating all the best of his charisma into the frightfully good “Ghost Town”

25) Calvin Harris Feat. HAIM – Pray to God

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: HAIM have the best harmonies in pop. Their 70’s-inspired sound never fails to put a smile on my face and I was delighted to see that they have remained true to this style in the face of dance heavyweight Calvin Harris. “Pray to God” is dripping with drama and staccato vocals, both which are only enhanced by Harris’ magic touch.

24) Alesso Feat. Tove Lo – Heroes (We Could Be)

Possibly THE hands-in-the-air anthem of 2015, Alesso enlisted Sweden’s current darling Tove Lo’s help for this David-Bowie song reworking. “Heroes” may have been released in January but its intoxicating joyfulness continued well into festival season and beyond.

23) Petite Meller – Baby Love

I love a good new artist and Petite Meller was one of the most exciting discoveries of 2015. The piano-driven “Baby Love” was suitably idiosyncratic and quirky for the French born singer. Her music is surprisingly sexy for someone who looks like am overgrown doll come to life but therein lies the uniqueness of it all. I can’t wait to see what she does in 2016.

22) Madonna – Ghosttown

Madonna’s Rebel Heart excelled for its ballads and “Ghosttown” was the best of the lot. This post-apocalyptic love letter has been lauded by critics alike as her best single for decades and with good reason. Rarely has Madge sounded so sincere and engaged with her music. She has never been the best vocalist but her voice sounds beautiful here. Sure it wasn’t the biggest hit, but keep it up Madonna.

21) Sia – Elastic Heart

“Elastic Heart” is a stunningly well produced single with some of the most personal and effective lyrics of 2015 which manage to succeed in creating an emotional connection without one iota of mushiness. The controversial video to “Elastic Heart” featuring Madie Ziegler and Sia LaBeouf may have been ridden with claims of paedophilia but it still managed to finish the year as the 8th most viewed video on YouTube.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share.

You can also listen to all the tracks on The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist:

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:7fcwgDNbrmE4WWjkoRYAo1

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The Top 20 Songs of 2015 So Far – The Conclusion

The final part of my 2015 countdown of the best songs from January until June:

20) Skrillex Feat. Diplo and Justin Bieber – Where are U Now

“Where Are U Now” is without a doubt one of the least likely collaborations ever but just serves to show that anyone is redeemable, even the notoriously annoying Bieber. It’s is definitely one of the most interesting songs released this year and for that we have to give some kudos to the Canadian popstar, even though I suspect it has more to do with Diplo…

19) Olly Murs Feat. Demi Lovato – Up

olly murs demi lovato up

I really don’t know how Olly Murs does it. By all rights he should be washed up by now like so many X Factor contestants who got a bit of success after the show and then realised it wasn’t a lifetime gig (Shayne Ward, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Cher Lloyd….poor things). But somehow he has managed to keep plugging away producing chart topping albums and quality singles. His story has been one of quiet success, rather than the furore surrounding One Direction right now or Leona Lewis when she first came out. And that, my friends, is the secret to longevity. “Up” is the second single from Murs fourth (already??!!!) album Never Been Better and, seeing as the hits keep coming, it does really seem that the only way is up.

18) Madonna – Ghosttown

ghosttown madonna

Another quality Madonna single doomed to fade into obscurity due to the disaster that has been the Rebel Heart era. Madonna’s vocals have never sounded better or more emotive than on “Ghosttown”. It has even drawn comparisons with the legendary vocalist Karen Carpenter. It’s just a shame that it failed to make an impact on the UK or US singles charts. A lot of crap does. The video for “Ghosttown” had the right idea but Madge definitely went a bit too far with the melodrama, rendering it practically unwatchable. Sigh…

17) Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – See You Again

wiz khalifa charlie puth see you again

It’s songs like this and Pharrell’s “Happy” that make me wish that radio didn’t exist. Every time I hear this song on the radio now I have to switch it off which is a massive shame because, actually, I remember hearing this song for the first time and liking it a lot. It’s just radio has used and abused this single which has made it impossible for me to place it higher on my list. It’s also a wee bit overrated. It’s a good song but not good enough to be No.1 for weeks and weeks and weeks. “Uptown Funk” was that good. Still, it remains a lovely blend of soulful vocal matched perfectly with gritty rap lyrics. Gotta take the rough with the smooth.

16) Taylor Swift Feat. Kendrick Lamar – Bad Blood

taylor swift kendrick lamar bad blood

Swift’s star-studded video for “Bad Blood” not only proved her celeb pulling power, but also ensured her another smash single off her already classic fifth album 1989. The remixed version featuring Kendrick Lamar improves the original’s production and adds some killer rap sections. The result is a brutal, stadium-ready war cry which features some of Swfit’s best lyrics to date. “Band aids don’t fix bullet holes”. Indeed.

15) Tove Lo – Talking Body

tove lo talking body queen of the clouds

This is just one of those songs that makes you feel all dirty and sexy. Tove had already established as a force to be reckoned with, producing the global smash “Stay High (Habits)” last year and lending vocals to Alesso’s “Heroes”, but “Talking Body” was her make or break single. And boy did it make. It’s reminiscent of Rihanna at her best in that both singers surround themselves with a dark, brooding persona of party girl gone wild. Tove’s ascendance to the clouds has already begun.

14) Echosmith – Cool Kids

cool kids echosmith

Sorry Americans, you may be wondering why this song is included in a best of list from 2015 and not 2014, well it’s because this song hit the UK a bit late I’m afraid. We only just got it at the start of this year but we love it a lot too so I had to include it on this list. For me, the magic of “Cool Kids” special quality lies in the fact that it takes you back to high school (unless you’re still there) where you were insecure and just wishing to be someone else. It taps into those old feelings which is a powerful feat for a little ditty about being cool. The melody is also tremendously catchy with some interesting instrumental choices. Does the lead singer’s voice sound a bit like Katy Perry to anyone else or is it just me? And she looks a bit like Anna Kendrick.

13) Calvin Harris Feat. HAIM – Pray to God

haim calvin harris pray to god

No-one seems to love this song as much as I do so I compromised and put it further down the list than I would have it. Please guys tell me why this was not a worldwide smash? The HAIM sisters are devilishly delicious as satanic enchantresses in the striking video. This is without a doubt one of Harris’ most satisfying drops and the sister’s to-die-for harmonies are reminiscent of Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame. What’s not to like? Maybe I’m just partial to a good bit of witchiness.

12) James Bay – Hold Back the River

james bay hold back the river

James Bay has timed his ascendance to pop stardom to perfection. Just as last year’s golden boys Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and George Ezra were winding up their album campaigns he decided to launch into the pop-o-sphere. Flooding the radio waves “Hold Back the River” is a masterclass in understated, contemplative pop. From the quiet, restrained beginning “River” builds and builds with the drama of a Celine Dion power ballad (but with much more attitude) until it becomes a powerful maelstrom of emotional turmoil. James Bay conveys such emotion with his voice that you cannot help but be moved.

11) Taylor Swift – Style

taylor swift style song

Taylor Swift is just a goddess. She has cemented her place as the top female in music right now with her current album 1989 which is full to the brim with genius hooks and playful lyrics. “Style” is one of the more superior cuts of this already superior album. It may have failed to match the success of the Billboard number ones “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”, only peaking at No.6 in the US, but it is just as good as any of them. It’s more subtle and less in your face, which means that it takes longer to grow on you but, when it does, it never goes out of your head.

10) Sia – Elastic Heart

elastic heart sia shia le boeuf

I had all but given up on Sia releasing another single from 1000 Forms of Fear. It seemed that she forgotten about the album after the release of “Chandelier”, despite the single’s overwhelming success. But lo and behold the unpredictable, fame-shy Sia dropped a bomb of a video on us early in 2015!

Sia is the whole package, even if she doesn’t know it. She’s got the knack for writing intelligent, sensitive lyrics and to inspire without being cheesy. It’s the vulnerability, combined with the powerful vocal that really . It seems at points that her voice is cracking, but then it soars. She is truly one of the great vocalists of our time and when the production quality matches the quality of her songwriting and voice, she is unstoppable. And Shia LeBeuf…What was that all about?

9) Galantis – Runaway (U & I)

galantis runaway u and I

Galantis are one of those bands that have been hanging around on the periphery for a while on the cusp of stardom, searching for that big breakthrough hit. Well, they sure found that. “Runaway” is bold, brash and in your face. It’s no wonder it’s been making massive waves in the UK, where it has already peaked in the top 5. Released just in time for festival season, this is definitely one you’ll be hearing all summer.

8) Kygo Feat. Parson James – Stole the Show

kygo parson james stole the show

Kygo is fast becoming one of the premier DJs in the world and a lot of the praise should be heaped upon this stellar collab between the Norwegian and singer Parson James. Anything with panpipes is just guaranteed to win me over but when it also has a drop like this and passionate lyrics there is literally no escape. There is something ethereal and even sad about the track. It’s another big hit for the unstoppable Norwegian.

7) Years and Years – King

years and years king

Dance floor ready and box fresh Years and Years are one of the biggest revelations of 2015. Despite achieving chart success with previous single “Desire”, it was “King” which proved to be their big breakthrough, peaking at No.1 in the UK in its debut week and selling over 100,000 copies. The effortless, soaring vocals are definitely enough to capture your attention but it’s the nuanced production that really makes “King” a winner.

6) Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand

hold my hand jess glynne i cry when i laugh

Not satisfied with her two previous number one singles with Route 94 and Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne concocted a formula to invade our brains all by herself this time. Just as Meghan Trainor is all about the bass, Glynne’s “Hold My Hand” is all about the voice which she uses to great effect on the track. Each line of the verses starts goes from low to high which Glynne navigates deftly and with joyous aplomb. This is her vocal tour de force and her muscled voice is the star of the show. Anticipation could not be higher for her debut album coming out in August I Cry When I Laugh.

5) Omi – Cheerleader

omi felix jaehn cheerleader

Here’s a piece of advice for every wannabe popstar out there. If you ever want to have a sure fire hit in 2015 just add a bit of trumpet or sax to your track on a loop and bobs your uncle. You have a hit on your hands. I’ve seen it time and time again with Cheryl’s “Crazy Stupid Love” and Faul’s “Changes” to name but a few! Poised to one of the biggest tunes of the year, the bright and breezy “Cheerleader” is a breath of fresh air and one to be turned up to the max while riding in a drop top down an endless road with your friends.

4) Alesso Feat. Tove Lo – Heroes

tove lo alesso heroes

Alesso’s remake of David Bowie’s now classic “Heroes” may have stripped the original of all its pithy irony, but it more than makes up for it with its uplifting message pushed to infinity by Tove Lo’s soaring vocals. The song emanates a pure and beautifully exuberant naivety together with an youthful innocence. This is one for the festivals and I can see 100,000 “heroes” bouncing up and down in harmony all summer long.

3) Major Lazer Feat. DJ Snake and MO – Lean On

major lazer dj snake mo lean on

This has already been one of the biggest songs of the summer, nay of the year. It has taken over the UK completely and mercilessly, monopolising radio play and peaking at No.2. It is also fast scaling the US charts, nestling nicely into the top 10 already. Why you ask? Well it’s because by fusing reggae and dance music Major Lazer has created a completely unique sound which has struck a chord all around the world and has turned into a formidable epidemic. It was played about 500 times at Ultra Europe festival this year.

2) Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do

 

Ellie Goulding has gone from strength to strength ever since her debut single “Starry Eyed” introduced us to her ethereal, magical voice. Time and time again she has proved herself to be capable of musical greatness, even managing to conquer the American market, which is no mean feat for British artists. Unlike some of her contemporaries, Goulding deftly avoids pandering to the sex crazed teen market who above all else crave flesh shows (Rihanna, Shakira, Tove Lo etc.). Let me just say that there is nothing wrong with this. Everyone loves a bit of Shakira. But it’s just not Ellie’s style that’s all. On the whole, it’s probably a smart move. Goulding clearly has her sights set on career longevity and she is definitely going the right way about it. Her brand of mystical, vulnerable pop falls somewhere manages to appeal to everyone which is exactly what makes her one of the biggest popstars on the planet right now. “Love Me Like You Do” came out of the blue at the beginning of this year and immediately shot to the top of the UK single charts, retaining this positions for a massive 4 weeks and becoming a constant fixture on mainstream radio. Of course, the song’s place in the 50 Shades of Grey film soundtrack did nothing to harm its commercial appeal, but it definitely would have been a big hit either way. Ellie is a force of nature.

1) Kygo Feat. Conrad – Firestone

kygo conrad firestone

I remember there was a time when dance music did nothing for me. Good for a quick sweaty dance but it left me feeling cold afterwards (literally and physically!). The sentiments just weren’t there like in a good emotional pop song (Whitney and Mariah come to mind). But over the past five years dance music has had an injection of life. Somewhere along the line dance music got its soul back and nowhere is this more present than on Kygo’s recent smash “Firestone”. I had liked Kygo for a while before “Firestone”, which is, to all intents and purposes, his debut single, but by far from his first production. He has a chilled out style which stands out amongst the David Guettas and Afrojacks. “Firestone” was the moment when Kygo went from an underground artist to the next biggest thing. There’s something magical about the feather-light piano line and breezy vocals provided by Australian singer Conrad Sewell. Everything is just effortlessly comes together to create a truly inspirational, beautiful song.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. I love hearing from you!

The Best Songs of 2014: 60-41

60) Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong?

A bonafide summer smash curtesy of Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz “Am I Wrong?” found international chart success in almost every country in the world due to its layed-back relaxing nature. Upon reaching No.4 in the US it also became the highest charting single there by a Norwegian act since a-ha’s “Take On Me” in 1985!

59) Indiana – Solo Dancing

British singer songwriter Indiana finally secured her first top 15 UK single with debut release “Solo Dancing”, a slow-burning feast of intensity. The track is a masterpiece of sparse production and minimalism in a not-too-unlike-Lorde way

58) OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself (Alesso Remix)

If you went to a festival this summer you’ll recognise Tedder’s euphoria-inducing vocals soaring over EDM beats which crash like waves on the shore. Alesso’s dancefloor-ready remix of this track brought it to life and helped open OneRepublic to a whole new audience. One of the best remixes of the year without a doubt.

57) Sam Smith – I’m Not the Only One

A chillingly honest story of devastation. A broken-hearted Diana Agron (Quinn from Glee) plays the scorned bride in the video which illustrates her emotional turmoil after finding out about her husband’s indiscretions. One of the most poignant and heart-wrenching songs of the year which secured Sam Smith another international top 5 hit.

56) Route 94 Feat. Jess Glynne – My Love

Jess Glynne’s second chart topper of the year came almost immediately after her first with Clean Bandit. “My Love” is credited as one of the songs which brought deep house to the forefront of British music and kicked off a series of dance/house singles which appeared as if by magic this year to take the UK by storm. “My Love” also comes with a steamy infrared video which is well worth a gander.

55) Tove Lo – Stay High

Much like Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” in 2012, Tove Lo’s debut single “Stay High” has been the sleeper hit of 2014, slowly building momentum until  reaching fever pitch with the release of the Hippie Sabotage remix.  In the song Swedish songstress Tove Lo tries to forget a past lover by engaging in hedonistic, self-destructive activities.

54) Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

Forget all the Calvin Harris drama that has been splashed across the front pages of the tabloids this year, “I Will Never Let You Down” is an absolute bubblegum beast of a pop track brought alive by harris’ peppy beats and Ora’s enigmatic performance. It also helped her match Geri Halliwell’s record of the British female solo artist with the most UK No.1’s, a record which was later equalled and then broken by Cheryl Fernandez- Versini.

53) Sigma Feat. Paloma Faith – Changing

After quietly selling albums for years, in 2014 Paloma was ready to ascend to her full glory in becoming the UK’s premier soul diva in the wake of Adele’s absence. But she didn’t stop there. She had her eyes on the dance floors as well! Her collaboration with Sigma on “Changing” confirmed her position as one of the UK’s most popular female artists in opening her up to a wider, younger audience. It also helped her to bag her first No.1 single!

52) Calvin Harris Feat. John Newman – Blame

Released as the third single from the producer/DJ’s album Motion “Blame” became Harris’ third consecutive No.1 single when it debuted straight at No.1 in September 2014. It also heralded a welcome return for the retro soul vocal of John Newman who had been enjoying a rather quiet year up till that point. But “Blame” proved that there is indeed no rest for the wicked with Harris’ signature relentless jerky beats keeping us raving until 2015.

51) Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me

After a stellar, critically acclaimed debut album Jessie Ware returned with new determination in 2014 with the marvellous “Tough Love”. We thought it couldn’t get better than that until she revealed the second single “Say You Love Me” which was co-penned by man-of-the-moment Ed Sheeran. The track harks back to old school diva power ballads but presents a revised, updated format. The key change and rise and fall are still present, but with better production.

50) Ed Sheeran – Photograph

Speak of the devil. Ed Sheeran has undoubtedly been the man of 2014, having bagged himself two UK No.1 singles and the highest selling album of the year, as well as the Christmas No.1 album. “Photograph” is an often overlooked album track on the magnificent X which shows the crooner at his most understated and heartfelt.

49) Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again

Robyn is a long-time favourite of mine and so, when she announced her duet CD with Royksopp, hopes were very high. Luckily, Robyn always delivers the goods and the Do It Again EP turned out to be some of her most inspired work. Lead single “Do It Again” is flawlessly produced and plays on Robyn’s theatrical side, utilising her strong pipes to their fullest.

48) Vance Joy – Riptide

One of the least likely hits of 2014 came from Vance Joy who brought his signature upbeat indie folk rock to the mainstream this year. “Riptide” has a gorgeous organic feel about it despite its obvious commercial appeal which managed to propel it into the Australian and UK top tens.

47) Sia – Eye of the Needle

Sia made her triumphant return to pop this year with the bombastic “Chandelier” but her US No.1 album 1000 Forms of Fear wasn’t just about the one track. “Eye of the Needle” was released as a promotional track from the album and is a firm fan favourite. Sia’s trademark wailing vocals are given free rein on this track to produce this heart-shatteringly relatable tale of sorrow.

46) A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something

Following a performance on the American version of the Voice this track blew up in early 2014 and eventually peaked at No.4 in the US and the UK and at No.1 in Australia and Canada. The addition of Christina Aguilera to create a ghostly echoing effect was really a stroke of genius which ensured the Disney-esque power ballad’s success.

45) Lorde – Team

After achieving mid-blowing success with her international debut single “Royals” Lorde chose “Team” as the second single from her debut album Pure Heroine which combined a snare drum beat and hand claps to make it her most explosive single to date. It became her second consecutive top ten single in the US, peaking at No.6 and finished the year as the 18th best seller.  

44) Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You

Having enlisted producer-extraordinaire Pharrell to sprinkle some of his pop gold dust on the lead single from her third album A Perfect Contradiction Paloma was back with a bang in February this year. The result was a sizzling combination of sassy Paloma’s theatrical performance and delivery and Pharrell funktastic beats

43) Gorgon City – Ready for Your Love

Deep house came out in force this year and Gorgon City planted themselves firmly at the forefront of this movement early on with the slow-burning, understated “Ready for Your Love”. Upcoming artists MNEK’s soulful vocals combined with the minimal beat and smooth synths created an irresistible, club-ready banger which was damn near impossible to avoid this year.

42) Sigma – Nobody to Love

British drum and bass duo Sigma broke through to the mainstream this year with their stunning, euphoric debut single “Nobody to Love” which started out as a bootleg remix of Kanye West’s “Bound 2”. The group were smart enough to take the hideous Kanye rap out of the song, leaving them with the catchy soulful chorus which was sung by non-other than former Popstars: the Rivals contestant Daniel Pearce who had won as part of the boyband One True Voice but later faded in the wake of the more popular Girls Aloud.

41) Ed Sheeran – Don’t

Originally planned to be the lead single from Sheeran’s sophomore album X “Don’t” was later passed over in favour of “Sing”. Nevertheless, it was chosen as the second release from the studio set and managed to peak top ten both sides of the Atlantic and to propel the singer’s album to greater success. Although he initially kept the identity of the subject of “Don’t” secret, he later admitted that it was written about his ex-girlfriend Ellie Goulding who cheated on him with One Directioner Niall Horan. Ouch!

Thanks for reading and don’t miss the next installment. Coming very soon!

The Best Songs of 2014: 80 – 61

80) Calvin Harris – Summer

“Summer” definitely managed to do what it said on the tin. Despite Harris’ whiney, slightly irritating vocals, it became a massive summer smash for the unstoppable DJ and his 6th UK chart topper. I’m sure the enormous EDM drop had a little something to do with that. Peaking at No.7, “Summer” also became Harris’ highest peaking single in the US, outstripping the previous effort of “Sweet Nothing” which reached No.10 in 2012.

79) Jungle – Busy Earnin’

Modern soul band Jungle are one of the revelations of 2014. They have managed to maintain their anonymity and mystique while becoming one of the biggest crossover bands of this year. Their self-titled debut album went straight into the UK top ten and was also nominated for the Mercury Prize. “Busy Earnin’”, a funk-infused jam about concentrating on the more important things in life, is undoubtedly a highlight from the album and plays off 2014’s love affair with brass.

78) OneRepublic – Love Runs Out

Riding off the success of their 2013 mega-smash “Counting Stars”, OneRepublic have managed to continue their winning streak throughout 2014. “Love Runs Out” was released as the lead single from the 2014 reissue of their third album Native and became a transatlantic smash hit, peaking top 15 in the US and top 3 in the UK. The stomping, piano-led beat was undoubtedly one of the most infectious and invigorating of 2014.

77) La Roux – Kiss and Not Tell

Released as the second single from the group’s second album Trouble in Paradise “Kiss and Not Tell” is a peppy, synth-pop jam about ignoring the problems in a relationship. The light and breezy feel of the track is offset by the darker lyrical themes resulting in the perfect contrast.

76) Iggy Azalea Feat. Rita Ora – Black Widow

“Black Widow” is essentially “Dark Horse” part 2. Both were written by Katy Perry and boast a trap-influenced sound. However, “Black Widow” opts for ominous steel drums to give the track a more relaxed, even exotic feel. Released as the follow up to the enormously successful “Fancy” and “Problem”, “Black Widow” became Iggy’s third consecutive top 3 US single and gave Rita Ora her first top ten Billboard single.

75) Kelis – Jerk Ribs

For those with a taste for soul food, “Jerk Ribs” was 2014’s ultimate tasty dish served up by a very underrated star at the peak of her creativity with a side of smokey vocals and brass. After pioneering the EDM revolution with her relentlessly sweaty Flesh Tone album in 2010, Kelis decided to take some time off in between projects to take a cooking course. Now as a certified Cordon Bleu chef Kelis channels her love for food into her music, even naming her songs after her favourite dishes. “Jerk Ribs” has a peppery freshness that makes it stand out as one of the star platters of the year.

74) DJ Snake Feat. Lil’ John – Turn Down for What

Few songs can claim that they coined a brand new phrase but “Turn Down for What” certainly did that and more in 2014. The squeaky, trap influenced hook was practically inescapable for the first part of the year and soon became the soundtrack for the dissident youth who gleefully break the rules and defy all those around them. It’s hard not to get pulled in by the craziness of it all and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to bop your head just a little.

73) Charli XCX – Boom Clap

Including one of your songs on a film soundtrack has become one of the most reliable ways of opening your music up to new audiences in recent years. Of course, when compared to other film love themes such as “A Thousand Years” or “Evergreen”, Charli XCX’s more raucous offering seems very out of place, but therein lies its genius. “Boom Clap” managed to rewrite everything about the romantic soundtrack genre and turned the Cambridge-born English rose into a celebrity almost overnight.

72) G.R.L – Ugly Heart

The Pussycat Dolls 2.0 launched their assault on the world with the Dr. Luke-produced “Ugly Heart” which is a snarky kiss off to those infuriatingly hot wankers who we’ve all met. The prominent ukulele line gives the track a country vibe in the vein of “Timber” and results in a sassy, empowering self-liberation anthem.

71) Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Runaway Daydreamer

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has made a stellar comeback this year. “Runaway Daydreamer” is a floaty, delicate piece which channels nursery rhymes and themes of escapism and self-discovery.  The intriguing instrumental choices add to the mystique and dreamy melody and her lighter-than-a-feather vocals float lazily over the sweeping piano chorus. Irresistibly classy.

70) Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’

For a song that’s not just a Eurovision reject but a Melodifestivalen reject (for those who don’t know, Melodifestivalen is a song contest that the Swedish use to choose who will represent them at Eurovision), “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” is shockingly contemporary and even respectable. Perhaps it is for these reasons that “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” was doomed to fail at the antiquated Melodifestivalen and the insipid “Undo” nailed on to succeed. Still, Ace Wilder had the last laugh after “Busy Doin’ Nothin’” shot straight to No.1 in Sweden, leaving its vanquisher floundering.

69) Disclosure Feat. Mary J Blige – F For You

Sometimes it just takes a little extra spice to bring a track to life. Disclosure’s original solo version of “F For You” had already managed to peak top 20 in the UK when they decided to revamp it for a 2014 rerelease. And what a difference a year made. Mary’s soulful vocals helped bring some personality to the track and even inspired the diva enough for her to write her own dance-influenced single “Right Now” released later in the year.

68) HAIM – If I Could Change Your Mind

After establishing themselves as one of the breakout acts of 2013 and notching up a UK top 20 single and a No.1 album HAIM continued their success in 2014, bagging themselves another UK top 30 with “If I Could Change Your Mind” early in the year. The thumping bass and 80’s inspired synths ensured the singles radio success and commercial appeal, but it was HAIM’s signature snappy delivery that won us over.

67) Inna Feat. J Balvin – Cola Song

Ok I have never said that this list was completely based on quality and sometimes you just need to give in to the infectious beats. Although her success has plateaued outside of certain European markets, she is still extremely popular in Spain where she is the queen of the song of the summer.  “Cola Song” was this year’s effort from the Romanian and, while possibly being one of the worst songs of the year, “Cola Song” is also one of the catchiest and most fun. The on-trend saxophone instrumental serves as the hook and the steamy video seals the deal with zest.

66) Paolo Nutini – Better Man

It may be easy to overlook Paolo among the tirade of male solo artists who have found international success this year but that would be a crying shame as his album Caustic Love is a masterpiece of spacious production and truly soulful vocals. Released in April the album shot straight to No.1 and was at the time the fastest selling album in the UK. The promotional single “Better Man” managed to creep into the top 40 but its quality far outsides its commercial performance. This is a lesson in letting music breathe and speak on its own merits. “Better Man” is the crowning piece of Caustic Love, nestled right in the middle of the album and serving as a heart-breakingly honest ode to self-improvement.

65) Kylie Minogue – Into the Blue

She may not have achieved the commercial success that her albums usually enjoy with her latest offering Kiss Me Once but nevertheless it undoubtedly remains one of the most fun albums of 2014. “Into the Blue” served as the lead single from the album and is the perfect zingy pick-me-up for anyone who is having a bad day. It’s easy to claim that euphoric tunes like this are ten to the dozen nowadays but it’s the lyrical connection that Kylie makes “Into the Blue” truly uplifting (“When I got my back up against the wall, don’t need no one to rescue me/’Cause I ain’t waiting up for no miracle, yeah tonight I’m running free!

64) Shakira Feat. Rihanna – Can’t Remember to Forget You

Reggae/ska inspired beats have been all over the charts this year (“Rude”, “Am I Wrong?”) but lest we forget that Shakira and Rihanna started it all in January of this year. “Can’t Remember to Forget You” may have become more famous for its raunchy video featuring some steamy sexual tension between the two singers but sonically the track is probably one of the most interesting of 2014.

63) Paolo Nutini – Scream (Funk My Life Up)

Paolo again. “Scream” is one of the few upbeat songs from Caustic Love and served as the lead single, becoming his biggest hit in the UK since his debut single “Last Request”. Taboo, naughty and just a bit sexy “Scream” is 2014’s perfect dedication to a girl so fine she makes you want to scream. Ooh err.

62) Cheryl Feat. Tinie Tempah – Crazy Stupid Love

Kylie must be kicking herself for rejecting “Crazy Stupid Love” after Cheryl took it straight to the top of the UK charts in the summer. Thumping percussion, fingersnaps and handclaps, a raw saxophone hook, a sneaky guest rap from Tinie Tempah.  “Crazy Stupid Love” has all the ingredients of a massive smash and, upon debuting at No.1 in July it helped Cheryl equal Geri Halliwell’s long standing record of being the only UK female with 4 No.1 singles. A record that Cheryl has since broken with her latest single “I Don’t Care”. Go on Chezza!

61) Wisin Feat. Ricky Martin & Jennifer Lopez – Adrenalina

“Adrenalina” was the perfect soundtrack to this year’s long, hot summer. Puerto Rican singer Wisin roped in some old friends and collaborators in the form of international latin popstars Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin in order to help him rule the radio waves. The result was a sticky, sexy hot mess with a bit of leather thrown in for good measure. As Shakira would say “así es perfecto”.

The Best Songs of 2014: 100-81

Join me as I progressively count down the top 100 songs of 2014. It’s been a very varied and interesting year in the world of pop. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see who has been kicking major ass this year! Let’s get into it:

100) Oliver Heldens x Becky Hill – Gecko (Overdrive)

The Voice must have breathed a sigh of relief when the first of its alumni Becky Hill managed to bag a UK no.1 single when futuristic house track “Gecko (Overdrive)” soared to the top spot in June. You could barely step into a club in 2014 without hearing her power vocals layered with these blotchy deep house beats.

99) The Script – Superheroes

It’s actually hard not to be inspired by “Superheroes”, the lead single from the Scripts latest studio album No Sound Without Silence. It has all the hallmarks of another epic Script classic.

98) Rixton – Me and My Broken Heart

New kids on the block British boy band Rixton notched up their first UK No.1 single when “Me and My Broken Heart” soared to the top of the charts in the summer. They also managed to infiltrate the notoriously difficult US charts with this incessantly catchy number.

97) MKTO – Classic

Californian duo MKTO bagged their first international top 30 smash this year with the irrepressibly sunny “Classic”. It effortlessly channels the Jackson Five and old school soul.

96) Charli XCX – Break the Rules

What a year Charli XCX has had! After the success of “Boom Clap” came the trashy, raucous “Break the Rules” which took pop back to school. It may have not managed to match her previous singles success but it certainly caused an impression with its rebellious electropunk style.

95) CHVRCHES – Recover

Scottish synthpop band CHVRCHES are another act who have had an incredible year. Their debut album The Bones of What You Believe has been a slow-burning transatlantic smash, churning out distinctive electropop tunes left, right and centre. The 2014 re-release of “Recover” may not have set the charts alight but it did manage to reinfect us with its sheer catchiness all over again. Just when we were about to recover….

94) Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious

Ellie somehow managed to reach new realms of amazingness in 2014 and part of that is due to the high-pitched, hyper energetic “Goodness Gracious” which was released as the second single from the repackaged version of Halcyon Days and managed to push the studio set back to No.1 in January. Beats don’t get much bouncier than this.

93) Tiesto Feat. Matthew Koma – Wasted

2014 has proved to be a big commercial comeback year for Dutch DJ Tiesto who has managed to notch up not 1 but 2 global smashes with “Red Lights” and “Wasted”. The shout along chorus of “Wasted” was practically inescapable all summer and served as the soundtrack to many a summer festival.

92) Duke Dumont Feat. Jax Jones – I Got U

Capitalising on Whitney nostalgia, Duke Dumont managed to secure himself a consecutive No.1 single when he released the first song of the summer “I Got U” in March. Steel drums, chilled vocals, layed-back synths. What’s not to like?

91) Becky G – Shower

Having been knocking on the door of global success for a while, Becky G finally crossed over in 2014 with the Dr. Luke (Ke$ha, GRL) produced “Shower” which became her first charting solo single. “Shower” managed to go top 20 in the US and chart throughout Europe. I’m sure someone’s singing it in the shower right now.

90) Fuse ODG Feat. Sean Paul – Dangerous Love

British-Ghanaian singer-rapper Fuse ODG was no stranger to commercial success, having bagged himself two UK top ten singles in 2013 alone. But upon release “Dangerous Love” became his biggest hit to date and successfully brought African beats back in a big way, securing its place on the radio waves all summer long.

89) Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding – Outside

This probably deserves to be higher on the list but seeing as its fairly new I think it still needs a bit of time to mature. It’s essentially “I Need Your Love” part two but probably better or, if not, just as good. Ellie’s ethereal, almost spooky vocals bring this tune to a new level and Calvin’s beats are typically euphoric. One for the gym playlist for years to come.

88) George Ezra – Blame it on Me

George Ezra kind of just crept up on us didn’t he? Soon after the runaway smash “Budapest” came  “Blame It On Me” which also cracked the UK top 10. His bellowing, bassy tones are used to even greater effect on “Blame it On Me” which retains the organic feel of his previous hits without sacrificing one iota of catchiness.

87) Jessie Ware – Tough Love

After a highly critically acclaimed debut album Jessie Ware managed to get her first top 40 single with “Tough Love” this summer which stood out among the glut of EDM bangers for its spacious, unhurried nature. Jessie’s hallmark breathless yet soothing vocals were also back in force to make this one of her best songs to date.

86) Lily Allen – Air Balloon

Lily may have not had the comeback she wanted this year, with her third studio effort Sheezus falling well short of her previous albums in terms of sales. But, while the album may have been hit and miss, the singles were pure genius. “Air Balloon” is just pure pop at its best. It may not boast the snappy, satirical lyrics that were used to from Allen but its MIA-esque kookiness and synth-hooks were more than enough to keep us listening in 2014.

85) Azaelia Banks – Chasing Time 

Let’s face it. We had all written off Azaelia Banks as the foul mouthed, aggressive bitch that she comes across as on Twitter. But the flash release of “Chasing Time” and its parent album Broke with Expensive Taste a few weeks ago managed to redeem the singer’s ailing career by reminding us why we fell in love with the 212 rapper in the first place.

84) Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Love Is A Camera

After a star turn on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing Sophie Ellis-Bextor decided to switch up the game in 2014 by taking a completely new musical direction. Her fifth studio album Wanderlust was released in January and has proved to be her most successful in years. The third single “Love is a Camera” is a masterpiece of chamber music, featuring a baroque tango vibe and a killer breakdown at the end.

83) Hozier – Take me to Church

Irish singer Hozier burst out of nowhere to take us to church and back with his debut single. Arguably capitalising on the popularity of Imagine Dragons’ sound in 2013 he emerged as their immediate successors late this year and grabbed himself a shock worldwide smash with the epic, stomping “Take Me to Church”.

82) Sky Ferreira – I Blame Myself

“I Blame Myself” is probably one of the more poppier moments on Sky’s debut studi album Night Time, My Time, which is by the way one of the best albums I have heard ever. “I Blame Myself” was taken as the second single in summer 2014 and shows the singer accepting her negative public image and even blaming herself for it. Refreshingly honest.

81) La Roux – Uptight Downtown

It was a hell of a long wait for La Roux’s sophomore album but it was definitely worth it. Trouble in Paradise may be on the light side with only 9 tracks but there’s not a dud on it. “Uptight Downtown” was the lead single and kicks off the album in style with a 70’s disco beat.

Join me next time for the next installment of this years top 100 best songs!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment

Diary of a Pop Fan’s Top Twenty

20) Breach Feat. Kelis – The Key

19) Years & Years – Desire

18) Iggy Azalea – Beg For It

17) Olly Murs – Wrapped Up

16) Avicci Feat. Robbie Williams – The Days

15) Jungle – Busy Earnin’

14) The Veronicas – You Ruin Me

13) Ella Henderson – Hard Work

12) Chvrches – Dead Air

11) James Bay – Hold Back the River

10) Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin’

9) Kiesza – No Enemiesz

8) Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

7) Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding – Outside

6) McBusted – Air Guitar

5) Taylor Swift – Blank Space

4) Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Real Love

3) Take That – These Days

2) Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat

1) Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

Hot New Songs 2014

2014 is shaping up to be a great year for music with high-profile stars such as Shakira and Kylie Minogue making their triumphant returns, as well as the emergence of new talented artists such as Clean Bandit and Sam Smith. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this latest blog post I will review 10 of the hottest new tracks which will be released in the coming weeks:

1) Sia – Chandelier

Sia - Chandelier
Sia – Chandelier

Australian singer Sia is hot property. After her semi-retirement in 2010 she became primarily known for her song writing abilities as well as a for lending her powerhouse vocals to few high profile tunes such as Flo Rida’s Wild Ones and David Guetta’s Titanium. However, unable to resist the lure of the spotlight Sia is back with her sixth studio album, the first single from which is the epic synth rock ballad Chandelier. While it does make an impact on the first listen, the genius of Chandelier becomes clear after you’ve listened to it a few times. Her soulful wailing of I’m gonna swing from the chandelier drills its way into your head and refuses to let go, no wonder she kept this one for herself instead of giving it to Rihanna. Whether she is able to convert this into chart success is questionable, but only time will tell. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one to be a massive summer smash.

Verdict: 9/10

2) Kelis – Jerk Ribs

Kelis – Jerk Ribs
Kelis – Jerk Ribs

Never one to rest on her laurels, Kelis is back with a new sound after the electro experimentation of her David Guetta co-produced previous album Flesh Tone which yielded the US Hot Dance Club Songs number one and top 5 UK hit Acapella. Jerk Ribs swaps EDM synths for brassy instrumentation with a prominent trumpet line and, while it’s unlikely to result in another massive chart success for Kelis, it does gain her a lot of kudos. Kelis has really come into her own with her last two albums and this first single gives the impression that the singer is completely comfortable in her own sound.

Verdict: 8/10

3) The Black Keys – Fever

The Black Keys – Fever
The Black Keys – Fever

Believe it or not The Black Keys have been around since 2002 when they released their first album The Big Come Up. However, it was not until 2010 with the release of their sixth studio album Brothers, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, that they managed to attain true chart success in the US. This was then followed up by their, in my humble opinion, magnum opus: the glam rock infused El Camino which featured the fiendishly infectious single Lonely Boy and propelled the band into the mainstream. Fever, the first single from their eighth studio album Turn Blue, which will be released May 12th, is another slice of moody, radio friendly rock. The song features a killer synth line and the chorus is pretty catchy too. It’s not quite as good or immediate as Lonely Boy, but it is not a disappointment by any means.

7/10

4) Iggy Azalea Feat. Charli XCX– Fancy

Iggy Azalea – Fancy
Iggy Azalea – Fancy

Iggy’s career has just been building pace since the release of her first single Work in March of last year, which managed to peak at number 17 in the UK. She soon followed this up with two more hits, Bounce and Change Your Life, the latter managing to become her first top ten hit when it peaked at 10 in September.  Iggy has played the game pretty well, allowing the hype around her debut album The New Classic to build and build until it reaches fever pitch at which point she decides to drop Fancy, possibly her best single to date. The single is a rap diva off with Charli XCX but never does it reach the crass levels to which Nicki Minaj frequently stoops. There is nothing we haven’t seen before on this track of course, Iggy hasn’t quite come into her own yet in terms of lyrics but the genius is in the finger snapping simplicity combined with the infectious backing beat.

6/10

5) Anastacia – Stupid Little Things

Anastacia – Stupid Little Things
Anastacia – Stupid Little Things

The artist once-dubbed Little Woman with the Big Voice is back. Anastacia’s career has been in the wilderness ever since the commercial failure of her last studio album of original material 2008’s Heavy Rotation. Since then, she has released an album of covers of male songs as well as being diagnosed with cancer again and beating it for a second time. Therefore, it’s appropriate that Anastacia chose to call her sixth studio album Resurrection as it does feel like a new beginning for the singer. Her comeback single Stupid Little Things is typically bombastic and signals a return to her original sound “Sprock”, a hybrid of soul, pop, rock. The song is packed full with hooks and is aimed squarely at radio play. However, the sound has dated slightly and I wouldn’t be surprised if this manages to slip under the radar, which would be a massive shame as it’s great to hear Anastacia doing what she does best again.

7/10

6) Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down
Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

British songstress Rita Ora is back with what will probably be the smash of the summer. I Will Never Let You Down, which was produced by her current boyfriend Calvin Harris, is probably her best single yet but it unfortunately serves to highlight the singer’s lack of personality and generic qualities. Oddly enough the best part of this song is the summery guitar driven beat playing over the verses which lingers in the brain much longer than generic chorus. Ora sounds like she never even breaks a sweat on the single, which keeps safely in the middle of her range (I counted only one high note in the whole song). But when all is said and done, I Will Never Let You Down is a sure fire hit and it’s great to see a young singer revelling in her youth, rather than wailing about heartbreak (Sorry Lea Michele). What’s more, the sound feels fresh and Ora’s persona is much more likeable than on her previous material.

8/10

7) Calvin Harris – Summer

Calvin Harris – Summer
Calvin Harris – Summer

What is there left to say about Calvin Harris. Along with Pharrell he is without a doubt one of the biggest producers of the moment and his cannon of number ones just keeps on growing. Summer is another almighty global smash waiting to happen, but something went wrong for me on this track. I’m usually a fan of Calvin’s vocals, such as on the anthemic Feels So Close, so I welcomed the idea of him singing on this new track. However I really don’t know what Harris was trying to pull on Summer. If it he was trying to sound coy then that’s really not the way to go about it. If he was trying to sound whiny and shrill then he did a great job of it. But I may as well resign myself to hearing this song everywhere for the next couple of months because the sad fact is that Harris could have farted, put it on a loop, given it a dance breakdown and the song would have been the summer hit of 2014.

4/10

8) Ed Sheeran – Sing

Ed Sheeran – Sing
Ed Sheeran – Sing

Instead of channelling the understated, pondering balladry displayed on his more successful singles The A Team and Lego House, Sheeran has chosen to go in the other direction for the first single from his upcoming sophomore album x.  Sing actually has a lot in common with previous single You Need Me, I Don’t Need You with Sheeran’s urgent rapping driving the verses. The falsetto present on the bridge of Sing is the big surprise here, as well as the main hook being comprised of woohs. Sheeran is back in style.

8/10

9) Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing

Justin Timberlake - Not a Bad Thing
Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing

Timberlake continues the 20/20 Experience Volume 2 album campaign with the third single Not a Bad Thing, which is actually the best cut from its otherwise patchy parent album. The song could be a N*Sync album track, which shows how the Tennessee-born singer has done full circle in his career, but with his effortless cool Timberlake manages to sell a song which would have sounded corny in anyone else’s hands. Overall Not a Bad Thing, whilst lacking originality, manages to be exactly what it should be: relaxing, mushy and sweet.

6/10

10) Clean Bandit – Extraordinary

Clean Bandit – Extraordinary
Clean Bandit – Extraordinary

After bursting onto the charts this January with the infectious Jess Glynne-assisted synth track Rather Be Clean Bandit have a job to do to live up to the hype. Their follow up single Extraordinary start deceptively slow with a minimalistic intro that is almost acapella. However, the song soon breaks down picking up a string infused backing beat on the way and descending into a chorus which, on repeat listening, proves to have staying power. The result is not nearly as infectious as Rather Be, but Extraordinary manages on stand on its own as a euphoric, sunny piece of intelligent dance pop, which should keep the band getting radio spins long enough to release an album.

7/10

So that’s a round up of just a few of the big, high-profile new tunes which are set to be the soundtrack of summer 2014. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the post. If you want to follow my blog please click on the link at the top of the post. Until next time!!

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Brit Awards 2014

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It’s that time of year again! Time to look back on the best of the best in the world of pop last year and hand out rewards for good behaviour. Brit Awards nominees were announced yesterday with One Direction leading with 4 nominations (why god why), followed by Bastille and Ellie Goulding with 3. Let’s have a look at the categories:

British Male Solo Artist

David Bowie

Jake Bugg

James Blake

John Newman

Tom Odell

No-one really stands out here. Of course, Bowie’s return at the beginning of last years was a big shock for many and his album opened to both rave reviews and critical acclaim. However, I would bet on John Newman cleaning up here as he’s the most commercial of the five and his single Love Me Again really did kick some serious ass.

British Female Solo Artist

Birdy

Ellie Goulding

Jessie J

Laura Marling

Laura Mvula

Although I do have a special place in my heart for Birdy I have to say that Ellie Goulding really deserves this one. She’s been a chart mainstay throughout the year and has released three exceptional singles Explosions, Burn and How Long Will I Love You? Case and point. Ellie FTW.

British Group

Arctic Monkeys

Bastille

Disclosure

One Direction

Rudimental

I don’t know if I want to live in a world where One Direction wins over Bastille. For the sake of my sanity, please.

British Breakthrough Act

London Grammar

Bastille

Disclosure

Laura Mvula

Tom Odell

Bastille again are probably the most deserving of this award but I’d like to see London Grammar take this one as their album If You Wait was filled with amazing melodies and is undoubtedly one of the best debuts of the year.

British Single of the Year

Bastille – Pompeii

Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – I need your love

Disclosure – White Noise

Ellie Goulding – Burn

John Newman – Love me again

Naughty Boy – La, La, La

Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’

One Direction – One Way or Another

Passenger – Let Her Go

Rudimental – Waiting All Night

This is always the hardest category to decide and honestly I would be happy with either Burn, Love Me Again, La La La, Let Her Go or Pompeii winning but it should be Let Her Go if we’re really taking this seriously.

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Arctic Monkeys – AM

Bastille – Bad Blood

David Bowie – The Next Day

Disclosure – Settle

Rudimental – Home

All good albums. Would be happy with any of them winning but I do have a soft spot for Bastille.

International Male Solo Artist

Bruno Mars

Drake

Eminem

John Grant

Justin Timberlake

JT without a doubt. It’s as simple as that. From the very start of the year he’s been an all dominating force in the world of pop and his 20/20 Experience album is head and shoulders above the rest. I haven’t even heard of John Grant (I’m sure he’s lovely).

International Female Solo Artist

Janelle Monae

Katy Perry

Lady Gaga

Lorde

Pink

A very open category this year. Both P!nk and Katy Perry have had great singles this year (who could forget Just Give Me A Reason and Roar) but Lorde was the surprise of the year, springing out of nowhere with her dour, minimalistic style. Still I do love a bit of GaGa and seeing as everyone seems to hate her now I’d like her to take this one.

International Group

Arcade Fire

Daft Punk

Haim

Kings of Leon

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Daft Punk or HAIM. Probably HAIM because I thought Daft Punk’s album was god awful apart from Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance.

So we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that our favourites come out on top. The ceremony is scheduled to be held on the 19th of February.

If you disagree with any of my predictions or want to express your own, please feel free to comment below.