BC’s Top 10(ish) Songs of 2014:
Because we have to start with the honorable mentions…
Kiesza – “Hideaway”
It sounds like an acid dance track being played in a 90s hair salon, why wouldn’t you want to listen to it? Don’t forget to check out the amazing, single-shot music video. Great choreography (Apparently Kiesza broke a rib just before filming) and she totally rocks that Kelly Kapowski outfit.
MØ – “Walk This Way”
I first heard MØ last year when Digitalism did a remix of her song “Pilgrim.” While a good track, I didn’t think much past that. Then I saw the video for “Walk This Way” and instantly fell in love with her music. The choral samples accompanied with a thumping beat and slick guitar licks, it’s a great way to kick off a music career. And I’ve heard her live shows are something not to be missed.
EXGF – “Idle Hands”
A simple, big beat, and easy to sing along to, even after 6-7 drinks. It’s a shame EXGF is so elusive (they are almost nonexistent on the net) because I’d love to hear more from them.
10. Riff Raff feat. Paul Wall, Slim Thug – “How to be the Man (Houston Remix)”
If you thought there was going to be a year that I didn’t put Riff Raff in my Top 10, you would be sorely mistake. After a few years of flying under the radar as a music critic’s punch line, Riff Raff finally exploded into the mainstream over the last year with the release of his single “Dolce & Gabbana” and his work with Katy Perry as her VMA arm candy. The Houston remix for his single “How To Be The Man” features Houston greats Paul Wall and Slim Thug, and highlights that though Riff Raff may seem like a white-boy clown to some, but for those in on the joke, he’s a great artist who never met a beat he couldn’t use, a rapper he couldn’t feature (people love working with him, apparently), or a high-end designer he couldn’t work into his rhymes.
9. Danny Brown feat. Purity Ring – “25 Bucks”
A collaboration between indie rapper genius Danny Brown and Canadian electro-outfit Purity Ring doesn’t make much sense on paper, but the result is a beautifully dark hip hop cut. It proves that the new generation of rappers like Brown, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson & others are taking hip hop in experimental directions to allow the genre to grow and evolve.
8. Elliphant & MØ – “One More”
I’ve already mentioned how much I love MØ, and her duet with Swedish artist and MIA-doppelganger, Elliphant. Much like MIA, Elliphant’s music is almost impossible to label. Many of her songs are party-friendly, but she tones it down in “One More,” a tribute to true BFFs. Pleading vocals and choral harmonies accompany a basic 808 beat builds for the first two minutes until they hit an electro explosion. You’ll find yourself singing this song after a booze-soaked night with friends.
7. Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”
If Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” had sex with Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl,” you’d get Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.” It’s 80s pop perfection… released in 2014. It’s so damn catchy that in order to listen this song, it’s required that you sing it in your towel while serenading your Teen Beat poster. I seriously love this friggin’ song.
6. Jarren Benson – “Gimme The Loot”
Jarren Benton’s spit-fire rhymes with an explosive beat make the perfect banger. Holy shit this beat, though. You guys, THIS BEAT. I’ve played it through my 18″ subwoofer and I thought my head was going to explode, and I was going to let it happen. WARNING: Do not listen to this through shitty iPhone headphones or Jarren Benton will jump through your phone and smack you for ruining this song.
5. Kendrick Lamar – “i”
Can Kendrick Lamar do anything wrong? The answer is no. No friggin’ way. One of this generation’s most prolific and experimental rappers (who is literally tearing up the charts and clubs) takes on the Isley Brothers on “i,” a soulful cut that shows just how much Kendrick (and hip hop, in general) were influenced by 60s & 70s R&B, which many rappers might have forgotten (Looking at you, DJ Mustard).
4. Mark Ronson feat. Mystikal – “Feel Right”
THE RETURN OF MYSTIKAL. It’s been too long, my friend. The 44-year-old “Shake That Ass” rapper spent more or less of the last 10 years in jail. But what a hell of a comeback. It seems like Mark Ronson’s upcoming album, Uptown Funk, might reintroduce the world to both Mystikal and Ronson. Though Ronson’s albums (especially 2010’s fantastic Record Collection) are always a critical hit, they always seem to simmer just under “hit” status. But “Feel Right” coupled with the Bruno Mars-lead single, “Uptown Funk,” will rocket this funk-tastic album up the charts when it releases in January.
3. Big KRIT – “Mt. Olympus”
It’s been over a year since we heard anything from the Mississippi rapper. And what a long year it was. But Big K.R.I.T. came out swinging in April with the release of “Mt. Olympus.” An epic track in the vein of Kanye West’s “Dark Fantasy,” KRIT rips all of his nay-sayers and kiss asses alike a new asshole. You don’t realize how much you miss Big K.R.I.T.’s music until he hasn’t been around. Please don’t leave us again.
2. Digitalism feat. Youngblood Hawke – “Wolves”
It was really difficult to not choose “Wolves” as my #1 song of the year. I still go back and forth on my ultimate decision to leave it at #2. This Digitalism/Youngblood Hawke song is just so, so, so good. It’s a perfect blend of electronic, dance and pop. The chorus is basic and epic at the same time. It’s sad that Digitalism doesn’t receive more recognition. They are essentially early Daft Punk mixed with Justice, but have somehow only gotten better after each album. BUY THIS SONG FROM iTUNES and give Digitalism some love!
1. Chromeo – “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”
If everything else in my life is in shambles, I can take solace in the fact that Chromeo will release a new album every 3-4 years. I first saw them with Digitalism at a daytime SXSW day show in 2008, and have never gone back. From that day on, I have had an unnatural obsession with Chromeo. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It),” the opening track and lead single to their latest effort, White Women, is so catchy it’s unhealthy. In fact, every song on the album is a gem and you need to go buy it right now. Let me break it down for you thusly: Chromeo is the best parts about Prince and Hall & Oates, complete with affinity for having every song be about a girl. Dave’s soft vocals and P-Thugg’s perfectly pop-funk beats encompass everything good in music. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go towel off.