In Retrospect: Nineteen Defining Songs of 2014

What a tremendous year in music 2014 was! From Jennifer Lopez asserting huge amount of sexuality at the age of 45 to Meghan Trainor saying it’s fine because she is all about that bass. The year was marked by surpring twists and turns. 2014 gave birth to Iggy Azalea’s prominence, as well as Lady Gaga’s shift to Jazz. Of course, the year also witnessed the rise of soundtracks to the top of the charts. Many things happened, definitely. Some surprised us, while others made us frown in discomfort. 2014 also saw the rise of 2013 songs to the zenith of the charts. As a form of celebration, let us have a run through of the nineteen songs that defined what 2014 was in terms of music.

“Say Something,” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera: “Say Something” has been released way back, but it only gained attention after Christina Aguilera took notice of the potential of the song. Soon after, duo Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino was performing the song in huge platforms such as The Voice and the American Music Awards. It was a momentous song in 2014 because it showed the world that an excellent ballad has a place in an industry dominated by autotunes and lip-synching.

“Fancy,” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX: Did the song not rip your playlists apart? The song was so huge that it was literally played in every corner of the earth. “Fancy” brought back the glamorous tradition of rap music as it marries the world of pop music. It also started the many party songs from Iggy Azalea, who can rightfully claim 2014 as her breakthough year.

“Story of My Life,” by One Direction: The world misses N’Sync and Backstreet Boys so much. But, worry not! The boys of One Direction remind everyone the phenomenal legacy of boybands in the music industry. “Story of My Life” did not only define 2014 per se, but One Direction also characterized the music of today after their smash success both critically and commercially.

“Bang Bang,” by Jessie J., Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj: 2014 could easily be dubbed as the year of women considering the consecutive domination of women in charts across the world. “Bang Bang” is one of the rare songs when influential women gather in one record and breaks barriers of music. “Bang Bang” could likewise became 2014’s answer to 2001’s “Lady Marmalade.”

“Wake Me Up,” by Avicii: No one ever wants to wake up, because 2014 won’t be over unless we pay homage to this noteworthy track from Avicii. The song was not only a chart favorite, but also a growing up anthem of sorts to several people. The sound of Avicii in this song is extraordinarily unique that it was in instant standout among the prominent pop tracks of 2014. “Wake Me Up” thoroughly added class and taste in the music of 2014.

“Let It Go,” by Idina Menzel: Are you Queen Elsa or Princess Anna? Fine. Regardless of who you wanted to be, Idina Menzel just told us to let it go. Frozen was a huge success partly because of the power of the song. It helped catapult original soundtracks as forces to be reckoned with in terms of chart performance. Anyhow, one thing is certain: each member of the global population sang this song at one point in 2014. It was translated to 41 languages, right? Way to go, Idina!

“Rude,” by Magic!: Not many reggae beats can dominate the charts these days. However, “Rude” was a big exception not only because it stayed on the upper layers of the charts but it was also honored by Billboard as the seventh biggest song of 2014. Magic! also made other pop superstars more flavorful with the infusion of the sound of “Rude” in their records. Shakira’s “Cut Me Deep,” anyone? 

“Chandelier,” by Sia: In the tradition of soaringly high notes, Sia did not disappoint. “Chandelier” became a phenomenal force of 2014. It’s not only an astounding record, but it also has an astonishing video that supports it. It also gave the chance for hopefuls from The Voice to have their own breakout moments too. Both Kat Perkins and Jean Kelley did well with their respective versions. However, it was only possible because of the extremely high bar Sia set with the song.

“Anaconda,” by Nicki Minaj: 2014 was not only defined by excellent lyrics, but also ambivalence towards lyrical content. Nicki Minaj’ song was a chart success; yet, it also taught this generation how anacondas are main considerations for affectionate, erm, sexual pleasures. When it comes to lyrics like this, count Nicki Minaj to take over.

“All of Me,” by John Legend: It was a year of love, thanks to this already classic song from John Legend. “All of Me” made each day of 2014 feel like Valentine’s, as it melodically brought romance back in the limelight of music. John Legend did not only accomplish chart domination with the song, he also managed to deliver a solid vocal performance that necessitates other vocalists to follow his lead. Thanks to John Legend, Nicki Minaj’ concept of love in “Anaconda” was quickly debunked.

“Bailando,” by Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona: It was not generally a year of Latin pop, but we had Enrique Iglesias retelling us what we loved most about Latin songs. It was flavorful, as well as titillating. Each element that made the world love Latin music was imbued in this Top 40 hit. Plus, Enrique Iglesias reminded us how sexy the Spanish language sounds in a song.

“Problem,” by Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea: Some have talents, while some have pseudo-talents. Where do Ariana and Iggy stand? The duo in this song still has a long way to go, but “Problem” was a prelude to the possible longevity of the two in the industry. Ariana Grande can definitely sing, and Iggy Azalea can also rap well in record. Nonetheless, “Problem” was a legacy of 2014 because it has a diamond in the rough in its roster of hits. If we look back five years from now, when Ariana and Iggy’s talents are no longer ambiguous, we will be fascinated how these two artists experience musical growth in just a short period of time.

“Stay With Me,” by Sam SmithLondon, represent! Sam Smith is everywhere this 2014. He was on top of the charts. He was a lead performance in awards shows. What else did Sam Smith not accomplish musically this year? Not only will 2014 remind us of the song, but it will also prompt us to recall that this year gave birth to Sam Smith’s star.

“All About that Bass,” by Meghan Trainor: Skinny bitches had a run for their money because of this Meghan Trainor hit. It defined 2014 simply because of four words: All About that Bass. The song’s legacy could also extend till next year. However, the song is also a defining moment of 2014 because it set an extensive debate discussing the ambivalent connotations of the song. In other words, 2014 witnessed how Meghan jumpstarted the reconstruction of the skinny and fat dichotomy.

“Happy,” by Pharell Williams: The song was danced all across the globe, and even stirred a worldwide controversy because of it. In addition, “Happy” is one of the few tracks that enabled the domination of original soundtracks in charts all across the world. It is definitely safe to say that Despicable Me 2 will be widely remembered because of the strength of this Pharell song. The stars too seem to be in favor of Pharell, as the song was the number one song in Billboard’s Year End Chart. 

“The Monster,” Eminem and Rihanna: The song was conceived in 2013, but its influence extended to 2014. Is it not enough testament of the power of the song? It also solidified the success of Rihanna as a collaborator to Eminem. The song was a worldwide smash similar to their previous duet “Love the Way You Lie.”

“Dark Horse,” by Katy Perry and Juicy J.: Ever since Katy Perry rose to fame, she was a powerful presence every year. If 2013 was dominated by “Roar,” “Dark Horse” characterized 2014. Both songs were phenomenally received everywhere making Katy Perry the woman to beat in terms of pop domination. With the influence of the song, Katy Perry can never be mistaken as a dark horse in the game of pop music.

“Shake It Off,” by Taylor SwiftSo, it was goodbye Country Music for Taylor Swift. Pop music, say hello to your new princess Taylor Swift. Was it a successful crossover? It was prodigious! 2014 will end with “Shake It Off” still rocking the charts. Therefore, together with “Blank Space,” this Taylor song will continue its reign until 2015.

“Do What U Want,” by Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera: We said our goodbyes to 2013 with a historical performance from Lady and Christina Aguilera on The Voice. We welcomed 2014, on the other hand, with the release of the remix of this Lady Gaga song off her Artpop record. It was a triumphant moment for both Fighters and Little Monsters, as the rivalry between the two pop institutions was finally put to an end. In any case, the song started the powerful mergers among female singers. While the song was not entirely a chart success, it was a revolutionary moment in pop music that can never be forgotten even in the decades to come. It was depressing, though, that the divas did not make a music video for this. It was a sign, therefore, that it is not yet the final collaboration from these powerful ladies. They must be back with a more groundbreaking anthem the world must enjoy!