Man, I have had a tough time this year with coming up with my Top Five songs of the year. Last year, it was fairly easy, because there were some really strong newcomers thrown into the mix. Bastille were always going to leave with something. Also, there were some club anthems that were too close to my heart to not go on that list. The ones that are still going strong today, as I predicted when I voted them so high on the list. 2014 boasted a lot of fresh talent, but they were like rough diamonds. For example, Ella Henderson smashed her way out of the X Factor with a steady list of amazing tracks and Charli XCX is always a sure-fire source of great music. But they aren’t quite Top Five material just yet. In the end, I turned to the start of 2014 and thought to myself what songs I felt were still as impressive as the first day I heard them. It helped me finally come up with five songs, even if it meant that a few great songs didn’t make the cut. I wanted to squeeze Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down onto this list, but it just didn’t happen. It also feels a crime that not one Sam Smith song is up here. However, the decision has been made and this is what I have come up with.
5 – GEORGE EZRA – BUDAPEST
What a voice! George Ezra is one of the few examples of a singer this year, coming out of nowhere and blowing everyone away. He reminds me of Ben Howard who blew away a lot of people in 2012. He seems to have faded away for the moment (hopefully working on a second album), so it is good that George Ezra seems to be able to fill that gap in the market. In fact, I actually prefer George Ezra. While Budapest is the best of his songs this year, sticking around in my mind since it first came out, quite a few months ago, he also has ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Listen to the Man’ which are also very good introductions to the calibre of this singer, if you haven’t checked him out before. He finds the right blend between romance, but also fun. He has a whimsical, ‘let’s go out and get caught up in the moment’ atmosphere to his music that will definitely go down really well with new couple. I look forward to seeing his next load of tracks.
4 – ED SHEERAN – THINKING OUT LOUD
George Ezra might have a good stake in the romantic song factor this year, but Ed Sheeran just blew everyone else out of the water (well, almost everyone), when it came to a song dedicated to couples. Sheeran’s new album came out and there was a lot to like about it. ‘Sing’ was a great, upbeat track, something totally different from Sheeran’s other stuff, proving that the singer wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Other songs came out and also threatened to top that. And finally, we got this song, Thinking Out Loud, and I knew that I had found the Sheeran of the year. Thinking Out Loud will definitely find itself being ‘the song’ of several couples out there. It is just good, old-fashioned romance. Most of you will probably hear this song and feel slightly queasy at just how cheesy romantic it is, with Sheeran singing about how he will carry on loving his partner until ‘they are 70’. However, if you are partial to a bit of love song every now and again, you will definitely find this one ticking all of the boxes. If you can’t get hold of this song, just wait until you hit the slow dance section of the next party you are at; this one will be bound to be playing.
3 – KIESZA – HIDEAWAY
First up, what an incredible video! Whenever I am walking to work, my music playing in my headphones, this song will come on and I will have to mentally bite down on the impulse to break into my own dance routine. It just has the atmosphere of greatness about it. As soon as those opening few beats, quiet yet powerful at the same time, you are hooked. And then those first few lyrics begin getting sung over them, Kiesza’s voice unbelievably amazing, without ever seeming overworked. It is difficult to resist getting swept away in the fun of the moment. By the time, you hit the first chorus, your feet will be tapping along. It is irresistible. I am always only a few bars away from giving into temptation and breaking into those dance moves that I will almost definitely ruin with my two left feet.
2 – JOHN LEGEND – ALL OF ME
Remember when I said that Ed Sheeran blew all but one song out of the water. This is that one song. Ed Sheeran might have almost perfected the love song, but John Legend’s triumphant return to music just had to beat it. Why? Well, this is the music that made John Legend so popular. It is what he does best. Give him a piano, a beautiful muse to pour his heart onto and you will have yourself a winning song. All Of Me could even be his best track to date. The lyrics are so cleverly written, the vocals precise and perfect. Ed Sheeran might make you want to jump to your feet, grab the one you love and begin dancing, but Legend’s All Of Me has a different effect. Even if you are miles away from your partner, you could put this song on, close your eyes and she would be right there with you. 2014 might just be the Year of the Love Ballad.
1 – CLEAN BANDITS – RATHER BE (FEAT. JESS GLYNNE)
But I really had no choice, once again, for the winner. Clean Bandits came onto my radar in late 2013 with Dust Clears, but no one seemed to pay too much attention to it. It was a good track, but not one that everyone would be raving about. I ignored them and, very early in 2014, they followed it up with ‘Rather Be’. The world went mad for it, with good reason. It is an incredible piece of music. It works as a dance track, a chill-out song and it even keeps to the love song trend that 2014 seems to have been going with. Jess Glynne was introduced to the world and her vocals have been one of the biggest treats of the year. The chorus will have you singing from the top of your lungs. But maybe the best thing about Rather Be is that no matter how many times you have heard it, it is just as exciting as fresh as the first time. It slaps a big smile on your face and guarantees that for the next 3 minutes and 48 seconds, you are in for a rollercoaster ride.