Together with the blockbuster summer season also end the days of breezy sounds, explosive choruses, big beats and funky guitars that define summer songs every year. Unlike last summer when we had two defining tracks that were heard everywhere, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, this season there weren’t any universally beloved summer songs. The closest we got was to Iggy Azalea’s Fancy and Ariana Grande’s Problem, two songs that, in my opinion, are too generic and lifeless to be considered good summer music material.
As I grow older I distance myself from what the radio music that is worshiped by teenagers these days. I’m not saying I’m listening to old people music, not at all, I’m just going the usual path of evolution in my musical taste by discovering new sounds that are more daring and exciting. However, I can’t say I completely ignored what the masses listened to as in my top 10 list there are songs by still popular artists that managed to get my attention with some pretty great summer songs.
Here is my top 10 list of summer songs of 2014, but before that here are a few honorable mentions:
Not exactly a big sexy pop song for the hot days but an accomplished tune that builds up to a series of pulsating beats and groovy sounds that give this electronic ballad about heartbreak the taste of summer. Welcome back, Elly Jackson!
It’s only this year that I’ve become acquainted with The War On Drugs following the critical acclaim they’ve been getting for their new album Lost in The Dream. Strangely they remind me of Arcade Fire and their big choruses and arena sound. Red Eyes is one of the big tunes they released this year from an already interesting selection of indie rock songs. Irresistible.
The accomplished artist that is Kelis has released this spring a new album entitled Food that is about love, family and joy. The opening track off the album, Breakfast, is a powerful ode to her son who invites us to taste his mom’s food. The chorus full of harmonious horns is so strong, it spreads love all over.
This song looked like a contender for song of the summer that sadly didn’t get much attention. Even though it’s not an original track, as nothing by this artist really is, with a very noticeable Ryan Tedder production, but it’s a lovely tune with an uplifting chorus that will put a smile on your face. John Mayer also did a stripped down country version which you can listen here.
Shades of Cool is one of the better songs from Lana del Rey’s album Ultraviolence where the lyrics aren’t as annoyingly childish as on her other songs off the latest LP. Her music isn’t adopting a feminist message and we shouldn’t hate on her music for that, but sometimes they cross a line,in my opinion, that ruin the beautiful orchestrations we are accustomed with from the gangsta Nancy Sinatra. Shades of Cool is a cool song though, her closest work to a Bond song thanks to that killer riff at the end and the tragic tone she so expertly masters. The music video is a respectable companion to the tune, with the usual themes of fame, love and tragedy all wrapped around the image of sunny California and 50’s coolness. It strangely reminds me of David Lynch.
We are so accustomed to hating a post-2009 Michael Jackson track, we sometimes forget the ones that turn out to be quite decent like Hollywood Tonight of the 2011 album Michael and Love Never Felt So Good from this year’s Xscape, a collaboration with Justin Timberlake. The song is groovy and fun and it deserves some admiration for managing to be an homage to the disco days of The King of Pop.
Do You is my introduction to the band Spoon. And what a great track. It’s groovy, funky destined for the unbearably hot days of summer. It’s also a great car song. One to keep in mind for next summer.
By far Grimes’ most commercial song, she wrote Go for Rihanna but for some reason she refused it. But it’s better this way with Grimes making it her own by bringing in her weird style, something that is also present in the strange and artistic music video that accompanies the track.
Probably the most colorful track off the list, the most bombastic with a giant chorus, Do It Again is another success for the Swedish Robyn and Royksopp who released a great EP this May. Apparently, Do It Again is about when life gets you to an unpleasant critical point and when it’s over you wish it comes back which is certainly not your typical pop song message. And this makes this tune even better.
Of all the songs on this list this one got the most airplay, at least in my country. The other songs got little to no promotion at all here in Romania. I’m glad Sia finally got a hit even though I wasn’t a fan of her album. I preferred her playful sounds off the previous album We Are Born. But this great pop song is inescapable and infectious.
The second song from the Swedish act on the list, Monument, is an epic 10 minute track, an atmospheric house song about death and identity. It’s a musically diverse track featuring different kinds of beats and synths and even some saxophone.
La Roux’s first single of their new album Trouble in Paradise is also the gem of the collection. Uptight Downtown is a disco infused track similar to their 80’s inspired work from their self-titled debut album and one of the sunnier tracks that played frequently in my headphones this summer.
I fell in love with this foot-tapping 9 minute epic track from the get-go. It has the magic of an 80’s rock song while also feeling like a song of the times. It’s a whole different world when you blast this song on the highway. This is my song of the summer of 2014.
What is your opinion on the my list and what tracks were your favorites this summer?