Well, another year has come and gone, and every year I compile a playlist on my iPod featuring my 50 favorite tunes of the year. My “rule” for this list is simple: these are the songs I listened to and enjoyed the most throughout the current year. They don’t have to have been released in 2014 (though some were). Five mixes will be uploaded to Mixcloud, showcasing all of these songs in reverse order (meaning 50 is “first” and 1 is “last”).
49. “Storm” – Lovers Electric (Waiting for Something to Happen – EP) – Ear-appealing alternative with solid duet vocals.
48. “International Smile” – Katy Perry (Prism) – A fun pop song. I like the perky tempo to this track and its fluffy lyrics.
47. “Crash & Burn” – Darling Parade (Battle Scars & Broken Hearts) – I discovered this band at the start of 2014 and got their first full-length album; hope to hear more good tunes from them.
46. “Dollhouse” – Melanie Martinez (Dollhouse – EP) – Truly epic track about a dysfunctional family from a former The Voice contestant; I was pleasantly pleased to hear original material from Ms. Martinez.
45. “Bridges” – Broods (Evergreen) – One of two Broods tracks on my list; sort of brooding but in a musically upbeat way. Highly enjoyable.
44. “Comin’ Back” – Citizen Cope (Dom Hemingway OST) – Cool, jazzy, throwback tune with jazzy piano vibes that graced the Dom Hemingway soundtrack.
43. “Can’t Go Back” – Phil Beaudreau (Ether) – Low-key track that I discovered this year thanks to “Gotham.” Evidently, Robin Lord Taylor likes this, too. He has good taste.
42. “Somebody Loves You” – Betty Who (Take Me When You Go) – Retro-sounding pop melded with listenable vocals. Fun to boogie to.
41. “Pop Culture” – Icon for Hire (Icon for Hire) – Hard-hitting, chunky alternative rock mixed with electro-pop. As a fan of Icon for Hire, this didn’t disappoint.
Mixcloud Mix for Tracks 50 to 41: https://www.mixcloud.com/NicoleRP/50-favorite-songs-of-2014-tracks-50-to-41/
40. “Silver Spoon” – Lily Allen (Sheezus) – I was happy to finally get some new music from Allen; this song is cheeky as only she can do it.
39. “Fire Starter” – Demi Lovato (Demi) – I still find Lovato’s vocals grating, but this song helped inspire Bernadette Winters, the lead character in my Incendiary serialized novel, so it deserves a place.
38. “Redefined” – TyDi feat. Melanie Fontana (Redefined) – Moving EDM with elegant vocals and great production work by TyDi. He’s a DJ force to be reckoned with and I’m constantly impressed by his work.
37. “Warm Shadow” (Dactyl Remix) – Fink (The Walking Dead OST, Vol. 1) – One of many Walking Dead tracks on this list; I love the low-key alternative arrangement with subdued instrumentation.
36. “Katniss is Chosen” – James Newton Howard (Catching Fire original score) – Another track, with an epic arrangement, that helped inspire Bernadette Winters’ character in Incendiary (there are several on this list).
35. “Bloodstained Sonnet” – Neulore (Animals Evolve) – Gorgeous, mellow alternative with soothing, soaring vocals over sobering lyrics.
34. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” – Chromeo (White Women) – Chromeo brings old school funk back and this was a standout track of theirs this year.
33. “Coattails” – Broods (Broods – EP) – The second Broods track that possesses strength in its musical simplicity.
32. “From All Sides” – Lights (Little Machines, bonus track) – A near year-end release from the pop songtress; I added this track at the last minute thanks to its sheer, low-key awesomeness.
31. “Let Us Burn” – Within Temptation (Hydra) – Truly epic song that belongs on a movie soundtrack. Yet another Incendiary-inspired selection.
Mixcloud Mix for Tracks 40 to 31: https://www.mixcloud.com/NicoleRP/50-favorite-songs-of-2014-tracks-40-to-31/
30. “Burn” – Crown the Empire (Punk Goes Pop, Vol. 6) – Normally I dislike cover songs but this is a good alternative rock version of Ellie Goulding’s mega-hit, which I also like, you should know.
29. “Ticking Bomb” – Aloe Blacc (Lift Your Spirit) – Good song for New Year’s Eve. 😀 Just kidding.
28. “Vagabonds” – Grizfolk (From the Spark – EP) – Great uptempo alternative track that takes you on a lyrical journey.
27. “Main Title Theme Song” (UNKLE Remix) – Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead OST, Vol. 1) – This takes everything you love about the original, and ultra-brief, theme song and magnifies it with an EDM backbone.
26. “My Audacity” – Claire (The Great Escape) – I fell in love with this electro-alternative band this year and I had a hard time picking a favorite track to represent them with. I think this shall suffice.
25. “Shout at the Moon” – Mallory Knox (Asymmetry) – One of two nods for Mallory Knox on my list. Two words – love it!
24. “Break the Spell” – Daughtry (Break the Spell) – Not sure why I just discovered this rock track this year. Glad I did though.
23. “I See Fire” – Jasmine Thompson (Another Bundle of Tantrums) – Yet another cover that, in my very humble opinion, improves the original. This was yet another Incendiary-inspired song.
22. “Raging Fire” – Phillip Phillips (Behind the Light) – Proof that Phillip Phillips was more than a one hit wonder with “Home.” And yet another Incendiary-inspired song.
21. “Dancing in the Key of Life” – Markus Schulz (Scream 2) – This is just awesome. Period.
Mixcloud Mix for Tracks 30 to 21: https://www.mixcloud.com/NicoleRP/50-favorite-songs-of-2014-tracks-30-to-21/
20. “Ain’t it Fun” – Paramore (Paramore) – The song that made Paramore a household name though I had been a fan of theirs for years, so believe me when I say this is definitely one of their best compositions.
19. “Turn Up the Music” (Remix) – Chris Brown feat. Rihanna (single) – For the record, I think Chris Brown is a repugnant human being and Rihanna’s presence on this track is highly questionable. So I judge this song on its own merit, not the performers. It’s a fun pop-dance track in its own right.
18. “Same Girl” – Jennifer Lopez (A.K.A.) – Not a JLo fan but this was an early favorite for me this past year. I like the R&B/pop vibes here, which give it a good groove.
17. “Yellow Flicker Beat” – Lorde (Mockingjay, Part I OST) – It’s Lorde and it perfectly captures Katniss Everdeen’s personality. Enough said.
16. “Scream My Name” – Tove Lo (Mockingjay, Part I OST) – Cool, dark electro-pop by an up-and-coming pop songtress. I really like the composition of this one.
15. “Heavy Crown” – Iggy Azalea feat. Ellie Goulding (Reclassified) – This is one of two Iggy Azalea tracks on my list and this is the song showcased in the debut Kingsman: The Secret Service trailer. I can’t hear this and not envision Colin Firth kicking posteriors. Trust me – that’s a good mental image to have. 😉
14. “Chasing Stars” (radio edit) – Somna & Yang feat. Michele C. (In Search of Sunrise 12 – Dubai) – A heavy-hitting, somber EDM track with elegant vocals and haunting lyrics about love gone wrong.
13. “Running” – Delta Spirit (The Walking Dead OST, Vol. 1) – I like to think of this as new school folk music; shame it was never actually used on the show. It’s bone-chilling.
12. “Shatter Me” – Lindsey Stirling feat. Lzzy Hale (Shatter Me) – What do you get when you cross classical violin with dubstep and soul-piercing vocals? Why, this. And it’s perfect.
11. “Avalanche” – Michelle Chamuel feat. Arjun Singh (Drift – EP) – A hybrid love/revenge song that melds Chamuel’s vocals with Singh’s production. Chill-inducing (no pun intended).
Mixcloud Mix for Tracks 20 to 11: https://www.mixcloud.com/NicoleRP/50-favorite-songs-of-2014-tracks-20-to-11/
10. “This Old Death” – Ben Nichols (The Walking Dead OST, Vol. 2) – A simple composition that haunts. Another gem from The Walking Dead that was never actually used on The Walking Dead.
9. “Maps” – Maroon 5 (V) – I surprised myself with this pick but it was heavily played by me this past year. It’s probably my favorite Maroon5 song and my catalog of Maroon5 songs is tiny. Still, I like the lyrics, the music is upbeat and fun, and Levine’s vocals are tolerable.
8. “Ghost In the Mirror” – Mallory Knox (Asymmetry) – My second pick from Mallory Knox and their first single from their latest album. This is true to their musical form, meaning it’s perfect alternative rock with insightful lyrics.
7. “Mirror” – Ellie Goulding (Catching Fire OST) – A minimalist track that’s deep on emotion and relies upon Goulding’s gorgeous vocals. And, yes, this song was also a big inspiration for Incendiary.
6. “How You Love Me” – 3LAU feat. Bright Lights (single) – Perky EDM track with chunky composition, delightful vocals, and meaningful lyrics. Definitely one of my most-played EDM tracks this past year.
5. “Empty Gold” – Halsey (Room 93 – EP) – Dark electro-alternative that I fell in love with at first listen. Thank you for proving that songwriting has not gone out of fashion.
4. “Change Your Life” – Iggy Azalea feat. T.I. (The New Classic) – One of my most-played tracks this past year. I’m not sure why I like it so much as I’m not a hip-hop fan but I love Iggy’s flow. This is just a cool, hip song with a killer underlying bass. No, seriously. I think I killed some speakers listening to this.
3. “Stardust” – TyDi feat. Kerli (single) – This is a hard-to-find track but that’s a real shame. It’s everything I love about TyDi and Kerli all in one place.
2. “Beating Heart” – Ellie Goulding (Divergent OST) – Ellie Goulding gets a second song on this list (as well as another placement within my top ten) for good reason. This cements her as an electro-pop songtress. Gorgeous and served as a big inspiration for Incendiary.
1. “Devil May Cry” – The Weeknd (Catching Fire OST) – Easily my favorite song of the year. Words don’t do it justice as it’s a unique composition with elegantly haunting lyrics. And, yes, I listen to it a lot when I’m working on Incendiary
Mixcloud Mix for Tracks 10 to 1: https://www.mixcloud.com/NicoleRP/50-favorite-songs-of-2014-tracks-10-to-1/