My Top 5 Songs of 2014:

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about ‘top 5 records’ for this site (have a read here) which seemed to generate a lot of activity in the form of comments and discussion.  At this time of year, I thought it would be fun to follow this up and compile a ‘top 5 songs of 2014’ list.  So, the following is a list of the 5 tracks that I have enjoyed most this year.  Again, as in the original post, I’m not trying to convince anyone or to campaign for these songs in any way – they’re just my personal favourites from 2014.

It would be great to hear what other people have to say, so please feel free to comment below with your list or even just music that you have enjoyed from this year.

OK, here goes:

5. Coldplay – Magic

4. Royal Blood – Ten Tonne Skeleton

3. Elbow – Real Life (Angel)

2. Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

1. Taylor Swift – Shake it Off

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Dr Zack Moir is an Associate Professor of Music at Edinburgh Napier University. He has a strong research interest in popular music pedagogy, music in higher education, musical improvisation and popular music composition. Zack is also an active musician and composer performing in ensembles and as a soloist, internationally. Zack is one of the editors of the 'Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music Education', and the 'Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education: Perspectives and Practices'.

8 thoughts on “My Top 5 Songs of 2014:”

  1. Warren Zevon – Hasten down the wind. Judith Durham – Olive tree. Glen Campbell – Try a little kindness. Frank Sinatra – It was a very good year. John Lennon – Imagine. These songs invoke emotion.

  2. Hey! Nice list, I also enjoyed some of them. I was wondering, just our of curiosity, why? Why those songs specifically?

    Sadly this year I sort of lost contact with this year’s new songs so I really don’t know all of them. This list will definitely help me to get back on track though. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lilia,

      Why those songs…? Good question!


      I am a sucker for a drum machine! I really like the understated nature of the grove and the way the vocal sounds really fragile and floats over the top of the bass riff (which also reminds me of the guitar part from Scar Tissue by the Chilli Peppers). Also, the piano with the washy reverb and delay that doubles some of the vocal lines – beautiful!

      Ten Tonne Skeleton

      What a groove! The introduction is so menacing and I really like the off beat high accents! I am also amazed that this is a two-piece band and that the guy is playing bass, not guitar!! Wow. It reminds me of a combination of early/mid Muse and The White Stripes – very cool!

      Real Life (Angel)

      The drum/percussion groove in this is lovely and, for what is essentially a ballad, really pushes things along. Also, the vocal melody, the phrasing and harmonies are gorgeous. I love the bit in the middle section where the groove drops away too and the keys come through… very pretty and really gives a beautiful sense of space.


      I love the chorus in this and the cool tabla drum sound is also really nice. There is something about the syncopated hits in the chorus that really grabs my attention too. All in all, a really nicely produced/arranged piece of music.

      Shake it Off

      What’s not to like? The groove is great, the repeating ii – IV – I chord progression is fun, the chorus melody is more catchy than a cold in winter and the video is really funny too! Also, this is the first piece of pop music that my 2 year old daughter has really fallen in love with and we must play it 10 times a day (while we all dance around the house) so I do have a nice extra-musical attachment to it too.

  3. I’m startled to realize that I’ve heard almost no music composed in 2014.

    From 2014, I can offer The Legend Of Jim Cullen, by Aaron Robinson.

    I’ll cheat and add a few not-new-to-2014 pieces:

    Pollini plays Stockhausen’s Klavierstuck IX

    Cecil Taylor, free improvisation

    Paul Desmond, Take Five

    The first 8 measures or so of Mozart’s Requiem (the instrumental opening). Or add another 8 measures or so, through the choral statement of the initial theme.

  4. Sorry, I messed up the closing tag for Take Five. If you click on the supposedly linked Requiem, you will not find Mozart at the other side of that link.

  5. Happy New Year Everybody

    I suppose I am getting old and maybe this is why I don’t relate personally to much new music. I am glad my offspring took to Muse and Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine as I don’t think we could have lived in the same house as Taylor Swift ten times a day!

    One of the twinkly bits in one of Zach’s choices reminded me of something and after some thought I think it might be Terry Riley’s Rainbow in Curved Air, a piece I have on vinyl which now seems to me to have more or less the sole virtue of being worth something as a piece on vinyl.

    I can only contribute stuff I heard for the first time this year, which includes a piece of Fado music:


    and ( as a result of one of those ‘Who’s the best guitarist?’ conversations) Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose work I found slick but somehow a bit soulless.

    I have enjoyed the work of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and for people interested in the use of Indian music in Rock this is a nice video


    I would like to spend a moment celebrating the work of a few of the musicians who left us in 2014, including

    Jack Bruce,

    Ian McLagan,

    Johnny Winter

  6. 1. Lovers On The Sun (David Guetta and Sam Martin)
    2. I’m A Mess (Ed Sheehan)
    3. Into The Blue (Kylie Minogue)
    4. Miracles (Coldplay)
    5. Animals (Maroon 5)

    I am not really paying attention anymore to new bands or songs, so I had to search You Tube for “best songs of 2014” or similar, and then make a selection. And it also took me some time to choose! Now, I am pretty satisfied with this list, but I might change my mind on a song in a couple of hours, of course, or keep it in my heart for years…

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