My Favorite Songs of 2014

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Feature Image Via SoundIsStyle

When you live in a big city and spend an absurd amount of time on public transit, your iPod is your best friend–My iPod is actually my longest-lasting relationship. And as you may know, my musical tastes could use some Adderall, but these are the 50 songs that kept me most sane this year.

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I’m so glad Sam Smith took up where Adele left off in 2014. This song just sucks you in the minute it starts with that booming drum. And who doesn’t know all the words to this one? Radio didn’t really give us a choice. It was like, “You will listen to this song 20 times a day and you will like it.” We did.

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I don’t really have a long list of ex-lovers to really relate, but according to a Buzzfeed quiz, I’m capable of smashing a guy’s car with a golf club. I see it. Is anyone else really happy T-Swift finally switched over to pop? It’s also refreshing that the whole truck bed and fireflies era is over. I like psycho Swift. Good work.

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Happiness. This was my official morning song for a month straight this past spring. I’d wake up on the weekend, turn on this song and just take in the morning light. That’s all it took for me to be happy. Imagine being Jessica Beal and actually having that same morning, except JT is actually next to you.

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Heeeey-ey-ey! One Direction wasn’t the only boy band stirring up 9-year-old girls’ tears this year. 5SOS and their ode to American Apparel underwear (which sadly passed without any A.A. sponsorship–their loss) had me jamming like a fool. I also learned to be super careful with my Snapchat from these guys. Thanks for the song and the help, guys!

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Oh, John Legend. This song gives me so many feels. I JUST WANT TO BE CHRISSY TEIGEN. If any of you saw his performance at the Billboard Music Awards, you’d maybe understand the aura I feel: a beautiful man, a polished, black piano and dimly-lit retro light bulbs. It is magical.

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So, from sweet and loving to hard and dirty. An ode to R. Kelly’s hit debut album, this song features two of our most suave R&B fellas joining forces to take our pants off for us. I ain’t mad. If you want a good slow jam with a killer hook, this is it.

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Last year I didn’t bat an eye at this song from Prism. Then when it became an official single this year, it stuck, and then I couldn’t get enough. I was humming it. It was my ringtone. I craved tacos like crazy. Katy Perry is capable of creating audible cocaine and I don’t know how she does it. An ode to besties and all of the shenanigans you got into (orand still do, hopefully), this song has a catchy swag you can’t shake.

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It wasn’t even intentional for TWO 5SOS songs to end up in my top ten, but, damn, it happened. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it’s perfect. Part throwback to the days of Good Charlotte, Bowling For Soup and All-Time Low, part chill production, “Never Be” was a perfect gem off of their debut album.

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There was no better hook in music in 2014 than the first ten seconds of this summer jam: Dun, Dun-Dun. Buh-duh Dun Dun-Dun. Buh-duh Dun Dun-Dun, Buh-duh Dun–“First thing’s first, I’m the realest.” BOOM. Iggy Iggz was all up in our face outta nowhere. And then the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel skit happened. To me, this was the most iconic song of 2014 and one of those tracks that you will always remember for the rest of your life–love it or hate it.

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First of all, the album art is perfection. Look at those fine ass headlights and taillights. That alone accounts for 10% of a great single. This song is so euphoric to me and makes me feel alive. It came at a time when I was away with some close friends on a weekend trip to Palm Springs and would play every time we were in the car. From there it just developed this whole piece of nostalgia itself which carried me through the rest of the year. EVERYBODY FIST PUMP.

Top 10: Albums of 2014

Another end of year, another chance to make best-of lists. I don’t even care if anyone reads them, it’s more of a personal hobby that goes nowhere–hey, if it makes me feel like a hot shot music critic (far from), what the hell? This is also not a statement as to “these are the absolute best of the year”–they’re my favorite albums. If I want to put One Direction ahead of some obscure indie pop standout, guess what? I will. It’s all about what kept me coming back for more. I think the Mona Lisa is great, but would I want that creepy woman lingering in my house? Hell to the no.

10. In the Lonely Hour / Sam Smith

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I can relate to this album in more ways than one, which should actually make me rather depressed and bitter…but thankfully emotional eating exists. His voice is just too good to not be on any list.

9. LP1 / FKA Twigs

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I don’t know where she came from, but Tahliah Barnett is the shit. My ears are forever grateful for these angelic-hypnotic- futuristic, slow night jams. Unlike Meghan Trainor, FKA Twigs is actually from England. (I went around for 4 months under the assumption Meghan Trainor was English.)

8. Queen of the Clouds / Tove Lo

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I’ll admit it: I do not like “Habits (Stay High).” But I will tell you: there are plenty more gems to be unearthed on this post-breakup album. Brooding, high-energy pop will keep you danc-y and, um, frisky. The best part about the set is her candid and millennial-appropriate lyrics: “I’m not the prettiest you’ve ever seen, but I have my moments.”

7. Where It All Began / Dan + Shay

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First, Dan + Shay are just über adorable. This whole album is like a ray of morning sunshine and it fills me with happiness. I’ve never been prone to country music but somewhere in the past 6 months I fell in some moonshine and I can’t get out. I just want to cuddle with them on some beach and eat gummy worms.

6. My Everything / Ariana Grande

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2014 was all about Ms. Ariana Grande. Who knew that pink-haired weirdo I used to watch on Nickelodeon with my younger sister would sneak her way on to my iPod as a sultry tigress. I’ve never thoroughly enjoyed singing along to unrecognizable lyrics more until this came into my life. It’s retro, it’s sexy, it’s cool, it’s EVERYTHING. Ha…Ha…get it? I digress.

5. 1989 / Taylor Swift

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For anyone who knows me well, they know how significant this is: a Taylor Swift album in any kind of association with my name. Yes, while I was not the biggest T-Swift fan for years, I have always been fair to say, “Good music is good music.” Well, Starbucks lovers (don’t argue with me on this one), James Dean eyes and rabbit holes made for some pretty killer jams. I love this new approach to music. I think it suits her well and I hope she sticks to it. Now I will never feel alone when sitting in my bed with tear-stained cheeks holding a butcher’s knife.

4. Four / One Direction

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You knew it was coming. One Direction will forever give me life and I don’t care what musical merits you care about, they make me happy and act a fool and I’m completely okay with that. Their musicianship has matured though, to be fair. Four is not as folky as Midnight Memories, or as pop-y as Take Me Home…it’s…weird, but still good. If another “Tarzan” movie ever happens, “Ready to Run” HAS to be the theme song.

3. x / Ed Sheeran

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Lawd, help me. This guy kills me. So simple, so unadorned, yet full of feels and life. I rarely like to be in a rainy day kinda mood, but I will for this album. I could do without the more urban tracks like “Sing,” but the other offerings are pure gold. If anyone can find the words like Ed Sheeran can, we would all be married and living happily ever after. A man, his guitar and a splash of insane musical wizardry makes this a must-have.

2. Aquarius / Tinashe

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Just turn the lights out, throw this album on and cruise through the night–you won’t regret it. Tin-ash/Tin-ash-ay/Whatever gave us such a refreshing debut effort, opting to show her airy, raspy vocal prowess over ratchet bangers. At times I get these vague Aaliyah vibes, which is probably why I’m so drawn to her style.

1. Montevallo / Sam Hunt

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If this is the future of country music, I. AM. DOWN. Sam Hunt is like the Drake of country, if that makes any sense. It’s a completely unique sound that had me hooked from the first time I heard “Break Up In A Small Town,” where Sam semi-raps his way into a booming chorus. His voice is also pure sex, not going to lie, especially on “Speakers,” which feels like “our” song for me and my non-existent lover. There are also some pop country tracks which are just as infectious. Bravo. Bravo, Sam. Marry me, please?

Josh Kaufman’s “Voice” performance is EVERYTHING

Last night marked the beginning of the live shows for season 6 of NBC’s hit-show “The Voice.” The night featured some amazing performances from a diverse lot of contestants. One particular contestant came out guns blazing yesterday evening, and that would be Josh Kaufman from team Usher. His cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was perfection, and the type of performance that gives a singer a sea of popular momentum. (Think Andrew Garcia’s cover of “Straight Up” from “Idol.”)

Kaufman flaunted his radio-ready voice with all the flavor you could want: high and low, rich and silky. The thumping percussion against his dancing falsetto was pure magic. Most of what makes performers great on these singing shows is not just great voices, but great artistry and mass-market appeal. This guy is ready. Usher knows it too; the cameras couldn’t resist capturing the cheesy grin plastered on his face.

Are you currently trying to download the performance on iTunes? Me too.

And to think that Adam Levine eliminated Kaufman in the second battle round is just mind-blowing. Christmas came early for Usher this year, who snuck in and snatched up a strong frontrunner.

“Stay With Me” is resonating with the rest of America too. The song has already skyrocketed up to number four on iTunes, which will have a multiplying effect of five on his voting results.

Adam, what on EARTH were you thinking?