Best #1 single of the year: 2014

The final Billboard charts for 2014 have been released this morning, meaning that I can now finally do the poll that I started this whole series to tide me over until I could do; the best #1 single of this year.

Only 10 songs made it to #1 this year, with one carryover from 2013, but IMO they’re all pretty good ones (I’ll share my personal thoughts a little later on so as to avoid priming the pump). What’s your favorite?

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s

Cast mine for Taylor Swift, it is her year. The songs are good not great, but I feel Pharrell’s “Happy” is the classic on this list and will be remembered years from now. I think Mr. Williams will lead this poll. I like the Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX song. None are terrible some just meh.

Signed Dec 18, 2014.

Just remembered, “All About That Bass” is terrible, it was catchy first few times but now annoying. Meghan Trainor looks pretty awful, her confidence not withstanding. If she looks like that 22 what will she look like at 62?! But that is important, the song is hypocritical and shames skinny people while saying fat is beautiful.

I’m yelling “Timber!”

Here’s to many more future Kesha #1 songs.

I honestly can’t award a consolation prize for best non-Kesha song this year. The only other one I truly like is " The Monster," and that’s really a carryover from 2013. I agree with Nema98’s comment on Meaghan Traynor’s skinny shaming

Dead-ass last place belongs to “Dark Horse” with an automatic score of ZERO in the world-famous** Ponch8 Music Rating System**, like all Dr. Luke-produced songs not featuring Kesha.

Blank Space was the best song on the list. I like that tune. I also find it amusing that it essentially is TS winking at her reputation of being a Maneater.

Had that song not been on the list I would have voted for Fancy. I can’t justify the song but I like it and I am not proud of that fact.

Blank Space, no doubt whatever. All About That Bass is way overplayed, but so were most of the others, which are much of a muchness.


I voted for Shake It Off. Could have voted for Blank Space but it’s still new to me so not quite as into it as SIO.

Naah, it’s the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” of 2014.

I’m going to go ahead and give my thoughts on each of these songs.

*The Monster; This song is just OK. Eminem’s rhymes are still as good as ever, but this song doesn’t cover any territory he didn’t cover 10-15 years ago. As far as his teaming up with Rihanna goes, this is no Love the Way You Lie.

*Timber; I don’t really care much for Pitbull - his lyrics always tend to be the same “Partying up in the club and girls look hot and product placement and HAVE I MENTIONED LATELY THAT I’M FROM MIAMI 'CAUSE I’M TOTALLY FROM MIAMI”, but I have to admit I like this song. It has a very different sound from most hip-hop, and the harmonica riff (borrowed by Pitbull’s own admission from Lee Oskar’s “San Francisco Bay”) is damn catchy. It’s a little too repetitive for its own good, and the product placement is as annoying as it always is in Pitbull songs, but I can’t hate it.

  • Dark Horse; This is one of my least favorite songs of the year. Katy Perry isn’t as fun as she used to be; compare this to anything from Teenage Dream (which I will shamelessly admit is one of my favorite pop albums of recent decades) and it almost doesn’t even sound like it’s by the same person. Juicy J’s guest rap doesn’t really add anything here (though at least it’s not as godawful as his contribution to the not-seen-in-this-poll “Talk Dirty”.)

  • Happy; This is the song I fully expect to win the poll in the long run. It’s got a great old-school soul sound, it’s simple without being condescending or childish, it’s easy to sing along to, and it just makes you feel happy. My only complaint here is that the song is too long - doing the breakdown twice just drags down the outro too much and the song loses its pace.

  • All Of Me: It’s a good song for what it is. It’s a little baffling that a solo piano love song by a teetering-on-the-edge-of-mainstream singer-songwriter made it to #1 in 2014, but it’s a good love song and the wordplay works well.

  • Fancy; I have mixed feelings about this song. Something about a white girl from Australia trying to imitate an urban black American accent just doesn’t sit right with me on a fundamental level (and really jibes with her assertion that she’s “the realest”), and in the end it’s ultimately just the same kind of shallow bitches-and-bling crunk rap that’s been getting churned out mechanically since the turn of the century. Still, Iggy does have good flow and the lyrics are decent. Charli XCX is a dead ringer for Gwen Stefani on the chorus, to the point that before I knew the name of the song I was just calling it “Hollaback Girl 2.0” in my head. It’s not my favorite song of the year, or even my favorite of Iggy’s singles this year (that would be “Black Widow”), but I probably wouldn’t change the channel if it came on.

  • Rude; Ska music was pretty big in southern California during my teenage years, and though I wasn’t really into it at the time, hearing this song calls to mind some good memories from those times. I fell in love with this song the instant I first heard it on the radio. The lyrics are a bit odd at places (and I know I can’t be the only person who thought it was going to be a gay love story when I first heard the opening lines), but I just love the instrumentals here.

*Shake It Off; I love me some Taylor Swift, and I’ve been following her since her teen years writing acoustic country love songs about Tim McGraw and Christmas songs about why Jesus is awesome. She’s been shying away from country for years now and this song represents her full embracement of pop, to the degree that it’s even co-written by Max Martin (author of several songs featured in this poll series, including “Baby One More Time”, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, “3”, and pretty much all of Katy Perry’s singles). Lyrically, this one doesn’t cover any territory that “Mean” didn’t cover, but it’s a catchy song and I shamelessly sing along to it in the car.

*All About That Bass; Stuffy old songs about the buttocks from a female point of view used to be pretty rare, but I can think of at least three that came out this year alone, not including this one. I started out liking this song and found myself disliking it the more I heard it. As mentioned above, it presents itself as a feminist body-positive anthem, yet it goes out of its way to insult the “skinny bitches”, and insinuates that the only reason for a girl to be happy about being of size is because men will like her that way and she’ll be able to “shake it like [she’s] supposed to do”.

*Blank Space; Lyrically, this one is almost the exact opposite of Shake It Off; it’s essentially Taylor saying that the people who say she stays out too late, has nothing on her brain, and goes on too many dates but can’t make them stay are right. It’s well-written and produced, bitterly introspective and self-depreciative, catchy, and just altogether a good song, aside from that lyric about boys only wanting love if it’s torture.

In the end, I narrowly voted for Rude just ahead of Happy and Blank Space. My honorable mention goes to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”, which I first heard early this year on the alternative rock station in the wee small hours and was completely surprised to see it gradually rocket into the top 10. I was hoping it’d make #1 this year, but alas, it’s currently stuck at #2 behind Blank Space. Its sales and airplay are still going up, though, so maybe we’ll get to vote on it in the 2015 poll.

Gotta be “Happy.” It actually took me a few listens to really, really get into it, but it’s easily the pop hit of 2014.

One final note, putting aside “Monster” which is a carry rollover hit, 2014 is the first year where Rihanna did not hit #1, first since 2005.

That is cause for celebration.

To reiterate, the songs are not bad, except “All About That Bass”, but it’s Pharrell Williams and the two Taylor Swift songs. “Happy” should win this.

Happy’s the only song on that list that I’ve even heard of, so it wins by default. Fortunately, unlike most songs these days, it’s pretty easy on the ears.

“Happy” is the obvious pick but I accidentally voted for “Dark Horse.” It’s not gonna matter.

For completeness sake, Max Martin also co-wrote “We Will Never Ever Ever Get Back Together” with Taylor Swift.

This year is actually harder than I thought it would be, so let’s start with the ones I could immediately cross off my list:

“The Monster” - never did much for me.

“Happy” - You know, I was a big fan of Aloe Black’s “I’m the Man” for about 2 weeks until “Happy” came to dominate the radio, then I realized that both songs were pretty empty emotional lifts. When dislike for one song causes you to dislike a previously-enjoyed song… that’s saying something. Not since “Eye of the Tiger” has a song topped the charts that has sounded so contrived. Of all the songs on this list, this is the one that will automatically make me reach for the radio dial.

“All of Me” - Other than the '70s, when I grew up immersed in this stuff, I’ve never been a big fan of the “whiny man” genre.

“Fancy” - Sounds a lot like “Hollaback Girl” and since the world already has one Christina Aguilara, we don’t need another, right? On the other hand, I completely cracked my family up when, hearing this on the radio, I referred to Izzy Azalea as “Lizard Iguana”. You probably had to be there.

“Rude” - guy sounds like too much of a self-immersed 20-something. Ugh. Guy, it’s not that he doesn’t want his daughter to get married, he just doesn’t want her marrying a loser like you. Oh, wait, was that rude? Well, get the fuck over it.

“Blank Space” - not much to say about this one, a bit too recent to impress me one way or another.

Now for the ones I like…

“Shake it Off” - Possibly the weakest of the 4 songs that I want to vote for, but it’s a very enjoyable tune. People talk about Taylor going all pop this year and I guess I’m just a confused old man as I thought she was always pop… country-tinged pop, but pop nonetheless.

“All About that Bass” - Fortunately, I don’t listen to top-40 radio so often that sheer repetitiveness makes me dislike a song, so this one is still fun (“Happy” is the exception as you could NOT escape that contrived POS to save your life). And, as one who likes a little bit of booty, I endorse the message and don’t really give a flying F about the fact that she was mean to all those poor thin girls.

“Dark Horse” - It will be hard casting no less than my third vote for KP in these yearly charts (seriously, how the hell did that happen?), but I really, really like this song.

“Timber” - This one gets my vote as it is easily my most played song of the year - a completely goofy, idiotic country-rap song that in no way should work… except that it does. And Kesha really carries this one… I saw Pitbull do the song without her on one of last years “New Years Countdown” shows and, OMG, it could have been the worst professional performance I’ve ever seen. Everything about it screamed “no talent douche” and while the first half of that judgment is probably wrong, I’ve seen nothing of the man that says the “douchy” part is incorrect.

I was going to agree with the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System and give my vote to Ke$ha, but then Eminem had to be awesome again. You know, I never thought I’d be an Eminem fan back when “The Real Slim Shady” came out, but there you go.

I hate “Happy.” It reminds me of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and that is never a good thing.