The 101 Most Vital Tracks of 2014 | 10 - 1

This is it: the ten tracks that dominated 2014.

|
Dec 17 2014, 11:00pm

10. Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne : "My Love" [Rinse]

2014 was the year of the groovy UK house number and "My Love" was one that helped keep the fire burning thanks in no small part to buzzy crooner Jess Glynne. Like Glynn, Route 94 (aka Rowan Tyler Jones) is a newcomer too, and the pair adeptly drew upon musical references beyond their years (and those of most of their listeners). The heatmap party video certainly helped get this tune out there, but the vocal rinse Route 94 puts on Glynne is the real allure here. Nearly a year after is release this one still has us not just feeling the love, but wanting to cook Jones and Glynne breakfast, lunch, and dinner. -DG

9. FKA Twigs : "Two Weeks" [Young Turks]

FKA Twigs lives in the space between. Time and time again, she's proved that her ability to imbue emptiness with meaning is unsurpassed. Whether it's through delicate breathing, pregnant silences, or sparse productions, Twigs knows that what's left unsaid is always more powerful than anything you could scream into a mic. On "Two Weeks"—an S&M-inclined song about jealousy and sexual prowess—her mastery of minimalism is on full display. The Aaliyah-referencing video still gives the chills, too. Bow down to this queen. -ML
 

 8. Stromae : "Ta fête" [Republic]

"It's time to dance," commands Belgian singer/songwriter/producer Stromae in the opening lines of "Ta fête," the first cut on his 2013 album, Racine Carée, and a sleeper hit this year. (The Belgians even used it as their hype song during the World Cup.) Party records—especially ones specifically about parties—aren't supposed to have meaning, and Stromae intelligently doesn't push it. With a growing global audience, it's all but assured that most of his fans don't understand French well enough to know what this tune is about. But musically, there is nowhere to hide between the tribal drumming and 90s house-inspired synth breaks. It's Stromae's growl that pulls it all together, making a record that will be an invariable cornerstone of what promises to be a long and successful career ahead. -ZM

7. Porter Robinson : "Sea of Voices" [Astralwerks]

When Porter Robinson posted "Sea of Voices," the first track off his hyper-anticipated album Worlds, the Internet promptly exploded. What's remarkable is that this happened in the middle of the live celebrity worship-fest known as the Oscars (pre-Ellen selfie)—proving how formidable his army of fans really are. The nearly five-minute track opens with tinkling chimes and swollen strings, the song builds to a sweet voice singing, "We'll see creation come undone." And just like that, Porter Robinson drove a stake in the heart of generic dance music and crowned himself the new king of the post-EDM movement. -ML 

6. Tinashe: "2 On" [RCA]

On "2 On," Tinashe sings about smoking weed while giving us a beat worthy of the whip. Produced by DJ Mustard, the R&B singer's debut crossed over hard this year, birthing a few inspired remixes along the way from the likes of TOKiMONSTA and Dubbel Dutch. In a single record, Tinashe heralds a new age of R&B that draws musical influences from across the electronic spectrum and is lyrically rooted in the reality of a generation's lives (which sometimes includes drinking and getting high). Plus, is there a better missive than "get money like an invoice?" -ZM 
 

5: Lorde : "Tennis Court" (Flume Remix) [Lava/Republic/Virgin/EMI]

Was this song destined to be anything but enormous? His remix of "Tennis Court" was Flume's most impressive to date, and that's a hefty title. It also reintroduced Lorde to those who thought she'd been lost for good to AAA radio. This remix takes chances and doesn't give a fuck about making you listen to it build for a minute and a half before an inverted drop and vocal echo of "ohh" explodes. The strength of the original meant that this song could have been put together in a day and still be brilliant, but the final result knew exactly what it was: the coming-together of two of Down Under's most influential artists. - ZR

4. Oliver Heldens featuring Becky Hill :  "Gecko (Overdrive)" [Spinnin']

No track captured the energy of this year's Future House sound like Helden's "Gecko." That is, until the "Overdrive" version dropped with Becky Hill's popped out vocals on top. The rerub went on to commandeer the UK charts—a surprising feat even in a post-"Animals" world. Heldens became an unlikely hero among the Dutch DJ contingent thanks to this song and his apparent preference for music over DJ fame. Go figure.  -JK


3. ZHU : "Faded" [Mind of a Genius]

Perhaps too much has been made of Zhu's in-the-shadows identity; he's not the first to put out an ID track. With a logo and studied graphic design around all of his releases, it's not as if he's saying nothing beyond the record itself. Still, it's nice to be able to interact with music without a potentially wonky personality to distract from the experience. The fact that this track was so tremendously over-played and over-remixed, but still manages to be endlessly listenable is testament to it's worth. It's simple, haunting, and will be remembered as one of the seminal tunes that brought deeper house to the post-EDM mainstream.- JK

2. SOPHIE: "Lemonade" [Numbers]

One of the most talked-about tracks of the year, "Lemonade" neatly divided the dance music community into dewy-eyed fans and dismissive skeptics. Wherever you stand, one thing is for sure: its neon-drenched synths, cartoonish vocals, and strange, mechanical textures sounded like little else out there, and kickstarted a movement that solidified under the PC Music umbrella. One day, our grandchildren will look back at "Lemonade" as the track where the Internet first crawled out of mute darkness to give itself a voice. -ML

1. Kiesza: "Hideaway" [Lokal Legend/Island]

Moms love it, David Letterman loves it, 170 million YouTube viewers love it too. The lyrics say it all, "You're just a hideaway, you're just a feeling," validating the Canadian singer's status as ephemeral new presence on the dance music scene. How is it that so rarely does dance music connect with actual dancing? What we do know is that in "Hideaway" we learn all about electronic music's best self: melodic, fun, and authentic in its creation and relationship with its audience. Were Kiesza to disappear after this track (and she most definitely has not), she would have left behind a meaningful footprint with those red sneakers, inspiring all of us to embrace our own inner-weirdness and move our bodies on a dancefloor... or sidewalk for that matter. -DG

Words by THUMP Staff: Zel McCarthyJemayel KhawajaMichelle LhooqDavid GarberZiad RamleyJosh BainesOlyvia Salyer, and Joel Fowler.

The 101 Most Vital Tracks of 2014 | No. 101 - 91 | No. 90 - 81 | No. 80 - 71 No. 70 - 61 |
No. 60 - 51 | No. 50 - 41 | No. 40 - 31 | No. 30 - 21 | No. 20 - 11 | No. 10 - 1 |

Stories