The Best Songs of 2014

We will be running our top albums of 2014 between Christmas and New Year – what will win the coveted Spend Matters Album of the Year Award, we wonder? I honestly have not decided yet – this year it is a very difficult choice. But today, here are both a few thoughts for last minute gifts perhaps, and also my favourite tracks of the year.

Rock

The rockers in your life will enjoy excellent rock albums from Ex Hex with Rips (think Blondie, Ramones but with ace guitar work from all girl trio), War on Drugs (who knew that old schools Bob Seger / Springsteen rock with some Floyd dreamy psychedelic interludes could work so well)? For your younger relatives, You Me At Six moved up into stadium territory with the tuneful but driving Cavalier Youth, and Catfish and the Bottlemen showed the spirit of raucous Brit-pop-rock did not die with Oasis, with their debut, The Balcony.

But the rock track of the year – from certainly one of the best albums of 2014 - just has to be Ten Tonne Skeleton from Royal Blood’s eponymous debut album . An instant classic.

 

Indie

Good album choices for the indie kids in your life are Bombay Bicycle Club’s varied and clever So Long See You Tomorrow , another excellent Horrors album in Luminous , Merchandise with an interesting but commercial REM/Smiths sound on After The End, and Hookworms hypnotic dance/rock The Hum. But favourite “indie” track, and there’s a pretty broad category, goes to Warm Foothills from Alt-J’s excellent second album, This Is All Yours.

 

Pop

For the popsters in your family, Taylor Swift has matured into a superb songwriter, and we loved La Roux’s album, Trouble in PAradise. We were tempted to make the annoying yet totally compulsive Meghan Trainor and All About The Bass pop track of the year, but this just beat it - the talented Charli XCX with Boomclap. Her album is out in January. This young woman has already written two of the greatest pop songs of the last decade (this and Icona Pop’s “I Love It”) - not bad for a 22 year old from Bishop’s Stortford.

 

Singer-songwriters

It was a great year for singer songwriters, mainly male in the UK/Ireland and female in the US (EMA, Sharon van Etten, Angle Olsson, Frazey Ford, Sky Ferrriera). At the relatively easy listening end, everyone will enjoy George Ezra and , whilst Ben Howard with has a more complex aspect to his work. Jamie T made a very strong comeback, and Like a Zombie wins our “most fun yet cleverly constructed” song of the year!

But my songwriter track of the year, just beating the weird and wonderful FKA Twigs with her Two Weeks from LP1  is Hozier with “Take me To The Church” from his brilliant debut Hozier – to be enjoyed by pretty much anyone, we would imagine.

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