By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
In all honesty, 2014 has been a mixed bag in music!
However, there were 24 gems that ignited the hearts of music lovers and aficionados this year.
This year’s tracks that are featured in The 24 Songs of 2014 include a diverse group of covers, collaborations and original material!
Before, we get this countdown started…I want to thank 103.7 KISS FM radio personality Nathan Graham for helping me (and debated with me) on this project. He is an incredible friend of mine and has a bright future in the radio industry.
- Big & Rich: “Look At You”
The country duo’s first single off of their fifth studio album, Gravity, is a beautiful country ballad that focuses on a darling beauty that captures the heart of the listener.
- Melissa Etheridge: “Like A Preacher”
A highlight on Ms. Etheridge’s 12th studio album was the gospel rock track: “Like A Preacher.” My fellow Kansan’s hypnotic lyrics and superb arrangement will leave listeners in a trance and should have been nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance!
- Joss Stone feat. Jeff Beck: “No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France)”
Coming in at number 22 is Joss Stone and Jeff Beck’s latest collaboration: a Rock/Gospel cover of Eric Bogle’s 1973 hit: “No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France).” This moving performance gave listeners chills and paid homage to the brave fallen British soldiers and World War I survivors.
- Pharrell Williams feat. Miley Cyrus: “Come Get It Bae”
The Voice coach delivered unbelievable material for Girl…his second studio album in eight years! While Pharrell scored a massive hit with “Happy” in 2013, it was his collaboration with Miley Cyrus that blazed into both radio stations and clubs across the country. With Pharrell’s catchy lyrics and Miley’s irresistible “Heys,” it is no wonder that is was one of the most popular R&B hits of 2014!
- Calvin Harris feat. John Newman: “Blame”
One of the best dance albums of 2014 was Calvin Harris’s fourth studio album: Motion. Because of Calvin Harris’s smooth beats and John Newman’s excellent vocals, “Blame” peaked at the number one spot on several music charts including Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic songs.
- Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood: “Somethin’ Bad”
Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood are two of country music’s biggest vocalists! Each of them carved a place in country music history with their countless CMAs and CMT Awards. However, when the Millennials’ Thelma & Louise released their duet “Somethin’ Bad,” the duet exploded over YouTube with a combined 25,015,000 views and received four award nominations!
- Shakira: “Dare (La La La) [Brazil 2014]”
The world was united as the 2014 FIFA World Cup commenced in Brazil! As elite soccer players faced off in intense games, former Voice coach Shakira remixed her hit from her self-titled album and not only it became an anthem for the World Cup, it also was one of the most viewed music videos of the year with 430,337,000 hits.
- Pitbull feat. John Ryan: “Fireball”
Mr. 305 transported his fans to a 1940s-inspired Salsa club with his latest hit: “Fireball.” This track was definitely a must listen for both professionals and non-dancers alike and it also put a pep in its listeners’ leg movements.
- Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj: “Bang Bang”
Three years ago, Nicki Minaj teamed up with two of the hottest names in music: Britney Spears and Kesha for a rousing remix of Ms. Spears’ hit: “Till the World Ends.” More recently, Ms. Minaj teamed up with Jessie J and Ariana Grande for their first live performance of their hit “Bang Bang” at the 2014 American Music Awards. This explosive performance set the bar for future collaborations!
- David Guetta & Sia: “The Whisperer”
One of the best songwriter partnerships in today’s modern music industry is French DJ & Producer David Guetta and Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler. Each time they collaborate, the Internet explodes and when it was revealed that the duo worked together for two tracks…fans were beside themselves. However, out of their two duets…”The Whisperer” gave everyone chills because it radically marked a departure from their usual up-tempo material and into uncharted territory: ballads!
- Mary J. Blige: “Therapy”
For her latest studio album, Grammy winner Mary J. Blige traveled to England and recruited some of the next generation’s hit makers to help her evolve her artistry. One of the best tracks on the album was “Therapy.” Co-written with R&B’s latest it boy, Sam Smith, “Therapy” captures the essence of 1950s Doo-wop and Blues heartbreak.
- Carrie Underwood: “Something in the Water”
It is hard to believe that it has almost been 10 years since Carrie Underwood was crowned the winner of American Idol’s fourth season. Six Grammys, 11 CMT Awards and 16 Billboard Music Awards later, Ms. Underwood released her biggest single in the 2010s: “Something in the Water.” The track perfectly blended country and gospel together, plus it remains one of the most inspirational songs of the year!
- Will Champlin: “Eye of the Pyramid”
While he did not win Season Five of The Voice, Will Champlin won the hearts of millions of fans with his artistry. When Will unleashed his first post-Voice album, Borrowing Trouble, his first single: “Eye of the Pyramid,” he and longtime collaborate, Steve Gallagher, showed that they did need assistance from A-list music makers Max Martin, Benny Blanco or Diane Warren to create a track that set the Internet on fire!
- Meghan Trainor: “All About That Bass”
Meghan Trainor turned heads when her first single, “All About That Bass, became a viral sensation. With over 430,551,450 views on YouTube and three Grammy nominations, Ms. Trainor’s empowerment song has given countless of women confidence with their body image and made everyone smile.
- Bette Midler: “Waterfalls”
The Divine Miss M kicks off the Top 10 with her powerful cover of TLC’s signature songs: “Waterfalls.” With the help of her producers, Marc Shaiman and Scott Riesett, the music legend transfigured “Waterfalls” into a beautiful piano-and-violin-based track that gave listeners a strong case of the “Goosies”!
- Alex Boye feat. Lexi Walker and the One Voice Children’s Choir: “Let It Go”
Frozen mania dominated 2014! Countless of established (and amateur) artists released their cover of the Oscar-winning song onto YouTube. The best “Let It Go” cover of them all was Alex Boye’s collaboration with rising superstar Lexi Walker and AGT alums: the One Voice Children’s Choir. The power of Lexi’s vocals and Alex’s impeccable Africanized arrangement caught the attention of over 58,225,530 YouTube users and helped One Voice Children’s Choir secure a place in the AGT live shows.
- Ed Sheeran: “Sing”
When I first heard “Sing,” I thought it was JT, Robin Thicke or Adam Levine singing the single. However, when Mix 93.3’s Ponch revealed that Ed Sheeran actually sang the Pharrell Williams-penned track, I was not only blown away…but I instantly became a huge fan of the British singer-songwriter! His falsetto hypnotized me into playing the track seven times in a row and was one of the best songs that were released in April.
- Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX: “Fancy”
Two years ago, I watched Iggy Azalea make her Kansas City debut at the very first Dancefestopia. The moment I heard her drop her first rap, I knew that she was going to be special. “Fancy” was truly the song of the summer because of Iggy’s raps and Charli XCX’s charming hooks. I have a feeling that Ms. Azalea will be a fixture in the music industry for years to come!
- Pentatonix: “On My Way Home”
One of Jake’s Take’s favorite bands have taken the world by storm! A cappella group Pentatonix released a new EP and a full-length Christmas album that have dominated the charts. However, the song that helped them break the barrier was a powerful original song called “On My Way Home.” When the group performed the song on CONAN this year, viewers got chills as the group’s signature vocal harmonies enchanted the audience and impressed the veteran late night host.
- Taylor Swift: “Shake It Off”
Taylor Swift made a huge transition in the music world this year! She abandoned her country roots and transitioned into pop rock! This new career path also lead her to one of her biggest singles ever! “Shake It Off” peaked at number one on 14 music charts; her music video reached over 413,979,988 views on YouTube and earned Ms. Swift—three Grammy nominations!
- Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers: “You Can’t Make Old Friends”
For 30 years, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers have been country music’s best duet partners. Their latest duet, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” showcased their long friendship and truly connected with their die-hard and next generation of fans. Just a word of caution, this track might induce the listener to tears.
- Barbra Streisand & Billy Joel: “New York State of Mind”
The best duet of 2014 goes to two music legends: Ms. Barbra Streisand and Mr. Billy Joel! Both New Yorkers came together to sing one of the Big Apple’s most recognizable anthems: “New York State of Mind.” The beauty in Ms. Streisand’s voice and the power from Mr. Joel’s vocals clearly proved that these recording icons still have it!
- Emily West: “Chandelier”
I am so excited for next year’s Grammy Awards because it will put two superb songs against each other for multiple categories! Sia Furler’s breakout hit: “Chandelier” not only earned four nominations (including Record of the Year and Song of the Year), but it also was covered multiple times on Reality TV. However, only America’s Got Talent: Season Nine Runner-Up Emily West transformed this song into her own and her rendition made it into the number two spot on the countdown!
- Sam Smith: “Stay with Me”
Sia and Taylor Swift’s top competitor in the Grammy race is Sam Smith! The UK divo’s melancholy signature song has captured three Grammy awards (including Best Pop Solo Performance) and over 185,244,400 views on YouTube. Congratulations, Sam! “Stay With Me” is Jake’s Take’s “Song of 2014.”
I do not own any of the music videos that are highlighted in the column. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels!