Rihanna – What Now?
Rihanna is at her best when she drops the tough girl persona. In What Now, she allows us into her mind as she goes through her own emotional breakdown. Filled with raw and powerful emotions, this song is truly gripping. It really feels like we’re getting to see the real Rihanna, free of the cold and unapologetic persona that we’re used to seeing.
Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had
While not the catchiest or most ground breaking song on the list musically, Best I Ever Had features song truly awesome lyrics. Singing about playing to audiences who can’t take their eyes off of their smart phones, a world full of hipsters, drone use, and everything in between. Its a socially conscious love song that is smart, witty, and incredibly catchy to boot!
Kings of Leon – Wait for Me
In 2013, the Kings brought us a new album full of their southern style garage rock. Unlike their more popular single, Supersoaker, Wait for Me is a bit more mellow, stripped back, and introspective, which is the side of Kings of Leon that I’ve always preferred. Its mellow guitars and Caleb’s smokey vocals make this song a truly enjoyable listen.
Zedd – Clarity (ft. Foxes)
Teaming up with English powerhouse vocalist, Foxes, Zedd gave us one of the year’s best EDM pop tracks. Featuring an unforgettable display of vocal power, emotional lyrics, and an absolutely killer dance beat, this song dominated radio waves and dace floors all across the world.
Aloe Blacc – The Man
RnB had a huge year in 2013, and it looks like its going to be even bigger in 2014. Alo Blacc had his first real breakout with his Avicii collaboration, bringing his soulful vocal stylings to a wide audience. However, his follow up single, The Man, is a full display of soul that takes us back to the genre’s glory days. This song has already started making waves in 2014, heightening anticipation for Aloe’s upcoming album.
Sick Puppies – There’s No Going Back
This band is at their best when they aren’t trying to be taken seriously as a group of bad asses. Their softer, warmer, and more acoustic songs truly shine, with this song being a true testament to that statement. There’s No Going Back featured some gorgeous instrumentals with truly uplifting lyrics. It was without a doubt the bands best effort since their All the Same debut.
Krewella – Live for the Night
2013 was a great year to be an EDM power-trio. Gorgeous vocals, gorgeous women, a killer techno beat, and energetic live performances made this group one of the year’s rising stars. Live for the Night was a colorful and vivid ode to the night life. With its rapturous synths and expert production, this song was a crowd pleasing party starter.
Nine Inch Nails – Everything
Going pop isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, this departure from Reznor’s usually dark and brooding style may have left a sour taste in some fans mouths, but you can’t deny that it was easily his catchiest and most radio-friendly single to date. An energetic toe tapper that still features Reznor’s raw vocals, and features tons of thrash-able moments, Everything is without a doubt a stand out on the sorta-band’s discography.
The Band Perry – DONE.
I’m not a huge fan of Country music, but The Band Perry is one act that I find simply gripping. In Done, their bite and attitude simply radiate from the speakers and somehow manage to kick you in the ass. Plus, singing this song towards the end of a challenging workday is straight up fun. It kind of give you some of the ass kicking swagger the band brings to this song!
Carrie Underwood – See You Again
Okay…so, confession time. I originally had the far superior Blown Away ranked at this position. However, upon further research, I discovered that the song was, in fact, released in 2012. As such, I resorted to scrambling to find a song that could be seamlessly placed on this list at this position…and all I could come up with was yet another Carrie track. If I could redo the list, I would place this powerful and uplifting ballad a little further down on the list (probably high 50’s). But you know what? This is a truly beautiful song with a powerful message, sung by a phenomenal singer.