Sam Smith – Stay With Me
This year was a defining moment for this British crooner. US pop radio isn’t usually receptive or welcoming to emotional, gospel inspired ballads. And yet, Stay With Me‘s raw honesty, and exquisite vocals had all of America in acollective state of awe. Who would have thought that a song so fragile and vulnerable could also be so powerful and moving? Undoubtedly, Sam Smith’s career making debut will go down as a future classic, and will always be remembered as one of the decade’s best.
Kiesza – Hideaway
EDM is still going strong, but everyone seems to be tired of the same old sounds. Beat drops and dubstep are finally out, while House is the new trend! Leading the charge is this newcomer, and her infectious hit, Hideaway! This song brought us a blast of nostalgic 90’s sounds, reminding us of the EDM movement’s roots. Kiesza gave the genre something of a re-birth, making it sound both nostalgic and classic, yet relevant and refreshing! With its swanky beats and killer vocals, Hideaway is one song that was on constant repeat through out the year.
The Airborne Toxic Event – Wrong
This indie band decided to take their music in a surprising new direction. Wrong instantly begins with Mikel Jolette’s voice in falsetto, among a series of synthesizers. Its a bit jarring at first (considering their music up to this point has been characterized by neither falsetto nor synthesizers), but as the song takes shape, it becomes clear that the band is headed someplace new and exciting! The song fizzes with a dream like sound before exploding into a powerful chorus that brings us everything we’ve ever loved about The Airborne Toxic Event.
Taylor Swift – Blank Space
Taylor has made it clear that her country days are behind her, and at this point, I don’t care if she ever goes back. Her knack for penning a solid pop hit is undeniable, and this might very well be her best one yet! Here, she plays with tabloid notions, and turns them on their head with a sense of self-depreciating sarcasm and a witty charm. There’s no better way to get back at the haters than to turn their criticisms into a massive pop hit and not even bother giving them a shout out in the song! And that infamous lyric that’s become every woman’s facebook status; “Baby I’m a nightmare dressed as a day dream?” Definite points for songwriting!
Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky
If you aren’t moved to tears by this song, you might as well turn in your membership card to the human race. Amid a minimalist psych-rock arrangement, Paolo’s voice finds a way to pierce right to the very core of your being. His soulful tone and emotional delivery are simply gripping as her delivers lyrics about global problems, and government oppression. A well placed sample from Charlie Caplin’s famous speech gives the song a chilling tone before launching into a final chorus that will give you chills. This song is simply like no other.