It was a good year for good music. And the reality is, it's not easy selecting a list of 100 from this year's mammoth roster.
2014 Best Albums || 2014 Artists of the Year
For various reasons, the songs below—although merely a sample of the year's best—struck a chord over the past 12 months. From newcomers to mainstream stalwarts, there was something for everyone.
In fact, don't be surprised to see some of the names below topping charts and making festival rounds in 2015.
(Hit play below to listen to our Best Songs of 2014 playlist on Spotify.)
100 /// RAURY
The Atlanta artist proved his versatility with this acoustic-driven cut.
099 /// PHANTOGRAM
FALL IN LOVE
Pure ear candy from the duo’s best album yet.
098 /// RYN WEAVER
A dreamy debut from the buzzworthy songstress.
097 /// FUTURE
MOVE THAT DOPE (FEAT. PHARRELL, PUSHA T & CASINO)
This fiery cut helped make Future a star this year.
096 /// AQUILO
I GAVE IT ALL
It’s like four minutes of heaven.
095 /// POPCAAN
WHERE WE COME FROM
The Jamaican native created one of the year’s most fascinating songs.
094 /// DILLON FRANCIS
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG (FEAT. SULTAN + NED SHEPARD & THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974)
An infectious, club-ready cut.
093 /// JESSIE WARE
SAY YOU LOVE ME
Just one of the gems off the singer’s new album, Tough Love.
092 /// SBTRKT
NEW DORP. NEW YORK (FEAT. EZRA KOENIG)
A jittery jam from quite a brilliant pair of musicians.
091 /// LORDE
YELLOW FLICKER BEAT
It may not conquer the world like “Royals,” but this song shows how much the singer has already grown.
090 /// OSCAR KEY SUNG
The Australian musician delivered a glowing favorite early in the year.
089 /// SHARON VAN ETTEN
EVERY TIME THE SUN COMES UP
An instant classic from an exquisite album.
088 /// TINASHE
2 ON (FEAT. SCHOOLBOY Q)
Such an irresistible track from two of the year’s brightest voices.
087 /// KWABS
This song makes it hard to ignore the the Ghana-born artist heading into 2015.
086 /// STROMAE
MELTDOWN (FEAT. LORDE, HAIM, PUSHA T & Q-TIP)
A massive collaboration that could have easily made someone’s full-length instead of a Hunger Games soundtrack.
085 /// SAINT PEPSI
Summer can last forever, thanks to this savory cut from the New York producer.
084 /// LITTLE DRAGON
The evolution of Little Dragon shines beautifully here.
083 /// ERIK HASSLE
An addictive single from the Swedish singer-songwriter.
082 /// SCHOOLBOY Q
MAN OF THE YEAR
Perhaps the strongest cut off the TDE rapper’s latest full-length.
081 /// THE KOOKS
A shift in sound was more than welcome thanks to this electric offering.
080 /// SZA
BABYLON (FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)
Kendrick Lamar and his label mate created a stunning fusion of sounds on the latter’s new EP.
079 /// COLDPLAY
Longtime fans were caught off guard with the band’s latest experimentation, on full display here.
078 /// LYKKE LI
NO REST FOR THE WICKED (FEAT. A$AP ROCKY)
Both the original cut and this A$AP remix put the Swedish songstress back on top.
077 /// THE BLACK KEYS
A riveting first sample off the duo’s latest LP.
076 /// SOHN
An intoxicating offering from one of the year’s most impressive acts.
075 /// FOSTER THE PEOPLE
COMING OF AGE
Appropriately titled, this track marked an exciting return from the Mark Foster-led outfit.
074 /// PORTER ROBINSON
SEA OF VOICES
This was a beautiful game-changer for the young producer, who challenged the system this year.
073 /// VAULTS
A haunting spectacle from the British newcomers, who are most definitely on the rise.
072 /// JUNGLE
It flowed like molten lava. But instead of running from it, you want to run toward it.
071 /// VACATIONER
A pleasantly crisp tune not just for summertime.
070 /// DAWN GOLDEN
ALL I WANT
A mesmerizing cut that demands to be played over and over again.
069 /// ALVVAYS
ARCHIE, MARRY ME
The Toronto act gives us hope that great things can—maybe—last forever.
068 /// SAM HUNT
EX TO SEE
He’s definitely country but he’s changing the game with this and other rap-inspired, electronic-embracing cuts that are more Taylor than Toby.
067 /// BLEACHERS
It feels like when the credits begin to roll at the end of a movie, after everyone finally rides off into the sunset.
066 /// BLACK MILK
WHAT IT’S WORTH
An introspective track that makes the rapper quite relatable.
065 /// SOLOMON GREY
LAST CENTURY MAN
It’s far too easy to get lost in this one.
064 /// BROODS
NEVER GONNA CHANGE
The brother-sister duo were unstoppable when it came to releasing magical pop candy like this.
063 /// BEN KHAN
A glowing cut from the rising London-based musician.
062 /// PAOLO NUTINI
A powerful, gripping track from one of modern soul’s best voices.
061 /// VÉRITÉ
There’s no denying, this glossy track deserves to be famous—as does its singer.
060 /// ALT-J
HUNGER OF THE PINE
The trio discovered new life with this budding, Miley Cyrus-sampling track.
059 /// LUKE JAMES
A wonderfully massive R&B cut that showcases James’ incredible skill.
058 /// SAM SURE
A balmy debut single from this up-and-coming singer-songwriter, who is a eyeing an incredible 2015.
057 /// JAPANESE WALLPAPER
Press play and submerse yourself in this celestial offering.
056 /// PENGUIN PRISON
A summery return from Chris Glover, which leaves listeners craving more.
055 /// LION BABE
JUMP HI (FEAT. CHILDISH GAMBINO)
Quite the exuberant introduction for the duo comprised of Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman.
054 /// RYAN HEMSWORTH
SNOW IN NEWARK (FEAT. DAWN GOLDEN)
An enchanting creation from Hemsworth, sharpened by the vocals of Dexter Tortoriello (aka Dawn Golden).
053 /// SLOW MAGIC
This one might literally be magic.
052 /// THE ACID
It quietly builds to a fantastic pinnacle.
051 /// MAC DEMARCO
The hazy track is a grower but once it starts rolling, it’s truly rewarding.
050 /// COLD WAR KIDS
ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS
A perfect example of some of the band’s best material in years.
049 /// JACK GARRATT
THE LOVE YOU’RE GIVEN
This is more of a religious experience than just a single, weaving through a myriad of sounds before its earth-shattering climax.
048 /// ARIANA GRANDE
LOVE ME HARDER (FEAT. THE WEEKND)
The singer proves she’s all grown up with this steamy collaboration with one of the finest in the biz, Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd).
047 /// UNTIL THE RIBBON BREAKS
REVOLUTION INDIFFERENCE (FEAT. RUN THE JEWELS)
The gloomy cut is such a welcome variation in the band’s sound, thanks to assistance from Run the Jewels.
046 /// CHARLI XCX
An underdog pop track that rightfully climbed its way to the upper tier, solidifying the singer’s knack for excellent hooks.
045 /// CHARLOTTE OC
COLOUR MY HEART
Britain’s Charlotte O’Connor showcases her intense prowess on this monster track.
044 /// X AMBASSADORS
Beyond their Beats-sanctioned “Jungle,” this track should is really a wonder to behold.
043 /// JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW
The Irish singer-songwriter stunned early in the year with this glorious offering.
042 /// RICK ROSS
SANCTIFIED (FEAT. KANYE WEST & BIG SEAN)
Rozay moved heaven and earth with this red-hot, Gospel-tinged cut.
041 /// SINKANE
HOW WE BE
The Sudan-born, Brooklyn-based musician shines in this funky, eclectic track.
040 /// MOVEMENT
A majestic five minutes from one of the year’s most striking up-and-coming acts.
039 /// JENNY LEWIS
JUST ONE OF THE GUYS
Lewis masterfully balanced her message of independence with her skill for a light-hearted favorite.
038 /// MARK RONSON
UPTOWN FUNK (FEAT. BRUNO MARS)
The British producer rode into the fall with this massive, funk-laced hit built for the dance floor.
037 /// THE WEEKND
Abel Tesfaye teases a forthcoming project with this lustrous bedroom jam that begs to be heard often.
036 /// CATHEDRALS
This jittery track from the San Francisco-based band is a glowing example of what’s to come on their debut album.
035 /// OK GO
THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL
Its incredible video went viral but the song was equally amazing.
034 /// ZHU
This repeat-worthy, remix-friendly jam proved the mysterious producer behind it will explode in 2015.
033 /// TOVE LO
HABITS (STAY HIGH)
The Swedish songstress soared with this track thanks to a remix from Sacramento-based Hippie Sabotage, giving the song new life.
032 /// LOW ROAR
NOBODY LOVES ME LIKE YOU
This fragile cut from Iceland-based Ryan Karazija (aka Low Roar) was one of the year’s most underrated.
031 /// BEYONCÉ
FLAWLESS (FEAT. NICKI MINAJ)
Mrs. Carter proves once again she can thrive in any format. Never mind what went down in the elevator.
030 /// HOW TO DRESS WELL
Tom Krell’s splendor is on full display with this tender cut which propels him into a stunning new phase of his career.
029 /// DELTA SPIRIT
HOLD MY END UP
A robust offering that shows how much the Brooklyn-based band has grown.
028 /// GRIMES
GO (FEAT. BLOOD DIAMONDS)
The track rejected by Rihanna was a perfect fit for Claire Boucher, demonstrating a wonderful evolution, even if some fans didn’t like it.
027 /// BERNHOFT
ONE WAY TRACK
Norway’s Jarle Bernhoft blessed the world with some phenomenal soul, with this being just a dazzling sample.
026 /// JACK WHITE
A vivid return from Mr. White with this flaming cut.
025 /// SAM SMITH
I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE
Radio-approved “Stay with Me” got all the attention but this one was a true standout.
024 /// WEEZER
BACK TO THE SHACK
Rivers Cuomo and Co. are back in all their glory with this blatant attempt to make things right.
023 /// BEN HOWARD
END OF THE AFFAIR
Signs of the British singer’s progression are front-and-center on this eight-minute, emotional roller coaster.
022 /// PRINCE
THIS COULD BE US
Prince is so 2014 on this clever jam inspired by a meme inspired by Prince himself.
021 /// FKA TWIGS
Tahliah Barnett brings the fire on this impassioned single from her majestic debut LP1.
020 /// DEPTFORD GOTH
So many layers of otherworldly goodness right here from the immensely talented Daniel Woolhouse.
019 /// JORDAN BRATTON
DANGER (FEAT. FABOLOUS)
An inspiring cut from one of New York’s most promising future stars.
018 /// HOZIER
TAKE ME TO CHURCH
It technically released under the radar in 2013, but this compelling track about love, sex and humanity really came alive this year.
017 /// TAYLOR SWIFT
It’s kind of hard to deny Ms. Swift is a clear anomaly at this point in music history, and seeing her embrace “darker" elements is kind of rewarding.
016 /// KENDRICK LAMAR
TDE’s leading man veers slightly to the left with this first preview off his upcoming album, but he’s certainly well-positioned to experiment now.
015 /// RYAN ADAMS
MY WRECKING BALL
No gimmicks here, just a truly stellar cut off one of the year’s best albums.
014 /// BECK
Beck sounds a little bit country on this folksy song about loneliness and heartache, which served as the beautiful introduction to his newest LP.
013 /// ST. VINCENT
An excitingly weird, synth-laden cut giving Annie Clark one foot in the door of the pop world, even if it’s merely temporary.
012 /// CARIBOU
CAN’T DO WITHOUT YOU
We dare you not to fall in love with this song, if you haven't already. It’s just not possible, because Dan Snaith is a magician.
011 /// FOO FIGHTERS
It wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but the breezy, Los Angeles-influenced track plays like a much-needed detour from some of the other contents of Sonic Highways.
010 /// PERFUME GENIUS
Mike Hadreas strikes a perfect balance of grit and gloss on this lustrous confection.
009 /// RUN THE JEWELS
OH MY DARLING DON’T CRY
On an album loaded with punches, this jittery track sounds like it came from the future but it belongs so effortlessly in 2014.
008 /// GLASS ANIMALS
This woozy sugarplum of sound makes sense because it kind of doesn’t.
007 /// THE WAR ON DRUGS
UNDER THE PRESSURE
It’s arguably the centerpiece on the band’s latest album, Lost in the Dream, which completely lives it up to its name.
006 /// LANA DEL REY
This lethargic brew brilliantly captures the singer’s evolution in a four-minute capsule of summery darkness.
005 /// CHILDISH GAMBINO
No one would have blamed Donald Glover for taking it easy this year. Instead, he gave us a slew of new material, including this MJ-leaning delicacy.
004 /// FLYING LOTUS
NEVER CATCH ME (FEAT. KENDRICK LAMAR)
Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus) roared back with this thrilling collaboration of jazz-infused hip-hop offering.
003 /// CHROMEO
JEALOUS (I AIN’T WITH IT)
Tha Funk Lordz delivered this infectious tune early in the year but, boy, did it have legs! Years from now, it will still get the party started.
002 /// FUTURE ISLANDS
SEASONS (WAITING ON YOU)
Samuel T. Herring and Co. made their mark on the year and reached a career high with this fizzy, must-hear creation. A decade into their run as a mostly unknown band, they opened the floodgates with this one.
001 /// BANKS
BEGGIN FOR THREAD
The Los Angeles songstress cemented her status of pop’s next Goddess with this stormy venture. It has yet to realize its full commercial potential, but there’s no reason it can’t turn into a massive radio hit in 2015.