Another year has come and gone, and with it came a slew of great music that defined the year. We here at The Rock all have eclectic tastes in music, and we’re here to share our favorites with you as 2014 draws to a close. Check out our choices for this year’s best tunes, and let us know if you agree!
It seemed most fitting to link to the Letterman performance that put Future Islands on the map this year, with frontman Samuel T Herring’s eccentric stage presence. Of course, part of my love for the song stems from my excitement in seeing a synth-pop indie band get big, but the track has a mesmerizing rhythm and simple, yet thought-provoking lyrics. The track contrasts its sincere, soul-searching lyrics with a happy synth-infused beat that is still catchy enough to listen to in the car or when getting ready in the morning. From a personal standpoint, I connected with the idea of wrestling with change, given the fact 2014 had me leaving Iowa for an entirely new and foreign environment at Boston College. However, the lyrics are universal, essentially a reimagined version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” as they tackle the struggle of whether or not to end a failing relationship and if change is even possible for an individual. If a meme-worthy performance on Letterman was what it took to put Future Islands on the music scene’s radar, I’d say Herring came out on top. – Grace Rice ‘18
“Back To The Shack” – Weezer
Yes, just yes. This is what I had been waiting for for a long time with Weezer. Their past albums have been so-so, but never really lived up to their earlier stuff from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. But with “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” they finally get back to what made them incredible: shredding guitar riffs, awesome vocals, and an aura that just makes them one of my favorite bands. Back To The Shack is one of the leading songs off of the album, and it lives up to everything that Weezer, especially since the music video has them on the moon (so badass). Definitely listen to this song, and if you have time peruse the whole album. In the end, its definitely worth it. – Joey Dorion ‘17
“400 Lux” somehow made it onto pretty much every playlist I made in 2014, which isn’t too surprising because I absolutely love this song. I think most people know now that Lorde is sort of “out there,” but this girl is talented. “400 Lux” is one of the less popular songs from her debut album Pure Heroine, but is definitely worth listening. It’s a feel-good, chill song with an electronic trip hop feel to it. Lorde’s smooth voice and timeless lyrics give this rather upbeat song a certain edginess that only she can bring to the table. Lorde has given us some fantastic music over the past year, so let’s hope there’s more to come in 2015. – Edward Byrne ‘18
“Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
2014 was the year of sociopath-chic, of the female anti-hero (Gone Girl, anyone?). In a sharp turn from her usual good-girl persona, Taylor Swift embodied that spirit in this hit single from her fifth studio album, 1989. Written as a response to the media’s perception of Swift as manic man-eater, “Blank Space” quickly became an anthem for women labeled “crazy” in a world that fails to acknowledge their complexities. Swift embraces the insanity put on her by that long list of ex-lovers, and looks fabulous the entire time. “Teardrops on My Guitar” no more–this brave new T-Swift is bold, daring and unapologetically fierce. – Kate Lewis ‘15
This song is the absolute best. Modern pop is good, but combining it with old fashioned James Brown style funk is the single greatest thing to happen to music in 2014. Bruno Mars and his group kill the vocals, and Mark Ronson (a producer, most famous for Amy Winehouse’s cover of Valerie) creates a funky, upbeat, smooth and all-around incredible sound. This song, in less than a month and a half, joined my Top 15 most played songs on iTunes, because it is that damn good. Sorry I literally cannot stop raving about it, just listen to it and treat yo’ self. (P.S. As perfect as this song is, the video is perfection, too) – Chris Pinto ‘16
“Guts Over Fear” – Eminem ft. Sia
Eminem’s last album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, has performed very well since its debut and Sia has had quite a breakthrough year with “Chandelier”, so it makes perfect sense that these two collaborate. What is interesting about these two artists is that they have recently been vocal about mental illness, which they have both suffered through. This song’s main message is that despite someone’s insecurities, troubled past or crippling anxieties/worries, they can power through adversity and accomplish great things. Eminem provides the bulk of material for the song, detailing his own life, what he hopes to achieve through this song and how to deal with his “haters.” What really shines through in this song are Sia’s powerful vocals, which carry grit and emotion in an equally potentl way to how Eminem spits his verses. The production is great, the lyrics are great (as both artists are excellent lyricists) and Eminem and Sia perform well together. I hope they do more collaborations in the future, and don’t forget to check out Sia’s new album, 1000 Forms of Fear. Best wishes to both on their future albums. – Kyle Donohue ‘17
If you want to know what blew up the charts in 2014 but need a new jam, look no further. DJ Earworm is back with his annual year-end mashup, and in my humble opinion it’s the best one since 09’s “Blame it on the Pop.” TSwift’s “Shake It Off” gets a lot of face time, as does Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” and Iggy Azalea’s smash hits “Fancy” and “Black Widow.” But they’re all blended together seamlessly into one new, danceable track–perfect to close out a big year in music. – Melissa Warten ’16
Check out all of our staff’s favorite hits by subscribing to the Music That Rocks Spotify playlist, and stay tuned for more Music That Rocks in 2015!