Our Best Songs of 2014

As the year begins our Creative Director Ben always compiles a personal list of his favourite songs of the previous year. Now that Ben is helping run ‘Social We Talk?’ and his playlists define the working day we thought it only fair to include the playlist in a blog here on our website.

 Music really is soul food, providing the energy, insight, enabling us to relax and recharge and helps us keep focused. So these songs not only highlight personal favorite songs of the year, but also key defining moments of 2014 for us.

 For each of the songs we’ve provided an insight into the track, why it’s made the list and importantly a video link for you to enjoy the song for yourself if you’re not already aware of it.

 Happy New Year from ‘Social We Talk?’


Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting on You)

The simplicity of the bass line and synths with the deep growl of the vocal with such an emotive lyric really has placed this song on our list with ease. And that dancing style, wow!


Cheetahs – Geographic

Who doesn’t love a good bit of fuzz? These guys know how to spin the alt rock and collectively create a garage rock event that we feel so very blessed to bare witness too.


St Lucia – Elevate

We stumbled across this stunning alternative synth pop band thanks to Squarespace. This track pretty much defined our summer.

 


Wild Cub – Colour

Another great alt band with groove and great melody. It’s nothing groundbreaking but that rhythm, that tone, that joint vocal, it certainly sets a great melodic scene.


Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds – Heat of the Moment

We grew up on Noel Gallagher’s songwriting, and with songs like this, we’ll be living on them for a long time yet. 2015 is stacked to be a great year for music with Noels new LP released in March – bring it on!


Jungle – Time

Like many great bands, we discovered these guys on Later with Jools. We’d seen their marketing previously, and being quite honest it had put us off listening to them, but their sound did not relate to their image and we were won over. Such a groove and melody bubbling away.


Benjamin Booker – Have you seen my son?

This guy has amazing guitar tone, an amazing voice, amazing song writing, has selected a perfectly complementary drummer and bass player to make his songs, you guess it, amazing! The simplicity of this song and the delivery is outstanding, easily on our songs of the year list.


Coldplay – Midnight

People often can turn against bands as soon as they obtain mass popular status, which isn’t really fair is it? Something, which is popular with so many, is then sneered at by others, that’s just not cool! We’re not ashamed to say we think Coldplay are a great band, and Chris Marin one of the most talented songwriters of his generation. No other song has created such an emotive reaction within me this year. I spent two working days listening to the song back to back and entered a place of absolute peace. The selection of ambient sounds swirled together really reflect not only midnight, but also that feeling of the dark before the dawn, and when the sun rises, oh what beauty arrives. We love this song, can you tell?


U2 – Invisible

Marmite and U2 have a lot in common. Last year they kicked up such a storm with their album giveaway, and in my opinion it’s quite an over reaction. Essentially Apple made U2’s Songs of Innocence album available to download for free from the iCloud, they didn’t actually force people to have it on their handset, they just made it an option. It was a present, and we like presents. This song wasn’t a part of the album, and was another great moment for U2 in that the song was made available for purchase through iTunes with all proceeds going towards RED charity. Goodwill aside, this song features an amazingly strong chorus and some really interesting soundscapes. It’s a must for iPod.


George Ezra – Budapest

There’s something about songs named after places isn’t there? It’s like they are instantly given an extra shimmer of quality. This gem from George Ezra certainly fits that bill. It’s a beautiful singer-songwriter highlight of 2014. We hope for more songs of this calibre in the near future!

 


The War on Drugs – Burning

The War on Drugs have been one of my favourite bands for sometime now, and 2014 was the year that the rest of the world caught the bug. Slave Ambient allowed for a sonic exploration, Lost in a Dream capitalised on the experimentation and delivered it back in a more mature and established way. Burning was a pinnacle of the LP. I enjoyed a snowy run along Burbage Edge in early 2014 with this song powering me through the headstrong wind and biting cold. Burning though gave me the warmth to power on, and each time I listen to it I’m reminded to keep pushing and I’ll get there.


Foy Vance – Closed Hands Full of Friends

Now whilst this song wasn’t strictly released in 2014, this live version from Bush Mills Brewery came to our attention after a visit to Northern Ireland. I named my first born son Foy, and walking through the streets of London this song just established a hope in me for a long and wonderful journey ahead.


Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk

Oh my, serious funk, great production, a tune that got us dancing for sure!

 


Zola Jesus – Dangerous Days

Epic vocals layered over engaging synths – try listening at dawn walking on the beach.


John Butler Trio – Livin’ In The City

Living in the city can be good, though sometimes the commute and the formalities of the working day that are imposed on people fail to allow growth and development. This tune helped us get our perspective sorted whilst freaking digging those guitar tones!

 


Band of Skulls – Nightmares

What a riff, what a solid beat and what a great bassline. We love this song.

 


Wye Oak – Glory

This is a great song with a stunning vocal. It’s one of those sunset moment tracks which helps finalise the day.

 


Miami Horror – Wild Motion (Set it Free)

More alternative electric sounds, this time of the upbeat nature. Miami Horror know how to drop a great groov


Ryan Adams – Rats in the Wall

Ryan Adams delivered a stunning self-titled mainstream album in 2014 that quite rightly has earned Grammy nominations. For us though, the rawness, power and punch of 1984 really deserves the honor. It’s bustling with short punk like fueled Rock’n’Roll. It was so hard to choose this track as the best from the album, they’re all  so freaking good!

 


Jenny Lewis – Head Underwater

Produced by Ryan Adams, full of melody, light this is a great alt pop song that we fell in love with.

 


Robert Plant – Rainbow

The mighty vocal power behind Led Zeppelin delivered arguably his best solo album in 2014. Rainbow was the LP highlight and is an absolute corker.

 


Death From Above 1979 – Virgins

So most people are aware of Royal Blood and would say they’re really original blah blah blah, and one of the best bands of 2014. Well, nope, they’re not that outstanding. They are a Queens of the Stone Age cover band playing like Death From Above 1979 (DFA 1979).  Hailing from Toronto, back in 2004 they released the groundbreaking underground album  ‘You’re a woman, I’m a machine’. Then they split up only to reform and deliver a stunning new LP in 2014. Virgins has the tone, attitude and power to be a stand out track for us. Music at its best is when it’s in its rawness and this track ticks every box. What a tune.


Ben Howard – Rivers in Your Mouth

He’s grown up, gone electric and made one of the best albums of the year (I forget where we were). The selective use of delay and ambience with solidness of the band just ensure this track grooves along so beautifully.

 


Taylor Swift – Shake it Off

She gave Spotify the middle finger (well done Taylor!) and she made an outstanding pop single. We heard about this track from a friend who loves punk, rock and all things independent and dismissed the thought tat Taylor Swift could deliver a great song, but she did. Though, when I listen to it, I image it being played by The White Stripes with a backing choir in my head – now that would be one cool way to hear the song!


Bromheads – Kerosene

Sheffield’s best band, yes, the best, delivered a Seattle sounding grunge track to fuel us up and burn us out. They’re a frustrating band really as they’re so good but they rarely tour, have slowed down their music output and can be hard to find at times. But, with songs like this, and by being so underground, we kind of love them more and salute them for being true to making music that they love rather than rising to some labels commands. If you’re not familiar with their other work get online and check them out.


Social We Talk?

Yes, us! Ben wrote and recording a bluesy, fuzzy track for a video we delivered for Off The Beaten Tack. We had an incredible week sailing and this track was our soundtrack to that holiday and as such features here!