With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, the days are getting shorter and most students are heading back in school. So what better time than now to identify this year’s most iconic summer jams?
These 10 sun-drenched summer anthems run the gauntlet from pop songs you couldn’t escape to indie gems that deserve even more attention as we head toward the end of 2014.
What are your favorite summer anthems from 2014? Tell us below in the comments.
Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
Yes, we all know and love the dance moves of a one Mr. Samuel Harrington at this point. However, once that spectacle wears thin (unlikely), the music of Future Islands is truly amazing, with a lyrical depth that could be lost on a new or casual fan. “You know when people change / They gain a piece but they lose one too” is a pretty damned insightful line for a previously underground new-wave band. Yet, now that they have grown by leaps and bounds in 2014, it’s anyone guess as to how far their stock climbs. -KQ
Iggy Azalea – “Fancy” (featuring Charli XCX)
Both Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX seemed to be everywhere this summer. Charli was featured on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack and Iggy released her newest album The New Classic — But “Fancy” was destined to be a summer anthem. With that beat and catchy lyrics like “I’m so fancy / Can’t you taste this gold?”, plus a music video throwback to the movie Clueless, it is no surprise that we all got a whole lot fancier this summer. -KB
Nico and Vinz – “Am I Wrong”
Though originally released in April 2013 when the act went by the name Envy, this track became a massive export for the Norwegian duo known as Nico & Vinz in the summer of 2014. The late success of this song was credited to it’s airy guitar vibe coupled with startling pop vocals peppered with just enough danceability to be remixed by every producer under the sun. “Am I Wrong” also holds the record for the most ‘Shazammed’ song of the summer, not to mention it’s been played on Spotify well over 100 million times. It’s hard to deny that this track was one of the most popular songs of the summer…I mean, am I wrong? -KQ
Lana Del Rey – “West Coast”
The hypnotic and moody “West Coast” is the perfect accompaniment to a bonfire on the beach on a warm summer night. And despite the fact that I’ve never heard anyone in California say, “Down on the west coast, they’ve got a saying / If you’re not drinking, then you’re not playing,” it’s still a beautifully dark song that shows off a new side to Lana Del Rey, and a moodier side to summer. -KB
Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”
Though this summer hit wasn’t slathered all over popular airwaves, it did however, make the summer playlist of many savvy music fans. Dan Snaith’s return to the studio, and the stage, has been welcomed with enthusiasm, and this premier new track had all the elements to thrill. Rolling waves of warm, bassy synths lightly pummel the listener into one seriously psyched-out coma. Each element fits neatly into the other – a characteristic Snaith honed on his previous release, Swim. His subsequent return to stage received accolades at FYF Fest, and his devoted fans are hoping for a tour in the near future. -KQ
Sia – “Chandelier”
“Chandelier” celebrates (and regrets) those classic moments of summer debauchery, contrasting feelings of uncontrollable angst with the unconscious process slowly losing control. But if the original is too moody for you, don’t fret. The Plastic Plates remix of “Chandelier” kept us on the dance floor all summer long. And when that chorus comes in, Sia’s powerhouse vocals hit hard. This was one that we were all belting out after we’d had a few: “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier / I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist.” -KB
Lorde – “Tennis Court”
While Lorde’s ‘honeymoon’ in the industry is now over, the young Kiwi has proven that she is no one-hit-wonder. Once the dust from “Royals” and “Team” had settled, “Tennis Court” off of Pure Heroine took the spotlight this summer. This song found, and continues to find, a comfortable home on various FM outlets as its dreamy adult-contemprary vibe exhibits a wide range of appeal. The track was further bolstered this summer by a stellar remix by the fellow Oceanian we all know as Flume. -KQ
Sam Smith – “Stay With Me”
Sam Smith is a force to be reckoned with. “Stay With Me” starts as piano-soul and then builds to a gospel chorus that displays the British crooners powerful and soulful voice. As many have pointed out this year, “Stay With Me” has a strong resemblance to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, but the similarity has mattered to few as “Stay With Me” is one of those songs that can bounce around the brain for hours. It’s interesting to note that Sam Smith’s collaboration with Disclosure, “Latch”, was released in 2012, yet this was another song of the summer in 2014 due to Smith’s meteoric rise in popularity. Also, Smith lit up the airwaves as the featured voice on Naughty Boy’s “La La La”. If you hadn’t heard of Sam Smith before summer began, you know him now. -KB
Calvin Harris – “Summer”
Besides the obvious inclusion due to the the title, “Summer” quickly rose to be the club anthem of summer 2014. Similar to fellow mega-hit, “Feel So Close”, we see Harris returning to the vocal duties on his own track, which has shown to be successful. Sure, it’s not the most ambitious track of the summer, but it’s hard to ignore the far-reaching nature of the club hit, especially in a time of massive growth in popularity for the lifestyle surrounding club culture. Oh yeah, Calvin was also named as Forbes’ highest paid “Electronic Cash Kings” making some $46 million dollars in the past year. -KQ
Ariana Grande – “Problem” (featuring Iggy Azalea)
Ariana Grande is no stranger to summer anthems. Getting her start on Broadway and Nickelodeon, Grande stepped on the scene last year in a big way with “The Way”, and she’s at it again. This time she teamed up with Iggy Azalea as the two delivered “Problem”, which blends together Grande’s many influences and her Mariah-esque vocals quite smoothly. This record-breaking summer anthem of 2014 is likely the most popular song of the year. -KB