Welcome back everyone! Today the countdown continues with songs 90-81 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2014! If this is your first time checking in on the countdown, please read this for the process by which I ranked the songs you are about to see! Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off with song #90!
#90: No Mediocre by T.I. f/Iggy Azalea
Peak: #33 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1009
Once arguably the biggest name in music circa 2008, T.I. sort of fell off the face of the earth for a while before resurfacing as a featured artist on last year’s “Blurred Lines.” Since then, T.I. has slowly but surely worked his way back into the mainstream picture, securing his first spot in the year-end countdown since “Dead And Gone” in 2009. By recruiting the services of DJ Mustard and 2014 “it” girl Iggy Azalea, “No Mediocre” became one of the more bizarre Top 40 singles of the year. I won’t go too much into its lyrical content, but I’m sure you can glean all you need from the album artwork above.
#89: Beachin’ by Jake Owen
Peak: #26 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1011
Perennially, the best time for country artists to release their big singles is in the summer, when the warming of the weather matches the laid-back lyrical content of their songs. One of the most efficient singers when it comes to timely releases is Jake Owen, who seems to have a big country hit each and every summer. He started the trend in 2011 with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” and followed it up with “The One That Got Away” and “Anywhere With You.” The success for Owen continued in 2014 with “Beachin‘”, utilizing Blake Shelton’s pun from “Some Beach” to describe all the wonderful feelings and activities associated with summer. It seems that Owen’s success hinges entirely on the summer, so look for him to do something similar in 2015.
#88: Can’t Remember To Forget You by Shakira f/Rihanna
Peak: #15 2014 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 1012
All-star pairings usually translate into Hot 100 success, and the first time I heard “Can’t Remember To Forget You“, I thought it had all the makings of a #1 hit. A funky ska and reggae-influenced track infused with Shakira’s trademark stamp, the track stood out to me as one of early 2014’s best songs. For some reason though, the track never really took off, and struggled its way to a #15 peak and only 19 weeks on the chart. While it still made a respectable mark on the year-end list, I can’t help but feel like “Can’t Remember To Forget You” will be remembered more as a chart disappointment, given the star power connected to it.
#87: Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake f/Majid Jordan
Peak: #13 (#4 in 2013) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 14 Points: 1021
Another song which appeared on the year-end list last year, “Hold On We’re Going Home” showed remarkable longevity, especially given how many tracks Drake appears on every year. But far and away, this R&B ballad quickly became his signature song, outlasting the literally dozens of other tracks he either led or featured on in the 8 months “Hold On We’re Going Home” charted. On the whole, 2014 was a disappointment for Drake, as his other two appearances on this countdown don’t appear much higher than this. A new album is in the works for next year though, so he should be reasonably hopeful for the success 2015 might bring.
#86: Partition by Beyoncé
Peak: #23 2014 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1027
Released as a “visual album,” Beyoncé’s last-minute self-titled 2013 release contained a music video to go with each track. Of those many videos, the most discussed was the steamy “Partition,” which translated into Hot 100 success under Billboard’s new chart metrics which take Youtube streams into account. I never actually heard the song on the radio, but it nonetheless still peaked at #23 and spent a good deal of weeks highly placed on the chart. With the exception of the new single “7/11”, Beyoncé’s well of hits from the Beyoncé album seems to have run dry though, as songs like “XO” failed to get much going on the Hot 100.
#85: Come With Me Now by KONGOS
Peak: #31 2014 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1030
One of the biggest sleeper hits of 2014, “Come With Me Now” made its splash on the charts much in the vein of Captial Cities’ “Safe And Sound.” Originally released in 2011 back in KONGOS’ native South Africa, the song hovered in anonymity before it slowly built up a following on alternative radio in late 2013 before finally denting the Hot 100 in March. It slowly built its way to a peak of #31 over the summer via its use in an array of commercials and sporting events. Their follow-up single (or prior single if you’re from South Africa) “I’m Only Joking” became another hit on U.S. alternative radio this year, but its odds of reaching the Hot 100 seem to be less likely.
#84: I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith
Peak: #5 2014 Weeks on Chart: 15 Points: 1035
If it weren’t for the unavoidable stardom of Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith would be the most likely candidate for 2014’s breakout artist of the year. You’re going to see him several more times on this countdown, and “I’m Not The Only One” would have appeared even higher on this countdown if it had been released earlier. It just reached its #5 peak this week, and shows no signs of slowing down, as it managed to make the Top 101 even with only 15 weeks on the chart. Although a ballad, it’s more uptempo than “Stay With Me,” making it distinguishable and (in my opinion) more enjoyable to listen to. As we progress into early 2015, there’s no reason to suspect that an even higher peak could be in the cards for Smith’s latest.
#83: Leave The Night On by Sam Hunt
Peak: #30 2014 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1043
If the picture above doesn’t exactly suggest it, Sam Hunt was one of 2014’s breakout country stars, as his album Montevallo was one of the genre’s best-selling albums of the year. The lead single “Leave The Night On” started fast on the Hot 100, reaching the Top 50 in just its fifth week on the chart. After that, it stalled slightly, before receiving a late-stage push into the Top 40 in its final few weeks on the Hot 100. Reaching #1 on the Country Songs chart in its 20th week on the Hot 100, this longevity enable it to rack up enough points to clear the auspicious 1,000 mark. With its excessive wordiness (“sky’s dropping Jupiter all around us like some old Train”) yet undeniably catchy beat, “Leave The Night On” served as a notable bridge between traditional contemporary country and the “bro-country” trend we’ve also seen.
#82: Believe Me by Lil Wayne f/Drake
Peak: #26 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1046
Is Lil Wayne finished with the music industry? Following the recent release of Tha Carter V (yes, he’s up to five of those), he announced his intent to retire from rapping effective immediately. Now there’s a very substantial chance that he will make like Brett Favre and keep coming back year after year, but for now “Believe Me” serves as his “final” single as lead artist. Despite debuting inside the Top 40, the track never fully got off the ground, hovering within 10 spots of its initial position for nearly the entirety of its 20-week run. The most noteworthy achievement of “Believe Me” is that it marks the whopping 16th time that Drake and Lil Wayne have appeared together on a charting single, far and away the most of any two-artist combo not formally considered a duo.
#81: Blame by Calvin Harris f/John Newman
Peak: #19 2014 Weeks on Chart: 14 Points: 1052
Much in the vein of “I’m Not The Only One,” “Blame” has reached the year-end countdown in relatively few weeks and still has bright prospects for the future. Debuting inside the Top 40, “Blame” steadily rose to its current high-point of #19 within a few weeks, and has remained at #24 or higher for the past two months. Featuring excellent vocals from John Newman of “Love Me Again” fame, this track stood out to me as the best off of Harris’ 2014 album Motion, and it has performed right in line with his own “Let’s Go” in 2012. It might have been overshadowed to a certain extent by the success of “Summer”, but for my money’s worth, “Blame” is the best Calvin Harris listen you’ll have this year.
A big thank you again to everybody for reading the second installment in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2014! Check back tomorrow for songs 80-71, as we march closer and closer to the songs that will define the year 2014 in the years to come!