Welcome back everyone! Today the countdown continues with songs 70-61 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 #70!
#70: My Hitta by YG f/Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan
Peak: #19 2014 Weeks on Chart: 17 Points: 1247
One of my biggest guilty pleasures of the year, “My Hitta” (I’m sure you can figure out the original title) rode an irresistible DJ Mustard beat straight into the upper reaches of the Hot 100. As you can imagine, rap (like country) is a genre where the non-mainstream practitioners often have trouble finding long-term success on the chart. However, by being partially a novelty song, and partially being a collaborative song about friendship, “My Hitta” bucked the trend and found the top 20 with relative ease. I’m sure the DJ Mustard production didn’t hurt either, as this appearance is but one of many in the countdown to come.
#69: New Flame by Chris Brown f/Usher & Rick Ross
Peak: #27 2014 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1258
2014 was quite a big year for Chris Brown. In addition to his usual slate of featuring on a slew of rap and hip-hop tracks, he also had the enormously successful X album which spawned numerous hits (one of which we’ll see much later in the countdown). Chris Brown has always succeeded in the music industry because he knows how to mix up his brand, alternating between the uptempo danceable smashes that made him famous and the more traditional R&B ballads which showcase more of his vocal range. These ballads traditionally don’t chart as high for him, as is the case this year, but “New Flame” still managed to be a serviceable enough hit to find its way on this countdown, thanks in part to some contributions from Usher and Rick Ross.
#68: Shower by Becky G
Peak: #16 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1262
Prior to this year, I’d only ever heard of Becky G as the featured performer on Cher Lloyd’s minor hit “Oath.” But the 16-year-old had a big hit on her own in 2014, taking advantage of an early summer that was void of any offerings from Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, or Miley Cyrus. “Shower” boasts a simple enough melody to remember and a catchy enough beat to lodge itself in your head, all the ingredients required to have a highly charting single. Even without the established star power of her genre competitors, Becky G managed to work her way into the Top 20 with his first solo chart run, which should help pave the way for her future successes on the Hot 100.
#67: Me And My Broken Heart by Rixton
Peak: #14 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1284
Mixing the tone and musical content of Olly Murs and Maroon 5, British group Rixton burst on to the scene in the spring with their debut single “Me And My Broken Heart.” Riding mainly the strength of radio airplay, the song served as a perfect mid-tempo drive-along jam, daring listeners to try and match the upper tenor range of the vocals. Reaching its peak of #14 very quickly in its chart run, I was surprised to see that it never quite bumped its way into the Top 10, but rather slunk its way slowly down the charts after hitting its zenith in May. I still haven’t heard of any followup single from Rixton, so I’d say there’s a decent chance that the group could one day be remembered as a one-hit wonder.
#66: Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
Peak: #13 (#3 in 2013) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 1306
What is there to say about “Radioactive” that hasn’t been said already? After claiming the #1 spot in my countdown last year by becoming the second song in history to spend all 52 calendar weeks of a year on the chart, the powerhouse single refused to quit in 2014. In logging an additional five months on the chart, “Radioactive” swept aside Jason Mraz’s record for Hot 100 longevity and posted the new mark to beat of 87 weeks total on the Hot 100. That means that its chart run lasted from August of 2012 all the way into May of 2014; simply incredible.
#65: Animals by Martin Garrix
Peak: #21 2014 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1319
Clocking in at 18 years old, the youngest male artist on the countdown is Swedish DJ Martin Garrix. When I first heard his mostly instrumental track “Animals” late last year, I saw it more of a novelty than anything with budding chart potential. But then, after spending a few months on the Hot 100, the song caught fire once the calendar switched over to 2014, and it became the EDM single with the second-longest chart run in history (behind only Avicii’s more mainstream-friendly “Wake Me Up”). With a slow but steady buildup and an instantly recognizable drop, “Animals” undoubtedly has helped paved the way for more traditional EDM artist like Alesso to find success on the Hot 100 this year. Not bad for a kid who just graduated high school, eh?
#64: Animals by Maroon 5
Peak: #3 2014 Weeks on Chart: 17 Points: 1323
I love when the countdown grants me hilarious juxtapositions like this one. Of the 450+ songs that appeared on the Hot 100 this year, only two of those shared the same title and weren’t covers. By the ultimate coincidence, those two songs find themselves side by side on the year-end countdown. Released as the second single off Maroon 5’s highly successful V album, “Animals” started slow, but eventually reached and surpassed the popularity of lead single “Maps.” Although “Maps” will appear higher up on this countdown, I have no doubt that “Animals” still has plenty more weeks to go in its chart run, so I see it having no problem eclipsing its point total. Plus, it was used in a great Kia Soul commercial, so what’s not to love?
#63: Love Runs Out by OneRepublic
Peak: #15 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1327
For years, OneRepublic has been showing that they are the best in the business at getting long mileage out of their studio albums. Their 2008 album started with the 2007 success of “Apologize” and managed to last them well into 2011 with the big hit “Good Life.” They’ve experienced a similar level of achievement with their 2013 album Native, beginning with the 2012 single “Feel Again.” Anchored by the megahit “Counting Stars,” which you’ll also see later on, the album also spawned a hit this year. “Love Runs Out” continues the group’s trend of slightly more uptempo pop tracks, moving them slightly further from the piano ballads which made them famous. Ironically, the entire chart run of “Love Runs Out” was encapsulated by the continuation of “Counting Stars,” so it makes sense that the song was unfortunately overshadowed in the long run.
#61 (tie): Dirt by Florida Georgia Line
Peak: #11 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1348
Who could have possibly thought that Florida Georgia Line would be responsible for the highest-quality country track of the year? For the past year and a half, they’ve built up a reputation as the Nickelback of country: the almost universally-panned act that nonetheless finds themselves chalking up hit after hit. Well, the latter half of that description played out with “Dirt,” debuting at #11 on the Hot 100 and spending the majority of its run well within the Top 40. But against all odds, “Dirt” is also a really great track, ditching the bro-country production values for a truly authentic-feeling country track. Although there definitely were objectively better songs released in 2014, “Dirt” is most likely my biggest surprise of the year.
#61 (tie): Sing by Ed Sheeran
Peak: #13 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1348
Ed Sheeran has been consistently and relentlessly building up his star power over the last couple years. It all came to a head in 2014 though, as the red-headed Brit exploded into superstardom. Spotify named him their artist of the year, as his songs were streamed over 850 million times. All this success was anchored by the release of his excellent album X (pronounced “multiply” if you must know), which has thus far spawned three successful singles. Coincidentally, each one has in order become Sheeran’s highest charting single to date. That trend started with “Sing,” an irresistibly funky track which crackles with Pharrell’s production (he also is the one who yells “Sing” repeatedly throughout the track). Its #13 peak was eventually bested a few months later by “Don’t” peaking at #9, which in turn has been beaten by current single “Thinking Out Loud”‘s push to #6 this week.
I thoroughly enjoy writing these countdown blurbs every day, and I am very grateful to all of you who continue to read every day. Tomorrow’s article will bring us to the halfway point, so be sure to check back here for songs 60-51!