Welcome back everyone and Merry Christmas! Today the countdown continues with songs 40-31 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 #40!
#40: Ain’t It Fun by Paramore
Peak: #10 2014 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1705
After “Still Into You” became Paramore’s highest-ranking song on a year-end countdown, they managed to turn the trick again in 2014. Still off of their self-titled album borne from their reduction to a trio, “Ain’t It Fun” proved to be even more successful, managing to become the band’s first Top 10 single. Paramore has been around (and famous) since 2007, so it’s remarkable to think that lead singer Hayley Williams is still only 25 years old. The amount of success they’ve had in the past seven years goes to suggest that there is still a wealth of opportunity still in the cards for the band as they progress further into their career.
#39: Not A Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake
Peak: #8 2014 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1710
After securing a massive 2013 with “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake proved he still had one last Top 10 single in the tank from his extremely popular 20/20 Experience. Coming off of Part 2, “Not A Bad Thing” felt much like a spiritual sequel to “Mirrors,” boasting a carefree uptempo R&B feel punctuated by his trademark tenor. Debuting modestly but rising up the chart quickly, “Not A Bad Thing” still was unable to match the soaring heights of the prior two singles. But hey, if peaking at #8 and spending five months on the Hot 100 is only good for your third-best single, that means that you’ve had a pretty special album.
#38: Say Something by A Great Big World f/Christina Aguilera
Peak: #4 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1735
One of early 2014’s biggest surprises was this debut single from New York duo A Great Big World. Originally recorded in 2011, the track went largely unnoticed until is was used in a Season 10 episode of So You Think You Can Dance? That performance caught Christina Aguilera’s attention, and she expressed her desire to re-record the track as a duet. A Great Big World agreed, and performed it on The Voice with her soon after. Almost immediately, “Say Something” shot to the top of the iTunes charts and set its impressive Hot 100 run in motion. A sweeping ballad with an unmistakably cinematic feel, “Say Something” reached its peak of #4 relatively early in its chart stay, and rode Adult Contemporary radio to a lengthy trip.
#37: The Monster by Eminem f/Rihanna
Peak: #1 (for 4 weeks) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1771
When a song begins the year as the #1 song in the country, it sets in motion a difficult circumstance when it comes to my countdown. Will the first song to be the most popular of the year remain that way for the rest of the year? Or will it see itself be eclipsed by song after song over the course of the year? For every year that I’ve documented, the latter question comes true, as no song has ever gone wire-to-wire as the #1 song of the year. Add Eminem’s “The Monster” to that list, which lost its crown just five weeks into 2014. Still, the rapper’s second #1 collaboration with Rihanna still managed to spend nearly five months of its lengthy run in this calendar year, keeping it inside the year-end Top 40. We’ll see how Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (which begins 2015 at #1) fares in the same position this time next year.
#36: This Is How We Roll by Florida Georgia Line f/Luke Bryan
Peak: #15 2014 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 1799
Earning the title of Most Successful Country Single of the Year, “This Is How We Roll” gives Florida Georgia Line the distinction for a second consecutive year, after “Cruise” reached the same feat last year. In recruiting superstar Luke Bryan to sing the bridge and help out with the final chorus, country’s biggest duo hit the jackpot once again, securing an extremely lengthy chart run. With “Cruise,” they used a pop remix featuring Nelly to help catapult it into the Top 10. Florida Georgia Line attempted the same experiment with this track, putting Jason Derulo in the mix this time. But, while it did help extend its run for a few weeks, the pop remix failed to improve the song’s already-impressive #15 peak.
#35: Break Free by Ariana Grande f/Zedd
Peak: #4 2014 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1830
Even though Ariana Grande had the huge hit “The Way” last year, 2014 will be remembered as the year which marked her pop breakthrough. In addition to the massive “Problem” (which you’ll see later) and “Bang Bang” (which you’ll see very very soon), Grande found herself with two additional Top 10 singles. The first of those not yet mentioned was “Break Free,” a massively danceable collaboration with German producer Zedd which buzzed with energy throughout. An outer space-themed music video helped “Break Free”‘s jump into the Top 10 in July, but its radio marketability helped it stay for several weeks. Her current single “Love Me Harder” still sits inside the Top 10, giving her an impressive 35 consecutive weeks with at least one of her singles in that region.
#34: Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
Peak: #3 2014 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1867
Without a successful Hot 100 single since 2012’s “Domino,” Jessie J went out and recruited two of pop music’s hottest names in an attempt to undo that dearth of popularity. Her efforts paid off, as “Bang Bang” debuted inside the Top 10 and became the summer’s all-star hit, as well as metaphor for the female domination which swept the charts throughout 2014. Each of the ladies takes a verse, showcasing their different vocal niches before combining on the final chorus to bring it all home. Managing to avoid the usual decline following a Top 10 debut, “Bang Bang” continues to rack up points, and has an outside chance of scoring enough points to find its way onto this countdown next year as well.
#33: Maps by Maroon 5
Peak: #6 2014 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1871
After their Overexposed album bled into 2013 with the hits “Daylight” and “Love Somebody,” Maroon 5 decided not to wait and went right back to the studio. Released towards the end of summer, V figures to have a similar trajectory as its predecessor, with two big hits this year and possibly two big hits in 2015. Released in June to promote the album, “Maps” served as the lead single and debuted inside the Top 20. Showcasing the album’s blending of their signature sound with the more electronic production that they introduced in Overexposed, “Maps” scored a healthy Hot 100 run, giving the Adam Levine-fronted band their sixth consecutive Top 10 single, a streak which would continue with “Animals.”
#32: Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih f/YG
Peak: #6 2014 Weeks on Chart: 25 Points: 1877
Leave it to DJ Mustard to bring an artist back from the metaphoric dead. We saw him do it earlier in the countdown with T.I.’s “No Mediocre,” but at least T.I. had “Blurred Lines” to his credit. But Jeremih? We’ve not heard a word from him since “Down On Me” became a surprise hit, and even that 2011 track was an unexpected follow-up success to 2009’s “Birthday Sex.” Jeremih’s third Top 10 single beat the odds and was just as big a hit as its two predecessors, and I think it’s no accident that DJ Mustard’s production played a big part. Just for good measure, “Don’t Tell ‘Em” also threw in a lyrical interpolation of SNAP!’s 1992 hit “Rhythm Is A Dancer,” giving listeners yet another reason to question, ponder, and re-listen.
#31: Show Me by Kid Ink f/Chris Brown
Peak: #13 2014 Weeks on Chart: 25 Points: 1904
Well what do you know, DJ Mustard again. This time, rapper Kid Ink is the beneficiary, as he scored his first big Hot 100 hit early in 2014. Its major success was due in equal parts to Mr. Mustard and a hook delivered by Chris Brown, who found himself on quite a few tracks this year (including one of his own which shows up even higher on this countdown). In fact, Kid Ink was so impressed with the performance of “Show Me” that his followup single “Main Chick” also featured Chris Brown and DJ Mustard. It only peaked at #60 though, so I don’t see him reuniting the three anytime in the near future. Also, “Show Me” will be DJ Mustard’s final appearance on this countdown, but we thank him for his contributions to no fewer than 7 of these first 70 songs.
Once again, here’s wishing that everyone had a safe and joyous Christmas today! Check back tomorrow for songs 30-21 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2014!