Welcome back everyone! Today the countdown continues with songs 30-21 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 #30!
#30: Let Her Go by Passenger
Peak: #5 2014 Weeks on Chart: 23 Points: 1913
Taking the bronze medal for “Songs That Also Appeared On This Countdown Last Year,” Passenger’s folk-pop smash hit “Let Her Go” managed to improve upon its 2013 ranking. Reaching its #5 peak towards the end of January, its uses in a Budweiser Super Bowl ad helped cement its place in pop culture for the months to follow. Thanks to a healthy dose of radio airplay, “Let Her Go” managed to last until the month of June on the Hot 100, giving it nearly a full year spent on the chart.
#29: Summer by Calvin Harris
Peak: #7 2014 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1937
Released in March, Calvin Harris’ lead single off of Motion took full advantage of the calendar to secure his most successful lead single to date. After taking a month or two to catch on in both digital sales and radio airplay, the days started getting warmer and longer, making “Summer” a perfect windows-down anthem for the season. “Summer” also saw Calvin Harris return to providing his own lead vocals, something we also saw in “Feel So Close” back in 2012. Although most of his hits feature other artists on vocals, more than half of his total catalog sees him singing, something virtually none of his EDM competitors can boast.
#28: Black Widow by Iggy Azalea f/Rita Ora
Peak: #3 2014 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1962
Almost immediately after “Fancy” fell out of the #1 spot in the country, Iggy Azalea went and dropped the second single off The New Classic. Thanks to a touch of perfect timing, “Black Widow” became nearly as successful, reaching the Top 5 with ease in late summer. Featuring a powerhouse bridge and chorus from rising British star Rita Ora, “Black Widow” showcases all the flow and punchy beats of “Fancy” with an arguably catchier hook. Still on the Hot 100 at the time of publication, “Black Widow” became one of my 10 most listened-to tracks of the year according to my Spotify account.
#27: Boom Clap by Charli XCX
Peak: #8 2014 Weeks on Chart: 25 Points: 1974
2014 was a big year for original songs coming off of movie soundtracks. You’ll see Frozen‘s “Let It Go” and Despicable Me 2‘s “Happy” in due time, and young Brit Charli XCX saw her own soundtrack contribution turn into a huge hit. Featured in the summer hit The Fault In Our Stars, “Boom Clap” is an upbeat and romantic romp which brims with the same optimism that permeates the point in the film where it is heard. After being a featured artist on Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” “Boom Clap” represented Charli XCX’s first solo trip to the Hot 100. She’s now one for one on reaching the Top 10, we’ll see if her current single “Break The Rules” can have a similarly successful run in 2015.
#26: Story Of My Life by One Direction
Peak: #9 (#6 in 2013) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 25 Points: 1983
One Direction’s new album Four was responsible for most of the group’s 2014 headlines, but it was a song from last year’s Midnight Memories which proved to be their biggest hit of the year. Peaking at #6 in December of 2013, “Story Of My Life” showed remarkable longevity for a 1D single, and managed to last all the way to the end of June before finally ebbing off the Hot 100. The group’s big hits historically have been the uptempo ones (“What Makes You Beautiful,” “Best Song Ever,” et al.), but “Story Of My Life” was a ballad, letting each member take parts of verses instead of their patented group choruses. The change in tempo worked, giving them their most successful single since “What Makes You Beautiful.” Their current single “Night Changes” utilizes the same musical style (or should I say Styles?), so it has the potential to do good business in 2015.
#25: Rather Be by Clean Bandit f/Jess Glynne
Peak: #10 2014 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 2005
Another breakout single to first gain notoriety as a #1 hit in the UK, “Rather Be” became one of the year’s biggest surprises. British foursome Clean Bandit, equal parts synthpop and string section, crafted a unique sound on “Rather Be,” mixing the best elements of both styles and the vocals of fellow Brit Jess Glynne to create an infectious summer hit that you can’t help but dance to every time you hear it on the radio. Climbing relatively quickly for a debut single, the song had little trouble cementing its place on the Hot 100, reaching a peak of #10 with relative ease. Its use in an ad campaign for Coke further helped its cause in recent months, and it just racked up its 28th week on the Hot 100, advancing its chart run into 2015.
#24: Bailando by Enrique Iglesias f/Descemer Bueno & Gente De Zona
Peak: #12 2014 Weeks on Chart: 30 Points: 2013
Without a doubt the biggest surprise hit of the year, “Bailando” beat all the conventions and odds to become one of the most successful single in Enrique Iglesias’ 20-year career in the music business. Sung in Spanish, “Bailando” became the highest-charting foreign-language single in nearly 30 years, since Los Lobos’ cover of “La Bamba” hit #1 in 1987. It also became the first foreign-language single to reach the year-end Hot 100 since Shakira’s “La Tortura” in 2005. And even by Iglesias’ lofty standards, “Bailando” became a noteworthy hit, becoming just his second single (after 2010’s “I Like It”) to spend 30 or more weeks on the Hot 100. Featuring a beat you could dance to for hours, “Bailndo” was far and away my most listened-to track of the year according to Spotify.
#23: Demons by Imagine Dragons
Peak: #6 2014 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 2022
Although overshadowed by the record-breaking chart run of “Radioactive”, the follow-up single “Demons” used 2014 to become one of the most successful songs of all-time in its own right. It hit its peak of #6 in January, spent three months inside the Top 10, then rode the everlasting wave of radio airplay all the way into July. When it finally departed the chart, “Demons” managed to rack up an impressive (and somehow underrated) 61 weeks on the Hot 100, good for 12th place all-time. Combined with the run of “Radioactive,” the two singles’ total chart stay of 148 weeks is the most all-time for any two singles by any artist.
#22: All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
Peak: #1 (for 8 weeks) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 23 Points: 2110
Unless you refused to leave the house or turn on your radio in 2014, then you got swept away in the frenzy of “All About That Bass.” Debuting relatively quietly in July, its retro flair mixed with lyrics promoting body positivity took the U.S. by storm, and it took just a few weeks for Meghan Trainor’s debut single to find itself atop the Billboard Hot 100. Its 8-week stay atop the chart was the second-longest reign of the year, and it just spent its 22nd consecutive week in the Top 10, also good for the second-longest stretch of the year. Had the single been released in February or March, I have no doubt that it would have found its way into the Top 10 of this countdown, but I expect its consolation prize to be another appearance in the countdown next year.
#21: Wake Me Up! by Avicii
Peak: #8 (#4 in 2013) 2014 Weeks on Chart: 28 Points: 2111
Reaching the #22 spot on this countdown last year, “Wake Me Up” very nearly turned an impossible trick and almost reprised its exact ranking. As it were though, Avicii’s global smash hit improved upon its placement by one notch this year, despite reaching its peak of #4 in October of 2013. Lasting well into July, “Wake Me Up” continued to be a favorite of pop radio stations, helping it secure an absurd amount of longevity (especially for its genre). In fact, “Wake Me Up” became the first EDM single ever to spend more than a calendar year (52 weeks) on the Hot 100, a feat which I don’t see being matched any time soon.
Only two posts remain in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2014! You can’t afford to miss the rest of the countdown now, so be sure to be on the lookout for when songs 20-11 are revealed!