Best of 2014: Music Edition, Part 1

2014 was a good year. I saw tons of great movies and read some wonderful books. Feeling that I was in a bit of a music rut, I also made a point to buy some new albums. Any song that I first encountered in 2014 is eligible for the list, but most of these were actually new this year. Here are my favorite songs of 2014, numbers 10 through 6!

10. Ingrid Michaelson, “Time Machine”

Another year, another solid pop album from Ingrid Michaelson. Actually she slowed down her pace for Lights Out, taking two years between releases, and her patience pays off with one of her strongest albums to date. There are many good songs, but “Time Machine” is classic Ingrid. It’s catchy with a simple yet appealing premise and definitely worthy of singalongs in the car.

9. The Black Keys, “I’m Not The One”

I came by this song in a roundabout way. The TV show Scandal played a cover of “I’m Not The One” by soul singer Bettye LaVette, which eventually led me to the Black Keys original. It’s a male breakup anthem in the tradition of “Free Bird,” rather charming in the singer’s easy admission of being unavailable. This song was the soundtrack to some of my more broody moments of 2014.

8. Josh Ritter, “Bright Smile”

“Kathleen” was my favorite song in 2011, but I somehow went until this year without owning any Josh Ritter albums. Cheapo to the rescue once again. Although Hello Starling has several gems, “Bright Smile” is a deceptively simple love song that sticks in my mind. It’s the kind of song you would want someone to sing under your window, if you like that sort of thing.

7. Ed Sheeran, “Runaway”

“Runaway” is just as catchy as “Sing” or “Don’t,” but without being mercilessly overplayed by radio. It’s Ed Sheeran’s other collaboration with Pharrell Williams, in which he talks about leaving home as a teenager. “Runaway” manages to communicate genuine emotion on top of an impeccable groove.

6. Beyoncé, “XO”

I was a ridiculously huge Destiny’s Child fan in middle school, and I’ve had a soft spot for Beyoncé ever since. Although I was tempted to pick “Drunk In Love” as my favorite from her latest album, “XO” is the song that makes me the happiest. For me it’s all about that sublime buildup to the chorus, and then, musical bliss.

Come back tomorrow for my top 5 songs of the year!

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