Vada’s Top Music of 2014: The Singles

Yes it really is that time of the year already. 2014 is on its way out and Vada takes a look back in preparation for 2015 – these are some of our favorite songs.

Azealia Banks – Ice Princess

Barry Quinn: Heavily sampling ‘In the Air’ by Morgan Page, ‘Ice Princess’ is a twinkling, refined song. It’s dripping in coldness. Beneath the imagery and metaphor, Banks is looking positively towards the future. She’s ‘feeling a change’ because of wealth (apparently, ‘they call [her] Banks cause [she] can loan money’). Banks is bold, unafraid to declare she’ll beat her competition: ‘I’ma be legendary when I end this’, she says midway through the song – and it’s a fair assessment to make.

Kiesza – Hideaway

Adam Lowe: This is dance pop as it should be. Along with Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be,’ this song has been a favourite club tune of mine for a while now. There are definite reminiscences of 90s dance here, which is perhaps why I love it so much – being a total 90s geek.

Emily King – Distance

Reggie Myers: This year saw the return of Emily King with her new song, ‘Distance’. The soulful track finds Emily singing about the highs of being in love while detailing the work it takes to stay there. Her sweet voice perfectly complements the 60s inspired beat and gives listeners a perfect showcase of her singing abilities. I hope to hear more from King in 2015. It’s been far too long since she’s put out a project.

Danity Kane – Lemonade

John Preston: Danity Kane returns with one final hurrah, a R&B track which could have been released in the genres golden period at the turn of the millennium. ‘Lemonade’ is a wigged-out, crashing and  – crucially – whip-tight blast of refreshment.

Mary J. Blige – Whole Damn Year

Rebecca Swarray: This track comes from The London Sessions, released on iTunes in October. Written by Emeli Sandé, it’s beautifully produced and Mary grapples with love and trusting a new lover. Her vocals are in fine form and she captures emotion superbly.

Roisin Murphy – Ancora Tu

John Preston: Roisin Murphy’s best material is still to come and at this point who has any ideas on what that might sound like? An EP was released earlier in the year of cover versions of Italian pop songs, sung in Italian. Ancora Tu was probably the most famous song featured and Murphy made it seductive, strange and completely essential again.

SZA – Sobriety

Reggie Myers: When I first heard SZA, I loved her voice but wasn’t so sure about her song and lyrical choices (I love you like I love crack, anyone?). But she won me over as a fan when she dropped ‘Z’ earlier in the year. So when Sobriety was released in November, I just had to check it out – and I was glad I did. It’s somber; about succumbing to the temptation to get high when everything in life is going wrong. In a world where R&B singers are too focused on trying to posture like rappers, SZA takes the old school R&B route where you felt the singer’s emotions and made you feel like you were sitting right next to them, catching up at a bar. SZA just keeps getting better.

These were some of the staff’s picks for the top songs of the year. I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you what albums we decided on. In the meantime, feel free to tell us what your favorite songs in 2014.