NEW YORK—Need a new playlist? Check out the Associated Press’ top songs of 2014 list. Heard them before? Then play them again.
1. “Pretty Hurts,” Beyoncé: Contemporary music’s top singer and songwriter—Beyoncé and Sia—join forces to create a song that is heavy, deeply felt, emotional—but most important, beautiful. “Pretty Hurts,” with its winning accompanying music video, tackles the insecurities anyone and everyone feels, and Beyoncé’s rising vocals bring Sia’s words to life, including lyrics like “it’s the soul that needs surgery.” I could cry.
2. “Chandelier,” Sia: Being selfish is a good thing: Sia, who has written for Rihanna, Katy Perry and others, decided to keep “Chandelier” for herself, and thankfully so. The upbeat party anthem can get anyone in the right mood.
3. “I’m Not the Only One,” Sam Smith: Yes, Sam Smith stole your heart with “Stay With Me,” but “I’m Not the Only One” proves he will be around for a long time. His honest delivery, lyrically and vocally, makes him so irresistible it makes you wonder who was so foolish to have broken his heart.
4. “All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor: The year’s most viral and colorful song still sounds good months after its release. “All About That Bass” is addictive and empowering, and it showcases bright newcomer Meghan Trainor, who we think won’t fall into the trap of one-hit wonder status.
5. “Bailando,” Enrique Iglesias featuring Sean Paul, Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno: It doesn’t matter if it’s the Spanish or English version, Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando” is the track with the year’s most swag. I wanna be contigo, and live contigo, and dance contigo!
6. “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” Jeremih featuring YG: The other song of the year full of swagger is Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell Em,” thanks to DJ Mustard’s grungy but digestible production. Call him producer of the year: He also helmed Tinashe’s “2 On,” Big Sean’s “I Don’t” and Fergie’s “L.A. Love (La La),” among other favourites.
7. “Take Me to Church,” Hozier: Hozier’s humane and emotional lyrics, matched with his commanding voice, make for a bluesy, soulful, indie rock treasure with “Take Me to Church,” likely to win the Grammy Award for song of the year.
8. “Day Drinking,” Little Big Town: “Why don’t we do a little day drinking?” Little Big Town asks—rather sings—on their latest hit. And why not? It would feel even better doing so while listening to this summer anthem, highlighted by the foursome’s awesome harmonies and that guitar solo.
9. “Turn Down for What,” DJ Snake and Lil Jon: Do I really need to explain why this is so good?
10. “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift: Kudos to Tay Tay for writing a song about the media’s portrayal of her love life—or the multitude of them. It’s creative, smart, funny and cool.
Honourable Mention: “Cool Kids,” Echosmith; “Rather Be,” Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne; “i,” Kendrick Lamar; “Boom Clap,” Charli XCX; “Waves,” Mr. Probz.