In honor of hitting 5,000 views today, I decided to do something special. Just because I write about less-than-mainstream music sometimes does not mean I have no ounce of soul. AKA I do not consider myself a hipster. If you do, go ahead, but I thought I would share my favorite mainstream music picks. So let’s jump right into this, I’ll even give quick ratings!
Disclosure: I will not write about songs that I have already given “Hear It First” articles. These songs and their positions are as of the week of January 17, 2015 on the America (‘Murica!) chart. You can read about each song below the jump:
1. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (#1) – When I talk about songs I should have written about the day they came out, this comes up number one on my list. I had it saved and was going to post up at least a “Hear It First” article. I did not expect it to get the acclaim it did. I do like it a lot though, because not only does the song bring back funk, it is so easy to pick up and spit back out like gum under a chair. Some of the lines were overused a bit, and the bridge is very skip-able. Actually, everything after 2:45 drops the rating down a few points. Still though, this is one of my favorite #1 hits in a good while.
2. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (#3) – Sorry Taylor, I had to skip over you and “Blank Space” (Which I actually tolerate, though I do not like it enough to write about it here). Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and its climb up the Hot 100 makes me look at strictly mainstream music listeners with less animosity. Hozier’s vocals are nothing spectacular (and a bit shakey), but the song can cause chills and the tone is perfect for his voice’s stage of development. The second stanza starts to see Hozier’s voice begin to break, but he picks things up by the bridge. The song is deep and finds a way to be loud while reflective.
3. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (#4) – This might be one of my favorite songs in the Top 20 or so. I also consider this Sheeran’s best song to date. “Thinking Out Loud” is subtle and signature to his style, but feels different and stood out to me. The pacing is solid, though the song feels bit drawn out at nearly 5:00 when it gets repetitive with the chorus towards the end after a (sick) instrumental bridge. The ballad is romantic and the perfect love song for a partner.
4. James Newton ft. Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hanging Tree” (#17) – I have heard that when people saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 aka The Hunger Game: Mockingjay Pt. 1 Because We Want To Make More Mo – damn, I am always inclined to make that joke; Anyways, I have heard that the scene containing “The Hanging Tree” is quite emotional and feely, but I think the song itself is emotional enough. The symphony is perfection, the chant is chilling, and Jennifer Lawrence does a marvelous job carrying the light and focused-upon vocals. Around 2:30 the song shifts into a large symphony that climaxes at about 3:20 and ends almost right after. Basically, I really like this song.
5. Tove Lo, “Habits (Stay High)” (#20) – I cannot say I love this song, but it is one of those tracks that I will see in my recommendations and give it an extra play. The lyrics are real and the surreal sound of “Habits (Stay High)” separates it from most modern music. The first two verses have an awkward feel to their delivery while the chorus is excellent and the bridge is one of the best parts. How the bridge was handled is how I was hoping the first two stanzas were going to go, but I digress.
6. Mr. Probz, “Waves” (Robin Schulz Remix) (#22) – Meet my favorite song of 2014. I made a list (which I intend to share eventually) of my Top 10 favorite songs released in 2014, and this was #1 without a doubt. It also made my All-Time Favorites list. I really love this song, between the beat by Robin Schulz and Mr. Probz’s crisp and unique voice. The love song is tender, while staying popular despite not being your typical love song. I wrote about the T.I./Chris Brown remix, but it will never compare to the original (or, popular original). That is why, in my opinion (and this might be very opinionated), this is the perfect song.
7. One Direction, “Night Changes” (#34) – I was once teased that I might write about One Direction on this blog. I hate to let that reader down, but “Night Changes” is one of my favorite songs on the Billboard Hot 100. It is a new and mature sound from One Direction and finds a way to appeal to listeners who may have doubts about the adorable boy (well not so much anymore) band. The bridge feels a bit empty, but otherwise this is a great song and the perfect “first song” for a 1D skeptic. While I have favorites ahead of this one, their sound dates past their current image.
8. Alesso ft. Tove Lo, “Heroes (We Could Be)” (#39) – This is when Tove Lo started sounding more like Billboard Hot 100 material. and “Heroes (We Could Be)” became one of my favorite EDM tracks when I heard it on Music Choice. Words repeat a lot but that just makes it even catchier (It’s EDM, what did you expect?) and it is the perfect length at 3:30. Definitely another favorite on the list.
9. Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be” (#44) – When this song would come on a public radio, there would be no place that I would rather be. The song is so catchy, fun to dance to, and only grew old after 4 months of listening. The song beat and instrumental is very underrated to Glynne’s melodic vocals.
10. Florida Georgia Line, “Sun Daze” (#51) – I found “Cruise” a fun song, as was “This Is How We Roll”. While I do not like “Sun Daze” as much as these two, I can see why people love seeing Florida Georgia Line in the Hot 100 and they are definitely one of my favorite Country acts. I can listen to Country, and do like mostly mainstream country singers including FGL, Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, etc. “Sun Daze” feels a bit unoriginal but it is fun, despite my hate for whistling in music. The bridge might be the best part on the song to my ears.
11. Colbie Caillat, “Try” (#65) – I still find music by the acclaimed “Bubbly” singer fun almost a decade after her biggest hit. I had to “Try” to like this song (I am out of jokes and just using puns at this point) when I first heard it, but I found the gentle appeal of the track. The chorus might actually be the part I like the least, while the lead-in to it may be the part I actually look forward to. The lyrics feel a bit rushed at times while the chorus feels empty.
12. The Weeknd, “Often” (#69) – As fitting as that song placement is, I still like the Kygo remix of the song better. Of course The Weeknd would be in this list. The cop-punching Asian-loving RnB singer talks about all of the acts he gets to perform…often. Girl he does this often. The beat feels way off with the pacing, whereas the Kygo beat fits much better like a snug robe.
So that caps off the list, which would be much longer if I had not already written about more favorites including “Dangerous”, “Earned It”, “In Your Arms”, “Apparently”, “She Knows”, and more. You can check out those articles as well across AMP. This is definitely one of my favorite Hot 100 weeks in a very long time, but what is your favorite popular song, old or new? Let me know in the comments below! And Happy 5,000!