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50 Best Songs of 2014

Scroll Down for What: Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar and the singles that shook our year

50 Best Singles of 2014

Beyoncé made the best drunken-hookup song ever, DJ Snake and Lil Jon refused to turn down for any reason, Sia swung from the chandeliers and more. Here are the 50 best tracks of the year. 

Kendrick Lamar I
10

Kendrick Lamar, “i”

Hip-hop's most exciting young voice rocks some spiritual self-love over a classic Isley Brothers lick: "Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart on my sleeve." He wears it well.

Future Islands, Seasons (Waiting On You)
9

Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting On You)”

Synth-pop to send a chill up your spine: Singer Samuel T. Herring walks a fine line between Erasure and Tina Turner, oozing sad-white-boy soul.

Sharon Van Etten, 'Every Time The Sun Comes Up'
8

Sharon Van Etten, “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”

"I washed your dishes/But I shit in your bathroom," Van Etten sings on this majestic stomper – bad-mood indie folk that hits as hard as any rock all year.

Bruce Springsteen, 'Frankie Fell In Love'
7

Bruce Springsteen, “Frankie Fell in Love”

A rock-soul riot that boils the world's wisdom down to one simple phrase – "It all starts with a kiss" – and proceeds to drive home that gospel truth with fire-starting fury.

Taylor Swift, 'Blank Space'
6

Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

"They'll tell you I'm insane," Swift sings. No way! The high point of 1989 was a superstorm ballad that hits like a pitching wedge through your windshield. And in inventing her own sound between Beyoncé and the Pet Shop Boys, she brings the cray-Tay with as much elegance as vengeance.

Jenny Lewis Just One of the Guys
5

Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys”

The sharp-witted, golden-voiced queen of L.A. indie pop dropped a beautiful, Beck-produced truth bomb about midlife malaise – from not yet having kids to dealing with her aging guy friends' forever-24 girlfriends. Just like that, Lewis flips the script on the male gaze. Checkmate.

Future Move That Dope
4

Future feat. Pusha T, Pharrell, Casino, “Move That Dope”

A rap song about dealing drugs? How novel! In fact, Auto-Tuned ATLien Future turned well-worn boasts about the gold on his links and the coke in his sink into an irresistible anthem. The beat makes you feel high as hell; the joy in the hustle makes you wanna be a customer.

U2, Every Breaking Wave
3

U2, “Every Breaking Wave”

The emotional centerpiece of Songs of Innocence is a stark, shimmering ballad that recalls "With or Without You" in its searching power. "Are we so helpless against the tide?" Bono asks, staring down time's passage. The music answers back with gently heroic uplift, giving him the salvation he seeks.

DJ Snake Turn Down for What
2

DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”

The year's nutsiest party jam was also the perfect protest banger for a generation fed up with everything. DJ Snake brings the synapse-rattling EDM and Southern trap music; Lil Jon brings the dragon-fire holler for a hilarious, glorious, glowstick-punk "fuck you."

Beyonce Drunk In Love
1

Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”

Of all Beyoncé's flawless accomplishments over the past 12 months – pulling off the ultimate surprise-album stunt; raking in millions on one of the year's hugest stadium tours; coming out as a proud feminist on national TV – this one stands out as the flawless-est: She managed to make marriage sound ridiculously hot. This future-pop fantasy was the sexiest thing on the radio, from the heavy bass throb to the wild thrill in her voice when she sings about juicy nights ("I get filthy when that liquor get into me"), hung-over mornings and, uh, surfboards. So steamy, even her famous husband’s uncomfortable Ike Turner joke couldn’t kill the vibe.

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