December 29, 2014
Let me know what you think of my choices in the comments box below, or tweet me @Poptastic.
The 10th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’
Released: 22nd February (Sweden)
Writers: Ace Wilder, Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb
Trivia: Busy Doin’ Nothin’ came second in this year’s Melodifestivalen, the contest to find Sweden’s Eurovision entry. It missed out by just 2 points, and although Ace isn’t the best live vocalist, I still think it would have gone on to become a big hit across Europe if it had won.
Best bits: 1. Don’t wanna work, work, work! I wanna make money while I sleep!
2. I’m busy, busy, busy doin’ nothin’ at all, I’m stressing over nothing, don’t bother to call
3. Although some might say I throw life away, I just ain’t got time to save
The 9th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Ariana Grande ft. Zedd – Break Free
Released: 3rd July (USA)
Writers: Anton Zaslavski, Max Martin, Savan Kotecha
Trivia: I saw Break Free as the completion of Ariana’s strangely long journey to becoming a proper pop star. After being signed as a teen TV star with huge potential in 2011, she released her first under-performing pop single Put Your Hearts Up (now pretty much written out of history – she even got the video removed from VEVO), then took a detour into cool-but-underwhelming 90s-inspired R&B-pop on her debut album Yours Truly. With Problem, Max Martin took that sound and improved it tenfold (as he usually does), but Break Free was the moment where Ariana finally let go of her need to be in a niche. Break Free isn’t “uniquely Ariana” – it’s a song that could have been a hit for any big star. And getting to release that song is what, in my mind at least, certified Ariana’s place in the top tier of current female pop artists.
Best bits: 1. This is the part when I say I don’t want ya, I’m stronger than I’ve been before
2. I only wanna die alive, never by the hands of a broken heart
3. In my dreams it felt so right, but I woke up every tiiiiiiiiiime… oh baby!
The 8th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Blonde ft. Melissa Steel – I Loved You
Released: 28th November (UK)
Trivia: Although I Loved You sounds quite ’90s, it’s actually a remix (refix? bootleg?) of a song from 2004, More by Tamia. Unfortunately the original isn’t very exciting, but I think it’s a testament to Blonde’s talents that they sensed how brilliant it could be if it was sped up and sprinkled with pop magic. Of all the recent house versions of old R&B songs, this is by far my favourite. In music, you should only join an overcrowded scene if you have something worthwhile to contribute, and Blonde might have just sounded the death knoll for this house-R&B-pop trend by releasing the perfect example of it. I Loved You will be very hard to beat.
Best bits: 1. Give me a reason, to make me wanna stay, wanna go back to the day I loved you more
2. Don’t make me twist your arm to stay, a little me will be OK
3. Let it go, when you’re at home, give me your heart, give me your soul
The 7th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Released: 30th June (USA)
Writers: Meghan Trainor, Kevin Kadish
Trivia: While her credit on Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony (another song in my top 25) proves Meghan is a talented songwriter, I believe her co-writer Kevin must have also been a key component to the poptasticness of All About That Bass. He was the man behind a very small pop trend in the early 2000s which I loved – the hits (ranging from minor to non-existent, but all brilliant) of Stacie Orrico and Lucy Woodward. You can definitely hear the relation to Stacie and Lucy’s sounds in All About That Bass, as well as in Meghan’s new single Lips Are Movin. I hope Kevin’s career, which Wikipedia suggests has been pretty slow since Jason Mraz stopped being fun, gets a much-deserved boost from the success of All About That Bass. I’d love 2015 to be filled with songs that sound like (There’s Gotta Be) More To Life.
Best bits: 1. Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
2. Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
3. I’m bringing booty baaaack, go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
The 6th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
Released: 23rd February (Australia)
Writers: Ashton Irwin, Michael Clifford, Jake Sinclair
Trivia: When I saw 5 Seconds of Summer live at the end of 2013, I was impressed by the strength of their fanbase (they’d sold out two nights at Koko without having ever released a single!) but I’d attended hoping to be convinced they had some great pop hits up their sleeves, ready to capitalise on their popularity. I was disappointed – the only really enjoyable moment was their cover of Teenage Dream. However, it turned out that they actually did have some songs up their sleeves that were as good as a band in their position should have… in fact, She Looks So Perfect was much better than I could have possibly expected. I’d go so far as to say it was (at the time), the best boyband single of the current era. I’ve enjoyed following JLS, One Direction, The Vamps etc, but their music hasn’t been of the same standard as the boybands of my generation (*N Sync and BSBs in particular). Their album may be mostly populated with the dated Busted-style songs I heard at their gig, but with their first two singles, 5SOS made their contemporaries look feeble.
Best bits: 1. I made a mixtape straight out of ’94, I’ve got your ripped skinny jeans lying on the floor
2. She looks so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear
3. Hey-ehh-eh-hey, hey-ehh-eh-hey, hey-ehh-eh-hey-eh, hey-ehh-ey