Let me know what you think of my choices in the comments box below, or tweet me @Poptastic.
The 15th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Leah McFall ft. will.i.am – Home
Released: 27th July (UK)
Writers: Alex Ebert, Jade Castrinos, Jean-Baptiste, Ryan Buendia, Michael McHenry, William Adams
Trivia: This song overcame a lot of hurdles to make its way into my top 15. I wasn’t a fan of Leah on The Voice, so didn’t have high expectations for her solo material, and I’m hardly a dedicated follower of will.i.am. Also, it’s entirely possible that I could never have even heard this song, due to the unfair lack of media support it received (Popjustice wrote a great blog post about this). Luckily I did hear Home, and I love every bit of it. The vocal acrobatics that made Leah’s TV performances tiresome are in this case used to great effect, adding a unique element to what is already a strong, well-constructed pop song. She couldn’t have had a better debut single, but the world simply wasn’t listening.
Best bits: 1. Close my eyes, click my heels, and I’m home!
2. I’ll be climbing up that hill for you, I’ll give everything I can give for you
3. People claim to know me but they cannot pick me up when I’m low
The 14th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Released: 6th April (UK)
Writers: Kanye West, John Stephens, Charlie Wilson, Che Pope, Elon Rutberg, Cydel Young, Malik Jones, Sakiya Sandifer, Mike Dean, Norman Whiteside, Bob Massey, Robert Dukes, Ronnie Self
Trivia: Only now, after having heard this song at least 100 times, have I discovered that it features one of my favourite undeservedly unsuccessful singers, Daniel Pearce (of One True Voice/being discarded for Jamie Afro fame). Here he is performing it at the Jingle Bell Ball. I always assumed that Nobody To Love featured Charlie Wilson’s vocals from the original Kanye West song Bound 2 (easy mistake to make as I’ve only listened to Bound 2 once). Now I know the truth, I love it even more! There aren’t many big dance hits that are also personal favourites of mine, but Nobody To Love is so anthemic, uplifting and energising, it never gets old.
Best bits: 1. I know you’re tired of loving, of loving, with nobody to love, nobody, nobody, just grab somebody, no leaving this party, with nobody to love, nobody, nobody (repeat x3)
The 13th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Released: 26th January (UK)
Writers: Kathleen Brien, Gordon Warren, Guy Chambers
Trivia: Crying For No Reason was the song I was campaigning for at this year’s Popjustice £20 Prize. It did well, but ultimately lost out to Move by Little Mix. I think it would have been nice to reward Katy for excelling in an area of pop music so different to what she is known for. For a dance artist to turn her hand to balladry, and come out with a song and vocal performance that Adele would have been proud to call her own, is a pretty great achievement.
Best bits: 1. Crying for no reason ‘cos I buried it deep, I made promises I could not keep
2. Forgive me now ’cause I said that I’ll be there for you
3. ‘Cos I never faced all the pain I caused, now the pain is hitting me full force
The 12th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Released: 16th June (USA)
Writers: Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges, Barry Dean
Trivia: When Hunter released Tattoo in the UK, his label decided we needed a new version, more poppy rather than country, but not drastically different. Mercury did the same thing for Taylor Swift’s Love Story five years earlier. This tactic makes sense for UK radio, but Decca went so far as to make a new edit of the video with this version, and block us Brits from viewing the original on YouTube. A bit bonkers considering any new British fans checking out this video will think he is a nobody, as it only has 32,000 views compared to the original version’s several million (I assume… I can’t actually see how many views it has), and any fans who were already into Hunter can no longer access the original version. Unfortunately Tattoo is yet to catch on over here, and perhaps never will, even if his UK team up their game, but I doubt Hunter is too bothered. After all, when did you last see Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert in the top 40? (Never)
Best bits: 1. Your name, your name, sounds so good next to mine, and I think, I think, I’m gonna put it in all my rhymes
2. Your name, your name, your name… would be a good tattoo
3. You’re shaking things up like you wouldn’t believe, crashing my comfort zone, setting me free
The 11th Most Poptastic Single of 2014
Released: 16th February (Norway)
Writers: Sandra Lyng, Cato Sundberg, Kent Sundberg, Kiezsa Szosi
Trivia: This song was produced by Donkeyboy and co-written with them and Kiesza (she is part-Norwegian and worked with a few Scandi artists before she broke through with Hideaway). It is significantly better than the collaboration they released (also pre-Hideaway), Triggerfinger. You may recognise Donkeyboy singer Cato’s vocals in Don’t Care when he sings the chorus line as a sort-of middle eight at about 2:19.
Best bits: 1. But you’re always in my head in the silence, don’t care what you are, don’t care what you are
2. Oh-oh oh-oh oh, oh-oh oh ah-oh-oh
3. Don’t want another dream baby, but where’s the light, b-baby mmm