Rick’s Report – Final Tally – The Top 100 Songs of 2014

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Pitbull (top) regained his stronghold on the pop and dance charts with no less than a half dozen extremely popular collaborations with other artists from his “Globilazation” album (above). Dance music remained the driving factor behind pop music in 2014, but alternative music was close behind and powerful ballads continue to break through to the top of the charts.

Pop radio itself didn’t seem to change much in 2014, but several of the subgenres that foretell its future did make some gains while another popular genre – Contemporary Country – continued its slippery slide into hick-hop hell. In the opinion of many local music fans, country music may have actually fallen over the cliff last year. Since none of our bitching about it has resulted in any changes, it’s obvious that the major recording labels are still in charge of what we hear on the radio.

I believe that commercial music is a product, like Coke vs. Pepsi,” said DJ Dr. Hawke, who currently spins tunes at bars in Sullivan County. “Anybody that is actually good will NEVER have a hit record. The major labels…continue to churn out the same devil-worshipping drivel that they were pumping out 15 years ago.”

Hawke, a Towanda High School graduate, was one of two life-long followers of popular music who offered some commentary and picks for my Top 100 Songs of 2014. The second was Tunkhannock High School graduate Chris Maruzzelli, who has played in and started up a number of local bands, currently am radio and LondonForce. I challenged both of them to think outside their respective boxes.

Maruzzelli is an avid follower of current alternative music trends. While alternative music had a good showing overall last year, much of what lingered onto the charts in 2014 – including Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and Bastille – was actually released in 2013. I was careful not to repeat anything on this list that was on last year’s Top 100 (http://www.endlessmtnlifestyles.com/?p=560).

Hawke is hoping that the unwavering popularity of bluesy funky roots music (aka – hippy rock) by acts such as the String Cheese Incident will lead to a breakthrough and needed change to pop music. “They’re a great jam band that made a great studio album (“Song in My Head),” he stated.

Maruzzelli cited Jack White’s bluesy rock song “Lazaretto” as a standout track in 2014. “Jack always makes the blues innovative and fun,” he offered.

The pool of dance hits to draw on for this list was deep, even though the subject matter was characteristically shallow. Maruzzelli offered “Chandelier” by Sia as an example. “Although there is no in-depth songwriting going on here, this tune gave me goose bumps the first several times that I heard it,” he noted. “The obvious vocal talent injected into the lyrics ‘I want to swing from a chandelier’ would be enough to sell this hit, but Sia follows it up with an extended chorus of haunting harmonies that almost buzz.”

When it came to country-flavored hits, my collaborators were quick to back off. Maruzzelli pointed to cuts by the Civil Wars and Natalie Maines as favorites from 2013, and he looks forward to new releases from the Mavericks and the Indigo Girls later in 2015, but “2014 country held no favorites for me. I tried. I really did.”

That’s not to say that numerous songs from the country charts didn’t catch the ears of pop music fans and therefor achieve that cross-over nirvana that corporate music moguls love and true fans of more traditional country fans despise. In fact, Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottom Up” was the #1 jukebox song in the Endless Mountains according to the two key companies that service machines in the region.

So I figured that it was my job to ensure that those country songs that I saw garnering the most response at bars and parties throughout the year were included here.

Bluegrass music and roots-infused folk music made great strides and garnered many new fans of all ages in 2014. Both the NEPA Bluegrass festival and Cornstock folk festival held at Lazy Brook Park near Tunkhannock last year proved that the fan base for these somewhat related genres is much younger than it was even 10 years ago. Most of what pop fans do not immediately recognize on the following chart are likely from those genres. I include them not only because I am a fan of bluegrass and roots music but because I do expect its popularity to rise as country music crashes to the ground and seeks to find itself again.

So dance and alternative music ruled the roost again this year, as folk elements continued to influence both. Maruzzelli suggested that alternative music is the driving force behind live music right now, but he and I agreed that it is beginning to sound stale.

These days, even the top alternative can be as drab and boring as pop. Alternative music is simply anything that initially doesn’t fit the corporate mold of pop radio,” Maruzzelli remarked. “A listener is forced to dig even deeper than…say…Alt-Nation on Sirius Radio. Some alternative songs will become pop hits when their popularity can’t be ignored.”

As for the Indie scene, Hawke added, “even there, half of the bands sound alike.”

Maruzzelli also answered a question that I posed while composing my most recent alternative hits chart (http://www.endlessmtnlifestyles.com/?p=3088): Does everything on the Arctic Monkeys album sound the same?

This album (“AM”) should be played from front to back,” he explained. “There are similarities in many songs as if it were all one concept and feel. ‘RU Mine’ is basically ‘Do I Wanna Know’ part 2, bigger and better!”

Latino and “Miami” beats fueled dance hits again this year, as evidenced by the contiguous chart presence of Pitbull and the international success of Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando.” And, while I’m not much into ballads, Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” stood out from softer R&B offerings and a lot of wimpy slow songs.

And, finally…the chart. Though I toiled at arranging and rearranging a list that initially carried more than 300 titles of music I was following in 2014, I’ll admit that this chart is by no means definitive. It’s purpose is to offer a broad pallet of the songs from the most-listened-to genres in the Endless Mountains of northeastern PA that made moderate to substantial impacts on the music scene that might be felt for years to come. Of course some of your favorites will not be on this list, but please cut and paste some titles and artists with which you are not already familiar into YouTube and treat yourself to something new.

Top 100 Hits of 2014:


  1. Pitbull f: John Ryan – Fireball
  2. Maddie & Tae – Girl in a Country Song
  3. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance
  4. Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong?
  5. Nickel Creek – Destination
  6. Kongos (right/below) – Come With Me Now kongos
  7. Paramore – Ain’t It Fun
  8. The Secret Sisters – Rattle My Bones
  9. Pitbull f: Kei$ha – Timber
  10. Lady Antebellum – Compass
  11. American Authors (right/below) – Best Day of My Life american authors
  12. Brantley Gilbert – Bottoms Up
  13. Trampled by Turtles – Victory
  14. Hozier – Take Me to Church
  15. The Neighbourhood – Afraid
  16. Big Data f: Joywave – Dangerous
  17. The Stray Birds (right/below) – Best Medicine The stra
  18. Phantogram – Fall In Love
  19. Sam Smith – Stay With Me
  20. Lady Antebellum – Bartender
  21. Kacey Mudgroves – Follow That Arrow
  22. Ed Sherran – Don’t
  23. Mike Zito & the Wheel – Gone to Texas
  24. Bleachers– Rollercoaster
  25. Mark Ronson f: Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  26. Banks (right/below) – Beggin’ for Thread banks better
  27. Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High)
  28. Alan Jackson – Blue Ridge Mountain Song
  29. Vance Joy – Riptide
  30. Maroon 5 – Animals
  31. Brad Paisley – Riverbank
  32. Calvin Harris – Summer
  33. Hot Rize (right/below) – Blue is Fallin’ Hot Rize
  34. Pitbull f: GRL – Wild Wild Love
  35. Seether – Same Damn Life
  36. Enrique Iglesias f: Descemer Bueno y Gente de Zona – Bailando
  37. Arctic Monkeys – RU Mine
  38. Echosmith – Cool Kids
  39. Magic – Rude
  40. Blake Shelton – Doing What She Likes
  41. The Frey – Love Don’t Die
  42. Fitz & the Tantrums (right/below) – I Need You Now Fitz & tantrums
  43. The Devil Makes Three – Stranger
  44. Broken Bells – Holding On for Life
  45. Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
  46. Rosanne Cash – World of Strange Design
  47. Weezer – Back to the Shack
  48. Lucinda Williams – Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
  49. Silverson Pickups – Cannibal
  50. The Decembrists – Make You Better
  51. Bela Fleck & Abigail Washbburn – Railroad
  52. Kongos – I’m Only Joking
  53. Sia – Chandelier
  54. Greensky Bluegrass – Burn Them
  55. Ariana Grande f: Iggy Azalea (right/below) – Problem ariana and iggy
  56. Mr. Probz – Waves
  57. Frankie Ballard – Sunshine & Whiskey
  58. Lee Brice – Drinking Class
  59. String Cheese Incident – Song in My Head
  60. Brothers Osborne – Rum
  61. Jason Derulo f: Snoop Dog – Wiggle
  62. Jack White – Lazaretto
  63. Beck – Blue Moon
  64. Keiser Chiefs – Coming Home
  65. Iggy Azalea f: Charli XCX – Fancy
  66. Eric Paslay – Song About a Girl
  67. The Infamous Stringdusters – Let it Go
  68. MTKO – Classic
  69. Danielle Bradberry – The Heart of Dixie
  70. Jackson Browne – Leaving Winslow
  71. Passenger – All the Little Lights
  72. Annie DiFranco – Rainy Parade
  73. Blake Shelton – Neon Light
  74. The Earls of Leicester – On My Mind
  75. Alt-J (right/below) – Left Hand Free alt j
  76. Run River North – Monsters Calling Home
  77. Rosanne Cash – The Sunken Lands
  78. Julian Casablancas & the Voidz – Where No Eagles Fly
  79. Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness – Cecelia & the Satellite
  80. Little Big Town – Day Drinkin’
  81. Young the Giant – It’s about Time
  82. Lorde – Team
  83. Jamestown Revival – California (Cast Iron Soul)
  84. Foster the People – Coming of Age
  85. Tiesto f: Mathew Koma – Wasted
  86. Rodney Crowell – Tar Paper Sky
  87. 5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
  88. Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing
  89. The Band Perrry – Chainsaw
  90. Ed Sherran (right/below) – Sing ed sherran
  91. Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
  92. Thomas Rhett – Make Me Wanna
  93. DJ Snake & Little John – Turn Down for What
  94. Ella Henderson – Ghost
  95. Jennifer Lopez f: Iggy Azalea or Pitbull – Booty
  96. Kid Ink f: Usher & Tinasche – Body Language
  97. Fallout Boy – Centuries
  98. Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing
  99. The Orwells – The Righteous Ones
  100. Rhonda Vincent – When the Grass Grows Over Me


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