From a cello-laced pop anthem to a church-rattling people monitor to Queen Bey’s utter flawlessness, 2014 contained an amazingly numerous array of highly effective singles. After many, many listens, the Billboard employees voted for his or her favorites in our annual Critics’ Picks record. Try what we selected as the ten greatest singles of 2014. (And see our record of the ten greatest albums right here.)

(textual content by Jason Lipshutz)

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10. 5 Seconds of Summer season, “She Appears So Excellent”

With a hook that’s engrained in your head halfway by way of the music and an immediately traditional shout-out to American Attire, “She Appears So Excellent” understandably broke 5 Seconds of Summer season within the States, and launched us to pop-punk’s nice new hopes.

9. Taylor Swift, “Clean Area”

After years of writing scathing songs about her ex-flames, Taylor Swift tossed each acidic “Possibly SHE’S the issue” consumer remark right into a blender and served up a self-aware smoothie because the second single from 1989. Bonus factors for a music video that ranks amongst (or perhaps on the high of) Swift’s best possible visuals.

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8. Bleachers, “I Wanna Get Higher”

Beneath the fist-pumping piano hook and a six-syllable vocal chant lies a sorrowful music a couple of deceased sister and feeling alienated as a hapless excessive schooler. Jack Antonoff infused a triumphant melody with pure emotion, and supplied an indie-pop single that impacts and endures.

7. Beyonce feat. Nicki Minaj, “***Flawless (Remix)”

How does Beyonce observe up a career-defining album that included a few of the most adored singles of her profession… in addition to a infamous incident in an elevator through which her sister took a swing at her husband? By dropping a remix that splits the distinction, after all. By taking a white-hot music and brushing the road “After all generally shit goes down/When it’s a billion {dollars} on an elevator,” Beyonce made “Flawless” priceless.

6. Tinashe feat. ScHoolboy Q, “2 On”

DJ Mustard dominated hip-hop in 2014, however out of all the nice singles (YG’s “Who Do You Love” and Jeremih’s “Don’t Inform ‘Em” spring to thoughts), Tinashe’s “2 On” was probably the most hypnotic, a masterful show of charisma from an R&B artist who was comparatively unknown when the music dropped. With Mustard on the beat, Tinashe gave the producer the feminine protagonist he had been beforehand missing.

5. Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”

Is “Burnin’ It Down” probably the greatest R&B singles of the yr, gifted by one among nation’s greatest superstars? The music glides with intercourse enchantment and programmed beats, and whereas Jason Aldean is aware of a factor or two about filth highway anthems, he left his consolation zone right here and straight-up scored.

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4. Clear Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Quite Be”

An ode to feeling at residence together with your greatest good friend while you’re nowhere close to your precise residence, “Quite Be” gave Clear Bandit and Jess Glynne a U.S. following, and gave us one of the vital likable pop singles in years, a fizzy mixture of strings, synth-pop and 70’s dance music. Even when Clear Bandit by no means dents the Prime 10 once more, the group produced one music that seems like it should final without end.

3. Hozier, “Take Me To Church”

Even when “Take Me To Church” hadn’t been featured in a Beats By Dre business or been carried out on Saturday Night time Reside, Hozier’s debut single would have discovered an American viewers, because of one of many yr’s most harrowing hooks and distinctive vocal takes. Now nominated for a Music of the 12 months Grammy, “Take Me To Church” nonetheless produces goosebumps after dozens of performs.

2. Kendrick Lamar, “i”

No, it’s not the glowering sneer of “Backseat Freestyle” or the multi-pronged storytelling of “Swimming Swimming pools (Drank),” however Kendrick Lamar’s “i” captures one thing that’s arguably tougher to convey in hip-hop: blissful positivity. Working atop an Isley Brothers pattern, Lamar constantly proves himself probably the most creative MC within the recreation on the one, zagging after we assume he’s going to zig and blasting into an earth-shattering verse simply after we assume the music is slowing down. There’s no slowing down King Kendrick.

1. Sia, “Chandelier”

Who would have thought earlier than 2014 started that Sia — answerable for co-writing so many indelible pop treats, from Rihanna’s “Diamonds” to David Guetta’s “Titanium” — would have give you the yr’s greatest single as a solo artist? The towering YOLO anthem “Chandelier” took months to achieve the Prime 10 of the Scorching 100 chart, however pop purveyors embraced its sentiment and Sia’s efficiency nearly instantly, turning the camera-shy Australian into an American star. Few might have seen “Chandelier” coming, and an unexpected triumph like this one helps make pop music so thrilling as an artwork type.

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