The Top Ten Best Hit Songs of 2014
January 31, 2015
15:09 (Part 1)
Todd plays American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" on the piano.
THE TOP TEN BEST HIT SONGS OF 2014
A very late year-end retrospective
Todd: I'm not thrilled with this list.
- Clip from DJ Drybones's "Top Pop Songs Of 2014 Mashup (How I Feel)", which serves as the interlude throughout the countdown.
- Pharrell: It might seem crazy what I'm about to say
Todd (VO): I really loved every song on my last Best of the Year list. This year, the picks were... kinda slim. And these are all gonna be songs I liked. I'm just saying I don't know how many would've made it on my Year-End list in better years. There's just... not a lot of strong competition. As a matter on fact, I think 2014 might set a record not only for the worst hits, but also for the least hits. You remember how I mentioned in a video how static the year was right for, like, weeks and weeks and weeks? Yeah, that fact...
Todd: ...did this list no favors. I feel like I had a lot less music to choose from somehow. I'm not even...
Todd (VO): ...sure how Billboard even managed to release a Year-End 100. Shouldn't it be like a Year-End 53?
Todd: But you know what? It is what it is. I still listen to the Top 40 stuff more than I listen to anything else. Surely, this year wasn't a total waste. Well, we'll see. This is...
- Vinz: ...that's just how I feel
Todd (VO): The Top Ten Best Hit Songs of 2014!
Todd (VO): #10.
- Video begins...
- Ariana Grande: Tell me something I need to know
- Then take my breath and never let it go
- [Todd is entranced]
- If you just let me invade your space
- I'll take the pleasure...
Todd: I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
#10. Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd - "Love Me Harder"
- Ariana: 'Cause if you want to keep me, you gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, got to love me harder
Todd (VO): I feel bad that I've talked so much smack about Ariana Grande's ability to be sexy because...yeah, this is doin' it for me.
Todd: Hey, I get to be gross every once in a while, all right? I don't do it that often.
- Ariana: And if in the moment I bite my lip
Todd (VO): Ariana Grande is a beautiful young woman who is singing about how you need to love her harder, and that is not a double entendre. That means a total of one thing...
Todd: ...and it's exactly the one you think it means.
- Ariana: ...you gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, got to love me harder
Todd (VO): Yeah, not a lot of room for interpretation in this one. Yeah, this one works for me in all the ways [clip of...] that "Bang Bang" didn't—sexy where the other one was embarrassing, low and seductive where the other one was noisy and overbearing.
- Ariana: Oooh-ooh, love me, love me, love me
Todd (VO): As a matter of fact, Ariana Grande needs to do a lot more cooing and a lot less belting because restraint is a good look on her. Also, the slower tempo means she doesn't sound like she's trying to sing and brush her teeth at the same time.
Todd: I can actually understand what she's saying.
- Clip of "Break Free" (with interpreted lyrics)
- Ariana: This is the part where (This is the pot whale)
- I say I don't want ya (I say Otto on ya)
Todd (VO): This would be higher, but I did get the feeling that Ariana's still growing into adulthood, although I hope she keeps up this direction. But more importantly...
Todd: ...who the hell is this guy?
- The Weeknd: I know your motives and you know mine
- The ones that love me...
Todd (VO): Um, I'm sorry, I don't see the big deal about this guy, The Weeknd... the weakened. Just another one of those guys that are trying to be Romeo despite having a voice like a leaking balloon.
- The Weeknd: When I get you moaning, you know it's real
Todd (VO): Trying to brag about how good he is, like, I don't know if I buy it, considering the whole point of this song is that he's not doing it hard enough.
- The Weeknd: So what do I do if I can't figure it out?
- Ariana: You got to try, try, try again, yeah.
Todd: Sounds to me like The Weeknd is over much too quickly, if you follow. [Rimshot] More like The Weaknd, am I right? [Another rimshot] I'll stop.
- Ariana: 'Cause if you want to keep me
Todd (VO): Yeah, this goes back to the Ariana I like, not the Christina Aguilera wannabe that we got for most of the year. While we're talking, I need to apologize for mispronouncing Ariana Grande's name in a billion different ways.
Todd: Who knew there were so many ways to mispronounce a person's name? Yeah. Well, anyway.
- Ariana: Love me harder, harder, harder
Todd (VO): #9.
Todd: So it's 2012...
- Clip of Despicable Me
Todd (VO): ...and I'm watching a kids' movie on Netflix, and this is what I hear.
- Pharrell: I'm having a bad, bad day
- It's about time that I get my way
- Steam rollin' whatever I see
Todd: Who is that? [Promo pic of Despicable Me featuring Pharrell] Oh, no, I liked that guy.
Todd (VO): Wow, his career is over. When you've reached the Randy Newman phase of soundtracking kids' movies, you might as well pack it in, especially if you work [track listing for soundtrack, circling "My Life" by Pharrell and...] with that Robin Thicke guy. That guy's never gonna have a real hit.
Todd: And with that, I have officially reached [cash register sound] 5,000 bad predictions in a row! [Cheers from audience as Todd throws hands in the air] I could not have reached this milestone without the support of my loyal fans who have given me the courage to keep failing over and over.
- Video begins
- Pharrell: It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say
- [Todd dances in his chair]
- Sunshine she's here, you can take a break
Todd: Doesn't seem crazy at all. Seems pretty reasonable.
#9. Pharrell - "Happy"
- Pharrell: Because I'm happy
- Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Todd: I'm happy. I'm happy, too. I wanted Pharrell to have his big comeback because, fun fact I've never shared with you guys, I...I actually went to the same high school as Pharrell.
- Clip of The Clipse - "Grindin'"
- Pharrell: The world is about to feel...
Todd (VO): Not at the same time, obviously, but he was just getting famous when I was in school, [clip of "Frontin'"] and some of my teachers would talk about having him as a student, he'd show up at homecoming games, [picture of Pharrell wearing...] he'd wear his high school jacket on TV, so...
Todd: ...me and Pharrell, we go way back. Yeah, Va Beach was all about the Neptunes. [Picture of exit sign for "Va Beach"] We call Virginia Beach "Va Beach." And at my prom, the DJ kept shouting "Star Trak what!" which is...you know, [Star Trak logo] it's the name of Pharrell's label, Star Trak, and everyone was throwing up the Star Trak sign, which is...it's the Vulcan [picture of Pharrell giving the sign] "long live and prosper." Holy cow, I never realized how dorky this song is.
Todd (VO): But you know, the song is dorky. In 2014, he decided that his trademark was gonna be a stupid hat and a hit song about being happy. Happy about what?
Todd: Nothing! Just happy.
- Pharrell: Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do
Todd: He wrote a song about, "if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands." [Claps his hands]
Todd (VO): But while I do appreciate pretty much every retro-soul fluke hit that gets big, this one I like primarily because of Pharrell's voice.
- Pharrell: Clap along if you feel like a room...
Todd (VO): Yeah, most of these, you know, neo-soul guys that model themselves on, you know, Barry White or Marvin Gaye or a young Michael Jackson; Pharrell is going for more Smokey Robinson or Curtis Mayfield. You know, smooth, relaxed, utterly secure in its own awesomeness.
Todd: It's just a song I'm glad exists, although I'm not sure what emotion I'm supposed to project on "a room without a roof."
- Pharrell: Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Todd: Uh...I feel [picture of run-down house with the roof caved in] dreadfully incomplete, useless, and unable to deal with the weather. So yeah, I guess that describes me. [Claps and dances happily a little more]
- Pharrell: ...that's what you wanna do
- Come on
Todd (VO): #8.
- Clip of Justin Timberlake - "TKO"
- Justin: TKO
Todd: Justin Timberlake's comeback has been a colossal disappointment.
- Clip of "Suit & Tie"
Todd (VO): Now, I liked "Suit & Tie". No, I loved "Suit & Tie". But I have not been even a little impressed [clip of Justin performing "Rock Your Body" on The Tonight Show] with any of his other new singles, and it's ridiculous because Justin Timberlake is still very much our model for pop singers. We want Justin Timberlake songs, we need Justin Timberlake songs.
Todd: And if Justin Timberlake isn't gonna give us any good Justin Timberlake songs, we'll just have to get them from somewhere else.
- Clip from 2013 Much Music Video Music Awards
- Taylor Swift: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Ed Sheeran.
Todd: Okay, let's not be silly.
- Clip of Ed Sheeran performing the song on BBC
- Ed Sheeran: It's late in the evening
- Glass on the side
Todd: Are...are you serious?
- Video for...
- Ed: I need you darling
- Come on set the tone
- If you feel...
Todd: Did the best Justin Timberlake song of the year come from Ed Sheeran? The world is upside down!
#8. Ed Sheeran - "Sing"
- Ed: Sing!
Todd (VO): Okay, that round-faced dork you see here is not a pop star. He's a folk singer, he plays acoustic guitar.
Todd: The last time I saw an acoustic folk singer try to remake themselves as a hot, young pop star was [picture of...] Jewel, and it was bad.
- Clip of Jewel - "Intuition"
- Jewel: Follow your heart
- Your intuition
Todd (VO): Real bad.
Todd: Ed Sheeran's...
Todd (VO): ...pop makeover should have been a disaster along those lines, and yet, it's surprisingly credible.
- Ed: Let it go until our roads are changed
- Singing we found love in a local rave
Todd (VO): In fact, I think it's better than "Like I Love You", [brief clip of same] the Justin Timberlake song it's obviously based off of. But even more than Justin, am I the only one...
Todd: ...that's reminded of Flight of the Conchords?
- Clip of Flight of the Conchords performing "It's Business Time"
- Flight: It's business
- It's business time
Todd (VO): And it reminds me of another person who tried to pull off this white boy guitar-playing folk rapper shtick.
Todd: Jason Mraz.
- Clip of Jason Mraz performing "Curbside Prophet" with John Popper
- Jason: I’m pickin' up my pace and makin' time like Space Ghost
Todd (VO): He doesn't do that anymore, largely because I think he's figured out it was entirely embarrassing; his intricate rhymes were just meaningless gibberish.
- Clip of "Wordplay"
- Jason: Because, because
- I am the wizard of ooh's and ah's and fa-la-la's
- Yeah the Mister A to Z
- They say I'm all about the wordplay
Todd: What are you talking about? My God, this is lame.
Todd (VO): Ed, meanwhile, folk-raps about going to a club and getting laid. That's what you rap about.
Todd: Congratulations, Ed, you get the [picture of a thumbs-up trophy] "most improved" trophy of 2014. I just can't over this—the party jam of the year...
Todd (VO): ...came from this dork. And he's still very clearly a dork, he just...he just added an awesome dance jam to his music.
Todd: Okay. Good on you, Ed. Keep it up.
- Ed: Oh...ooh...
#7. Ed Sheeran - "Don't"
- Ed: Ah lahmlahlah
- Don't fuck with my love
- That heart is so cold
- All over my home
- I don't wanna know that, babe
Todd: Oh. I...I guess he did keep it up. How about that.
- Ed: Ah lahmlahlah
Todd (VO): Okay, a good hook forgives everything. That's basically the reason this is higher than "Sing", which didn't really have a chorus. Instead of being a club banger, this one is a breakup jam about the girl who broke his heart.
- Ed: And I never saw him as a threat
- Until you disappeared with him to have sex, of course
Todd (VO): And this is the exact kind of song that makes WGWAGs so insufferable, and this one in particular is way oversharing.
Todd: Like, he's pretty clearly talking about a specific person, someone who's also famous.
- Ed: But me and her we make money the same way
- Four cities, two planes the same day
Todd (VO): Because we have the Internet, you can find out [brief clip of Ellie Goulding - "Lights"] who it is pretty easily. You can also find out who [promo pic of One Direction, with arrow pointing at Niall] the other dude was. If this was played as a regular acoustic guitar song, it would be insufferable. Matter of fact, I still don't like that I can see a little bit of that college douche whininess starting to creep back in towards the end.
Todd: If Ed had just been trying to make me feel sorry for him, he would have failed.
- Ed: And I wasn't looking for a promise or commitment
- But it was never just fun and I thought you were different
Todd (VO): Oh, your kinda, actually not really your girlfriend slept with a guy from One Direction. [Clip of "Little Things"] Well, that's karmic payback for giving One Direction that awful song you wrote instead of flushing it down the toilet. But the hook is what makes it okay. It just doesn't register as a guy whining about his ex because a slinky, dark R&B jam makes this work way better than a "woe is me, I'm so sensitive"-ful love song. It's about the groove, and that's what keeps the song going. And...
Todd: ...Ed, I'm actually starting to like you and think that you're talented. [beat] This is confusing and weird and I don't like it. Can we just go back to the boring Ed Sheeran I remember?
- Clip of "Thinking Out Loud"
- Ed: Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
- Will your eyes still smile from your cheek
Todd: There we go. Whew! I was getting worried there for a while. Everything is back to normal.
Todd (VO): #6.
Todd: You know how after you get out of a bad relationship, it tends to feel good, right? Yay, freedom, I can do whatever I want and see whoever I want to see and I can do so much. But then, after a while, you remember how much being single sucks and you start getting lonely, and then suddenly, you start to look back and, you know, maybe it wasn't that bad, and you know, hey, maybe, you know, we can hang out, maybe we should get back together, give it another try and it'll work this time.
What I'm saying is, there's a Katy Perry song on this list.
#6. Katy Perry - "Birthday"
- Katy: Boy, when you're with me
- I'll give you a taste
- Make it like your birthday everyday
- I know you like it sweet
- So you can have your cake
- Give you something good to celebrate
Todd: Katy Perry's whole career is based around being just tasteless enough.
Todd (VO): It's a tough line to walk, as demonstrated by the fact that she seems to have lost the ability to find that right balance these last couple of years.
- Clips of "Roar"...
- Katy: I'm already pushing off the dust
Todd (VO): Not tasteless enough.
- ..."Dark Horse"...
- Katy: This love will make you levitate
Todd (VO): Too tasteless.
- Katy: Unconditionally
Todd (VO): Not tasteless enough.
- ..."This Is How We Do"...
- Katy: It's no big deal
- It's no big deal
- It's no big deal
Todd (VO): Okay, way too tasteless. I'm not sure why. Holy God, this song makes my skin crawl.
- ...and back to "Birthday"
- Katy: So make a wish
Todd (VO): There we go. Just right.
- Katy: Pop your confetti
- Pop your Pérignon
Todd (VO): Mostly, this is the only halfway decent song Katy Perry has released in years. God, it's nice to know that Katy Perry can still find it in her to be entertainingly loathsome.
Todd: Now let's see her try some comedy.
- Yosef Shulem: [Katy dressed as a Jewish MC] Did you hear about the rabbi who did free circumcisions? He only did it for tips!
Todd: As deaf to hand as always, madame. And to think they gave the Oscar hosting job to Ellen this year. [Poster of Oscars featuring Ellen Degeneres]
- Katy: Happy birthday
Todd (VO): Yeah, this is exactly what Katy Perry is good at—making bright, glittery music that's sexy in a tacky, awful kind of way. I don't know how she's managed to pull it off as many times as she has. I mean, these double entendres, they're pretty shameless.
- Katy: So let me get you in your birthday suit
- It's time to bring out the big balloons
Todd: Wait, say that again?
- Katy: It's time to bring out the big balloons
Todd: Oh. I guess Katy Perry does have a song about her own boobs.
- Clip of Jason DeRulo - "Trumpets"
- Jason: Is it weird that your bra
- Remind me of a Katy Perry song
Todd (VO): Ugh. Sorry, Jason DeRulo, you weren't making that song up; I take that one back.
Todd: The rest stands.
Todd (VO): To be honest, just like a birthday only comes once a year, Katy Perry is probably best enjoyed sparingly, and I'd happily go without her the other 364 days.
Todd: At least it's better than [brief clip of...] that third-rate idiot Jeremih's "Birthday Sex". Yeah, I'll take Katy any day.
- Katy: Give you something good to celebrate
- Katy and kids: Happy birthday!
To be continued--->
#5. Paramore - "Ain't It Fun"
#4. Sia - "Chandelier"
#3. Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne - "Chandelier"
#2. Charli XCX - "Boom Clap"
Coldplay - "A Sky Full of Stars"
Disclosure ft. Sam Smith - "Latch"
Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith - "La La La"
DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What"
Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda"
#1. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars - "Uptown Funk"
- #31 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- Not on Billboard Year-End Hot 100; peaked at #7
- #1 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #56 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #52 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #80 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #47 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #25 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #41 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #34 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #51 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #28 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #82 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #15 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- #36 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
- Not on Billboard Year-End Hot 100; peaked at #1