The Biggest Club Bangers Of 2014
DJs played them. Doesn’t mean we liked them.
Walk into any nightclub in America, and you were bound to hear a few of these bangers in any given DJ’s set. Below are the sounds that packed dancefloors this year. But bear in mind: this list represents the good, the bad and the ugly of the year’s 30 most-played tracks, in no particular order.
“Problem” (feat. Iggy Azalea)
Once the wheels of the Azalea machine began turning there was no stopping it. This, in turn, helped the incestuous creation of the Ariana machine on this almost-an-answer record to Jay Z’s “99 Problems.”
Pharrell Williams “Happy”
Following the success of 2013’s “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines,” Pharrell’s feel-good song of the year was everywhere. DJ Scooter’s 95 BPM remix made this song playable in your standard hip-hop sets.
Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”
At the end of the day, this track was more or less “Happy Part 2.” We still don’t buy the video’s message that Taylor Swift is just a cutesy, dorky chick trying to fit in, when in actuality everyone is trying to fit in with her just shy of triple-platinum (!) status. Once again, Scooter chimes in with the mixable 87 BPM remix.
Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass”
For a song that touts bass in the title, it had a severe lack of 808s in its drums. Ah, it was a metaphor. Still, nobody can deny that this track consistently delivered girls to the dancefloor
Charli XCX “Boom Clap”
Hooray, Charli XCX is finally getting her own songs to sing. In terms of young divas, we prefer the “boom clap” to “that bass.”
Electronic / Dance
Calvin Harris “Summer”
While everyone else was chasing big drops, Calvin Harris continued his seemingly effortless method of churning out commercially viable hits, confident enough to pick up the microphone again. As the title predicted, this indeed was dance music’s song of the summer.
“Gecko (Overdrive)” (feat. Becky Hill)
A futuristic direction for EDM. Heldens’ iron drum sound and fascination with exotic creatures lent a unique feel to both “Gecko” and its follow-up “Koala” this year.
Duke Dumont “I Got U” (feat. Jax Jon)
Utilizing a sample of Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love,” Duke Dumont’s excellent, Grammy nominated “I Got U” was a great departure from EDM’s beaten-to-death formulas. But just in case, W&W’s remix applied said formulas for the big room sound.
Eek. Chainsmokers get a bad rep because of this song, which pretty much defines everything wrong with the current scene. They keenly made up for it on the Botnek remix, which worked as an answer record to the track, a powerful retort after the song became this year’s “Gangnam Style” equivalent. Well played, boys.
David Guetta & Showtek “Bad” (feat. Vassy)
There were a whole bunch of records that sounded exactly like this one, but Guetta and Showtek’s rose to the top, set apart by Vassy’s chipmunky hook.
Zedd “Find You” (feat. Matthew Koma)
Zedd is quite easily one of the most talented musicians in the current dance music scene. So why does he keep making repetitive lovey-dovey songs like this and “Stay The Night?” You can do better, piano man.
John Legend “All Of Me (Tiesto Remix)”
We’ve always been fans, but John Legs has never been that suitable for nightclub play. Yet given EDM’s unhealthy obsession with the sensitive male vocal (see above), Legend’s voice fit neatly over a Tiesto remix, despite him being a step above the formulaic drivel of the current scene.
Galantis “Runaway (U & I)”
The teaming of Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and Linus Eklow aka Style of Eye yielded impressive results, starting with their self-titled EP at the beginning of the year. After tracks remixed by Kaskade and Tiesto, Galantis brought the year to a close with “Runaway (U & I),” the first single from their upcoming 2015 album. As usual, a refreshing take on the big room sound, also blessed with a Kaskade remix.
Hip-Hop / R&B
Chris Brown “Loyal” (feat. Lil Wayne)
“These hoes ain’t loyal!” Chris laments on this unfortunately catchy tune. Just curious, where does beating up Rihanna fall on the relationship loyalty scale?
Iggy Azalea “Fancy” (feat. Charli XCX)
Oh you fancy, huh? Iggy’s not new to this, she’d been trying to break through for the last few years, throwing anything at the wall in hopes that something would stick. “Fancy” simply puts her over the right beat and outsources the hook to Charli XCX after her proven success writing Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” Remixes from GTA and Yellow Claw made this bitter pill somewhat easier to swallow.
Jason Derulo “Talk Dirty To Me” (feat. 2 Chainz) / “Wiggle” (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Admittedly, we thought Jason Derulo—also known as The Man Who Sings His Own Name—had no ideas left after 2011’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” a song that interpolates four other songs (“Show Me Love,” “Day-O,” “Get Low,” “Rock Around The Clock”). He proved us wrong with the flirtatious “Talk Dirty To Me,” which was great until we had to sit through the instrumental on repeat in a 5 minute promo for Lifetime’s Devious Maids. He followed up with the Snoop Dogg featured ass-acknowledging anthem, “Wiggle,” which attempted to do for flutes what “Talk Dirty” did for saxophones. Remarkably, his latest single is called “Trumpets.”
Lil Wayne featuring Drake “Believe Me” / Drake “0 To 100″
This pair of Drake tracks showed the power of Aubrey Graham. Neither followed the contemporary club music formulas, nor were they very danceable. Nevertheless they were both endlessly requested and played to death. Yet in terms of seeing Wayne’s Carter V album released, “they don’t have no award for that.”
Big Sean “IDFWU” (feat. E-40)
Quite easily the most detrimental-to-society rap song of the year, yet the one with the fattest of tracks produced by DJ Mustard and Kanye West. As Sean so eloquently puts it: “I got a million trillion things I’d rather fuckin’ do / Than to be fuckin’ with you, lil stupid ass.” Stupid is as stupid does.
YG “My N*gga”
(feat. Jeezy + Rich Homie Quan)
The clean version of yet another DJ Mustard-produced track to make this list is called “My Hitta.” Highly inappropriate on many levels to see white girls singing the dirty version’s hook out loud with the volume dropped out, but it still happened quite frequently.
Bobby Shmurda “Hot N*gga”
Did you know that the beat for Shmurda’s hit was actually a two-year-old Lloyd Banks beat that did nothing? Producer Jahlil Beats claims Banks never paid him for it. He should have, Bobby made arguably the biggest NYC club song of the year with it. 2015 will tell if Bobby will rise to greatness or join the long list of one-hit wonders with songs about dance crazes that are hotter than they are.
Jeremih “Don’t Tell Em” (feat. YG)
Sensing a trend yet? Yes, DJ Mustard ruled 2014. Here, Jeremih borrows from 90s house classic “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by Snap! for “Don’t Tell Em,” now with added ratchet bounce.
Rae Sremmurd “No Flex Zone”
Rejoice, America: kid rappers are back. And they go about their business in a very clearly-defined zone.
ILOVEMAKONNEN “Tuesday” (feat. Drake)
Makonnen may have created the perfect storm with “Tuesday,” with its whimsical hook, its bizarre channeling of “If You Like Pina Colada,” and the extra verses from Drake. Who knows if Makonnen has any other hits as memorable is this , but “Tuesday” had the club going up every night of the week.
Trap / Twerk
“Turn Down For What” (feat. Lil Jon)
Less of a song a more of a DJ tool, this wild twerk anthem featured inaudible Lil Jon lyrics—something about “fire” and “shots”—and posed the age old conundrum of “Turn Down For What. ” The crowd response incredible, the video awesome.
Beyonce “Drunk In Love (Diplo Remix)”
“Drunk In Love” was one of the biggest female anthems already, but this remix took it to another level. A rare case where many DJs chose Diplo’s mellow trap drop over the original version’s Jay Z verses.
Lil Jon “Bend Ova” (feat. Tyga)
After many years of 60 and 70 BPM club rap cuts, the “100 BPM club banger” had officially returned, due largely to the onset of twerk music, a sub-genre of the EDM/hip-hop hybrid, trap music. “Bend Ova” had the aggression of “Turn Down For What,” yet with rapped lyrics by Tyga and Jon and a punishing synthy bridge.
Dillon Francis & DJ Snake “Get Low”
This mostly-instrumental anthem from Dr. Francis was not a cover of the 2003 Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz’ hit, but instead a swanky snake-charming leg shaker that bangs with reckless abandon. DJ Snake once described it as “Arabic twerk.”
DJ Kool “Let Me Clear My Throat (Party Favor Remix)”
One of the greatest party breaks of all time got an amazing update by Party Favor, taking the already-energetic anthem to new heights, by chopping the original horn section into a ridiculously energetic twerk remix.
If you enjoyed reading this, please click “Recommend” below.
This will help to share the story with others.
Walk into any nightclub in America, and you were bound to hear a few of these bangers in any given DJ’s set. Below are the sounds that packed dancefloors this year. But bear in mind: this list…