Louis Menchaca (Behind the Beat AD): Top Party Songs of 2014
With the new year imminently upon us, you may be thinking to yourself, “What songs should I put on my New Years playlist?” or “ How many glasses of champagne can I drink while still being able to hold a coherent conversation?” With the help of several friends and fellow WUDdies, I’ve attempted to answer the first question. As with the previous lists, I bend some rules here and include a couple songs from 2013, but as you’ve probably assumed, I don’t care. These 10 songs below are some of the more enjoyable tunes myself and others jammed to as we found ourselves in bars, friends’ living rooms, random basements, and frat houses throughout the past 12 months. From smooth beats to all-out bangers, here are some songs you can listen to as you celebrate the beginning of 2015.
ScHoolboy Q – “Hell of a Night”
Oxymoron is one of the best hip-hop albums of this year, and “Hell of a Night” is the album’s feature on partying to excess in a single swoop. While it’s rhymes aren’t as strong as ScHoolboy Q’s lines on “Collard Greens” or “Man of the Year, ” this track is still bursting with energy in its beats and vocal execution. At the end of your own hell of a night, you’ll probably still end up stumbling home at 2am with a paper bag full of Chinese take-out, but this song will at least inspire you to entertain the idea of going up to that cute guy/girl you see from across the room and asking them what they’re doing later.
Calvin Harris – “Summer”
Regardless of whether it’s summer or not, this tune will always heat up the dance floor. Although there isn’t a ton going on lyrically here, Harris’ synth textures and sweeping harmonies peppered with echo create a great atmosphere that encourages you to just jam and have a good time.
Betty Who – “Somebody Loves You”
This song technically came out in 2013 as a single, but Betty Who included it on her first full-length album, which came out in October. She also played a great show on the Terrace this past June, which resulted in me hearing this song somewhat frequently throughout the remainder of the year at other social functions. Echoing synthesizers paired with a funky bass-line and driving beat make this track a truly fun pop song. I dare you not to dance when this song comes on. At the very least you’ll be bopping your head and tapping your foot.
Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo – “Delirious (Boneless)”
I feel weird when I listen to this song without a red Solo cup in my hand.
Rustie – “Attak (feat. Danny Brown)”
Opening with the whistle of a catchy synth melody by Scottish producer Rustie, the intro to “Attak” leads into three minutes of rap that pack a powerful punch. Although Brown jumps around rather randomly and frequently from topic to topic, his flow is uninhibited and rhythmically exciting. Rustie’s electronic snare hits and triangle shimmers only highlight Brown’s performance. The energy of this track is such that every time I listen to it I feel compelled to take a shot and run the 40-yard-dash.
Clean Bandit – “Rather Be (feat. Jess Glyne)”
If the club or the basement rave isn’t your scene, “Rather Be” is most likely your party song. The uplifting lyrics coupled with violin fills and electric piano riffs create a light, enjoyable party atmosphere, but one in which you can actually hear the conversation you’re having with another person. The vocal harmonies aren’t too shabby either.
Dillon Francis & DJ Snake – “Get Low”
When one of the most popular EDM artists on the planet produces a song with the man behind “Turn Down for What,” you’re bound end up with a hard-hitting party track. The exotic sounding drop and groovy interludes provide a truly appropriate soundtrack to sweaty, beer-soaked dance floors everywhere.
Mark Ronson – “UpTown Funk! (feat. Bruno Mars)”
Leave it to Bruno Mars to usher in the funkiest pop single of 2014. The twangy guitars and tight horn licks are more than enough to get you grooving at any time of the day, so Mars’ wailing in the style of James Brown is just the cherry on top. I wish I could make singing about Michelle Pfeiffer and Jackson, Mississippi sound that good.
Beyoncé – “Drunk in Love”
It’s hard to deny Beyoncé. With killer good looks and a fantastic voice as two of her many appealing qualities, there’s no question as to why she’s one of the most successful women in music. In December 2013 she released her fifth studio album, Beyoncé, to widespread critical acclaim and dominated the radio waves throughout most of this year. “Drunk in Love” is one of the best cuts off the album, featuring B’s powerhouse vocals, some seriously heavy bass, and a slick verse by her better half, Jay-Z. Although it doesn’t have the upbeat pace of many of the other songs on this list, the sexuality of this song is off the charts. Surprisingly enough, that can go a long way when you have a bunch of young college kids in the same room.
Iggy Azalea – “Fancy (feat. Charlie XCX)”
Regardless of your feelings about Iggy Azalea (who has managed to become a rather polarizing figure in the world of hip-hop), you have to admit this song is catchy as hell. The opening synthy bass-line is just the beginning of the hooks. Iggy’s “Who dat? Who dat?” shout-out, the underlying “Hey” chant from a non-existent crowd, and Charlie XCX’s chorus all come together to make one of the most powerful earworms of the year. In addition, Azalea’s verses run the gamut from confrontational to extremely sexual. No wonder this song played non-stop on the radio all summer. Ironically, I often heard this song in venues that were far from fancy. Given its popularity and prevalence, “Fancy” could be the party song of 2014.