Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Best Of 2014 - part 5

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

It only seems like yesterday that I was getting my head around downloads counting towards the singles chart. Perhaps it's because I revisited the mid-'00s (when that happened) a few months ago to count down my favourite songs from those years. In 2014, I had to get used to another new development as the UK singles chart started taking streaming figures into account and the ARIA chart followed suit.

Thanks to a couple of well-chosen collaborations, Melissa Steel appears twice in my top 20

Yes, that'd already happened in the US in 2013 (they even included YouTube plays), but the Billboard Hot 100 has never been based solely on sales data so it wasn't as dramatic a change. For the purely sales-based UK and Australian charts to include streaming figures meant the times really were a-changing. 

And yes, people pay to use streaming services like Spotify and Deezer (although not always), so there is the notion of a sale in there somewhere but, for me, I still like to own the songs I like in some way. No doubt I'll refer back to this post in five years time when I fully embrace streaming, but for now, let's get on with counting down my top 20 songs (that I own) from 2014...

Number 20 "Let Go For Tonight" by Foxes

When she first caught my attention, with 2012's "Echo", she was just another emerging British singer, but thanks to her appearance on Zedd's "Clarity" and Rudimental's "Right Here", it was a much more famous Foxes who released her debut album, Glorious, in 2014. "Let Go For Tonight" was the best of the several official and promotional singles released from the album (besides "Echo", of course). 

Number 19 "Won't Look Back" by Duke Dumont

His first two singles topped the UK chart, but Duke Dumont had to settle for a number 2 with this '90s-sounding single. Like "Turn Back Time" by Sub Focus (which we saw in Part 3), uncredited vocals come from Yolanda Quartey of the band Phantom Limb.

Number 18 "Way We Are" by Kove featuring Melissa Steel

Here's another single that sounds straight out of the early '90s - the breakthrough hit for British producer James Rockhill. I expected this to perform much better than its peak of number 30 in the UK, but it ended up as the lowest charting of the four tracks vocalist Melissa Steel performed on in 2014. Another of those is still to come...

Number 17 "Control" by Matrix & Futurebound featuring Max Marshall

A third '90s-inspired dance track now - this time from British drum & bass duo Jamie "Matrix" Quinn & Brendan "Futurebound" Collins. Their biggest hit to date, "Control" features vocals by Max Marshall - Max being short for Maxine.

Number 16 "Begin Again" by Knife Party

Next up, a song that sounds more than a little like Daft Punk's 2000 hit, "One More Time" and is taken from the debut full-length album by Pendulum off-shoot Knife Party. My only issue with "Begin Again" is its length - almost six minutes. A radio edit wouldn't go astray, guys.

Number 15 "Too Close" by St Lucia

Next is another song I'd like a trimmed down version of - album track "Too Close", which clocks in at just under seven minutes. In fairness to St Lucia, the song hasn't ever been promoted as a single (unlike the Knife Party track), but it's one of the highlights from the When The Night album, which only yielded two singles.

Number 14 "Stranger" by Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko

You can hear the influence of Michael Jackson all over this third single by American DJ/producer Chris Malinchak, particularly in the vocal delivery of Mikky Ekko (best known for appearing on Rihanna's "Stay"). Like the Kove song, it's another single I expected to do much better, especially given both artists' track records. Instead, it didn't even make the UK top 40.

Number 13 "High" by Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar

Like The Aston Shuffle (who we saw in Part 2), Peking Duk is another dance duo to emerge from Canberra in the last decade - and after several singles that have gone nowhere in the past few years, "High" became one of the year's biggest hits by a local artist on the ARIA chart (and an ARIA Award winner to boot). Scheduled for release in the UK early in 2015, I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the next Australian dance track to break internationally.

Number 12 "I Loved You" by Blonde featuring Melissa Steel

Here's the second single in this batch of songs to feature Melissa Steel on vocals - and this time it was a hit, reaching number 7 in the UK for the duo of Adam Englefield and Jacob Manson. Like Le Youth's "C O O L" (which featured on my top 100 for 2013), "I Loved You" is a house update of a '00s R&B song - in this case, "More" by Tamia.

Number 11 "Rumour" by Chlöe Howl

Nineteen-year-old British singer Chlöe seemed to be on an upwards trajectory in 2014 with this third single becoming her first to break the UK top 100 - although with a peak of number 84, it was yet another greatly under-appreciated song to make this list. But then, follow-up "Disappointed" lived up to its name by missing the chart completely and Chlöe's debut album was pushed back to a 2015 release.

Number 10 "Hey Now (Arty mix)" by London Grammar

The album hit number 2 and achieved platinum status in both Australia and the UK, but London Grammar's If You Wait was mostly too downbeat for me. Luckily, Russian DJ/producer Artyom Stolyarov kicked things up a notch with his remix of "Hey Now", the sixth of a staggering eight singles released from the album.

Number 9 "Lose You" by Nick Gardner

There was a lot of buzz on the blogosphere about this debut single by British singer Nick Gardner, who proved that artists are still getting discovered on YouTube when he was signed by Interscope Records after posting his versions of songs like "Someone Like You" and "Titanium". A classic-sounding pop tune, "Lose You" might only have been given a promotional release, but it deserved to be a huge hit. Hopefully Nick will receive a big official push in 2015.

Number 8 "Am I Wrong" by Nico & VInz

Here's a song that was a big hit - from Norway (where Nico & Vinz are from) to Australia, and from the US to the UK. Released in Europe in 2013 when Kahouly Nicolay Sereba and Vincent Dery were known as Envy, "Am I Wrong" was credited to the duo's new name of Nico & Vinz when it started to be released around the world in 2014

Number 7 "There Is No Other Time" by Klaxons

We saw an album track from Love Frequency back in Part 1 and here's the lead single from Klaxons' third album - and it's another song that deserved to do better than its number 42 UK chart peak. Something I didn't realise until now is that "There Is No Other Time" is produced by Gorgon City, who've also landed two songs in this top 100.

Number 6 "I Believe" by Bright Light Bright Light

After fiddling around with his debut album for a couple of years, Rod Thomas unveiled his second full-length effort in 2014, Life Is Easy, which contained this - once again - under-rated synthpop gem. 

Number 5 "Last Breath" by Ekkoes

On my top 100 for 2013, they were known as Echoes, but a slight name change (for legal reasons?) later, British synthpop trio Ekkoes returned this year with second single "Last Breath". Once again reminiscent of New Order, it's the sort of music Hurts should be making.

Number 4 "I Will Never Let You Down" by Rita Ora

When she wasn't (kind of) making a name for herself in the States ripping open Zac Efron's shirt and joining the upcoming fourth season of the UK's version of The Voice as a coach, Rita Ora released her finest single to date in 2014. Written and produced by then-boyfriend Calvin Harris, "I Will Never Let You Down" was her first ARIA top 5 single and another UK chart-topper for her. Oddly, despite the single coming out back at the start of the year, Rita is yet to follow it up.

Number 3 "Crying For No Reason" by Katy B

Last year, I posed the question whether "5AM" was a one-off or sign of things to come in terms of me liking Katy B's songs - and here's the answer. An electroballad Robyn would be proud of (and one co-written by Guy Chambers), "Crying For No Reason" is the sound of an artist really hitting her stride. Unfortunately, that momentum came to a crashing halt with the release of follow-up "Still".

Number 2 "Changing" by Sigma featuring Paloma Faith

It had hit written all over it and duly became Sigma's second consecutive UK number 1 when it was finally released there two months after I first heard it. Side note: when are UK record companies going to give up delaying releases to such an extent? It's a very odd turn of events that the Australian chart is so far ahead of the UK chart. Anyway, back to "Changing" - and although I'm not a fan of Paloma Faith's own music, her voice worked a treat on this pop/drum and bass anthem. 

Number 1 "Do It Again" by Röyksopp & Robyn

It was inevitable that this Scandi synthpop event would top my year-end chart, wasn't it? The first new Robyn single since her Body Talk albums and her first collaboration with Norwegian synthpop duo Röyksopp since 2010, "Do It Again" was the lead single - and poppiest track - from the EP of the same name.

My top 200 for 2014 in full: 

1           DO IT AGAIN Röyksopp & Robyn
2           CHANGING Sigma featuring Paloma Faith
3           CRYING FOR NO REASON Katy B
4           I WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN Rita Ora
5           LAST BREATH Ekkoes
6           I BELIEVE Bright Light Bright Light
7           THERE IS NO OTHER TIME Klaxons
8           AM I WRONG Nico & Vinz
9           LOSE YOU Nick Gardner
10         HEY NOW (ARTY REMIX) London Grammar
11         RUMOUR Chlöe Howl
12         I LOVED YOU Blonde featuring Melissa Steel
13         HIGH Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar
14         STRANGER Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko
15         TOO CLOSE St Lucia
16         BEGIN AGAIN Knife Party
17         CONTROL Matrix & Futurebound featuring Max Marshall
18         WAY WE ARE Kove featuring Melissa Steel
19         WON’T LOOK BACK Duke Dumont
20         LET GO FOR TONIGHT Foxes
22         OUTSIDE Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding
23         LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD Michael Jackson (with Justin Timberlake)
24         LOVE SUBLIME Tensnake featuring Nile Rodgers & Fiora
25         LIVING WITHOUT YOU Monarchy
26         SUNLIGHT The Magician featuring Years & Years
27         READY FOR YOUR LOVE Gorgon City featuring MNEK
28         YOUR LOVE Moko
29         DANGEROUS David Guetta featuring Sam Martin
30         COLLAR UP (MONSIEUR ADI MIX) Kate Miller
31         SETTING SUN / GRUM MIX Dirty Vegas
32         IF I GO Ella Eyre
33         LITTLE WHITE LIES Florrie
34         OUT OF MY HEAD John Newman
35         EVERYTIME Broods
36         UNDRESSED Kim Cesarion
37         NEVER SAY NEVER Basement Jaxx featuring ETML
38         NOBODY TO LOVE Sigma
39         GHOST Ella Henderson
40         POWERLESS Rudimental featuring Becky Hill
41         KISS ME ONCE Kylie Minogue
42         HIDEAWAY Kiesza
43         INSTANT CRUSH Say Lou Lou
44         IMPERIUM Madeon
46         UP! Samantha Jade
47         DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
48         REASON Erasure
49         BLUE SKY ACTION Above & Beyond featuring Alex Vargas
50         I BELIEVE Jessica Mauboy
51         SOLO DANCING Indiana
52         CLOSE Sub Focus
53         EVERYTHING WE TOUCH Say Lou Lou
54         WHAT I MUST FIND For BDK
56         10 MILLION PEOPLE Example
57         WRAPPED UP Olly Murs featuring Travie McCoy
58         SAVE MY NIGHT Armin van Buuren
59         TURN BACK TIME Sub Focus
60         ALL OF TIME Avec Sans
61         WHEN THE BEAT DROPS OUT Marlon Roudette
63         SEXY LOVE Kylie Minogue
64         MY HEAD IS A JUNGLE (MK MIX) Wankelmut & Emma Louise
65         UPTIGHT DOWNTOWN La Roux
66         COMEBACK Ella Eyre
67         STUPID LITTLE THINGS Anastacia
68         EMPIRE Shakira
69         I’M NOT YOUR HERO Tegan & Sara
70         ALL OF YOU Betty Who
71         LUCKY ONES Monsieur Adi featuring Negin
72         BREAK FREE Ariana Grande featuring Zedd
73         SEEYA Deadmau5
74         CRAZY SOMETHING NORMAL Donkeyboy
75         YOUNG HEARTS Strange Talk
76         GIRL THAT YOU LOVE Panic! At The Disco
77         LIONHEARTED Porter Robinson featuring Urban Cone
78         OUTLINES Mike Mago & Dragonette
79         DESIRE Years & Years
80         TEAR IT DOWN The Aston Shuffle
81         SEE RIGHT THROUGH Tensnake featuring Fiora
82         THREE DREAMS Syron featuring Horror Stories
83         CURE ME Redlight featuring LOLO
84         HEARTBREAK DREAM Betty Who
85         OUT OF THE DARK Klaxons
86         SUN GOES DOWN Robin Schulz featuring Jasmine Thompson
87         LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE Karin Park
88         SUNDREAM Rüfüs
89         PROTECT Beni
90         GLOW IN THE DARK The Wanted
91         HOLD ME Gold Fields
92         G.U.Y. Lady Gaga
93         ONE MORE DAY (STAY WITH ME) Example
94         BULLET Lovestarrs
95         INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
96         MORNING SUN / DILLON FRANCIS MIX Strange Talk
97         TORN APART Bastille vs Grades
98         NETZWERK (FALLS LIKE RAIN) Klangkarussell
99         HERE FOR YOU Gorgon City featuring Laura Welsh
100        MAGIC (EP) Paperwhite
101        ME AND MY BROKEN HEART Rixton
102        NO PLACE LIKE HOME The Aston Shuffle featuring Kaelyn Behr
103        YOU’RE ON Madeon featuring Kyan
104        FEEL YOUR LOVE Le Youth featuring Javeon
105        GO ALL NIGHT Gorgon City featuring Jennifer Hudson
106        MY LOVE Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne
107        36 Redlight featuring Lotti
108        BLK & BLU Chase & Status featuring Ed Thomas
109        BIRTHDAY Katy Perry
110        CRYSTALLIZE Kylie Minogue
111        TONGUE TALK The Holidays
112        CLASSIC The Knocks featuring Powers
113        LOOK CLOSER Morten
114        SOMEBODY NEW Jakwob featuring Tiffani Juno
115        UNMISSABLE Gorgon City featuring Zak Abel
116        CLIMBING WALLS / VICEROY REMIX Strange Talk
117        RATHER BE Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
118        GLORIOUS Foxes
119        NO REST FOR THE WICKED Lykke Li
120        GYPSY Lady Gaga
121        THIS IS HOW WE DO Katy Perry
122        BREAK THE FALL Laura Welsh
123        FIRST LOVE Jennifer Lopez
124        HOLDING ONTO HEAVEN Foxes
125        UPTOWN FUNK Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
126        TAKE ME Rüfüs
127        NO ENEMIESZ Kiesza
128        I WANNA FEEL Secondcity
129        CRYING ON THE DANCEFLOOR Parralox featuring Francine
130        GOODBYE FUTURE The Presets
131        SUMMER Calvin Harris
132        CRAZY STUPID LOVE Cheryl Cole featuring Tinie Tempah
133        WAVES (ROBIN SCHULZ REMIX) Mr Probz
134        CHANDELIER Sia
135        NEVER BE THE SAME Jessica Mauboy
136        GLOW Ella Henderson
137        GUST OF WIND Pharrell Williams
138        LOVE ME HARDER Ariana Grande / The Weeknd
139        DANCE WITH ME Le Youth featuring Dominique Young Unique
140        DARK HORSE Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
141        GIRLS/GIRLS/BOYS Panic! At The Disco
142        ALL I SEE Bondax
143        HEART ON FIRE Indiana
144        MY TYPE Saint Motel
146        FEEL OF LOVE Tensnake with Jacques Le Cont featuring Jamie Lidell
147        PRAYER IN C (ROBIN SCHULZ REMIX) Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz
148        LOSING Becky Hill
149        BLAME Calvin Harris featuring John Newman
150        I KNOW Shift K3y
151        WHAT CAN I DO Secondcity featuring Ali Love
152        I GOT U Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones
153        DOWN ON MY LUCK Vic Mensa
154        F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J Blige
155        JUBEL Klingande
156        STRANGERS Seven Lions featuring Tove Lo
157        HERO Donkeyboy
158        ELEVATION Erasure
159        LAY ME DOWN Avicii
161        SOMETHING BETTER Softengine
162        TAKE SHELTER Years & Years
163        I’M CALLIN’ Tennis
164        NOT GIVING UP The Saturdays
165        SLEDGEHAMMER Fifth Harmony
166        STAY HIGH (HABITS REMIX) Tove Lo
167        MONUMENT (THE INEVITABLE END VERSION) Röyksopp featuring Robyn
168        UP Olly Murs featuring Demi Lovato
169        WHEN YOU WERE MINE / DAVE EDWARDS MIX Night Terrors Of 1927 featuring Tegan & Sara
170        I WISH WE WERE LEAVING Bright Light Bright Light & Elton John
171        24 HOURS Sky Ferreira
172        IF I LOSE MYSELF (REMIX) Alesso vs OneRepublic
173        KINGS The Pierces
174        FADE AWAY Susanne Sundfør
175        LIVING WITHOUT YOU Tulisa
176        IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE The Veronicas
177        I LOVE THIS LIFE Kim Cesarion
178        TOUCH Shift K3y
179        GIVE LIFE BACK TO MUSIC Daft Punk
180        GO Grimes featuring Blood Diamonds
181        TOUGH LOVE Jessie Ware
182        GOODNESS GRACIOUS Ellie Goulding
183        MARILYN MONROE Pharrell Williams
184        YOUR LOVE Nicole Scherzinger
185        BABY DON’T LIE Gwen Stefani
186        CHAINS Joe Jonas
187        TAKE ME OVER Peking Duk featuring SAFIA
188        NOT A BAD THING Justin Timberlake
189        BAD BLOOD Bastille
190        MOVE FORWARD Stine Bramsen
191        SWEET TALK Samantha Jade
192        MAD AT ME Diana Vickers
193        SLEEPING WITH A FRIEND Neon Trees
194        AFTER THE DISCO Broken Bells
195        GIANT IN MY HEART Kiesza
196        COME GET IT BAE Pharrell Williams
197        SHOW ME A MIRACLE Klaxons
198        MAMA AIN’T PROUD Guy Sebastian featuring 2 Chainz
199        CAN’T REMEMBER TO FORGET YOU Shakira featuring Rihanna
200        CAN I GET A MOMENT Jessica Mauboy

The rest of my year-end charts are below, which means I won't do another personal countdown until the end of 2015. But before then, I'll be keeping busy with my usual 25 Years Ago posts, which resume on January 7, and upcoming 30 Years Ago posts, which kick off on January 13. I might even get around to my promised One-Hit Wonders of the '00s posts, too.

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Monday, 29 December 2014

The Best Of 2014 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

I hadn't realised until reaching this part of my top 100 for 2014 just how many music duos there were on the list. We've already seen twosomes like Say Lou Lou, Paperwhite and The Aston Shuffle, and there are more musical pairs in this batch of 20 songs.

Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding paired up again in 2014

I guess it makes sense for there to be so many duos, especially in my genre of choice: synthpop - you only really need someone to sing and someone to press the buttons. And, the advantage of only having two people is that each member gets a bigger share of the royalties than if there were three of more people in the band. Let's face it, that's an important consideration these days.

Number 40 "Powerless" by Rudimental featuring Becky Hill

This seventh and final single from the original version of Rudimental's Home album might not have been so successful, only reaching number 73 in the UK, but it's my second favourite track by the drum and bass group. Meanwhile, as well as being a contestant on the first season of The Voice UK, singer Becky Hill fared better with her vocal contributions to Wilkinson's "Afterglow" and Oliver Heldens' UK number 1, "Gecko (Overdrive)". Naturally, she's working on a solo album, which should feature her single, "Losing" (which placed outside my top 100). 

Number 39 "Ghost" by Ella Henderson

Former UK X Factor finalist (she came sixth in 2012) Ella Henderson raced to number 1 in the UK and number 3 in Australia with this debut single, which she co-wrote with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Like Ricki-Lee on Australian Idol and Jennifer Hudson on American Idol, Ella's early elimination from the competition came as a massive shock at the time, but, as these things often turn out, she's now in a much better position than that season's eventual winner, James Arthur.

Number 38 "Nobody To Love" by Sigma

It started out life as a bootleg remix of Kanye West's "Bound 2" before the British drum and bass duo comprised of Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie created their own version of the track, with singer Daniel Pearce recording new vocals to replace those of Charlie Wilson from the original. The result: the first of two UK chart-toppers for Sigma in 2014. We'll see the other one later in the countdown. 

Number 37 "Never Say Never" by Basement Jaxx featuring ETML

Our next duo used to be consistent hitmakers, with a string of huge singles from 1999 to 2005 - but it's been a very different story since then, with three albums offering little in the way of chart action. But, tucked away on most recent album Junto was this track, which ended up being the fourth single - and it's the best thing Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe have released in a decade. Vocals are provided by Elliot Marshall (aka ETML). 

Number 36 "Undressed" by Kim Cesarion

Released as his debut single in his homeland of Sweden back in 2013, "Undressed" worked its way up to the Australian top 5 this year. Given its old-school pop sound, it's not surprising to discover the song is co-written and co-produced by former Murlyn Music staffer Arnthor Birgisson, who's been involved in such hits as "Gotta Tell You" by Samantha Mumba and The Saturdays' "Higher" over the years.

Number 35 "Everytime" by Broods

Ready for another duo? This time we travel to New Zealand for brother-sister pair Broods, whose Evergreen album reached number 1 at home and the top 5 in Australia, and drew obvious comparisons to Lorde - hardly surprising since they share a producer, Joel Little. Not an official single from Evergreen, "Everytime" is my favourite track from Caleb and Georgia Nott so far.

Number 34 "Out Of My Head (Sub Focus mix)" by John Newman

While he enjoyed another UK chart-topper and ARIA top 10 hit as a featured performer in 2014 - on Calvin Harris' "Blame" - the law of diminishing returns was in effect for John Newman's solo efforts. Despite a reworking by Sub Focus, who we saw twice in Part 3, fourth single "Out Of My Head" tanked at number 91 in the UK - a lower position than the combined total of those achieved by his previous three singles, "Love Me Again", "Cheating" and "Losing Sleep". 

Number 33 "Little White Lies" by Florrie

For a fifth year in a row, Florrie registers an appearance on my year-end top 100 - and there's still no sign of her debut album. Originally appearing early in the year in remixed form on the Sirens EP - her first release to miss the mark as far as I was concerned - "Little White Lies" received full single treatment and restored my faith in her. Wonder what she'll do next?

Number 32 "If I Go" by Ella Eyre

There was good news and bad news for Ella Eyre (real name: Ella McMahon) in 2014. Although her first solo single "If I Go" only reached number 16 in the UK, she did have a hand in a British number 1 for the second year in a row - co-writing "Changing" by Sigma (which we're still to see on this countdown). "If I Go" was co-written and produced by Jarrad Rogers, the formerly Australian-based songsmith who worked on hits for Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and Ricki-Lee before decamping to London and, more recently, LA.

Number 31 "Setting Sun" by Dirty Vegas

As with Basement Jaxx, it's been a decade since British dance trio Dirty Vegas' last great single, "Walk Into The Sun" - which appeared on my top 100 for 2004. A four-year period during which the band went on a break explains some of that gap, but despite releasing a new album in 2011, it wasn't until this year's "Setting Sun" that I took notice again. Part of the appeal of the single was an excellent remix by Grum, which you can hear by following the link in the song title above.

Number 30 "Collar Up (Monsieur Adi mix)" by Kate Miller

Another song that owes its inclusion on this list to a transformative remix is this track from British singer Kate Miller's debut EP, Neophyte. "Collar Up" chugs along nicely in its original form, but Monsieur Adi brings new energy to the song - although I'm not sure the remix is commercially available. 

Number 29 "Dangerous" by David Guetta featuring Sam Martin

Such has my distaste for David Guetta grown in the past couple of years, I didn't think I'd see the day when he'd reappear on my chart. But in 2014 he released the first single I've liked since 2011's "Without You" - and it was a refreshing change of pace for the ubiquitous French producer. For guest vocalist Sam Martin, "Dangerous" was his second appearance in a row on a Guetta track - having performed on "Lovers On The Sun" as well.

Number 28 "Your Love" by Moko

One of the most '90s-influenced tracks on my top 100, "Your Love" was the lead single from British singer Moko's second EP, Gold. If the name Moko (a stage name for Diane Adu-Gyamfi) sounds familiar, it may be because she appeared on the Chase & Status single "Count On Me", which featured in my top 10 for 2013.

Number 27 "Ready For Your Love" by Gorgon City featuring MNEK

Another duo - and one that released a stream of great singles in 2014. We've already seen "Here For You" back in Part 1, but there was also "Go All Night" featuring Jennifer Hudson (number 104 on this list) and "Unmissable" featuring Zak Abel (number 115). "Ready For Your Love" is Gorgon City's biggest hit so far - and features MNEK, who co-wrote the song as well as "Here For You". Despite MNEK's solo career not taking off in 2014, he did pretty well as a songwriter, also contributing to tracks by Oliver Heldens, Becky Hill, The Saturdays and another British duo, Bondax.

Number 26 "Sunlight" by The Magician featuring Years & Years

Technotronic, 2 Unlimited, Lasgo, Ian van Dahl... Belgium has been responsible for some massive dance acts over the decades. Whether or not The Magician will join those ranks remains to be seen, but breakthrough hit "Sunlight" is a good start. Featured act on the track is Years & Years, who we saw back in Part 2.  

Number 25 "Living Without You" by Monarchy

The final duo in this batch of songs is no stranger to my charts, having placed two songs in my top 20 for 2011, but Monarchy are yet to land a major hit despite songs like "Living Without You" being more than worthy. 

Number 24 "Love Sublime" by Tensnake featuring Nile Rodgers & Fiora

We saw Tensnake - and guest vocalist Fiora - back in Part 1, and here they both are again on the best single from Glow. Helping out on guitar is Nile Rodgers, who seems to be everywhere at the moment, including working on Duran Duran's next album, due in 2015.

Number 23 "Love Never Felt So Good" by Michael Jackson / Justin Timberlake

The last time Sony Music trawled the archives for a posthumous release by Michael Jackson, the best they could come up with was the late superstar's version of the Yellow Magic Orchestra/Eric Clapton single, "Behind The Mask" (which just missed my top 100 for 2011). So it was with some scepticism that I approached 2014 release Xscape. Besides its title being identical to a long-forgotten R&B girl group from the '90s, it didn't hold much promise if it consisted of whatever was left in the vaults. 
Little did I know how good unreleased track "Love Never Felt So Good" would turn out to be. Originally demoed in 1983 during a studio session with Paul Anka, the song was never completed and recorded instead by Johnny Mathis. Fast forward a couple of decades, and the demo was polished up for inclusion on Xscape, with the single version receiving additional input from Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and J-Roc. And just like that, it became Michael's best single since the Dangerous album.

Number 22 "Outside" by Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding

They're not technically a duo, but they might want to consider it since when Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding pair up, monster hits seem to ensue. Last year, it was "I Need Your Love", a song from Calvin's 18 Months album that I didn't really care for but nevertheless made the UK and Australian top 5. In 2014, it was this track, the fourth single from the Scottish DJ/producer's latest album, Motion, which has so far gone top 10 in both countries.

Number 21 "Giving Up" by HAERTS

Their debut EP, Hemiplegia, provided an entry in my top 100 for 2013 and American synthpop band HAERTS repeated the feat this year with this single from their debut self-titled album. Like "All The Days", "Giving Up" (and, indeed, the whole album) was co-produced by St Lucia, who we'll see shortly on this list.

In Part 5: more '90s-inspired dance tracks, plus my favourite song of 2014!

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