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10 Overlooked Pop Jams of 2014


Yes, it's mostly women

As everyone compiles best of lists to celebrate the year in music, it became evidently clear that the year largely belonged to the ladies. From Beyonce leading things off with her surprised self-titled visual album to Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea dominating the summer, and Meghan Trainor, Sia, and more leading the Grammys nominees, women were everywhere. Outside of Ed Sheeran, Pharrell, and Sam Smith, men failed to penetrate the mainstream as easily as the likes of Taylor Swift. And that's OK. These women led the charge. And for every great breakthrough song, there were at 10 more in the shadows that were just as good.

Here (in no particular order) are ten of the year's most overlooked jams. And yes, it's mostly women:

1. "All My Love," Ariana Grande ft. Diplo

While Ariana Grande rightfully earned attention for back-to-back hits -- "Problem," "Break Free," and "Bang Bang" -- it's her contribution to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 soundtrack that everyone should be listening to. "All My Love" is a jungle-feverish dance-pop record that recalls Jennifer Lopez's best record, "Waiting for Tonight."

2. "XO," Beyonce

When Bey released her album late in 2013, she changed the game and delivered an album full of hits. It was unclear which song was going to be the first single, but it was ultimately "Drunk in Love" that climbed to the top of the charts. Sadly, "XO" never got the same attention. Written by Ryan Tedder, it's an undying jam that's perfect for prom, nights out at Coney Island, or hanging with friends. (Of course, it made Out Senior Editor Jason Lamphier's Top 10 for 2014.)


3. "Sexotheque," La Roux

While La Roux has failed to top the lasting impact of "Bulletproof" -- a song that won't die thanks to Pitch Perfect -- she did serve up a platter of infectious '80s dance pop on her sophomore album, Trouble in Paradise. Among the best is this ode to a couple with very different goals in mind.

4. "Ghost," Ella Henderson

Consider this the gospel of an X Factor contestant who's wasting no time with tears on losing the reality competition. Co-written by Ryan Tedder -- he clearly gets around -- "Ghost" puts Henderson somewhere in the mix of Leona Lewis and Adele. She may not have the soul of the latter she does have the pop finesse of the former. And with a debut song like this, that's enough for now.

5. "Brooklyn Baby," Lana Del Rey

As Lana Del Rey rightfully earns Oscar buzz for her two original songs written for Big Eyes, it would be shame not to remember the singer's nod to '60s girl groups. The retro, Lou Reed-inspired record channeled all the angst of a John Green novel.

6. "Into the Blue," Kylie Minogue

Easily one Minogue's best records in years -- nothing has really topped "Slow" -- the song was a breezy pop tune that should have been a bigger radio hit. It landed in the clubs like many of Minogue's dance-heavy tracks do, but "Into the Blue" goes way beyond the disco.

7. "Lost on the Way Home," Chromeo ft. Solange

It's a shame Solange's biggest hit took place in an elevator because more people should have paid attention to her silky duet with Chromeo. This synth-heavy record feels like it belongs on a John Hughes film soundtrack, but it's a modern take on love loss.

8. "Simplethings," Miguel

Tucked away at the end of a Girls episode, the distortion-heavy record was a real treat for fans (of both the show and the singer) considering it was written at the request of Lena Dunham. And until Frank Ocean puts out another album, Miguel is all we have. So eat it up.

9. "I Blame Myself," Sky Ferreira

The synth-pop record was the singer's offering to mainstream radio over the summer. Sadly it didn't catch with listeners, but it did remind me of the Norwegian singer, Annie, who always straddled the line of smart, contemporary bubblegum pop.

10. "You," Galantis

What happens when you take one-third of Miike Snow and combine him with the hitmaker behind Icona Pop? Dance pop perfection.

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Stacy Lambe