Top Tracks: Part 3 of 2014's Best

As 2014 comes to a close the LYFSTYL Music Blog will be counting down our top tracks of the year. Follow along every day as we release ten more of our favourites building towards our top-100. In no particular order, here’s what we at LYFSTYL were listening to this year with numbers 21 – 30.

“Music is a medium formed by silence and sound” – this is what opens the video for Jamie xx’s ‘Sleep Sound.’ He collaborated with a dancer who decided to dance together to ‘Sleep Sound’ with volunteers from The Manchester Deaf Centre, after a deaf girl on a train told her she could feel the music. It’s beautifully poignant, gripping, and full of love, and no matter how many times I’ve watched it I can’t help getting misty eyed. Paired with Jamie xx’s signature piano, altered guitar riffs, and trilling drums flitting with airy vocals chanting “oh,” “yeah,” “c’mon” in hypnotic fashion. It’s one of the most overwhelming songs I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in recent memory, reiterating the brilliance that is Jamie xx. – Written by Rupa Jogani

QT – Hey QT

Whether you chose to jump on board with PC Music’s jarringly excitable (i.e. cracked-out) vibes, they’ve undoubtedly and rapidly changed the direction of recent electronic music. With last year’s ‘Bipp’ by Sophie making dancers go wild with its lack-of-a-discernible-drop, dirty synths, and ‘Barbie Girl’ esque vocals, A. G. Cook’s label is throwing open the door to insanity. A. G. Cook and Sophie paired up for their sugar-coated dance number, ‘Hey QT’ under their stage name, QT. With nostalgic, juvenile lyricism, clean 90s synths, and happy claps this really is a pop song. It’s borderline annoying but that’s all a part of its charm – also, playing it when someone walks into a room will make them jump out of their skin with, er, excitement. – Written by Rupa Jogani

iLoveMakkonen feat. Drake – Tuesday

It was a year of memeable songs and between ‘No Flex Zone’ and newcomer iLoveMakkonen’s club hit, ‘Tuesday,’ my social media outlets were riddled with people getting turnt up. With the catchiest hook for going out on a weekday and steezin’ with your squad, club life got a lot more rambunctious. I don’t have much else to say on this except 1. it’s annoyingly stuck in my head 2. I appreciate dark, feel good humor in videos and 3. Drake. – Written by Rupa Jogani

FKA twigs – Pendulum

It comes as no surprise that FKA twigs’ game-changing debut LP, LP1, is short-listed on every major publication’s top albums of 2014. Her entire being exudes the avant-garden from her provocative live performances to her eyebrow-raising Google Glass commercial, twigs proves she’s an artist. She paired up with some of the industry’s top producers for the album (Clams Casino, Blood Orange, Sampha) including UK’s finest, Paul Epworth, with whom she worked on ‘Pendulum.’ With knocks calling back from her mesmerizing single, ‘Water Me,’ she moves into choral vocals and moving lyricism. It’s clean, raw, and all consuming, highlighting her technicality and penchant for pushing the bar that much farther. Her genius is making the seemingly unrelatable, well, relatable, and she draws us in again and again to hold us in her understanding arms. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Hudson Mohawke – Chimes

2014 was one, giant raucous cry of gratitude when Hudson Mohawke came back on the radar with his huge number, ‘Chimes.’ With an indefinite hiatus on his TNGHT project with Lunice, we’ve been missing their massive sound for a hot minute. On ‘Chimes,’ he has a Rustie influenced intro until dropping into a body-shaking bass synth mindfuck making strutting down city blocks infinitely more bad ass. He’s been picking up more this year which makes me wonder if we can expect an LP or side project from him in 2015. Until then, I’m gonna go destroy something fragile and yell into the night. – Written by Rupa Jogani

Chance The Rapper feat. The Social Experiment – Arthur Theme

There is something incredibly charming about Chance The Rapper’s boyish confidence, and ‘Wonderful Everyday’ seems to be the closest audible representation of that flare so far. Backed by his band The Social Experiement, Chance The Rapper breathes new life into a song many will remember, but few will have heard recently. It was a bold musical step that seemed unnecessary at first, however the resulting track is so uplifting and enjoyable it’s hard to question the decision to record. ‘Wonderful Everyday’ is a musical journey that takes me back to an age when watching Arthur after school was at the top of my priority list, and it feels good to feel like a kid again. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Shad & Dj T.Lo – Hang On

It’s hard to top Shad when it comes to intelligent, well-crafted rap coming out of Canada. The Boarding Pass EP, which features Shad spitting over the production of long-time tour partner Dj TLo, is a brilliant collection of beats and brilliant flow. ‘Hang On’ is the EP’s standout track, providing listeners with a one-two punch of T.Lo’s slick ‘Hang On’ sample and Shad’s thoughtful, cutting lyricism. “Maybe they don’t play too much music on Much Music because there ain’t much music out here, or much to it.” Damn right. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

King Tuff – Madness

“King Tuff is my name /  I’ve got madness in my brain / Please to meet ya /  I’m gonna eat ya, ‘cause I’m batshit insane.” Kyle Thomas sure knows how to have fun with his alter-ego. The Vermont-born rocker is a whole new animal when he becomes King Tuff, and ‘Madness’ is the track that best demonstrates the irresistible fury King Tuff has become known for. Rather than hide his wild side, King Tuff celebrates his insanity for all to hear before taking a drag and chugging a beer. He’s not ashamed of it, he’s proud of it. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Ex Hex – Don’t Wanna Lose

As with many of the tracks on Rips, ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’ is a fast-and-furious rock and roll track that makes the most out of a short span of time. Ex Hex didn’t break the mold with ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’, but they didn’t need to. The garage from trio from Washington, DC are comfortable in their sound, and that is evident throughout ‘Don’t Wanna Lose’ as well as the 11 other tracks that follow on Rips. – Written by Kevin Vanstone

Chet Faker – Cigarettes and Loneliness

I remember hearing ‘Cigarettes & Loneliness’ for the first time while driving into Vancouver with the top down and the sun shining. It was an immediate “turn it up” moment, and all the way up Oak street I made sure the houses that line the street got a little taste along the way. ‘Cigarettes & Loneliness’ is a crushing song of a love lost, in which Chet Faker wonders how to go on, or what to do next. And while the track itself may be a couple minutes too long, the meandering nature of song parallels the emotional state the singer seems to be stuck in, and when that pain sounds as beautiful as it does on ‘Cigarettes & Loneliness’ it’s hard to complain about a few extra minutes. – Written by Kevin Vanstone