18
Jan 15

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2014: #10-#1

FT25 comments • 873 views

hazel-irvine-Image-029“Well, an early finish to the snooker tonight has left me twiddling my thumbs here at Alexandra Palace, so I’ll take this opportunity to introduce my plans for world domination the final part of this year’s Freaky Trigger Poll. I’m sad to see that Olly Murs hasn’t made it through, I do love me a bit of Olly Murs – his cue action is second to none. Wait, I’m thinking of Ray Reardon. That troublemaker Olly Murs can barely work an autocue, let alone a snooker cue! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an episode of Coast to dig out…”

Thanks Hazel, see you in at the Crucible in a few months. On to our top 10!

10. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars

I spent an enjoyable 5 hours listening to classic disco hits on Thursday, and frankly if “Uptown Funk” kicks off a chart trend of bum-wiggling funk instead of miserable acoustic dudes, then we will all feel much more cheerful and the economy will improve etc. The enjoyable Sesame Street/Ant Hill Mob video features a number of clever camera angles and careful backing-dancer-positioning in order to make Bruno Mars look taller.

9. “Boom Clap” – Charli XCX

Generally agreed to be a pop star who is taking the whole ‘making good tunes’ business seriously, Charli had several songs nominated in the poll, but this is the one you’ve actually heard of. It’s big but spacious with it, plenty of room for the chorus hook and some smouldering at the camera.

8. “German Whip” – Meridian Dan ft Big H and JME

One of my 2014 favourites! This retro grime track follow’s Dan’s daydreams about owning a Mercedes and driving it around an Enfield retail park in the rain. Almost every line is quotable: “Who told you I move like pauper?” This and sister track “Rari Workout” totally got me pumped up while walking to the swimming pool in 2014.

7. “Anaconda” – Nicki Minaj

Nicki at her silliest. The best bits of ‘Baby Got Back’ (bassline, “buns” sample) are mercifully intact but I think Nicki’s flow sadly loses its usual sharpness near the end. I am 100% sure Nicki doesn’t give two hoots what I think, which kind of makes up for it?

6. “Solo Dancing” – Indiana

A Roisin Murphy vibe with this one, but… more clinical? I’ve been listening to it all year and still can’t quite get a handle on it. Has Indiana stripped all the emotion out of her vocal, or is it just repressed, waiting to burst out? Is that a chorus or is it just a verse with similar words? Did I hear something like this on an Ellen Alien mix in 2007? What IS going on in that video? So many questions.

5. “Crying For No Reason” – Katy B

Katy goes all Elane Paige on us. Oh man, someone needs to make Rinsed: The Dubstep Musical happen.

4. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” – Future Islands

I’d not been aware of this one prior to the poll. It’s got a lovely video featuring horses and a soppy cowboy disco, and the song is has a comforting Bruce Springsteen style chugga-dugga backing. I like it!

3. “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift

The winner of the Mariah Carey Award for Song Most Often Sung At Me By My Sister Down The Phone 2014. The haters are almost certainly going to hate, and personally I think her voice sounds uncomfortably strained all the way through the verses. Wait – perhaps this is a clever, purposeful contrast with her more relaxed-sounding ‘I don’t give a shit’ chorus? Oh T-Swizzle, you’ve outfoxed me again!

2. “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift

Mega last minute shocker! Until the very last vote on New Year’s Eve, this was leading the poll. Taylor should be feeling pretty happy with her results though, in total her nominated songs received 5% of the overall vote! “Blank Space” is of a lower tempo and catchiness level than “Shake It Off”, but has a much better video (where in places she looks uncannily like Nicole Kidman in full Wicked Queen/Mrs Coulter mode).

1. “Rather Be” – Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne

Jeff Lynne and her Electric Light Orchestra [well they’ve definitely got a Korg and cello player – subs check this] did the business in the end, beating Taylor by ONE POINT (gasp!). Perfect sync music for sporting montages and indeed NYE firework displays, perky bibble/strings knees-up “Rather Be” has been inescapable in the UK for the last 12 months. Its M People-esque pervasion meant I only got round to watching the video today – it’s a disturbing piece of psychological horror but also has a nice cat at the beginning. Good work everyone.

Thanks to everyone who voted – there were blimmin’ loads of you this year, and tons of nominated songs (461!), some that I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone hum! All of which made the poll very enjoyable to compile. Here are all the top-rated songs that didn’t make the top 40 (I didn’t check this very thoroughly so do pipe up in the comments if I’ve missed yours):

“Hard” – Sophie
“Flawless” – Beyonce ft Nicki Minaj
“Jell-o” – Ariel Pink
“Saint Claude” – Christine and the Queens
“3Jane” – EMA
“Dangerous Love” – Fuse ODG ft Sean Paul
“Miser Chameleon” – KING
“Braveheart” – Neon Jungle (my pick, although I’ve kind of gone off it now)
“The Vile Stuff” – Richard Dawson
“Say It” – Royksopp & Robyn
“A Smile Cracks” – School of Language
“I Will” – Sky Ferreira
“I Prefer Your Love” – St Vincent
“Estate Sale” – Tommy Boys
“Happy Idiot” – TV On The Radio
“Jingle Bell” – Wa$$up
“Waiting So Long” – Popcaan

That’s your lot – the poll WILL RETURN in December 2015!

Comments

  1. 1
    Tom Lawrence on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I’m glad we got the two TSwizzles the right way round. “Shake It Off” is catchy yes but a relatively underpowered screw-the-haters anthem that left me unexcited enough to be late on checking out “Blank Space”, which was a mistake because it’s incredible, so good I’m bringing my Tumblr out of mothballs to popwrite about it (hope to have that finished soon).

  2. 2
    swantep on 19 Jan 2015 #

    ‘Solo Dancing’ reminds me a little of Glasser’s ‘Mirrorage’ (or this remix) from a few years back (minus the tasty gothy bits). Quite fun tho’. Can’t say the same about ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ and ‘Crying for no reason’; I find it hard to imagine anyone being especially enthusiastic about either.

    No St Vincent, Jessie Ware, or Jenny Lewis in the whole chart (throws toys out of pram)!

    Anyhow, thanks to Kat for the countdown.

  3. 3
    weej on 19 Jan 2015 #

    For people who don’t know (and apparently that’s more people than I thought) the reason Seasons (Waiting On You) got attention this year was largely down to this performance on Letterman which went viral in March.

  4. 4
    koganbot on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I like “Solo Dancing” but am surprised it scored so high, I’d neither heard nor heard of “German Whip,” the one of mine I was expecting to go top ten but didn’t is “Move That Dope,” and the one of mine I alluded to that Weej may end up hating even more than “#Selfie” is “Chick Chick” (which, as others noticed before I did, is, until it goes transcendently squawky in the chorus, a clumsy third-rate ripoff of excellent PWC fave “Bo Peep Bo Peep“).

  5. 5
    weej on 19 Jan 2015 #

    …’this year’ meaning ‘last year’, of course. Anyway, I’ve had time to give them all another spin now.

    Uptown Funk – This is very enjoyable to listen to, but I didn’t vote for it.
    Boom Clap – This too. Actually a very decent pop song, just doesn’t grab me the way her earlier singles did.
    German Whip – This should be exactly my sort of thing but it just sounds a bit silly and I can’t take it seriously.
    Anaconda – Voted! Amazing something so weird is mainstream music now., even if everyone wanted to talk about the video instead.
    Solo Dancing – New to me. And not sure what to make of it. Needs more listens.
    Crying For No Reason – I’m not sure whether it’s my problem or hers but I have a problem connecting Katy B’s voice to this sort of song. Otherwise I’d rate this higher.
    Seasons (Waiting On You) – Future Islands not doing anything that different in 2014 but suddenly getting a whole lot more attention for it (see also The War On Drugs). I like this (and voted for it) but still wish they’d halt their gradual slide towards becoming an indie band.
    Shake It Off – Voted. First thing of hers that I’ve actively liked, so I may have rated it higher based on this.
    Blank Space – Shake It Off is better, there I said it.
    Rather Be – Still sounds good after nearly a year, so a deserving winner. I didn’t vote for it, but happy to see it here.

    So, then – no All About That Bass, no Happy, *sniff* guys, I feel proud to be among you today, well done. Also, whoever put ‘Hard’ at #1? I also voted for it, so it must’ve been unlucky not to make the top 40.

  6. 6
    katstevens on 19 Jan 2015 #

    Some votes weren’t given a 1-20 ordering so I just assumed the one at the top of the list was the favourite, any of the above may have been one of these!

    I can confirm that “Happy” was in the top 100, just above “Budapest” by George Ezra and just below “On A Level” by Wiley. Jenny Lewis, St Vincent and Jessie Ware were all in the top 100 too.

    The song with the most individual nominations that didn’t make the top 40 (i.e. lots of people liked it a bit) was “Air Guitar” by Busted.

    “All About That Bass” was waaaay down in the mid-300s.

  7. 7
    lockedintheattic on 19 Jan 2015 #

    It was me who put Sophie’s Hard at number 1. I’ve been fascinated by the whole PC music thing since I discovered it in the summer (and was very glad to see a couple of tracks get in lower down the list), but I went for ‘Hard’ as number 1 as it stands out to me as the most extreme and WTF example of their aesthetic

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8fwWZD159k

    It’s utterly bonkers, deliriously fun, and genuinely does something different to most pop. When I first heard I had to listen to it five times in a row just to attempt to make sense of it (and even to work out if I liked it or not). I think I hear new stuff in it every time. Well worth checking out if you haven’t heard it.

  8. 8
    lockedintheattic on 19 Jan 2015 #

    Also kind of stunned by Clean Bandit doing so well. It’s just so bland. Especially as the rest of the top 10 are so great, would pretty much have been happy about any of those being number 1 instead.

    Very pleased Indiana & Katy B did so well. Synthy dance-pop that’s a bit too slow to actually dance to is right up my street. Plus points for Katy’s red jumper too.

  9. 9
    James BC on 19 Jan 2015 #

    A strong showing for my choices here: four out of the ten, so a 50% hit rate for non-Swift music. Boom Clap was my pick for number 1.

    How did Olly Murs do, out of interest?

  10. 10
    Rory on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I was surprised that Meghan Trainor and Pharrell didn’t appear, but didn’t vote for either. Of this top 10, I’d only heard the Ronson/Mars and Swift songs before, so the rest are all first reactions:

    “Uptown Funk”: At least I’d heard this one, thanks to a story I read somewhere (was it here?) about Simon Cowell’s devious machinations in getting this covered on X Factor and propelling the original up the charts, or so the conspiracy theory went. Sounds like it could propel itself perfectly well to me. It feels a little bit calculated, but I don’t mind it.

    “Boom Clap”: Heard a bit of Charli before and liked what I heard. This is good, and will prompt me to check out Sucker at last.

    “German Whip”: I must be missing the necessary grime receptors.

    “Anaconda”: What’s this – Nicki channeling Crazy Frog? But it’s fun.

    “Solo Dancing”: I like this one. Could see myself listening to it more.

    “Crying For No Reason”: At the start this sounds like it’s taking a typical ’10s vocal style in a stage-musical direction, but it ends up somewhere a bit more interesting. Just a bit, though.

    “Seasons (Waiting On You)”: Pitchfork’s top track of 2014, eh? It’s okay, but I’m not sure yet whether I need to hear it again. Some aspects sound how Arcade Fire might have if they’d taken Reflektor in a more obvious, less compelling direction.

    Taylor: Man, I love 1989, and I only heard it a week or two before Christmas. Immediately became obsessed with “Shake It Off”, and gave it my number two vote here. Judging by the number of times I hear him singing “boys only want love if it’s torture”, I think my 7-year-old son would have voted for “Blank Space”, while my 3-year-old daughter would have voted for “Welcome to Noo Yock”. I love them all, even the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, not including those voice memo thingies. But “Shake it Off” remains my favourite; I must have listened to it two dozen times in the space of a few days.

    “Rather Be”: Yeah, this is good. Not poll-topping levels of good, but two Taylors in the top three is fine by me.

    Thanks for the ride, everyone! By my count there were a dozen new-to-me tracks that I enjoyed to the point where I might well have voted for them. I’ve already had my first earworm (and eyeworm) of 2015 in the form of “Chandelier”, and currently have Sia’s accompanying album on high rotation. Planning to check out FKA twigs next, and then maybe the Shakira and Charli XCX albums; Rita Ora’s #40 track is also going up in my estimation. And I now know what PC Music is, which makes me feel smug and baffled in equal measure.

  11. 11
    Tom on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I voted for looooaaaads of these, mostly because I intended to take 2014 off and not listen to anything, and then I crumbled and binged two weeks before the end, so all the already-acclaimed records got a play from me. Sorry, obscuro stuff!

    Uptown Funk – I think the vote coincided with my peak of liking this, I enjoy it a lot but happy to put it away now until whenever I next have to consider it.

    Boom Clap – I voted for the very short, very pop-punky “Breaking Up” but this was the single and it’s not bad, maybe her worst solo single yet? But it works better in the context of Sucker.

    German Whip – Never seen no man chasing frisbee! This may have been my number one? It was the only single I bought last year (until the last two weeks of it).

    Anaconda – I love this in the right mood – I think I threw a vote its way cos I wanted to see it do well but placed Beyonce’s “Flawless” remix with Nicki on it higher.

    Solo Dancing – This is alright, a bit tepid – this kind of slow-burn Eurosynth stuff never really does it for me though.

    Crying For No Reason – Chandelier’s slightly more sensible mate, I like how this builds a lot but I kind of want it to turn into an 8-minute 12″ remix epic. not just stop where it does.

    Seasons (Waiting On You) – Every year there’s an indie track I love for a few weeks and then feel mildly gross about: “Seasons” is heading that way. I still really think it has something, though – the Letterman performance (which I saw after I heard the song, because I was a hermit) is a bit mind the oranges Marlon* but got me thinking about different ways of projecting drama/feeling in singing.

    “Shake It Off”: The one Taylor entry I didn’t vote for, because the this sick beat section makes me cringe so much. The rest of it is splendid.

    “Blank Space”: Best pop song of the year. I first heard this – because I was an hermit, as mentioned – at the Thought Bubble convention party, as part of Kieron Gillen’s set, and I assumed it was some kind of anthemic indiepop thing. The idea that you have to know/care about TS’ lovelife or persona to get this – which is an idea I picked up when I went back and looked at ‘the conversation’ around it – is weird btw.

    “Rather Be”: SHOCK WINNER. An exercise in pissing about tastefully because you know you’ve got a smasher of a chorus up your sleeve. I voted for it though.

    *2000AD reference, sorry

  12. 12
    flahr on 19 Jan 2015 #

    ““Shake It Off”: The one Taylor entry I didn’t vote for, because the this sick beat section makes me cringe so much. The rest of it is splendid.” <<<<< this x 1000000 (except I didn't vote for anything other than BS)

    "The idea that you have to know/care about TS’ lovelife or persona to get this – which is an idea I picked up when I went back and looked at ‘the conversation’ around it – is weird btw." < this sort of thing puts me off of quite a bit of music (it's why I never really got into Gaga or Kanye) but it doesn't bother me about Taylor one tiny bit, possibly because a) what you actually need to 'get' ("Taylor has had a number of boyfriends") is so simple you should have picked it up via breathing by now and b) even if you don't know that externally she always explains it in every song anyway and c) what it actually boils down to in song terms ("ooh my boyfriend is/was such a shit") doesn't actually require any context to 'get' in the first place.

    My top two was also the overall top two! I also liked "Air Guitar" a bit and didn't vote for "Happy" or Meghain Trainhor so I feel a bit like a one-man pop barometer at the moment. Although the fact I voted for "Budapest" ER I MEAN MY MUM VOTED FOR "BUDAPEST" might damage that cred somewhat.

  13. 13
    Rory on 19 Jan 2015 #

    The “this sick beat” section does what “#Selfie” did, but more concisely and better. It’s also reminiscent of – and more fun than – Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”.

    (1989 prompted me to pick up Red at last, too, which I also enjoyed a lot, especially the Max Martin tracks. It sounds baarrrrrely country to me, though, MP3 genre tags notwithstanding – more like what a certain kind of “serious” rock band would produce; GaryLightbodyguestvocal*cough*. So serious rock + young American female vocal = country. Add hints of banjo or fiddle to one or two tracks per album to be sure. Gotcha.)

  14. 14
    jeff w on 19 Jan 2015 #

    Great top 3. Didn’t vote for the #1 but have corrected that in my ILM tracks ballot (which looks very different to my last-minute, thrown together list for FT). A bit sad that “Faded” came nowhere; the video (which I only watched because Twitter was being a tw4t abt it!) wasn’t that bad.

  15. 15
    thefatgit on 19 Jan 2015 #

    In conclusion, I’ll do the songs I have not heard first:

    Indiana – POOLE POTTERY DOLPHIN KLAXON!!
    Katy B – I have no idea why this passed me by. This is her “China In Your Hand” innit?
    Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”; I can’t really call seeing a gif on Tumblr of T-Swizzle beneath a chorus line of twerking asses, being familiar at all with a song. I get the impression she’s playing to the dorky/nerdy gallery, saying “see, I’m just like you guys!”
    Introducing a new category; songs I’ve not heard all the way through until now:

    Charli XCX – Like most people, I’ve probably only heard the disjointed chorus from The Fault In Our Stars trailer or somewhere. The whole thing is rather lovely, but I’m guessing there are better Charli XCX songs than this.
    Meridian Dan – Another one I have only heard snippets of. OK flow and kinda funny, but that’s about it.
    Future Islands – Another disjointed chorus from the TV ad for their album. Thanks, but no thanks, mate. Leaves me cold.

    And finally, songs I have heard:

    Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – This is fun, bright and breezy, perfectly executed and…why, oh why, Bruno? Why go through all that nonsense at the barbers, just to stick a bandana/fedora combo on your fresh new hairdo? What is your thinking Bruno? Why??
    Nicki Minaj – She’s probably going to split opinion all the way along her career. I was pro Nicki, right up until “Only”. “Anaconda” is marvellous, from a woman who’s confidently at the top of her game. I’m not sure I could be as charitable towards her from here-on in.
    Taylor Swift – “Blank Space” made me sit up and take notice of Taylor Swift. I can’t praise this song enough.
    Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne – I can fully understand why this gets to be top of the pile because it’s an unusual, beautifully decorated pop bauble that made everything around it seem less special, like a Faberge egg nestled among a pile of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. I just can’t bring myself to love it.

  16. 16
    thefatgit on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I must make an effort to listen to more current music in 2015 in order to vote next time. I’m surprised how much music in 2014 slipped past me, but even more surprised how much I could recall without paying much attention.

  17. 17
    flahr on 19 Jan 2015 #

    “an unusual, beautifully decorated pop bauble that made everything around it seem less special, like a Faberge egg nestled among a pile of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs” < I will only accept this metaphor if the Faberge egg is itself also filled with Creme Egg filling

  18. 18
    Steve Mannion on 19 Jan 2015 #

    Don’t think I voted for any of these but I did an honest ‘tracks I liked most’ thing knowing full well no-one else would vote ’em.

    Favourite ten on the list: Kate Tempest, RTJ, Shamir, Danity Kane, Kiesza, Rustie, Indiana, Katy B, Skepta, Ariana & “Iggy Iz”. A few still-not-heard tho.

    ‘#Selfie’ is the worst thing in the list I hadn’t heard before, but it did sound exactly like I expected it to.

    Managed to post this on the wrong batch earlier but here’s the rundown in handy text list form:

    1. Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
    2. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
    3. Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
    4. Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
    5. Katy B – Crying For No Reason
    6. Indiana – Solo Dancing
    7. Nicki Minaj – Anaconda
    8. Meridian Dan ft. Big H & JME – German Whip
    9. Charli XCX – Boom Clap
    10. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
    11. La Roux – Let Me Down Gently
    12. Tegan & Sara ft. The Lonely Island – Everything Is Awesome
    13. FKA Twigs – Two Weeks
    14. Perfume Genius – Queen
    15. Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods
    16. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q – 2 On
    17. Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
    18. Kiesza – Hideaway
    19. Rustie ft. Danny Brown – Attak
    20. Danity Kane ft. Tyga – Lemonade
    21. AG Cook – Beautiful
    22. Shamir – On The Regular
    23. Kate Tempest – Marshall Law
    24. Against Me! – Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues
    25. DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
    26. Sia – Chandelier
    27. Jessie J, Arianda Grande & Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang
    28. Tkay Maidza – U-Huh
    29. Shakira – Empire
    30. BiS – STUPiG
    31. Run The Jewels ft. Zach de la Rocha – Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)
    32. Kendrick Lamar – i
    33. Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – Fancy
    34. Sigma – Nobody To Love
    35. Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea – Problem
    36. QT – Hey QT
    37. Skepta ft. JME – That’s Not Me
    38. Idina Menzel – Let It Go
    39. Chainsmokers – #Selfie
    40. Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down

  19. 19
    chelovek na lune on 19 Jan 2015 #

    “Selfies” – Nina Nesbitt > “#Selfie” – Chainsmokers

  20. 20
    Mark M on 19 Jan 2015 #

    I now wish we’d all made predictions about the top 10 – I would have got four right, but been way off with the rest. Which is a good thing. Anyway, so my take:

    Uptown Funk: I’m in favour of this, although I think it might pall, and Ronson’s presence is annoying in the video. I think he’s one of those people whose persona makes you think that they are worse (artistically) than they are (I know I have other examples of this, but they don’t spring to mind right now).
    Boom Clap: I thought I’d gone off this a bit, that the chorus was a bit big and empty, but when I relistened just now, it sounded good. Maybe that’s becauserubbish YouTube-via-MacBook sound takes the bigness out.
    German Whip: (new to me) In theory, my kind of thing. I’ll need to give it a few more listens.
    Anaconda: I really dislike Nicki Minaj… but I sort of see the appeal of this. But it’s pretty annoying. I have a feeling – but this could be my own mini urban myth – that one of the dirtier lines was uncensored in the safe video version at first, until somebody pointed out what it really meant…
    Indiana: (new to me) Dull.
    Crying For No Reason: I’ve really enjoyed most Katy B singles, but I think this is tedious and ill-suited to her strengths. It draws attention to the weird way that when singing she sounds like an English-as-a-second-language speaker.
    Seasons: (new to me) Horrible, horrible, horrible.
    Shake It Off: Still not getting it.
    Blank Space: I voted for this one. This seems to the song that gets a lot of people saying, ‘I never thought I like Taylor Swift, but…’ Which I guess will be a good thing if they then start trawling through her back catalogue and realise they’ve been wrong to dismiss her previous stuff.
    Rather Be: It’s on that fine line between rather lovely and saccharine/bland. Probably just on the right side.

  21. 21
    Steve Mannion on 20 Jan 2015 #

    Uptown Funk: Agree with what Mark M says re Ronson. I can imagine kids (or at least a 2015 version of 8 year old me) absolutely loving the whole package though (it keeps morphing into ‘Treasure’ for me which I still like and prefer) – or maybe they just shrug at its unabashed retrostyles?

    Boom Clap: Alright but trying too hard for a hit (fair enough tho) – better stuff on that first album for me.

    German Whip: A style I’m v bored of these days unless there’s something exciting going sonically under (or perhaps even over) the MC which I do not detect here.

    Anaconda: Interesting as ever politically but musically NM could only irritate the pants off me last year and PLEASE Nicki I need those because it’s cold out.

    Crying For No Reason: grew on me but I’ve not bothered to go back to the album since its release. Glad it was a big hit for her though.

    Seasons: Don’t mind this really but its performance across almost the entire board in EOY lists says so much about how people are swayed by an unusual TV performance (off the back of which the song went viral) – I just don’t think it would’ve been anywhere near as big otherwise. It gets high placings in lists as a ‘moment’ more than a song – otherwise there would surely be more things like this in the same lists. This isn’t a problem necessarily but it makes its success feel more…superficial (the same could be said about ‘Video Games’ at first maybe but she did follow up OK (and I think that remix of ‘Summertime Sadness’ has now outsold ‘Video Games’?) – would like to see FI build on this and prove me wrong).

    Shake It Off, Blank Space: Clearly talented is TS and her first few lines on Blank Space are the closest I’ve ever got to being interested in her music. Close but no doughnut. This is a major Poptimistic acid test which I guilelessly fail each year :)

    Rather Be: Rather BAE surely…just didn’t care about this one at all. Too slight and simple for me. Favourite Jess Glynne last year as the Skream remix of ‘Right Here’.

  22. 22
    Rory on 20 Jan 2015 #

    Those UK number ones in the FT 2014 poll top 40…

    “Rather Be” – Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
    “Nobody to Love” – Sigma
    “Hideaway” – Kiesza
    “I Will Never Let You Down” – Rita Ora
    “Problem” – Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
    “Bang Bang” – Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
    “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

    Those US and also those Canadian number ones in the top 40…

    “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
    “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
    “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift

    Those Australian number ones in the top 40…

    “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
    “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
    “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

    Those New Zealand number ones…

    “Problem” – Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
    “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
    “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
    “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

    (That’s enough number ones – Ed.)

  23. 23
    katstevens on 20 Jan 2015 #

    Whoops – just looking through the top-rated songs and that should be MISTER Chameleon, not MISER. I can only presume that Scrooge haunts my keyboard.

  24. 24
    katstevens on 20 Jan 2015 #

    I’ve knocked up a Spotify playlist of the top 40, plus the top-rated songs. Everything in the top 40 except T-Swizz and the PC Music stuff is on there.

  25. 25
    Mark M on 22 Jan 2015 #

    Re11: “The idea that you have to know/care about TS’ lovelife or persona to get this – which is an idea I picked up when I went back and looked at ‘the conversation’ around it – is weird btw.”

    Some people cling to very strange notions of pop songs as text. As I’m sure I’ve said here before, most of the time I have little clue about what a song is ‘about’ unless it’s in the title*.

    Obviously, knowing about Taylor’s public rep adds a layer to both Shake It Off and Blank Space, but it’s a definitely an added extra – like the biography/music interplay in late Abba songs or Rumours – not a vital ingredient to enjoying it.

    *And I’ve also had conversations with members of bands along the lines of:
    Me: That song is about Thatcherism, right?
    Guitar player: Hmm… I’d never thought about it. That’s possible. You’ll have to ask the singer – he wrote the words.

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