After covering the years 2010 – 2013, 2014 is up next on our Back In Time feature. 2014 saw the fall of the big room sound which had artists experimenting more with their productions. Dance music pushed even further into the main stream with records from the likes of DJ SNAKE, Galantis, The Chainsmokers and more listed below.
It’s never an easy decision to narrow down a year’s worth of music to 14 selections. The honorable mentions explore the music that was not selected for the top 14. Please note, the order of the 14 choices are random.
Travel back in time with us and experience the 58 song playlist of the best dance music of 2014 here.
Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman x Steve Angello – Payback
‘Payback’ was and will be for the foreseeable future one of the best and most impactful melodic progressive house instrumentals. The mesmerizing melody caught the attention of millions and whilst it may be one of the least successful tracks in this list, it’s quality is without question. Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman are some of the best melody crafters ever and teaming up with Steve Angello saw them create a truly incredible and unifying record.
Any time the track was played out, it saw the crowd humming and singing the melody, more so than tracks with actual vocals. The track was a sought after ID before release, drawing goosebumps any time it was played. The release was through Angello’s own SIZE Records in collaboration with Columbia Records.
Dillon Francis & DJ Snake – Get Low
Just after DJ Snake released the massive ‘Turn Down For What’, he teamed up with Dillon Francis for the next in a long line of trap/Arabic infused tracks; ‘Get Low’. The view count for the record would be very close to a billion given its streams across platforms.
The track and later video, feature an Arabic style and they even sampled Algerian folk band Orchestre National de Barbes.
The track achieved platinum status in Canada and United States and also appears as the soundtrack for Furious 7.
W&W, Aazar and others remixed the track, whilst Dillon and DJ Snake also created the ‘The Rebirth In Paris’ edit. Appearing on Dillon Francis’ album Money Sucks, Friends Rule, another version exists with vocals from Rae Sremmurd.
Galantis – Runaway (U & I)
‘Runaway (U & I)’ brought the two Swedes that make up Galantis into the mainstream.
Its infectious melodies and anthem-like vocals were the contributing factors to its success. The song features uncredited production work by Svidden, as well as Julia Karlsson performing the chorus and Cathy Dennis performing two verses on heavily processed and uncredited vocals.
The production was nominated for Best Dance Recording at the Grammy Awards. It received platinum certification in many regions around the world, as well as charting at #1 in The Netherlands, Poland and the UK.
‘Runaway (U & I)’ was remixed by several high-profile producers. Dillon Francis, Ansolo, KSHMR, Kaskade, Gioni and Quintino are among the artists who have remixed the track.
ZHU – Faded
Mysterious artist ZHU debuted onto the scene with ‘Faded’. The chill house production eventually became one of the biggest records of the year, both in the dance world and overall. Australian radio brand Triple J have been credited with some of the initial attention that later snowballed.
Like other records in this list, ‘Faded’ was nominated under the Best Dance Recording category at The Grammys.
The track was remixed from the likes of DJ Snake and ODESZA, which further boosted its popularity.
Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones – I Got U
Sitting at well above 500 million plays, Duke Dumont and Jax Jones’ ‘I Got U’ was the ultimate summer record, and it may still be. The track followed Dumont’s platinum collaboration with A*M*E; ‘Need U (100%)’ – these two records propelled him into the commercial crowd.
Its feel good nature and overall summer vibe meant it was the anthem of any holiday compilation! The result of the record was platinum and gold status in various countries.
Kelli-Leigh provided sensational uncredited vocals. She has since gone on to feature in a plethora of dance tracks. It saw additional remixes from the likes of MK and Tensnake.
Dimitri Vegas & Martin Garrix & Like Mike – Tremor
After releasing ‘Animals’ the year before, Martin Garrix had broken into the dance music world as a brand new talent. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike saw Garrix’s promise and eventually linked together for ‘Tremor’. Originally conceived by Martin Garrix humming into his phone, it was later turned into the huge hit that it is today. The mesmerizing melody will get stuck in your head as the sound design and energy meant for the perfect festival record.
Acting as the Sensation 2014 Anthem, the track performed much better than anticipated – with almost 600 million plays through YouTube (the #2 viewed video on Spinnin’s channel, behind ‘Animals’) and another 100 million streams through Spotify. Along with the copious amount of streams, ‘Tremor’ also charted well throughout global commercial top 40’s.
Deorro – Five Hours
‘Five Hours’ is a five minute masterpiece from Deorro. Featuring a long start that slowly builds – it is a perfect intro to any set.
Originally an instrumental mix, frequent Deorro collaborator DyCy put her spin on it, creating the vocal mix ‘Five Hours (Don’t Hold Me Back)’. Soon after, Chris Brown got his hands on it… which to some was good, and to some, not so good. The Chris Brown version is sitting above 500 million streams on Spotify and unfortunately the DyCy version has been removed from the platform. However, the YouTube upload of the DyCy version has a multitude of comments preferring it over the Chris Brown version.
Deorro has had a history of great melodies and ‘Five Hours’ is a prime example of that. It also showcases that less is sometimes more.
The Chainsmokers – #SELFIE
‘#SELFIE’ was The Chainsmokers first endevour into the mainstream and from their point of view – they did not expect the success at all. Originally a free download, one that was of a silly nature, the track gained consistent traction – leading to Dim Mak signing it and now in 2020 it has well over 650 million plays across just YouTube and Spotify.
The Chainsmokers would not be where they are today without ‘#SELFIE’. This allowed their serious follow up ‘Kanye’ to fulfill its potential and reach the right people. With a consistent level of quality in their releases since ‘#SELFIE’, The Chainsmokers have engraved their name in not only the dance world but the entire music scene.
Regarding the release, The Chainsmokers explained; “Honestly, “#Selfie” is kind of a phenomenon for us. We made it and thought it was funny and put it out as an edit. Then Dim Mak wanted to buy it, and they bought it from us and put it out officially and we made a video for it. This was all just because we thought it was fun. And then the song just kind of took on a life of its own. Which is honestly really great because it’s brought in a new audience of people that listen to music that we’ve made that we’re more passionate about.“
The music video shares the same sense of virality as the song, with the video featuring a range of selfie cameos from DJ friends and other celebrities.
Porter Robinson – Sad Machine
Porter Robinson released his widely praised Worlds album in 2014 and with that, 12 tracks. One stands out from the rest when it comes to statistics and that is ‘Sad Machine’. It was the last track that Porter wrote for the album and the second to be released, after ‘Sea of Voices’.
‘Sad Machine’ has achieved 100 million plays across Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud and was remixed by the likes of Anamanaguchi, k?d, Cosmos’s Midnight and Darren Styles & Gammer.
“I just thought the notion of a human and robot duet was something that was really beautiful and touching to me. And that vibe really evoked the whole feeling of fantasy and fiction and escapism that I wanted the album to have.” Porter explained in an interview.
The track uses the Vocaloid software voice, Avanna, to provide the lead vocals for the song. The male vocals on the track are provided by Robinson himself.
Alesso feat. Tove Lo – Heroes (we could be)
Alesso has been a staple throughout dance music most of his career and more recently in the pop scene. Other than his star studded Hailee Steinfeld collaboration, ‘Heroes (we could be)’ stands out in the Swede’s discography. Teaming up with Tove Lo, Alesso released ‘Heroes’ in 2014, one of the first singles from his 2015 Forever album. In true Alesso fashion, his melody skills really come into play with this record.
The track has amassed over 750 million plays across Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud. If that doesn’t demonstrate it’s success enough, the record also achieved platinum status six times as well as gold twice. It even came 68th in the 2018 Hungarian end of year charts, 4 years after release. It is Alesso’s best charted track ever, even better than the Hailee Steinfeld collaboration ‘Let Me Go’.
When asked what inspired the song’s lyrics, Alesso explained, “My team and I reached out to [Lo] to see if she’d be interested in a collaboration, and a couple months later, we began writing the lyrics that would go over these instrumentals. We discussed what it should be about — we knew it should be an emotional record — and this gorgeous girl came back with this gorgeous topline.”
Lorde – Tennis Court (Flume Remix)
One of the most impactful productions for Flume’s career was undoubtedly his remix of Lorde’s ‘Tennis Court’. While the original from Lorde did well, Flume’s take on it was arguably the most notable. When you think of Flume, this remix is the sound you imagine and has become his signature.
Unfortunately, the track has not been distributed to DSP’s (Spotify, iTunes etc). The reason has to be down to labels and rights but really, this needs to be on Spotify in this day and age.
It’s rare that 6 years later, this remix is as good as ever. Sitting at over 160 million plays across Soundcloud and YouTube, this may be one of the best unofficial remixes of all time, so no wonder it is still heard in DJ sets six years later.
Kygo feat. Conrad Sewell – Firestone
After teaming up with Australian singer Conrad Sewell, Kygo brought ‘Firestone’ to the world. It was his first major hit, paving the way for his successful career so far. The melody in the lead and drop will be familiar to most people around the world and certainly the people who have clicked play 1.5 billion times across Spotify and YouTube.
Kygo followed up ‘Firestone’ with a slew of solid singles, eventually progressing to where he is today. The track achieved the equivalent of Platinum a staggering 34 times around the world, even securing Diamond status in Mexico and France.
Calvin Harris – Summer
Calvin Harris released the crazy success that was his album Motion in October 2014, but back in March Harris kicked off the album campaign with ‘Summer’. The track is a fresh and vibrant record, conveniently perfect for Summer.
This track may be the most commercial of this list and that’s backed up by its incredibly impressive play count. ‘Summer’ has hit 80 million plays through Soundcloud, 750 million on Spotify and over 1.5 billion across YouTube. That is not including the 60+ million from the remixes from the likes of Diplo and R3HAB.
The track achieved Platinum status 29 times throughout the world, even Diamond in Mexico and gold a number of times in other regions.
The music video, is filled with bikini clad women, mingling with Calvin Harris. It also features a Fast and Furious-esque drag race, with Calvin Harris emulating Brian O’Conner and Jason Statham cameoing as Dominic Toretto.
David Guetta & Showtek feat. Vassy – Bad
After Showtek’s hits ‘Booyah’ and ‘We Like To Party’, they came together with David Guetta and Vassy for ‘Bad’. With strong vocals from Vassy and an undeniably catchy hook, the ingredients for a hit are right there in the track. With David Guetta’s name attached – there’s no surprise as to why it did so well!
It achieved Platinum certification eight times around the world, becoming Showtek’s most successful record to date.
Along with other writers and co-producers, interestingly Sultan + Shepard are featured in the production credits.
After dropping ‘Animals’ the year before, Martin Garrix followed up well with a number of stand out tracks such as ‘Gold Skies’, ‘Virus’ as well as Dillon Francis and Afrojack collaborations. Speaking of Afrojack, he released his Forget The World album – which was more commercially oriented and resulted in several hundred million plays.
Tiësto released his album A Town Called Paradise and with that, ‘Wasted’ with Matthew Koma which was a worldwide success. Skrillex also released his Recess album, the most popular of the album was the title track ‘Recess’ with Kill The Noise and vocals from Fatman Scoop and Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos. RL Grime left his Clockwork artist project behind and moved all into RL Grime, releasing his debut album VOID. Included in VOID was ‘Core’, the highlight from the album. Before his Adventure album in 2015, Madeon released a few singles, most notably ‘You’re On’ which is his second most played track, behind his Porter Robinson collaboration.
Axwell & Ingrosso released their first track under their joint name with the appropriately titled ‘Something New’. Yellow Claw released their biggest song to date; ‘DJ Turn It Up’ which has since amassed almost 400 million streams on YouTube and Spotify. W&W released a number of singles, most notably ‘Bigfoot’ that was seemingly a must for all big room DJs sets.
Skrillex and Diplo united under their Jack Ü moniker and released their first track ‘Take Ü There‘ with Kiesza. Kaskade had a notable year, releasing an incredible collaboration with John Dahlbäck on ‘A Little More’ as well as with Project 46 on ‘Last Chance’.
Seven Lions released his Worlds Apart EP that featured stand out tracks such as ‘Don’t Leave’ with Ellie Goulding and ‘Worlds Apart’ with Kerli. Eric Prydz released his upbeat vocal anthem ‘Liberate’. It had its second life as the title song of Forza Horizon 2.
2014 was a great year for melodic progressive house with releases such as Stadiumx’s ‘Howl At The Moon’, Audien’s ‘Hindsight’, Tritonal and Paris Blohm’s collaborations with Taylr Renee on ‘Left Behinds’ and with Tritonal on ‘Colors’. Paris also collabed with Tom Swoon on ‘Synchronize’. Tom released a number of other tremendous productions such as ‘Savior’, ‘Ahead Of Us’ and the incredible collaboration with Stadiumx ‘Ghost’.
In terms of house releases, there were a number of stand outs such as Shiba San’s ‘Okay’, Gorgon City and MNEK’s hit ‘Ready For Your Love’, Oliver Dollar and Jimi Jules’ ‘Pushing On’ as well as the accompanying Tchami remix. Klingande’s über successful and debut single ‘Jubel’ was also released.
When it comes to remixes, Hardwell dropped his amazing version of Coldplay’s ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ as well as his edit of Armin van Buuren’s ‘Ping Pong’. The original of ‘Ping Pong’ was quite the hit also, finding its way into many tracklists, potentially being one of the most played records, given its mashup potential. Robin Schulz remixed ‘Prayer In C’ which has since amassed a staggering 650 million streams. Audien dropped his incredible remix of Bastille’s ‘Pompeii’.
ROUTE 94 released ‘My Love’ which was definitely a tune of the summer and another summer hit was Bakermat’s ‘One Day’.
As evident by the list, 2014 was a great year for dance music. Some extra mentions include KSHMR and DallasK with ‘Burn’, Zedd and Matthew Koma’s ‘Find You’, Sander van Doorn and Firebeatz’ ‘Guitar Track’, Hardwell’s ‘Young Again’, the list goes on.
Take a time machine back to 2014 with our playlist featuring everything listed above and more!