Let's cut to the chase. Great music is often not popular and popular music is sometimes dreadful.
Sad to say the music industry – as a business ecosystem – has more pressing concerns than pleasing everyone's ears: turning a profit, providing jobs, that sort of thing. Fair enough.
If you find that depressing because music is about emotion and the sublime, you aren't the only one. It's fairly likely, then, that certain wildly popular songs each year will drive you bonkers, sounding like fingernails on a chalkboard when you start to hear them everywhere.
But it's hard to argue that a pop song has failed if it's so memorable: in fact that's the point of plenty of pop songs; to take over your brain like a musical sleeping gas, just as Gangnam Style did in 2012, or Daft Punk's Get Lucky last year, or going back to 2001, Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
This year, as with every year, there have been plenty of contenders. Here's a few. (And let me tell you, dear reader, there was considerable personal sacrifice in listening again to songs I'd prefer to never hear again.)
1. Geronimo by Sheppard
You know how really good songs grow on you? The very first listen felt like Geronimo was designed by an evil genius to hold as many of my brain cells hostage as possible, rather than give me some kind of uplifting musical experience. It's a three minute 44 second nonsense jingle selling a brand of clothes wash that I can never seem to find at my IGA, no matter how hard I search. No wonder Justin Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun wanted to manage Sheppard after hearing it – he always looks so clean.
2. Happy by Pharrell Williams
There's plenty to love about Happy – the world's first 24-hour music video it came with and the smiling, exuberant dancing in the clip is a joy. It has a gentle danceable groove. But that one word title that gets repeated in the chorus slowly started to grate back in February. Over time it felt twee, Happy Clappy, and when I'm cranky it can bring on a headache and vague nausea. One wag posted a YouTube video explaining all he hears now when it comes on is Angry.
3. Let It Go by Idina Menzel
If I see and hear one more precocious poppet pirouette while shooting imaginary magic dust from their fingertips while singing this melodramatic chorus I really will jump. It's a remarkable song: remarkably heavy-handed and sickly. I apologise in advance if I made any children cry by writing this.
4. Fancy by Iggy Azalea
A monster hit in the United States, this didn't do anywhere near as much business here. Was it our tall poppy syndrome? Or perhaps our innate radar for unauthenticity? Azalea sings with such a strong southern US accent, I for one cringe when I hear this song. It sounds like a very good parody of someone imitating an American rapper. It would go great on a comedy show
5. Drunk In Love by Beyonce
Drunk with power more like. Beyonce is a lavishly talented and all-round impressive artist, but the hubris around Team Bey-Z is increasing souring their output. This is an undoubtedly sexy song, but it really feels a bit too pervy and with a less powerful artist, it may never have seen the light of day. For a woman with such influence and wealth, why does does she have to so objectify herself? Beyonce is better than this song.
6. Anaconda by Nicki Minaj
Minaj's rapping is superb but her maniacal candy floss vocals and innuendo-soaked lyrics are, to be blunt, ridiculous. Without even watching the absurd video clip, this has to be one of the least sexy songs ever written. Shudder.
7. Riptide by Vance Joy
The song that began the ukulele revival may just have ended it too. James Keogh (Vance Joy) probably can't believe his luck at its success – but let's hope this song doesn't define the rest of his career. He has more to him than cute whimsy.
By Peter Vincent
With thanks to The SMH
Pharrell Williams Happy Was Biggest Song Of 2014 In USA
Pharrell’s best selling song sales figure is line-ball with last year’s biggest seller ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke (6.498,000). However, overall digitals sales for 2014 are well down on 2013 figures.
According to Nielsen Music, digital songs declined in sales by a massive 12% in the past 12 months leaving a grim outlook for the music industry. While streaming registered a 54% increase, the revenue difference falls way short of making up the difference in declining sales.
US Top 10 Songs of 20141. Pharrell Williams – Happy (6,455,000)
2. John Legend – All Of Me (4,674,000)
3. Katy Perry ft. Juicy J – Dark Horse (4,430,000)
4. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass (4,357,000)
5. Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – Fancy (3,974,000)
6. Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz – Talk Dirty (3,959,000)
7. DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon – Turn Down For What (3,449,000)
8. Taylor Swift – Shake It Off (3,431,000)
9. Idina Menzel – Let It Go (3,370,000)
10. Sam Smith – Stay With Me (3,340,000)