Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Flashback: The music of 2014 is alive and well 10 years later

Isabel Su/The Daily Northwestern
The Daily takes a look back at the year in music from 2014.

Although it seems like it was just yesterday, 2014 was 10 years ago. Being a decade removed from the release of “Shake It Off” may trigger some mental breakdowns, but fear not, The Daily is here to ease any panic with some musical nostalgia. 

Between the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Kim and Kanye’s wedding, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — 2014 was an iconic cultural year. Still, nothing better represents 2014 pop culture than the year’s music.

2014 was something of a golden age for modern pop music. Whether you were listening to tracks off the iTunes store on your iPhone 6 or overhearing songs on the car radio, you probably listened in on the Mount Rushmore-esque lineup of pop hits in 2014. 

With an upbeat self-referencing chorus, “Happy” by producer Pharrell Williams took home the trophy as the year-end number one song. The bouncing electronic keyboard notes from “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea made way for a recognizable cult classic. 

Although no one knew it at the time, earworms of the year “Summer” and “Blame” by Calvin Harris paved the way for many future college students’ EDM and house music obsessions. The hooks and instrumentals from the hits of this year were special. “There’s no place I’d rather be,” as Jess Glynne put it. 

A decade ago, there were a series of massive album releases from beloved artists. In an era that started slightly before the social media-driven album roll out, radio hits and singles defined many of these projects. Taylor Swift’s “1989,” “x” from Ed Sheeran and “Pure Heroine” by Lorde were all in the top 10 highest selling albums of the year. 

One Direction led the highest grossing tours list by nearly $100 million a decade ago. Their success, along with that of Maroon 5, represented the prime of 21st century boy bands. The Eagles and The Rolling Stones showed off their enduring prestige with two of the highest grossing tours of the year. Some things never change.  

A decade ago, we were in the middle of the “Salad Days,” Mac DeMarco’s third official recorded album. DeMarco would go on to reach more mainstream recognition in the following years with tracks like “Freaking Out The Neighborhood.” With the releases of “Ultraviolence” by Lana Del Rey and “French Exit” by TV Girl, it was a year of contribution to future Gen Z indie playlists. 

While many of these musical happenings feel like relics from a cultural moment past, the ways we interact with music remain the same. We await hit singles, masterful albums and tours with cult-like followings. So, what’s next in 2024? 

Kali Uchis and Kid Cudi are both slated to release projects on Jan. 12, kicking the year off with two fairly anticipated albums. Uchis’ “Red Moon in Venus,” released in 2023, was highly lauded. Her new project “Orquídeas” will represent the second Spanish language album in her discography. 

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the recent activity of Frank Ocean’s Instagram. Towards the end of 2023 he posted a video of himself in the studio—which led to more conclusion jumping than an Olympic triple jumper could have dreamed of. Ocean has not released an album in 8 years. He has to be coming soon, right? 

Trends tend to be cyclical, especially in the music industry. With the mid 2010s often characterized by an array of label driven hit songs, and sometimes inexplicable one-hit wonders, the same trend will likely return in the mid 2020s. Seeing decreasing label and radio influence, short video-focused platforms like TikTok will continually give traction to one-off hits for years to come, at the expense of quality, long-lasting masterpieces. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JacksonWeier

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