You can stream the full playlist on Spotify or hear it in the embedded player below.
The 1975, "Chocolate""
The 1975 is a grossly under-celebrated band from the U.K. These guys are young and should be on our radar for quite some time. They sound a little like Oasis, taking rock in a really fun direction.
Ellie Goulding, "Anything Could Happen"
This song got a boost from HBO’s Girls and also had us excited for the infinite possibilities around each corner. It’s an anthem if we ever knew one.
John Mayer, "Paper Doll"
We all know that Taylor Swift likes to sing about her exes, as she did with Mayer on “Dear John.” Here is his response to that tune, which fights back very subtly, very soulfully. Pair it with his Katy Perry duet “Who You Love” on the same album, and you’ve got a great arc of Mayer’s recent personal life.
Disclosure featuring London Grammar, "Help Me Lose My Mind"
There is enormous power and restraint in this song. Disclosure gave us one of the most interesting and unique albums of the year, collaborating with new talents for a really dance-worthy record. This one, to us, makes it a grand slam. We also fell in love with London Grammar’s debut album If You Wait.
Patty Griffin, "Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone"
Patty Griffin is the heartbeat of folk music, now and forever. Her album American Kid continues her poignant streak, and this song moves us to tears every time.
Tegan And Sara, "Closer"
One of 2013’s first albums was also one of its best. This sister duo gave us an album that could compete with Adele’s 21 for Best Breakup Album. But, this lead single takes a different angle from the rest of the album: discovering someone new.
Sia, The Weeknd, and Diplo, "Elastic Heart"
Believe it or not, the soundtrack from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was one of the year’s best albums, with stellar songs from Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons, and Patti Smith. But this one is the biggest standout: These three sensational artists make for an odd trio, but together they soar.
Ariana Grande, "Right There"
She’s often called the next Mariah, which is a tall order for someone so young. But this precocious songstress is going to make a huge dent in the industry, and we were shocked that her debut album Yours Truly was snubbed entirely this year. We had it on repeat for weeks.
Haim, "The Wire"
Last year, Haim’s Days Are Gone brought back a carefree, guitar-driven type of music that had been missing from the pop charts for a while. Whether you think they’re the second coming of Fleetwood Mac—or Sheryl Crow—it’s all good. We're surprised that both their catchy, singalong singles and album as a whole were overlooked in the Best New Artist category.
Deerhunter, "The Missing"
Have you noticed that the majority of the albums nominated for Best Rock Album are by artists who came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s? While we love Neil Young and Black Sabbath, the truth is that it’s time to recognize some of the other bands making noise these days. Our pick would be for Deerhunter, a rock band that makes music like nobody else.
Kanye West, "Bound 2"
While “New Slaves” was the Grammy panel’s Yeezus pick for Best Rap Song, we’d beg to differ. “Bound 2” blends Kanye’s amazing ear for samples, his trademark envelope-pushing lyrics, and a dancefloor-worthy breakdown by Charlie Wilson to create a truly unique piece of music. It sums up what “rap music” can be in 2014.
Miley Cyrus, "We Can’t Stop"
Think of Miley what you will—this song deserves points for getting itself stuck in our heads for weeks on end. It’s a slowed-down dance party jam that we can really get behind. Just saying the title aloud invites a flashback to the video, complete with swaying teddy bears and a t-shirt made into a bathing suit.
The Nashville Cast feat. Charles Esten, Hayden Panettiere, "Undermine"
Can a song from a TV show be nominated for a Grammy? Not only are we obsessed with Connie Britton’s magical waves on ABC’s Nashville, but we also can’t get enough of the T. Bone Burnett-produced music from the series. "Undermine" is one of those sweet-yet-melancholy tunes that makes even a country music-hater misty.