Best Songs of 2014

Many great pop songs were released this year and I could not just pick the best 10 of them. Here are my Top 25 (or more?) songs for the year that is about to end. Did your favorite make the list? (Updated: January 9, 2015)



LATCH by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith

2014 is Sam Smith’s year and he made great impressions with the songs that he released via In The Lonely Hour. This spot should have been for Stay With Me, but I thought it would be good to put Latch instead. He first proved to be a force to reckon with when he was featured in this Disclosure club hit. Combining stalker-ish lyrics with head pumping house music, Latch is a great record that hit the top during the year.

“Now I got you in my space, I won’t let go of you

Got you shackled in my embrace, I’m latching onto you.”


Bang Bang

BANG BANG by Ariana Grande, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj

A silly shift in its purported good meaning cannot prevent this anthemic song by three great singers, Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, to slip into the list. Hustling all throughout the song with their snappy lines using their big pipes, the three incredibly delivered this decade’s Lady Marmalade.

“See anybody could be bad to you, you need a good girl to blow your mind”


BAILANDO by Enrique Iglesias feat. Sean Paul, Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno


This Spanish-tinged dance song (Bailando means dancing) by popular Latino singer, Enrique Iglesias, reminds me of his early hit, Bailamos, that made him very popular. Combining dance beats and sugary lyrics, this song has charmed a lot of music-hungry ears for the past year.

“Girl, I like the way you move

Come and show me what to do”


Sarah G

KILOMETRO by Sarah Geronimo

The first single from the pop star princess’ latest album called Perfectly Imperfect, Kilometro is a great pop record with hints of EDM and R&B that is currently rocking the airwaves.

“Gagawin ko ang lahat upang sa huli, sa huli, sa huli ay tayo

Kung kailangan kong hatakin ang kilome-kilome-kilometrong layo”



TRY by Colbie Caillat

Delivering a powerful message about acceptance to oneself and not just try to fit in, Try is only one of the many inspirational songs that were released in 2014. Its edge relies on its simplicity, putting the strength of the empowering ballad’s lyrics into the highlight.

“Wait a second, why should you care what they think of you?

When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you, do you like you?”



RATHER BE by Clean Bandit (feat. Jess Glynne)

When I first heard the song being covered in the latest season of The Voice (U.S.), I found it cool to the ears but not ultimately likeable. I was wrong because there is no problem with the song but probably with how the contestant sang it. Thank goodness I searched for the original version because it was very far from what I was expecting: a pop gem that’s so pleasing to the ears. Those beautiful sounds created by violin, bass, keyboard and synths combined perfectly well with Glynne’s crystalline voice. It’s a love song hidden in a dance track.

“When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be.”



LOST STARS by Adam Levine

Maroon 5 has had strings of mediocre pop hits with Maps and Animals this year. However, their vocalist, Adam Levine, released Lost Stars (via Begin Again soundtrack), a power pop ballad that talks about a forlorn love affair. Strumming guitars and beating percussion and drums blend perfectly with Levine’s high-pitched voice.

“But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?”



SHAKE IT OFF by Taylor Swift

The song that declares Taylor Swift as the new pop royalty is the first single from her record-smashing album, 1989. This great pop record shuns off all her detractors, some of which said before that she’s a pop star pretending to be a country singer. Now, they did get what they want (and probably, deserve) because Tay’s gone pop all the way!

“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”



THINKING OUT LOUD feat. Ed Sheeran

Probably the most mainstream of his songs, Thinking Out Loud is also the best song that British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has released. This made me not just like his music, it also me love it.

“Place your head on my beating heart

I’m thinking out loud, maybe we found love right where we are” 



SA’YO by Silent Sanctuary

The Filipino pop rock band is back on their great form with this charming and beautiful ballad about blossoming love. It’s so great to the ears I can listen to it in a loop for a long time.

“Tumingin sa aking mata, magtapat ng nadarama

Di gustong ika’y mawala dahil handa akong ibigin ka

Kung maging tayo, sa’yo lang ang puso ko”



LET IT GO by Idina Menzel

I am guessing you are tired of hearing this song all year long but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best songs that popped in 2014.Nobody can deny its greatness; even the kids sing it with their hearts out. Let It Go‘s strong and powerful songwriting about letting go of things that have been holding you back for so long is backed up by great instrumentation. Many people prefer Idina Menzel’s version over Demi Lovato’s because of a good reason: it’s definitely better.

 “It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free!” 



BIRTHDAY by Katy Perry

This Katy Perry song would make you want to eat her birthday cake and pop her party balloons! Kidding aside, that’s how party-sounding this song is. Saccharine-filled and induced with silly but fun lyrics, Birthday is a great pop record.

 “But when you are with me, I’ll give you a taste

Make it like your birthday everyday”




The Script delivers their most inspiring music to date via Superheroes, the first track off their latest album, No Sound Without Silence. The song is about all the unsung heroes of the world and the band has successfully incorporated heart and music with this song.



LOVE RUNS OUT by OneRepublic

Fresh from the success of their chart-topping single, Counting Stars, OneRepublic made waves this year by releasing Love Runs Out, a stomping and head-beating pop rock song about to what extent can one love someone. Their other song called I Lived is making waves as of the moment and let’s see if it’ll pick up and end up on the top list next year.

 “And we’ll start a fire, and we’ll shut it down

Til the love runs out, til the love runs out”



POMPEII by Bastille

Just by hearing a lot of eh-oh’s in the intro, you’d know you’re into something interesting. Pompeii is about the Roman town of the same name that met its dreadful fate with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius hundreds of centuries ago. The song rules with its commanding vocals, plus its piano track is mesmerizing while its beating drums would make you head-banging (See what I did there? Hehe.) The British rock group made a great impression worldwide with this rocking song.

“But if you close your eyes, does it feel like nothing changed at all?” 




Kris Allen released his latest album called Horizons this year and chose Prove It to You (feat. Lenachka) as his first single. However, it’s another track from the album called Beautiful and Wild that really showcases Allen’s great skills in songwriting skills and making music. Brimming with uplifting vibe and positive energy, this song is a great addition to musical playlists.

If only we could see the world through the new eyes of a child

If only every boy and girl will just stay beautiful and wild”



CENTURIES by Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy’s first single off their upcoming album, American Beauty/American Psycho, Centuries is proving to be better than their second single called Immortals. With lyrics commanding you to remember it, the song reverberates with Patrick Stump’s soaring vocals amidst the profoundly strong punk rock sound. The lyrics of the song are somewhat provocative, and this is another testament that Fall Out Boy has this uncanny ability to write a dark song and make you like it.

“Some legends are told; some turn to dust or to gold,

But you will remember me, remember me for centuries”



TEAM by Lorde

The second single off Pure Heroine, Team edges Royals with its beautiful lyrical content while still maintaining Lorde’s eccentric musical style and oddly charming vocal delivery.

“Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams,

And you know, we’re on each other’s team”


Himig Handog


Winner of this year’s Himig Handog’s P-Pop Love Songs competition, Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako showcases KZ Tandingan’s incredible vocals into a ruminating ballad about love. Will you choose the person who loves you (but you don’t love) or the one whom you love (but doesn’t love you back)? Such great dilemma is aptly presented in the power ballad.

“Sino ang iibigin ko? Ikaw ba na pangarap ko o siya bang kumakatok sa puso ko?

Anong paiirallin ko, isip ba o ang puso ko? Nalilito, litung-litong-lito.

Sinong pipiliin ko, mahal ko o mahal ako?



WORD CRIMES by “Weird Al” Yankovic

It is ironic that this parody is infinitely better than Robin Thicke’s 2013 single, Blurred Lines. Changing up the humiliatingly sub-par lyrics from the original to a master class of grammar, Word Crimes succeeds in helping Yankovic’s album, Mandatory Fun, to the top of the charts.

“I hate these word crimes, like I could care less

That means you do care, at least a little”



LOVE ME HARDER by Ariana Grande (feat. The Weeknd)

Probably the best song off Ariana Grande’s second album, My Everything, Love Me Harder is a great collaboration between pop’s current pop princess with PBR&B’s (alternative R&B) The Weeknd. Venturing into something she’s never really delved into before, Grande showcased maturity with use of her sultry vocals, which matches The Weeknd’s sexy masculine voice. With a straightforward message addressed to a lover on how she should be loved, Love Me Harder displays a frisky yet loveable dance music.

“What do I do if I can’t figure it out? You got to try, try and try again.

What do I do if I can’t figure it out? Then I have to leave, leave, leave.”



LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson may be dead but his music lives on. If his first posthumous album did not generate a real hit, this one corrected that flaw. Off his second posthumous album called Escape, Love Never Felt So Good shines with lovely beautiful lyrics with a sweet and danceable melody. I prefer MJ’s solo version of the song more than the version with Justin Timberlake.


Katy Perry Unconditionally


A lot of people do not like this song but thankfully, I am not most people. Unconditionally transcends both lyrically and musically because not only does it write about unconditional love in a beautiful form, but Katy Perry also sings it in a way like she’s a force of nature, sweeping off everything that goes in its path. It is unsurprising that I always remember God’s love for us, mankind, whenever I hear this song.

“There is no fear now, let go and just be free

I will love you unconditionally”


let her go

LET HER GO by Passenger

A song that can surely turn you up into a dramatic mood is this Passenger (real name: Michael David Rosenburg) track off his third album, All The Little Lights. The wistful lyrics are backed up by a good combination of guitar, violin and drums, turning it up into folk rock/ indie pop genre. The chorus is repeated 5 times in the song and this highlights Passenger’s cold yet searing voice while singing about love lost and gone.

“You only know you love her when you let her go… And you let her go.”




Dubbed as the YOLO song of the year by some critics, Chandelier rightfully owns a place on the best song list of 2014. Sia’s soaring voice alone already made the song a force to reckon with, but the song’s powerful lyrics that deal with a party girl’s alluring yet self-destructing life in a juxtaposition of electronic, pop and reggae sounds sealed the deal. Seriously, the song’s beats and churns that cover Sia’s unfaltering vocals would make you want to play it more and more.

 “But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes

Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight”




A Sky Full Of Stars is like a silver lining in a cloudy sky as it brings a positive sound to a relentlessly dark and melancholic atmosphere brought about by Coldplay’s latest album, Ghost Stories. Exploring new music territories with their latest album, Coldplay teamed up with DJ Avicii to tune a song about great love into EDM, making it so beguilingly catchy and danceable. Coldplay’s first foray into the upbeat electro-pop sound is well worth it.

“You’re such a heavenly view”



SOMETHING IN THE WATER by Carrie Underwood

This back-to-roots song of American country singer, Carrie Underwood, definitely puts her back on the map of a few legitimate artists who give inspiration not just only by their work but also for who they are. A crossover success in country, pop and Christian charts, Something In The Water showcases Underwood’s soaring and stunning vocals that matches the song’s very powerful message.

“And now I’m singing along to Amazing Grace
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God Almighty, I saw the light”



BLANK SPACE by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s biggest single to date, Blank Space boasts great production values with its electronic pop sound. In this song, Tay’s great songwriting skills were put in the fore amidst the fuzzy yet delicious synth sounds. An ear candy to many including me because of it very catchy hooks and poppy beats, the song seems like a satire as to how Swift is presented in the media. Just in the media? Perhaps.

 “It’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames”



PROBLEM by Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea)

One of the biggest summer songs is this bombastic song from singer Ariana Grande and Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. The uptempo song oozes with sexy saxophone sounds, drum conundrum, fascinating vocals by Grande and riveting rap chops by Azalea. The buildup of the song bursts into an anticlimactic whisper (by rapper Big Sean) accompanied by an amazingly catchy saxophone loop. It’s a shame Grammy didn’t recognize this great dance-pop, R & B song!

“I got one less problem without you”


I can’t make up my mind about which of these two songs really triumphed the spirit of year 2014.

Might as well list them both down as Number 1!


ALL OF ME by John Legend

Even before hitting it big, I have predicted early on that this song is going to be phenomenal. Spending 3 weeks at #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100, All Of Me is a great power ballad from American singer-songwriter John Legend. Hitting straight into the heart with its very emotional lyrics backed by a beautiful piano music, All of Me is one of the most romantic love songs that the world has ever heard. Another great song that gives me eargasm, this is rightfully tied with Happy at the #1 spot of the best songs of the year.

“All of me (loves) all of you

(I) love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections”




HAPPY by Pharrell Williams

Starting up with an energetic beating and soaring high with its great anthemic chorus, Happy deserves to be called the best song of the year 2014. Brimming with positivity, this song will almost always heighten your mood. Lyrically vibrant and deliciously catchy, this song is one great song that gives me what I want to call eargasm (you’re familiar to it by now if you have been reading my best song list for the past few years, hehe). The midtempo soul song gives a funky atmosphere that would likely make you dance happily, and those handclaps, voice blends and Pharrell Williams’ dry but charming falsetto in the chorus are sure to make you like the song more. 

“Clap along if you know what happiness is to you”


Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo

Bonifacio-PosterHailed as the Best Picture in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo bravely showed the world the true-to-life story of our other national hero, Andres Bonifacio. It didn’t pull the stops on anything, regardless if the reputation of other supposed heroic figures are tainted by the revelation (once again) of the seeming truth.

Kudos to Enzo Williams, the director of this epic movie. His name might be new to my ears but his work proved that he is a pro. His camerawork plays with the characters and the setting to a great effect. I am not surprised that he was credited as a supporting editor in the film because it seemed like you’d see his fingerprint with every scene. Meanwhile, the cinematography done by Carlo Mendoza was also very commendable. Scenes of major or minor importance are very pleasing to the eyes. It was that great. Moreover, it was for very good reasons that this movie raked on the MMFF awards on various sound categories (sound engineer and musical score). The score complimented every scene and enhanced the film’s heavy moments to an effect that goes straight to the audience’s heart.

It is a wonder why Robin Padilla lost to Derek Ramsay on the Best Actor category. Surprisingly, Padilla toned down his acting here to portray Bonifacio. His signature Robin Padilla voice was still there (of course), but he used this to his advantage by embodying the hero with his manly voice along with his actions. On the other hand, Vina Morales reminded everyone that aside from being a singer, she still is an actress. But she’s not just an actress here in the movie; she’s a very good one. She impressed with her consistent showing of how Gregoria de Jesus, Bonifacio’s wife, could have been like partaking in the revolution while doing her duties and roles as wife. She stands out the most during the final scenes. She definitely broke many hearts here that’s why it’s also a wonder why she didn’t win in the Best Actress category. Meanwhile, the whole supporting cast proved to be good.

Early on, the audience would feel that Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo is a heavy movie. It reminded me of Supremo, a film shown two years ago that detailed how Bonifacio founded the revolution and died in the deadly soldiers of Emilio Aguinaldo. Supremo had such a heavy atmosphere, albeit showing a bloody but patriotic mood, which the audience right then might have really felt. But don’t be fooled about Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo being not consistently heavy. Like Supremo, it is also very serious, just with touches of light moments to alleviate the heaviness. The idea of showing the present (what the students of today are asking about Bonifacio) in between scenes of the past (the Philippine Revolution more than a century ago) is great. If not properly taken care of, the switching of these scenes from past to present and vice versa might have not worked and have ultimately failed. But because it was well taken care of, the transitions were smooth and really effective.

I like how the movie ended, especially the parting words of Bonifacio to the audience: “Inalay ko ang buhay ko para sa ating kalayaan. Ikaw, anong maiibibigay mo para sa bayan?” This movie is a timely reminder to everyone to never forget our history: what we were, what came and what we became to be. Such a statement boldly challenges the audience to not just experience the freedom that we have now but continue the fight for the real freedom: freedom from injustices, freedom from greed, and freedom from corruption brought about by power. The movie passes on to the audience the fire that Bonifacio, our iconic Filipino figure, is showing and living in the film. Any Filipino who would not be affected during and after watching the film might be very biased against Bonifacio, have grown apathetic to everything or are just brewing to be a traitor of the country. Haha, just kidding. That might be an exaggeration but I just wanted to emphasize that the film mirrors the past to what’s happening right now. We might be free from the colonizers, but are we free from our own bigotry? Do we really love our country or are we just in love with the idea of loving our country? Some of us might just love ourselves more than anything, and our country might just be our least priority. Ask yourself to know the answers.

This movie derails the reputation of what was generally touted as a hero by being the so-called first president of the first republic. And this is for a good reason. If you were to study the Philippine history, Emilio Aguinaldo really is the reason why Andres Bonifacio was killed. If he were not hungry for power, Andres Bonifacio would have been alive to witness our freedom from the Spaniards. But, as they say, let bygones be bygones. We all just have to move on and… do a little bit more. We have to set the records straight about our national figures and give praise to those whose praise is due, and not just to those who are hungry for it. Do you think it’s time to set a discussion re: the movie’s claim that Andres Bonifacio is the real first president and not Aguinaldo? Maybe.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo‘s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4.5 out of 5

Feng Shui 2

Feng-Shui-2-Movie-PosterIf there’s a rare opportunity that I get to spend time watching a movie with a lot of moviegoers, it is during the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). I rarely want to watch with many, many people inside the movie theater because I don’t want distractions while watching. Much more when the people who are watching with you are really noisy and unintentionally funny. However, I actually liked it while me and my family are watching Chito S. Rono’s Feng Shui 2.

Ten years after the first Feng Shui film haunted the Philippine audience, the “promised” sequel finally  arrived this year as one of the eight film entries in MMFF 2014. Still helmed by acclaimed movie director, Chito Rono, Feng Shui 2 pitted brilliant actors Coco Martin and Cherry Pie Picache with the remaining cast of the first film Kris Aquino and Jonee Gamboa. As soon as I heard that the well-loved horror film from a decade ago would have a sequel, I immediately put it on top of my must-watch movies this time of the year. After watching some great things and not so good ones in the film, I could say that I actually enjoyed it.

Now, what everybody should understand is horror movies are tricky. The types of thrill or suspense they give the audiences are based not only on the type of horror movie they are (i.e. ghost or supernatural movie, gory movie, horror/comedy movie, war movie, etc.) but also on the assembly of the cast and crew that they have.  Feng Shui 2 is backed up by a great cast and production team (Star Cinema, no less) and one should have a feeling that after buying the movie ticket that they are in for a great ride. Did I get to have a great ride after watching the movie? In a word: yes.

Even though Kris Aquino said that this film is not a sequel to the original, Feng Shui 2 is undoubtedly a sequel (she insisted it is only a continuation of the story; hence, a sequel). Anyway, flashbacks of scenes from the original were shown at the start: Aquino as Joy losing her family and eventually destroying the bagua. A new family was then shown to fall victim to the bagua’s horrifying curse and what I got was an immediate feel of rising tension in my bloodstream, which is, of course, a good thing when you’re watching a horror movie. Most of the first half of the film is about Lester (Coco Martin), a 32-year-old hustler who lives with his mother in a dilapidated house along the river. One assignment that he had was to retrieve a bagua from a fall victim. Unbeknownst to him, looking at the mirror of the bagua belies a curse that could kill everyone who looks at it after him. To his horror, he found death around the people he knows and loves comes by one after another. One fateful day, he met Joy, now a very successful real estate agent, who realized the ghost behind the bagua was coming after her again. With the help of Lily (Cherry Pie Picache), a survivor of the bagua curse, and Hsui Liao (Jonee Gamboa), a Taoist priest, will they ever save themselves from the curse of Lotus Feet, the ghost haunting the bagua?

Early on, the signature touches that Chito Rono gives to his horror movies are evident in this film: a creepy atmosphere, a set of strongly written characters and a definitive setting. I liked how he playfully toyed with colors, set up most of the scenes and stylishly showed the contrasts of being lucky and unlucky in the film. Unsurprisingly, there were solid scream-worthy or shout-inducing scenes thanks to great editing and camerawork. Evidently rising up to his role in the film, Coco Martin is impressive as Lester (though some of his speech sounds while shouting in one scene troubled me; excuse me, that’s me as a speech pathologist speaking hehe). Leveling to Martin’s brilliance is Cherry Pie Picache who in her relatively short stint in the film made a greater impression than Aquino. But not to worry, Aquino did well in the film (and this is a relief), much like the rest of the cast that includes Carmi Martin, Rez Cortez, Beauty Gonzalez, Ian Veneracion and Ian de Leon.

However, a Filipino scary movie (heck, let’s make that a Filipino movie) without loopholes is pretty hard to come by. Feng Shui 2 is a good horror movie as it fulfills many standards being looked into a horror film, but it isn’t lacking with holes in its plot. For one, the immediacy of deaths of the characters was baffling. Moreover, the ways these characters died were somehow forced to fit in whatever Zodiac year they were born in no matter how senseless they might be. Meanwhile, the supposed fun of guessing how the characters would die was taken out here as opposed to the original. Items or objects that would link the characters to their possible way of death were either easy to guess or obviously presented. In short, it was highly predictable. Nevertheless, thanks to Rono and his editors, the movie’s consistency of good story-telling bypasses all these shortcomings.

Combine a great cast to a great director with a consistent albeit far-fetched story and what you have is still a pretty solid movie. Add to that screaming males and females, both old and young in the audience and what you have is a good movie experience.

Feng Shui 2’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4 out of 5