Entertainment’s songs of the decade: 2014

Travis Scott, Pharrell and Nicki Minaj and more headline this year’s star-studded playlist.


(Shane Guilfoyle / Amherst Wire)

For the next few weeks, Amherst Wire entertainment is bringing the best of the decade right to you. We’ve taken the best and most memorable songs of the decade to give you the ultimate nostalgia trip. Check out the third installment of our decade playlist below to take a trip back to the middle of the decade.

“Drugs You Should Try It” – Travis Scott

Jonathan Kermah, co-editor in chief

With my song pick having a title like this, I feel like I have a responsibility to say that Amherst Wire does not condone drug use, but I more than condone you to listen to this Travis Scott song if you have not.

Over the years, Travis Scott’s “Drugs You Should Try It” has become a bit of a running joke, as a result of music snobs attempting to flex how “underrated” their music choices are. But don’t let that take away from the greatness of the song. Released almost a year before Scott’s breakout single “Antidote” and major-label debut album “Rodeo,” “Drugs You Should Try It” and his project “Days Before Rodeo” only added to the momentum of the Kanye christened producer/rapper.

From Travis’ distorted, moody vocals to the grunge-esque guitar strums to the staccato 808 kick pattern (that I still nerd out over to this day), there are just so many sounds that ooze of psychedelic euphoria. As I stated at the beginning, we don’t condone drug use here at Amherst Wire, but if you do…definitely play this.

Other picks: “Tuesday” – ILoveMakonnen ft. Drake, “Throw Away” – Future, “Hot N****” – Bobby Shmurda

“Happy” – Pharrell Williams

Trevor Wilson, editor

“Happy” is on my shortlist of songs that have a permanent residence in my brain. I mean seriously, there are a few songs throughout the decade that have stuck with me in this way, but this song lived rent-free in my head for a long time. I gotta admit, “Happy” is a certified bop. Say what you will about the radio curse, but Pharrell Williams composes a truly upbeat, uplifting and uptempo joyride with “Happy.” From it’s bright, energetic Rhodes keys on the melody to the snappy drums, Pharrell makes a timeless hit. This song dominated airwaves in 2014 and continues to be a staple as one of the most memorable songs of the decade.

Other picks: “No Role Modelz” – J. Cole, “Studio” – Schoolboy Q ft. BJ The Chicago Kid

“Anaconda” – Nicki Minaj

Brianna Silva, writer

Just when listeners thought Nicki Minaj couldn’t get any bigger, the vibrant and colorfully-styled rapper released “Anaconda.” Sampling Sir Mix-a-Lot’s 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back,” Minaj personalized the song by sprinkling elements of her signature style and personality through lyrics like, “Now that’s real, real, real / Gun in my purse b****, I came dressed to kill / Who wanna go first? I had them pushing daffodils / I’m high as hell, I only took a half a pill.” Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song was powerful to begin with, but Minaj’s ability to seamlessly blend two styles with a 22-year difference and create one piece of cohesive music proves she can do it all.

Other picks: “Chandelier” – Sia, “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

“Wedding” – Mac Miller

Astghik Dion, editor


The world fell to a standstill on Sept.7 of 2018, the day one of hip-hop’s most loved voices fell quiet. Mac Miller was known for his humble spirit, and lyrics crafted with no facade behind them. Miller released five studio albums and 13 mixtapes throughout his iconic career. His eleventh mixtape, “Faces,” is deemed to be his best body of work by many fans. The project delves deep into Miller’s struggles with drug addiction, and the troubles facing his personal life with jazzy, psychedelic production. One song in particular, “Wedding” explores how the mundane tribulations of life are combated by the love Miller has found, which saves him from a life without excitement – even if it isn’t healthy. The introduction to the song features an excerpt from “The Charles Bukowski Tapes.” Throughout the song, Miller narrates his relationship with his partner and how they can’t seem to make it work, but life would be dim without them so they stay together. 

Other picks: “Me & My B****” – YG ft. Tory Lanez, “No Rest For The Wicked” – Lykke Li, “Change” – BANKS

“History Eraser” – Courtney Barnett

Adam Buckley, writer

Australia is home to a variety of animals you won’t find anywhere else; koalas, kangaroos, and now, Courtney Barnett too. Part psychedelic, part indie rock, all her own. Her monotone, stream-of-consciousness singing style evokes the best memories of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, but with an updated flair; the whole “Sea of Split Peas” EP drips with effortless ease, a laid back garage rock classic. An undeniably pristine production elevates the barebones instrumentation, a shimmering guitar lead stretching over a great indie rock beat. Truthfully, I have absolutely no idea what she’s singing about, but the track is something special.

Other picks: “Back To The Shack” – Weezer, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” – Behemoth

“Fancy” – Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX

Chloe Lindahl, writer

“Fancy” was part of Iggy Azalea’s debut album “The New Classic” released by Def Jam Records. The hit electro-pop single was accompanied by an iconic music video based on the cult favorite “Clueless,” where Azalea dons Cher’s classic yellow plaid two-piece outfit. The success of “Fancy” changed Azalea’s career forever. The summer it was released it remained at the top of the charts for weeks and its catchy lyrics and fun, driving bass made it easy to love. Before the release of the album and it’s ultimate success story, Azalea’s life wasn’t nearly as nice as the song describes. At 16, she told her parents in Australia she was going on a vacation to Florida and never came back. At one point she only had two pairs of shoes and when the leather would fade and crack she would color it in with a sharpie. But with the launch of her album and the booming success of “Fancy,” Azalea has become a Grammy-nominated artist and has become a memorable name in the music industry.

Other picks: “Sweater Weather” – The Neighbourhood, “Amnesia” – 5 Seconds of Summer

“Let It Go” – Idina Menzel

Kacey Connolly, editor

Even though the iconic Disney film “Frozen” debuted in 2013, Idina Menzel’s hit song “Let It Go” made its mark on 2014. As the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time, it was inevitable that this flick would have some killer songs. However, not even the critics could have anticipated the reception “Let It Go” would receive. From a single tune on a movie soundtrack to a Billboard Music Award nominee, this hit became a phenom among millennials and young Gen Z’s at the time. Whether it was kids, teens, parents or grandparents, almost everybody knew that iconic chorus and if they didn’t they at least knew of it. Between the deep message relayed about letting go of everything holding you back and truly allowing yourself to be who you are and the powerful beat behind it, “Let It Go” surely earned its way as one of the top songs of 2014, proving itself with an Academy Award and a Grammy.

Other picks: “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift, “A Sky Full of Stars” – Coldplay

“Ain’t It Fun” – Paramore

Nasya Blackshear, writer

Coming off the high of songs like “Misery Business” and “Brick by Boring Brick,” Paramore’s “Ain’t it Fun” has a whole new sound to it. The self-titled album “Paramore” was a new venture for the band after losing a member during their hiatus. Their sound became more upbeat and poppy with the music videos being vibrant in color. “Ain’t it Fun” hit the airwaves and showed a new side to the female-led rock band. “Don’t go crying to your mama / ‘Cus you’re on your own, in the real world,” are some of the lyrics I still chant today when I think of this song. Hayley Williams took her band in a new, but well-received direction, one that I can still appreciate to this day.

Other picks: “Jealous” – Nick Jonas, “Heaven Knows” – The Pretty Reckless

“Nobody” – Chief Keef ft. Kanye West

Shane Guilfoyle


2014 saw Chief Keef release “Nobody,” an experimental album that appeared early among the rapper’s extensive discography. The ninth track of “Nobody” is directly named after the album and features Kanye West on the chorus and outro. Ye utilized autotune like a harp and serenades the ears, but sadly stops short of a full verse. The song as a whole acknowledges Keef’s afflictions in life after rising to fame and fortune. The fine details are what make this song. Throughout the 3:13 run time, a sound clip from the movie “The Mack” can be heard saying “you really don’t understand, do you?” 2014 stands out as a memorable year for Keef, as he also blessed audiences with a Gucci Mane collaborative project, entitled “Big Gucci Sosa.”

Other picks: “Hot N****” – Bobby Shmurda, “Codeine Crazy” – Future

“Songs Of Innocence” – U2

Julia Donohue, editor

Remember when you updated your iPhone and suddenly iTunes had downloaded the most recent U2 album? You asked your friend about it and it seemed that Bono and his friends had gotten control of everyone’s phone, forcing their music on your phone. Kind of genius. Did you listen to it? No, probably not but open up downloads and you’ll find something, something called marketing by an Irish rock band.

Other picks: “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran, “She Looks So Perfect” – 5 Seconds of Summer

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