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Music of the Year, 2014

Listened to way too much music this year

I’ve listened to way too much music this year, probably around 12,000 new tracks (I tried calculating it). Most of the music was.. unfinished, to say the least, but we found a lot more songs worth keeping than any year before it.

A lot of new music emerged or reemerged over the year. Deep house was the big thing, but many discredit it because of the hype. It had its bad with its good. Our favorite new style goes to what doesn’t seem to have an official name yet. I’ve heard many call it kawaii, but I prefer vapor – this naming shit is more important than you’d think.

We’ve got 30 songs to show off, 11 artists and 20 playlists for you, but if that’s not enough… wait ’til next year.

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Dance Party 2014

Ain't no party like a dance party.

I’ve gone to a handful of EDM shows & festivals over the last year and I just don’t get how people can dance to most of the popular shit these days (says the hipster music blogger). At least not when you’ve got such better music to dance to (also hipster). So obviously we had to put a list together (very hipster).

Our Dance Party mix for 2014 is geared more towards the club or house party rather than the rave. I guess that’s where we differ from the higher BPM, bombastic music dominating EDM right now.

We get into various forms of house music on here, but there’s plenty of other influences as well — I’m being vague because I just spent way too much of my time putting together this list and I don’t have time to articulate it (like always).

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Deep in the House 2014

Name may've been booted, but UK Garage still wins

Our last deep house list tacked on UK garage at the end, it does take over much of these lists, but as industry standards go it’s all deep house now. Though most of the house here has some influences from garage — grimier sounds with emphasis off the beat.

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Remixed Right 2014, Vol. 5

Creativity over quality

Sometimes it’s more about the creativity than the quality in a remix. Some of these aren’t perfect, but they show a lot of potential. And that’s another good reason for remixing, to get producers just starting out vocals actually worth making something new out of.

This is our biggest remix playlist yet. We tried hard to remove as much as we could, I mean that’s our job, but let me tell you it’s just as hard, if not harder, removing tracks from a playlist than adding them in (as we mentioned in our how to playlist music article).

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Electro Lovin’

2014's finest in soul music

We start this off by sampling some of the best styles in electro soul and go from the playful down to the more sedentary. There are a few songs that deal with heartbreak, but the sound is still right.

Have fun with your loved one with this one.

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VAPOR

When anime & electronic got together

Vapor is not really a style or genre. We got it from vaporwave, which most closely sounds like PUPANG’s Zane, but our list seems to be more electro influenced than vaporwave’s housey-synth sound.

The most common theme among all this vaporness is the cultural Japanese references, mainly inspired by anime & video games, and has an almost kiddish quality to it… which I warn you many won’t like. It’s not for everyone, as with most of our lists, but I dig the hell out of this sound.

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Male Vocalists of 2014

It's more than the voice

We’ve featured our favorite female vocalists for the past two years, one two, but never felt the need to do it for the men. Well, we messed up our indie-pop playlist, so we made something good out of the mess.

Not only can these guys sing, but they put their voices into a sound just as good.

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Electro Relaxations 2014

Basically, beats to blaze to

At my job that actually pays, we’ve been trying to figure out what relaxing electronic music should be categorized under on our website. It was originally classified as ‘electronica,’ but the name was often confused with electronic, especially with Spanish speakers. Downtempo & trip-hop were other good options, but we decided on chill as it seems to be the most popular term used now.

I thought about naming our Electro Relaxations playlist something similar, but as popular as chill is now I gotta imagine it’ll fall off as fast as it came in. I’m still not too set on Electro Relaxations, but it seems like the best option for now. And who really cares, the music speaks far better than any name could.

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Tropical House

Under the sun (over the pool)

Like the iPhone every year, this is our best playlist yet! It really is.

House has been my obsession for the past few years and my favorite kind is the mid-tempo, upbeat summertime jams. Which may or may not turn out to be called Tropical House. Or Summer House. Or Horizontal Disco. It’s up in the air really.

A few tracks do stereotypically incorporate the steel drums, but we did cover more ground than that. We also decided this should be more comprehensive than our usual playlists because we wanted to get all the trop house personas in one place. There are quite a few interesting characters.

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Remixed Right 2014, Vol. 4

When a remix is not just an edit

I had a good talk with a few of my coworkers yesterday about remixing and they brought up a good point. A lot of remixers just don’t add enough to the original to warrant credit.

So many of the remixes I favorite on SoundCloud turn out to be not all that different from its original. Often times this is because dj’s are adding in simple edits, something as simple as a synth, to make the music more danceable.

The point of a remix is to take something from a song, whether it be a vocal or other memorable part, and update it into a more modern sound or flip it into a completely different style, among others I’m sure.

I actually had to get rid of a few that were originally on here because of that very problem. They brought something new to the song, but it’s really the same tune, just an edit. And maybe producers should start labeling it as such.

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