Top Songfacts Of 2014

by Ed Pearce

Our computers have added them up: The most-viewed Songfacts of 2014. This reflects not just popularity but curiosity - the songs you wanted to learn more about.

Before we hit the Top 10, here are the ones that bubbled under, falling just short:

"Addicted to You" by Avicii,

"You & I" by One Direction

"Chandelier" by Sia

"Chocolate" by The 1975

"Drunk on a Plane" Dirks Bentley

"Waves" by Mr. Probz

"Rather Be" by Clean Bandit

"Don't" by Ed Sheeran

"Stay With Me" by Sam Smith

The Top 10:
(click the song titles to see the Songfacts entries)

10. "Iron Sky" - Paolo Nutini

Many of you will not have come across this cut by the Scottish blue-eyed soul belter Paolo Nutini; it only peaked at #42 in the UK and scarcely charted anywhere else. So how did "Iron Sky" make our list? Well, two thirds of the Songfacts traffic for this tune came from the UK, and it was the Brits who wanted to find out more about Nutini's assault on arrogant politicians. Another point of curiosity: an unexpected cameo by Charlie Chaplin. We explained that the sampled speech was from The Little Tramp's Hitler–lampooning 1940 flick, The Great Dictator.

9. "Riptide" - Vance Joy

"Riptide" started off as a hit in Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy's native country, peaking at #6 and winning the coveted Song of the Year at the 2014 APRA awards. The tune slowly created its own, er, riptide, entering the charts all over the world, including the US where it peaked at #32.

You wanted to know what the song was about, and we explained that it had a slow genesis. Vance Joy started "Riptide" in 2008, inspired by an encounter with a girl, but shelved it after the first few lines. Four years later the song's melody came to the Aussie singer-songwriter on his way back from his local store to buy some food for dinner. When he got back home, the words flowed like a stream.

8. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams

Recorded by Pharrell Williams for Despicable Me 2, "Happy" plays during a pivotal moment in the movie. The single was first released on November 21, 2013, alongside a long-form music clip, which was described as the world's first ever 24-hour music video. (Fortunately there is also a more time-friendly version that clocks in at 4 minutes and 7 seconds). "Happy" reached #1 in the US on the March 8, 2014, giving Pharrell his fourth chart-topper, but the first as lead artist.

You wanted to know who wrote the song, and we explained that though most hit tunes are currently written by teams of writers, this one was entirely composed by the uber-producer himself.

7. "Arabella" - Arctic Monkeys

Another surprising entry on our list, "Arabella" was released as a single in early 2014 peaking at #70 in the UK. The English band's frontman Alex Turner's wrote some surrealistic lyrics on this one that drew your interest, especially with the song title. We explained that the word "Arbella" combines the name of Turner's girlfriend, actress Arielle Vandenberg, and Jane Fonda's titular character in the 1968 French-Italian science fiction film, Barbarella.

6. "All Of Me" - John Legend

The first US #1 single of John Legend's career, "All Of Me" got some heat after the singer's solo Grammy performance in January 2014. The big question: Is there a real person Legend is singing about? Yep. The song was addressed to Legend's fiancée Chrissy Teigen. When John married Chrissy in Como, Italy, he sung "All Of Me" to his bride during the nuptials.

5. "Dark Horse" - Katy Perry

Kooky pop star, Katy Perry, had another huge hit with this bewitching song, which won Best Single at the 2014 American Music Awards. The video provoked controversy from both the Christian and Muslim communities for allegedly blasphemous and black magic elements. However, this didn't keep "Dark Horse" from becoming the most popular music clip on YouTube in 2014, with 715 million views.

You wanted to know about the song's meaning, and we explained that it was inspired by the 1996 movie The Craft, as "Dark Horse" finds Perry singing of a witchy seductress putting a potential lover under her spell.

4. "Pompeii" - Bastille

Until 2014 the best-known Pompeii was a Roman city that was destroyed by the Vesuvius volcano in 79AD. But for Bastille's fans, it is now this song.

A breakout hit for the British band in their native country in 2013, by the end of the following year it had become the most-streamed song ever in the UK with 32 million streams. Meanwhile, across the pond it was a slow burner (unlike Vesuvius) peaking at #5 on the Hot 100 in its 29th week.

We were happy to explain what's going on in this one: "Pompeii" is an imagined conversation between two dead corpses reflecting on the catastrophic event.

3. "Drink a Beer" - Luke Bryan

This mournful eulogy for someone who died too young spent four weeks at #1 on the country chart in early 2014. We told you "Drink a Beer" was the fourth 21st century chart-topper with the word "beer" in its title. The Jim Beavers and Chris Stapleton penned tune really hit home with Bryan as he has had to deal with the loss of both his brother Chris in 1997 and sister Kelly in 2007.

2. "Yoncé/Partition" - Beyoncé

What's left to say about Queen Bey that hasn't already been said? At the tail end of 2013 she dropped a self-titled album that caught us all by surprise. Tackling subjects darker and more complex than her previous material, the record was a massive commercial and critical success. Once again Beyoncé was running the world.

Released as the third single from the project, the second "Partition" part of this club jam was the one that drew interest. We explained the meaning of the French section, and the inspiration for the video (a strip club in Paris).

1. "Take Me to Church" - Hozier

Big-voiced Irishman Andrew Hozier Byrne's soulful tune was omnipresent on both pop and alternative radio in the latter half of 2014. Hozier first generated heat stateside after performing "Take Me To Church" on Saturday Night Live before its placement in a high-profile Beats by Dre ad featuring LeBron James took many more of us to the House of God. By the end of the year it had become a worldwide hit and was 2014's most-streamed track globally on Spotify.

The tune was also the most-viewed song of the year on Songfacts, with many of you wanting to find out its meaning. We told you that "Take Me To Church" was written in the wake of a breakup with Hozier's first girlfriend. It's a love song comparing a lover to religion.

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