The 30 Best Hey Oh! Songs of 2014

32Okay, for this list, it’s the same game as last year. It’s not a best of list. It’s not about what was most popular, least popular, cool or uncool. No sir. This list is about one thing and one thing only.

This list is the best Hey Oh! songs of 2014.

What’s a Hey Oh! song you ask? Simple. Very simple. It’s a song that when it came on incited an unsolicited, deep from the belly & soul Ron Burgandy quality Hey Oh!  Hey oh! That’s a damn good song. You might have said it out loud, but you definitely thought it. You turned the volume up, you danced, you pressed repeat and yelled to no one in particular- DJ ONE MORE TIME.

The list of the best Hey Oh! Songs of 2014 will be broken down into categories:

Old Standbys Showing That They Still Got It
Songs in this category are off of new albums by some of the heavy hitters that are out there- people like Spoon, Weezer and Phish. They are songs that showed that these big guns still know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Let’s See What You’ve Got a Second Time Around
Second albums seem like the hardest ones to make, especially if the first one was your break out album. These are songs from sophomore releases from bands who got my attention with their last album, which may not have technically been their first album, but was the first album of theirs I got into.

And Who Might You Be?
Everyone loves discovering new bands. Giddy Up America is no exception. These songs are by bands and/or artists I had never heard before, but was happy when I did.

Enough People Talk, I Listen
People at work, people on the Internet, people on the radio, people on the Twitter- at one point or another they were talking about one of these songs. They talked either enough about these songs or talked about them in such glowing ways that I was inclined to check them out.

Discovered During Sports Radio Commercial Breaks
There’s lots of commercials on sports radio and when there are, I scan the dial for something to listen to until the commercial break is over. I found these songs while scanning.

Let’s get to it.

Giddy Up America’s 30 Best Hey Oh! Songs of 2014

Old Standbys Showing That They Still Got It


“Happy Idiot” TV on the Radio
It’s not as hard-driving as their song on last year’s list, “Mercy,” but it’s still a winner. And it’s still crazy to think that “Mercy” didn’t even make the cut for Seeds, the band’s new album. But either way, I love how TV on the Radio sound like no one else out there. Such a rarity these days.

“Congregation” Foo Fighters
I couldn’t decide which song from the band’s new album, Sonic Highways, to go with so I went with this one. And there is absolutely no real reason for it, especially because I love the entire album, I love the HBO show, I love the Foo Fighters. At least three of the songs on the album could have been on this list. Yet this one makes it. It’s just a good old, hard-driving rock ‘n roll song. Plus I love Nashville. Points for Nashville. Points for a hard-driving rock ‘n roll song. Do points even matter? Uh…

“On With the Business” The Hold Steady
Oh the Hold Steady, how much fun you are. They play sassy pop rock and it’s effin’ awesome. They’re great live too.

“Back to the Shack” Weezer
Hey, Weezer’s back! And their new album was good, another course-correction album, but good none the less. I look forward to not their next album, or the album after that, but the album after those two when they realize that they should do less experimenting and stick to what works for them, being Weezer.

“Rent I Pay” Spoon
Hey, Spoon’s back! I love Spoon. Thanks for coming back, Spoon.

“555” Phish
Phish and I had drifted apart in the last few years, but I was drawn to their new album, Fuego, when I heard “Waiting All Night,” a delightfully, pretty song. However, it was “555” that caused me to take notice when I gave the album the listen. It reminds of their song “46 days,” one of my favorite Phish tunes. Funky, smooth, sly as mother effer. My stance on Phish still stands, give me a free ticket and I’ll go to one of their shows. But this definitely brought them back into my life more than the were previously.

“Blue Moon” Beck
Beck you mysterious little monkey, you. Homeboy went all melancholy on his latest album. This song is beautiful- one of my favorite tracks of the year.

“Why Am I a Fool” Spencer Albee
Portland, Maine’s Spencer Albee released this little ditty earlier this year and I instantly fell in love with it. I don’t see how you couldn’t…unless you were a soulless malcontent. It’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful.


“Gotta Get Away” The Black Keys
I liked the new Keys’ album, Turn Blue. I’m actually surprised I don’t listen to it more. Maybe because it’s not on Spotify and that’s where I listen to the majority of my music? Yeah, maybe. Regardless, Turn Blue was another great Keys’ album and the highlight for me was this tune, the album’s closer. God it could be so cheesy and lame. But it isn’t! It’s pure rock ‘n roll, pure road trip music.

“Black Rock” The Roots featuring Dice Raw
Listen one: I was turned off by …and then you shoot your cousin, the new Roots’ album. Listen two: slightly less turned off. It took a while to wade through the instrumental filler tracks, but once I did and once I found “Black Rock,” my feelings had changed. The Roots might be all over the place these days, but they can still put together a great hip hop jawn.

“Marilyn Monroe” Pharrell Williams
“Happy” will be on nearly every year-end list out there and for good reason, it’s an effin’ great song. But I like the album’s opening track better. It’s smoother; has more depth. Can we start a petition to guarantee that Justin Timberlake records his next album with Pharrell and NOT Timbaland? As a nation, we’ll all benefit.

“Higher and Higher” Galactic featuring JJ Grey
I never, ever, ever get sick of this tune. It’s 100% rawkus, good time fun. Dude, I love Galactic. Galactic, I love you. Thanks for doing what you do.

“Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
This song is what the phrase fuck yeah sounds like. Plain and simple

“Fault Lines” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Keep doing what you’re doing, Tom.

Let’s See What You’ve Got a Second Time Around

2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - Day 6

 “Coming of Age” Foster the People
Foster the People’s first album didn’t make me a fan of theirs, it made me interested in them. However, their performance at this year’s New Orleans’ Jazz Festival, which I randomly caught on TV one Saturday afternoon? Yeah, that totally did. They’re on my list of Bands I Really Want to See Live. Their second album was a solid follow up to Torches.

“Water Fountain” Tune-Yards
This band is nuts. And amazing. And endlessly interesting. Triple threat!

“i” Kendrick Lamar (Elyse Suggestion no. 1)
Me? I’m not the biggest Kendrick fan out there. It’s nothing personal. I just wasn’t taken by him as pretty much everyone else out there was. However, saw homeboy on Saturday Night Live earlier this fall and saw him play this. This is a fun song. Do I love it? Nope. But do I greatly enjoy it? Oh you betcha.

And Who Might You Be?


“Riptide” Vance Joy
This song is lemonade. I don’t see how a person couldn’t like lemonade. I don’t see how a person couldn’t like “Riptide.”

“Call Me” St. Paul & the Broken Bones
My three Bands of 2014: I’m just kidding- there’s only one: St. Paul & the Broken Bones. I don’t know what a jib is, but I love the cut of theirs. They do old school soul right. They do it and it sounds true and authentic. I effin’ love it.

“Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” Hozier
“Take Me to Church” grew on me, but I was on board with this song from the jump. The beat is awesome, love how it has such a cool restrained thump to it. Dude’s voice is on point, too.

“I Wanna Get Better” Bleachers
Low-fi rock! It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s Lena Dunham’s man-friend! Irrelevant! Not really! Kind of! Whatever, good song!

“Habits” Tove Lo (Elyse Suggestion no. 2)
I would like to acknowledge that this sounds like a fuller, more mature version of a Lorde song.

“Beggin’ for Thread Banks (Elyse Suggestion no. 3)
Cool music is harder than it looks. It’s tough work making something sound both sparse and interesting. This song is sparse and interesting. The vocals are sultry. And I don’t even know the last time I referred to anything as sultry.

“Stolen Dance” Milky Chance
These dudes- DJs, a two-piece, a DJ and a dude? No clue. Catchy song, though. The chorus is great.

Enough People Talking, I’m Listening


“Gimme Something Good” Ryan Adams
Yeah I had heard of Ryan Adams before this song, I just wasn’t really a fan of Ryan Adams before I heard this song. But now I have heard this song and now I am a Ryan Adams’ fan. I even spent an entire week listening to nothing but Ryan Adams just to be better informed about the subject. I also don’t think rock songs like this come around much anymore, even though they should. They totally should.

“Digital Witness” St. Vincent
I saw St. Vincent a few years ago at a Roots Picnic in Philly. She had sound problems, it wasn’t her crowd. It didn’t go well. I had written her off. Then I’m not sure if I heard this song on satellite radio or on The Colbert Report, but it’s awesome. It’s the sound of a funky robot dance party and who doesn’t love a funky robot dance party?

“Violent Shiver” Benjamin Booker
Heard about this dude around the water cooler at work, thought I’d check him out. Dude is a buzz saw, a rabid dog of blues rock. This is the sound of walls being kicked in, windows smashed, bottles broken. This is rock ‘n roll, man.

“Hey I Don’t Know” Kongos
I was supposed to see these dudes play, opening for Kings of Leon, this summer, but the show was cancelled due to the Kings of Leon’s drummer’s rib injury. I wanted to be prepared for the show and gave Kongos a listen. I subsequently became enamored with Kongos and even more subsequently became even more bummed when I found out the show was cancelled. Don’t even get me started on how I fell for Young the Giant (who was also on the bill) too.

Discovered During Sports Radio Commercial Breaks


“Shake It Off” Taylor Swift
Somehow this unsigned, obscure singer/songwriter cracked top 40 radio. Miracles do happen!

“Rude” Magic!
This list is essentially about songs that had a strong initial impression on me. So with that being said, this song makes the list because dude, when I first heard it…hell, the first 10 times I heard it, I liked it. Then the next 10 I kind of liked it, not as much and would be more inclined to change the station before it was over. I just needed a taste. By the time it reached that next 10 times, all bets were off and I was done with this song. But initially, I liked it, I said Hey Oh!, I got down with it. And that’s the point.

The One Bonus Track That Defied Categorization

“Gunpowder on the Letter” Cody Chestnutt featuring Gary Clark, Jr.
Mr. Chestnutt is best known for playing on The Roots’ song “The Seed, 2.0,” a version of his own song, “The Seed.” Since then, I have no idea what he’s been up too. Then this song came across my desk, into my ears and soaring into my heart. And you know something, Gary Clark, Jr. is awesome. He’s the real deal. He released a live album this year- it’s dope. And this song is dope. And this year in music, pretty dope.

















Categories: 2014, 2014 Year in Review, Music

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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