Now that July is here, it means half of the year is already gone. The first six months of 2014 brought about some great music from singers who returned to the scene to artists who are finally getting the attention they deserve. Some kept their sound consistent and others completely flipped the script with sonically rewarding results. Looking back on the year so far, here are the six best tracks released from January to June.
January 2014 – Kylie Minogue's “Into the Blue”
Australian pop star Kylie Minogue dove head first into 2014 with “Into the Blue,” the lead single from Kiss Me Once. In a sea of pulsating synths, Minogue rides the lush track with an empowering message. “When I got my back up against the wall, don't need no one to rescue me,” she sings. Melding orchestral strings with glints of electronica, Kylie's sophisticated approach to dance music on “Into the Blue” was breath of fresh air.
February 2014 – Girls' Generation (SNSD)'s “Mr.Mr.”
K-Pop group Girls' Generation (SNSD) returned in a big way with “Mr.Mr.,” the title track from their EP of the same name. The dazzling electro-pop track was produced by The Underdogs, producers behind songs for artists like Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. Grimy beats open “Mr.Mr.” before a disco-tinged bubblegum sound backs the ladies on the knockout chorus. Girls' Generation served up the perfect mix of sass and sweetness on their comeback single.
March 2014 – HAIM's “If I Could Change Your Mind”
L.A.-based rock group HAIM released “If I Could Change Your Mind” as a single from last year's Days Are Gone. The sister act presented a different side to itself with the glossy synth-rock track. Twinkling production backs the ladies as they put forth their slickest tune to win back a guy. “If I could change your mind, I could make you mine,” Este Haim sings with absolute determination and gusto. There's really no persuasion needed here to hear why this song is such a fun standout.
April 2014 - Röyksopp and Robyn's “Do it Again”
The galaxy's coolest popstar Robyn returned this year with electronic duo Röyksopp on their joint EP Do it Again. The title track utilizes the best of both acts with Robyn's emotive vocals over the aural magnificence of Röyksopp's dark dance production. “Don't care what they say / It hurts so good / I don't want to stop / I know I should,” she sings. “Do it Again” is a regal pop affair filled with moments of electronic ecstasy courtesy of Röyksopp and Robyn.
May 2014 – Porter Robinson's “Sad Machine”
EDM DJ Porter Robinson switched up his sound for the better this year. He sidestepped the aggressiveness of his past party jams for more mellow and atmospheric music. The most striking track from his Worlds album so far is “Sad Machine.” Robinson makes his singing debut alongside a vocaloid. Lofty beats with dreamy production (and some possible Zelda-inspired ocarina) blanket the single. “Sad Machine” is anything but sad because Porter's got plenty reason to smile with this electronic gem.
June 2014 – Charli XCX's “Boom Clap”
Box office hit The Fault in Our Stars arrived in June a stellar soundtrack. U.K. singer-songwriter Charli XCX finally made an impact in the U.S. with the aptly titled single “Boom Clap.” Over a wave of synths, she details an out-of-this-world romance. Her quirky lyricism shines when she sings, "You're the glitter in the darkness of my world.” While tender on the verses, Charli really clobbers her lover with affection on the thunderous chorus. Hit us, Charli, one more time.