Songs are the bread and butter of the recording industry. We (typically) consume music in song format, moving from one composition to the next. However, once upon a time, the album provided the lion’s share of recording revenue. As that paradigm continues its fall from grace, greater emphasis is placed on individual tracks that capture our hearts and minds.
Albums require consistency in addition to a mixture of some higher level of cohesiveness and entertainment capable of retaining our attention; it’s resultantly a somewhat-easy task to think about your favorite albums. A project that you can largely listen to from beginning to end is a lot rarer than a singular song you adore, and therefore easier to recall.
With that said, many albums tend to at least have a standout song or two. While 2014 has had its fair share of quality full-lengths thus far, those numbers pale in comparison to the colossal onslaught of memorable songs. From hip-hop to posthumous R&B, the music gods graced us with greatness this year.
Even if our good fortune came to a screeching halt, we’d still have enough tracks to last us the next five months. To honor those that stood above the rest, we’ve compiled a list of the 40 best songs of 2014 so far.