Best Rock Songs of 2014 (So Far)
2014 is still in its early stages, but it’s never too early to recognize great music. The year is off to a rocking start and already several acts have left their mark on the year with songs that are guaranteed to stay in our playlists for some time to come.
This list provides a wealth of variety, with name rock bands that have populated the airwaves for years, up-and-coming acts that are just making their initial mark on the rock scene and even a parody song (a well-done one at that) pops up.
To qualify for this list, the song itself had to make its impact in the year 2014, whether it comes from an album that was released this year or in 2013. We’ll continue to update this list through the rest of 2014 as more great rock songs are released, but for now, you can check out the Best Rock Songs of 2014 (So Far) below.
Starset broke out with the single 'My Demons,' but 'Telescope' has the potential to be even bigger. The group find that perfect blend between moody atmospherics and intensity, with frontman Dustin Bates leading listeners hypnotically through the beginning of the song before it comes to its heavy conclusion. Bates says the track is about the solitude that comes with love loss and his vocals definitely show that despair.
'World on Fire'
Slash's guitar work is on display right out of the gate on 'World on Fire,' the lead single and title track from the album of the same name. His riffing sets the pace, but the song gets a healthy dose of cowbell and high energy drumming from Brent Fitz. A blistering solo, a bluesy breakdown and a whispery vocal from Myles Kennedy mid-song also help make this track a standout.
'I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore'
Rise Against are back and it looks as though they've knocked it out of the park with the first single from their 'The Black Market' album. 'I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore' is filled with the raspy angst you've come to love from frontman Tim McIlrath. The song also has some mesmerizing guitar work and some off-to-the-races drumming keeping the intensity fierce.
'Talk S--t, Get Shot'
Take notice! Body Count are back and you best respect! Ice-T and his crew are cranking out some serious riffs on 'Talk S--t, Get Shot.' Even though there's the threat of physical harm in the title, we wouldn't talk s--t about this song cause it's just that damn good.
Swampy guitar, wailing vocals and so much more -- Kyng hit paydirt with their single 'Electric Halo' off the 'Burn the Serum' album. This chugging rocker may be about a charismatic leader spinning fables with his words, but there's no falsity when it comes to exactly how much 'Electric Halo' rocks.
'You Know My Name'
Welcome back Courtney Love! The Hole frontwoman returns with the solo song 'You Know My Name,' an anthemic, fist-pumper of a track. Love's full rasp and aggression kicks in full force, providing one of her best tracks in years. Meanwhile, Love's band delivers an undeniable beat that will keep your foot tapping throughout.
'This Is the Time (Ballast)'
Texas-based four-piece Nothing More are well on their way to becoming one of 2014's breakout bands, and part of the reason for that is the single 'This Is the Time (Ballast).' With its trippy opening, heavy bass and guitar and the amazing range provided by frontman Jonny Hawkins, 'This Is the Time' stands out from the masses finding that perfect middle ground between heavy and proggy.
'Cry of Achilles'
'Take Out the Gunman'
If 'Take Out the Gunman' is any indication, Chevelle are in for a big year with their 'La Gargola' album. Pete Loeffler and Dean Bernardini's chugging guitar and bass work leads into some impressive percussion from drummer Sam Loeffler. The song builds and builds from a lurching song into a full-on eruption where you can feel every ounce of emotion of Pete Loeffler's vocals.
Is there anyone having a better 2014 than The Pretty Reckless? Taylor Momsen and her crew have raced up the charts with the chugging anthem 'Heaven Knows.' The infectious track just begs for the listener to clap their hands and stomp their feet alongside Momsen's bluesy swagger. Just like the subjects of the song that are led into temptation and paying the consequences, it's hard for listeners to deny the lure of this seductive rocker and sinful goodness it delivers.
Bring Me the Horizon are showing a more melodic side on the song 'Sleepwalking,' but make no mistake, there's still plenty of heaviness. Frontman Oli Sykes finds that perfect balance that allows his screaming vocals to still feel melodic. And the haunting keyboard play transposed against the wall of guitar sound provides a hypnotic vibe.
There had to be some concern after Three Days Grace decided to continue their career without longtime frontman Adam Gontier, but any fears have been assuaged with the release of 'Painkiller.' The song comes with the signature aggressive guitar and percussion work that fans have become accustomed to, and new frontman Matt Walst does a solid job with the melodic as well as the in-your-face moments.
'Soul to Preach To'
Welcome back Fuel. After making their claim to fame in the late '90s and early 2000s, the band went through several lineup changes. With frontman Brett Scallions returning on their 'Puppet Strings' album, his stamp is all over the disc. The lead single 'Soul to Preach To' offers those great heavy guitars that were a staple of their early sound, but what makes it truly standout is the bluesy swagger and the addition of a Dobro that provides a unique feel.
'Just a Ride'
If you want hard-driving rock, the Virginmarys provide it in spades with their single 'Just a Ride' from their 'King of Conflict' album. Ally Dickaty's blistering guitar work, Matt Rose's bass backing and the frenetic drumming of Danny Dolan blend perfectly to provide the listener with a foot-tappingly infectious rock track.
Palms' 'Mission Sunset' is not your typical mainstream rock song. It's a haunting soundscape building in intensity, much like the soundtrack to an unseen film. But as he's done to some extent with Deftones, frontman Chino Moreno is able to deliver every ounce of emotion to the track. The end result is a mesmerizing ride through pain, triumph, reflection and one hell of a conclusion where it comes to a crashing finish.
'True Trans Soul Rebel'
It's been an interesting journey for Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel). The transgendered singer revealed her gender dysphoria issues in 2012, then let the journey play out on record with the 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' album. Nowhere on the disc is this more personal, triumphant and infinitely catchy than on the song 'True Trans Soul Rebel,' a definite standout and a poignant moment in the band's career.
'This Is a Trent Reznor Song'
Okay, sure it's a little odd to include a parody song in the Best Songs of 2014, but how good is Freddy Scott's Nine Inch Nails spoof, 'This Is a Trent Reznor Song'? Scott utilizes the patterns of Nine Inch Nails' 2013 track 'Copy of A' for a very ironic comparison, then trots out several other Nine Inch Nails touchtones (random percussion, weird guitar, ascending and descending vocals, creepy piano) that generate smiles while sneakily pulling you in. To quote the song, "Yeah it sounds really awesome."