2014: The year dance music championed the UK charts
2014: The Year Dance Music championed the UK Charts
Want evidence that the tides of commercial relevance have changed in favor of electronic music? Fourteen dance-oriented number ones can’t be wrong. With commercial house peaking and big room dipping from the spotlight of crossover capacity, the UK charts remained an influential playing field within which electronic music artists from across the globe claimed their stakes.
After 2013, there was little excuse for dance music not to continue its hasty ascent. The year saw Bingo Players, Avicii & Nicky Romero, Duke Dumont, Rudimental, Daft Punk, Madeon (via Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”), MK, Martin Garrix, Calvin Harris and Alesso find a place on the UK singles charts.
Indications of another prominent year for dance music started early in 2014. Avicii’s “Hey Brother” fought “Timber” and “Happy” for four consecutive weeks in the top 5, setting the precedent for what would be one of the most visible years for the industry and its proven popular appeal.
Dancing Astronaut looks back on a year of dance music in the UK charts, tracing the tracks that took off in 2014.
Clean Bandit Feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
Jess Glynne would garner two chart-topping ventures before 2014 was done, but her mainstream debut alongside Clean Bandit was by far the most outlandish. Tempered house beats, orchestral instrumentation and a soulful charged top line was the method by which Clean Bandit stormed into the limelight, giving the British circuit one of its most cleansed crossover offerings of the year. Knocking Pharrell’s “Happy” off of three non-consecutive weeks atop the chart and holding its own for four consecutive weeks, the track entered 2015 in the top 30, indicating that Glynne and the bandits had struck a firm equation for commercial dance dominance.
Route 94 Feat. Jess Glynne – My Love
Nobody outside of the house community saw Route 94 coming, but his inaugural chart topper is unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon. House music’s dotted relationship with the UK charts has never been a complicated one. It usually takes a catchy top line and an artist who can carry their songwriting abilities into the live arena. Jess Glynne was simply the woman for the job, stunning once again with her second chart topper of 2014 and keeping commercial dance music with a soulful core in the limelight for the first quarter.
DVBBS & Borgeous Feat. Tinie Tempah– Tsunami (Jump)
Just in time for Miami Music Week, brotherly duo DVBBS and their rising peer Borgeous were ready to bring the sound of dance festivals across the globe to the UK charts. It took some vocal work from British institution Tinie Tempah to make the trio’s Dutch-influenced big room stylings speak to the wider market, but the Spinnin/Ministry of Sound single resonated throughout the year as the biggest commercial breakthrough of the genre since Garrix’s “Animals” breached the airwaves.
Duke Dumont Feat. Jax Jones – I Got U
In a spike of chart topping action surrounding Miami Music Week, those not feeling the commercial big room love for “Tsunami (Jump)” were rewarded with a more docile house offering from Duke Dumont. There was a second top ten chart cut still in the pipeline for the British house talent, but “I Got U” marked a successful second number one for Adam Dymen in the wake of 2013’s “Need U (100%).” The match of great collaborations and pop composure has made for a striking live experience to accompany — an environment in which hits like this could only thrive.
Sigma – Nobody To Love
Two weeks of activity from 5 Seconds of Summer and familiar dance collaborator Aloe Blacc separated Duke Dumont from lone chart conquering drum & bass outfit Sigma. It was a week where commercial dance cuts with killer top lines took firm control of the UK chart space, but the infectious and energetic “Nobody To Love” marked another landmark moment for the genre and the first of two UK chart victories for Sigma in 2014. The genre doesn’t get many chances to shine but Sigma’s was a victory felt across the industry.
Kiesza - Hideaway
Sandwiched between “Nobody To Love” and “Waves,” Kiesza’s entry into the UK charts marked part two of a five-week spree of emotive dance chart-toppers in 2014. The Canadian songstress channelled popular deep vibes and her own infectious vocal assets into “Hideaway” – a track which truly epitomized the crossover potential of house music while encapsulating Kiesza’s plan for domination on the UK charts and beyond.
Mr Probz – Waves (Robin Schulz Edit)
Two non-consecutive weeks atop the UK charts (with a brief intervention from Calvin Harris) made “Waves” the quintessential summer anthem. An easy tempered vocal offering with Balearic undertones, the fact that “Waves” still sits in the UK top ten at the outset of 2015 says everything about the permanence struck by Mr Probz and Robin Schulz first spike of commercial dance advocacy.
Calvin Harris – Summer
A seasoned veteran to the UK singles charts, “Summer” marked Calvin Harris’s sixth chart-topping endeavor to date (production credits included). With Harris providing vocals on the track himself, the commercial star shifted from his more established role as pop collaborator supreme to make with the first of two essential moments in the national limelight. The week also marked a dance-dominating top 5, with John Legend’s “All Of ‘Me” the only thing stopping a straight flush of dance talent atop the UK charts.
Secondcity – I Wanna Feel
In the same week Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour album debuted at number one, Secondcity claimed his first UK chart victory with “I Wanna Feel.” A slick, key-driven vocal house offering with enough swing to whet the appetites of the less-seasoned club goer, this was a passport into the upper echelon of commercially viable dance music for the American/English talent. The fact that it was followed by sublime cuts for Defected and Saved says everything you need to know about Secondcity’s market versatility.
Oliver Heldens Feat. Becky Hill – Gecko (Overdrive)
“Gecko” was a unique passport onto the UK chart space for Oliver Heldens. Already propelled into the limelight as an instrumental ID turned breakthrough career moment, Becky Hill’s vocal touch was the final notch that immortalized the young Dutchman’s quirky house getup into a track both the radio airwaves and club floor alike could swoon over. With the exception of “Waves,” Helden’s week of reckoning was consumed by non-dance tracks, making the victory all the more sweet for the young and aspiring house don with hype and record sales very much on his side.
David Guetta – Lovers on the Sun
Debuting at number one and knocking Nico & Vinz from the top spot in the process, “Lovers on the Sun” marked the return of a man who needed little versing in breaking into the pop market. Having written the rule book in dance music crossovers and scored no less than four number ones in the process, number five set the tone for impending album Listen impeccably well. Guetta’s only dance peer in the top ten of that week was German house merchant Wankelmut, whose essential house sing-along offering “My Head Is a Jungle” made an impressive leap from 190 to 5, but failed to match the Frenchman’s proven popular dance prowess.
Lilly Wood & Robin Schulz – Prayer in C
Robin Schulz made a dramatic first impression on the charts with his part in “Waves,” but returning with “Prayer in C” solidified a hefty streak for 2014. Another slick, stripped back and seemingly easy stepping pop record with Balearic house influences, the track was another reminder of the influence the genre had on pop music throughout the year. Two consecutive weeks at number one alongside Lilly Wood kept Duke Dumont from attaining his second chart-topper in “Won’t Look Back,” giving Schulz a valiant second wind after his part in the single that simply refuses to leave the UK chart space.
Calvin Harris Feat. John Newman - Blame
Calvin Harris wasn’t ready to bow out before adding a second UK number one to his belt for 2014. Picking up where “Summer” left off, the familiar crooning of John Newman resurrected the British singer of Rudimental fame with another global sing-along favorite. In the same week “Walking With Elephants” miraculously entered the UK top 10, Harris kept things ticking towards Motion with a reminder of his stance as the king of popular dance music and its ongoing chart prospects.
Sigma - Changing
The final charting dance music sentiment of 2014 came in the form of a second extraordinary breakthrough for Sigma. This time accompanied by Paloma Faith, “Changing” knocked Calvin Harris off his perch to re-establish a positive spike in the commercial drum & bass market and its romancing of the singles’ charts. While the remainder of 2014 beckoned cuts from Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson and a four week spree for Megan Trainor, Sigma’s second coming marked the closing of an impeccable year for dance music in the UK charts.