Those familiar with my year-end music listing process know that alongside the big list of goodies I typically throw down a list of pure pop. Typically, I do this in the spirit of confessing and excising what many might refer to as "guilty pleasures." To be fair, though, I don't really believe in guilty pleasures and there are far too many songs I couldn't quite justify upvoting to the main list, but which certainly have their poppy, earwormy merits. So, consider this the brightly colored bonus content. This is the dance party annex.
For your judgmental, head-shaking, eye-rolling listening pleasure, I present you with these oh-too-sweet tracks (collected in one easily consumable YouTube playlist). I don't care you think I shouldn't like them, part of me definitely does...
Austin Mahone ft. Pitbull / "Mmm Yeah" It's essentially an ode to catcalling, which was maybe not a good idea all things considered. It's also catchy as fuck ad boasts the most 2000-style "futuristic corridor" video seen since, well, circa 2000....
Calvin Harris / "Summer" You know what? This was really overplayed. You know what else? I don't think I ever turned it off if it just happened to come on. It's not actually long enough to be really offensive And it has that sparkly summery noise during the vocals. That's a thing I endorse.
Madonna / "Living For Love" This album isn't even out yet. By the end of 2015 I might be prepared to endorse it once again. I have strong feelings about this as a dance floor anthem. This is what I want to hear from Madonna, basically.
Nick Jonas / "Jealous" Even I was shocked when I realized this was Nick Jonas. Is there actually still a chance he could pull a Timberlake? Seems more probable than previously expected...
Becky G / "Shower" LA DA DE LA DA DA LA DA DA.
Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea / "Problem" Beyond the valley of the ponytail. Look, something about her irks me too (I'm sorry to say it might be her face? Or rather, the expressions she makes?), but I get it.
Stromae ft. Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip, & Haim / "Meltdown" This song opens the soundtrack to Mockingjay-Part 1 and is so tonally inappropriate it's astounding. That said, if you're going to a Capitol dance party, this would be a fitting addition to any playlist.
Basement Jaxx / "Never Say Never" Awwwwww yeah. Summer jamz. Dancey dancey summer jamz. With a z. Just because. I imagine this would sound excellent if played while on a boat.
Brooke Candy / "Opulence" Over the top freak-rap with, hands down, the best music video of the year. This thing buries itself in all the glittering prizes and picks up where Gaga's hyper-accelerated career left off.
Lucas Nord ft. Tove Lo / "Run On Love (QOTC Edit)" If I just keep telling you that this is filled with sparkling electronic bleeps and bloops, you'll understand, right?
Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne / "Rather Be" Pretty sure this song was engineered to work perfectly over nearly any feel-good commercial or rom com credits sequence.
Nicki Minaj / "Anaconda" This song sort of flakes out at the end and deteriorates into nonsense where there could easily be another full verse, but it doesn't matter, because I'm endlessly entertained by it and it kills in karaoke.
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J / "Dark Horse" I don't know why Katy Perry felt the need to record a trap song, and honestly I hope she never does it again, but we'll make an exception this one time.
Ariana Grande ft. Zedd / "Break Free" Somewhere between the OK of "Problem" and the actually good of "Love Me Harder" we have "Break Free," a song that proves to me everyone has a bit of a problem enunciating the word "free" properly while singing.
MØ / "Don't Wanna Dance" Sweden must make more than one appearance on all lists of pop music. It's actually international law.
Jason Derulo ft. Snoop Dogg / "Wiggle" All you really need to know is that this song ends with the line "girl, you got a bright future behind you." Done.
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars / "Uptown Funk" This song has a bit of a limited shelf-life, I'm afraid, in that it comes off more as a novelty piece of nostalgia than anything else at this moment in time. That said, it's one I have readily and repeatedly consumed. I will defend this no further than saying I really love Purple Rain.
Chromeo / "Fall Back 2U" Because a good disco song never actually dies.
Michael Jackson / "Love Never Felt So Good" Did you know Michael Jackson was sort-of resurrected in 2014? It's weird, right?
Mariah Carey / "Meteorite" I'm sorry, but when Mariah Carey released an album called "Me. I Am Mariah...The Elusive Chanteuse" did you really think I wouldn't check out that absurdity? It was an open invitation. I'm not saying this song is good, but I am saying it's a good addition to your workout playlist.
Ed Sheeran / "Sing" Is Ed Sheeran a person who people pass judgement on? I don't even know anymore.
(Dis)honorable Mention: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX / "Fancy" Let's be perfectly real about this: it would be hard to have a 2014 pop cultural roundup that didn't mention this song somewhere. Let's also note: that hook is undeniable, so are the instrumentals. There was at least a moment you found yourself into this. Don't lie.