The Best Singles of 2014, #14

14. Charli XCX, “Break the Rules”

Everyone knew Charli XCX would be the next big thing, but instead of happening in 2013, which so many thought (and hoped) would happen, it happened a year later thanks to a tossed-off single she wrote for the worst pop artist today. It was the insipid “Fancy”, by grating Southern rap impersonator Iggy Azalia that finally brought the 22 year-old Charlotte Aitchison notoriety, but no matter how dumb the song – easily the laziest hook the singer-songwriter has written – that did the trick, and before you know it, the first single from her third album “Boom Clap” proved to be a huge mainstream success as well. As likeable as that song is, “Break the Rules” is even better. Unlike last year’s inspired “You (Ha Ha Ha)”, “Break the Rules” keeps things a lot simpler, built around a bass-heavy arrangement that combines a huge, ‘80s rock groove and backbeat with some effective dubstep noise that builds to a delirious crescendo. Instead of a moronic bass drop, however, the track reverts to a saucy little synth melody that echoes Charli’s “I don’t wanna go to school” sentiment. Personally, I keep hearing Transvision Vamp, which makes me like this even more. We’ve all been there. I had “We’re Not Gonna Take It” 30 years ago, and today’s kids have this. Silly, fun rebellion in pop music never fails to appeal.