Kicking off the first set of songs that are a part of my personal list of top 2014 tracks are a collection of 20 love songs released by independent artists. While you may recognize some of them, I’d wager that the greater majority of these artists will be completely new to your ears, and if you enjoy the song presented or any of the artist’s other works upon looking into them, make absolutely certain that you purchase their music over iTunes, Amazon, or whatever outlet they have set up for that as they are indie artists who work especially hard to get their music out there. They’re more like you and me than the average celebrity musician; they don’t make a lot money, but they’ve got a lot of heart, and if you’d like to see that heart on full display with more songs released from them in the future, you’d look into the kindness of your heart to support them instead of steal from them.
Keep in mind that these tracks aren’t ranked! The numbers are used as organizational tools, and nothing more.
1. “Made For Me” – Michelle Chamuel
Light piano work and slight tinges of electronic stylizing paired with a heartfelt vocal help in defining this inspiring love song by Team Usher’s original recipe front-runner. If you’re in need of an intimate, sweet-hearted pick-me-up, you can’t do much better than “Made For Me”.
2. “Adore You” – TeraBrite
This YouTube indie band achieved Internet fame through their vast array of punk covers of pop songs, including Miley Cyrus’ surprisingly sweet love song “Adore You”. The amount of effort put into the reinvention of these tracks without failing in conveying the songs’ individual meaning always shines through with TeraBrite.
3. “Heart Tells Your Head” – Tim Halperin
American Idol alumni Tim Halperin exhibits his independent songwriting muscle and vastly improved falsetto in this #swaggerific love song.
4. “You and I Remain” – DnH
Smooth San Franciscan R&B group DnH made their return to the music scene with a feelgood single featuring tight vocal harmonies and honestly loving lyrics that fans of the band have come to expect. An indie love song for the ages for fans of straight-up soul.
5. “I’ve Seen” – Home Free
The latest Sing-Off champs’ post-show debut album is full of great romantic numbers, but “I’ve Seen”, which in itself is an a cappella adaptation of bass Tim Foust’s original rendition, just might be the sweetest.
6. “Say Something” – Pentatonix
All the while, fellow Sing-Off winners, Pentatonix, continue their rise to fame in 2014 with their heart-strikingingly potent cover of A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something”, which was arguably the biggest song related to love of 2013.
7. “Above Water” – Melissa Polinar & Jeremy Passion
A song that will likely go down as one of the most potent indie releases of the year despite 2014’s having just begun, “Above Water” inspires strength in the listener by encouraging them to rise up against adversity in the face of their darkest fears and deepest depressive moments. It encourages them to let love in, and with that sort of allegory in tow, there was no way that it wasn’t going to make this list.
8. “Love We Are We Love” – The Sea, The Sea
Arguably the defining number of indie folk outlet The Sea, The Sea’s debut album, “Love We Are We Love” is a rollicking acoustic set depicting the more honest side of music, featuring haunting vocal harmonies and depicting the intricate circle all those who love at times find themselves within.
9. “Supernova” – Ray LaMontagne
Ray LaMontagne’s latest single depicts just why he hit the charts in the first place: for always being completely honest on his tracks. In this number which sonically hearkens back to a sound of 60s soul and light rock, LaMontagne yearns to the love of his life: “I want you to be my girl”, comparing her to a supernova, and other striking cosmos-related entities!
10. “Girl That I Love” – Falls
Surprisingly catchy and heartfelt all at the same time, Falls is bound to be one of the world’s next indie folk explosions. Be the hipster you know you are and check out “Girl That I Love”- a sweet track featuring all manner of lo-fi instrumental splendor -before that happens.
11. “Remember How I Broke Your Heart” – Priscilla Ahn
The “Dream” star’s latest album is full of heartfelt tracks depicting all sides of love, perhaps one of the most striking of them being the hauntingly intimate “Remember How I Broke You Heart” — which in and of itself should require no explanation in terms of letting you know just what type of love song this is.
12. “All of Me” – Chester See
This YouTube star defined 2012 with his breathtaking appearance on the short film ‘The Alienist’, but he was always best-known for his top-notch musicianship. This sweet cover of John Legend’s smash hit love song, “All of Me”, proves just why that is.
13. “Never Gave Me Butterflies” – Elise Testone
This fun track pays tribute to the golden era of blues in its arrangement, not to mention it points out just why Elise was an Idol fan favorite during her season on the show with her verifiable grit and overall realness as an artist on full display. “Oh my baby, I met a man the other day, but surprise, surprise, he doesn’t have your big blue eyes.” Oh, and the scatting is also pretty darn impressive.
Check out the Yahoo! review of Elise Testone’s “In This Life” here!
14. “Jack and Jill” – Jon Morgan
One of the latest tracks by indie artist Jon Morgan pays tribute to a classic children’s tale in the form of an extremely clever lyric that sets the mood for a somber roots-tinged acoustic number. An underrated love song that definitely is deserving of a good listen.
15. “Let Her Go” – Jillian Jensen
Singer/songwriter Jillian Jensen recently released a great, emotion-driven cover of Passenger’s “Let Her Go” onto her official YouTube channel. Interpreting a cover of an indie love song as well as she did, it can only be a solidified fact that her upcoming original tunes should be especially solid, all considered. It should be noted that Jillian’s boyfriend is current American Idol front-runner Alex Preston. A very talented couple, they are!
16. “Love Is a Losing Game” – Teresa Franks
Accompanied by only a piano and the quality of her pristine vocal, YouTube artist Teresa Franks performs a beautiful rendition of the dearly departed Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is a Losing Game” with a heartfelt soul that can’t be taught.
17. “Lucky” – Arden Cho & Jason Chen
Since long before Arden Cho became a Teen Wolf star, she’s been known for releasing fantastic covers of popular songs as well as original music onto both YouTube and iTunes. Catering to the former of the two is this beautiful rendition of Jason Mraz & Colbie Callait’s “Lucky” — a definitive modern love song! — with fellow indie artist and ‘Tuber Jason Chen.
18. “Love Letters” – Metronomy
From their self-titled album, “Love Letters” is one chunk of a funky 70s-inspired love song if their ever was one. It’s not nearly for anyone, but this is the type of stuff that defines indie music at its most vibrant point of wacky, fun-filled imagination.
19. “Scar On My Heart” – Keri Lynn Roche
On this soulful track performed by Ms. Roche, she proves another reason why Idol got it wrong this season per every verse of this potent track having to do with a love gone awry. It’s delivered with an authenticity that could only come out of a moment instigated by a heartfelt connection to her material. Keri is a true artist.
20. “The Shape of Your Love” – Colton Dixon
As a Christian artist, Colton Dixon has done an excellent job of providing songs that would go well with both religious and secular audiences. The dual meaning of “The Shape of Your Love” promotes both love for God and love for your, well, loved ones, and in the clever lyricism and ardent delivery of the track, it shouldn’t be much of a wonder behind why it tops off this list of indie love songs for 2014 thus far: because it is truly one excellent addition to the deluxe version of his debut album, “A Messenger”, and a sweet track in and of itself.
Surprise, surprise! — 21. “Follow Me into the Fire” – The Option
My good friend Jake had literally just shown me this song written and performed by two of his buddies over YouTube seconds after I had completed writing this list down. The above 20 songs are all wholly deserving to be where they are, so the only thing that made logical sense was to not worry about conformity and give The Option a nod nonetheless, because their sweet, rootsy sound fits right in the pocket of what’s in in the indie world right now by invoking elements of both folk and rock. On top of that, it’s a great love song written by two unknowns who deserve to be, well, known. You can hear “Follow Me into the Fire” on YouTube right here!
Shout out to Robert Gillies and his excellent track, “Here With Me”, which I had just recently discovered despite its 2011 release. It is an intimate, masterclass production that I really wish I could have involved on this list in totality. Also deserving of a shout-out is YouTube star Kina Grannis, who is releasing her new album ‘Elements’ this May. Out of the small preview we’ve received thus far via the service, “My Dear” is turning out to be a foot-stomping good tune related to the whole “indie love song” subject at hand.
Worthy of note as well: Jillian Jensen’s aforementioned beloved, Alex Preston, is one talented dude, but alas, nothing as of the time of writing this article has come out this year! “My Best Friend” is a little tidbit from his indie past is an incredibly sweet one originally written in honor of the lives lost during the Sandy Hook tragedy from the perspective of a survivor, wishing they just had “one more day or even one more hour with my best friend.” It is a hauntingly beautiful love song for the departed.
Finally, one last thing of note is that singer/songwriter Demi Louise has a fantastic EP full of great music that has yet to be really touched upon by many potential listeners. So, despite a 2013 release date, I’d like to say please check out Demi’s EP full of original music on iTunes. “Stay” is a song that could quite easily make plenty of indie song lists such as this!