My favorite “best of 2013” list has got to be the songs. I compiled an entire page of songs I liked this year and had the daunting task of coming up with just ten. Rough life, I know. There are some songs you’ll definitely recognize, but there might be a few that have you scratching your head. I strongly encourage you to check out those ones you are not familiar with, those are the real gems here. I’m going to end this introduction here and let the music speak for itself.
#10. CTM – Elsa Palma (Unkwon Remix)
Sometimes the best remixes are the ones that sound the most different from the original. And I’m not saying this remix is better than the original, because the original is GREAT. However, I really do love how it captures Cæcilie Trier’s unique and intriguing voice in almost an isolating way. The instruments are stripped and scaled down, if not taken away completely at some moments. It makes her voice sound that much more chilling. It kind of actually changes the whole mood of the song. I think I especially appreciate a remix that’s done more tastefully. It’s not shoving the song out onto the dance floor, with some “base drops” but rather encourages you get lost listening to the song while you’re by yourself. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to my most listened-to song of 2013. Enjoy.
#9. Vampire Weeknd – Ya Hey
Undoubtedly, this is my favorite song off of Modern Vampires of the City. It’s barely a rock song, but rather a marching progression of delicate sounds. Ezra Koenig croons his hardest here, while holding every “oooh” that you ever wanted to hear. You’re lost in his soothing voice as he describes some religious matter that goes right over my head. It doesn’t matter, these guys have my undivided attention. The song sounds so beautiful, but I’m almost certain that Mr. Koenig is being somewhat sarcastic in what he’s talking about. Maybe it’s a little nonsensical? With production this perfect, who cares if America, Zion, the faithless, or the zealous hearts don’t love you.
#8. When Saints Go Machine feat. Killer Mike – Love And Respect
Pretty sure this song/band will make it onto every 2013 list that I’m creating. Take this opportunity to get familiar with these Danes, as I’m sure you’ve never heard of them before. Compared to When Saints Go Machine’s other pieces of work, this song came out of left field. These guys all love hip-hop music, but this is the first of their songs to ever become one. I’d give more credit to Killer Mike on this one, but that was until I realized Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild is actually singing everything but the last verse. What really makes this song great is it’s perfect blend of hip-hop, rap, electronic beats, and beautiful singing. It’s different, but more musical acts should adopt this style and change what we’re all accustomed to listening. Love and respect for my peers, mad.
#7. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
The hype is real, my friends. After three successful and amazingly talented albums, it was questionable if the Canucks could come up with something halfway decent. Then all the buzz started with some marketing ploys that peaked our interest again. That’s when it finally hit… “Reflektor” was released and it was like nothing we had ever heard before. Everything that possibly could be packed into a 13 minute song is used, including James Murphy production and a surprise cameo by none other than Mr. David Bowie himself. Arcade Fire has yet to prove anyone wrong. I stress the “yet-ness”. But I’m good with it for now. Who can top that shit?
#6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege
This could quite possibly be Yeah Yeah Yeah’s most epic and monumental song to date. (The other of course being the mournful love song, “Maps”) Maybe it’s not even comparable at this point because both songs are coming from two different time frames for the band. ‘Sacrilege’ shows the maturity that the band has made. I mean, shit, Karen O ain’t bringing a massive backing choir for nothing. To me, what I love most about this song is how much it demands your attention. It starts off slow, yet frantic, during the chorus. By the end of the song, when the choir comes in, I dare you to change the song. I dare you.
#5. Moonface – Barbarian
This song is hands down, my personal favorite song of the year. Completely unfamiliar with any of Spencer Krug’s work, I randomly clicked on some music website’s suggestion to watch his new video for this song. Sometimes those are the most splendid, random music moments I have, and boy, was this a good one. This song is magnificently haunting. I think that would be the best way I could describe it. The song for the most part is a simple narrative with marvelous piano playing to accompany it, but when you get to the chorus it just gives you chills with the complete and utter seriousness that Spencer Krug uses to say he is indeed a barbarian. Absolutely fantastic work.
#4. Kanye West – Black Skinhead
One of the greatest times I’ve had riding my bike to work this summer was when I had this song blasting as I rolled through all the affluent neighborhoods. I felt like such a badass. Thank you Mr. West. Anyway, other than my dorky moments on a bike as a reason why I love this song, I also love this song because it’s fucking good. When Kanye is pissed off and angry, he creates some of his greatest work. This song brings so much emotion and purpose than some of his earlier work. That is his goal though. When he claims his effort isn’t fully in music anymore, I would have to disagree with a song like this. The song’s intensity is amazing and almost sounds like an anthem, without actually being one.
#3. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
THIS SONG. This fucking song. Ugh, what can I say? Let’s start with this song making me a believer in Arctic Monkeys. I mean, I kind of liked them before, but this song sold me 100%. This song made me want more. This song has been on repeat for too many times than I would care to admit. The guitar riff in this is probably the sexiest sounds I’ve heard all year. So please let me just step back and allow you to experience one of the greatest songs to hit the airwaves this year. Well done Arctic Monkeys, well done.
#2. Lorde – Royals
Where did this young girl come from and why is she so gosh darn good? Well, the answer to that is New Zealand, and she just is that damn good. I have to admit that the song “Royals” took me a little bit to warm up to. It wasn’t until The Weeknd remixed it that I truly believed the hype. I’ve managed to ignore the stupid racist accusations made toward the song, but that’s just stupid to begin with. The bottom line is this teenage girl managed to have teenage angst without sounding young and without sounding stupid. She completes the package with amazing talent, I might add. This girl gets it.
#1. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky
Daft Punk started off the year with a method that other artists soon followed. A throw back to the 1970’s, disco and funk 70’s, that is. The trend stuck to Robin Thicke and even Arcade Fire. No one else did it quite like Daft Punk though. These two robots hold a special spot in my heart, so their return was monumental to me. The song wasn’t overly complicated, but it was catchy and still had the distinctiveness of a Daft Punk song. I might’ve been the only one to not get sick of this song. Perhaps I might have reached that point if it wasn’t for Stephen Colbert’s “Colbchella” show, where he pranced all around New York to this song. From now on, whenever I hear this song I remember Colbert dancing around to the music of the robots I love, and it puts an instant smile on my face 🙂