2013: The Top 20 Best Songs

This is a post that is actually kicking off a series of posts that I refer to as “2013”. It will be a series of posts where I review the last year and look forward to the next one. I enjoy New Years because its a time to reflect, evaluate, and a chance to start over.

If I could sum up 2013 in one word it would be this: MUSIC. I’ve always loved music but this year I started expanding my taste. Thanks to the internet, I discovered so many new bands and I realized my previous music taste was SO narrow and there was so much more great stuff out there.

This is the first post in a series where I’ll try to sum up my musical love affair.

Top 20 Best Songs of 2013

The song must have been released in 2013, either as part of an album or as a single. Also, it should be noted this is MY list of songs I enjoyed the during, but not necessarily my reflection on all the songs released this year because I have not listened to everything released this year! It is specific to me, not anyone else.

20. Coldplay – “Atlas”

Opening with a classic Coldplay piano riff, Chris Martin’s haunting soft vocals, and growing into an epic portrayal of survival, Atlas is the absolute perfect song for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, but more than that, its the best Coldplay song we’ve heard in a long time and it gives hope that there might just be something great in store for their next album.

19. CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”

A band I only recently became aware of, CHVRCHES’ single reminds me of HAIM but with more synthesizers. They effortlessly combine genres to create a great tune that makes me want to delve more into synthpop.

18. Royals – “Lorde”

(Technicaly released in 2012 but nobody heard of it until early 2013) I heard it on the alternative radio sometime around the beginning of the year and while enjoying it I didn’t expect for it to amount to anything. But then when this song got big, I have to admit I loved it. Its a song that great not IN SPITE OF getting big, but BECAUSE it got big. Essentially its a song that hates on pop/hip hop lyrics, so its awesome in my book.

17. Phoenix – “Entertainment”

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was amazing, but we were afraid Phoenix couldn’t do it again. “Entertainment” erased those fears and secured Phoenix as one of the best groups on the electro-indie-rock genre, at least in my book.

16. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”

I’m not a huge Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan- although they were in the same vein as bands like The Strokes, I never enjoyed listening to them until I heard this song. It captured my attention and never let go.

15. The 1975 – “Chocolate”

Here’s the story of a band that in my opinion, is a little more popular than they should be (at least in the U.K.) because all their songs sound the same, but if you take one song by itself, it’s quite a work of art. “Chocolate” is that song- in my opinion, their best song-

14. Smallpools – “Dreaming”

Happiness, dancing, having a good time with your friends, and dreaming. Great lyrics, an indie pop/rock sound reminiscent of Passion Pit, and a band that I really hope goes a long way in the future.

13. The Killers – “Just Another Girl”

Those of you who know me know that at my heart I am truly a Victim. I profess to love a lot of bands but nothing beats my love for The Killers. They got me into loving music and I am proud to be their fan. Just Another Girl is a song from Direct Hits that harkens back to a sound most similar to “A Dustland Fairytale”- epic tale of lost love, American heartland rock mixed with British synthpop, and essentially, sounds like everything that The Killers are. The video is a love letter to their fans and to a Victim, it is perfection.

12. Imagine Dragons – “Demons”

Fellow Vegas rockers burst onto the scene right around this time last year. They had a couple of killer genre bending rock songs that fit in perfectly on mainstream radio and even a year later they haven’t disappeared. “Demons”, released as a single in 2013 (and therefore eligible for this list) is my favorite track off their debut album. It shows a soft sensitive side, but is not lacking the bombast of their real breakthrough track, “Radioactive”.

11. Muse – “Panic Station”

Infectiously catchy and aggresive, “Panic Station” is the epitome of The 2nd Law and a showcase of all that Muse does best. The kind of song you can’t help but turn up loud and sing along to, but its also deep and emotional. Another solid hit from one of the world’s best bands.

10. The Mowgli’s – “San Francisco”

Sometimes you hear a song and it gets stuck in your head and months later it still hasn’t left. It has an infectious happy vibe that just makes you smile no matter what your circumstances are. The debut single from Southern California group The Mowgli’s shows a lot of potential and a knack for catchy songwriting. Quite a standout from the U.S. this year.

9. Jake Bugg – “A Song About Love”

No, this wasn’t a single. And no, unless you’re a big fan of Jake Bugg (like I am) you probably haven’t heard of it. I heard this song when he performed it in concert and fell in love. The live versions on Youtube couldn’t do it justice, and I’m pretty sure this song alone was why I rushed to the store to buy his album when it came out. Truly a song of the year for me- its just beautiful and haunting.

8. HAIM – “The Wire”

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this was a free song on iTunes earlier this year. And I also couldn’t believe HAIM didn’t become the next big thing in the U.S. after Lorde. This song could’ve been huge on pop radio and I don’t know why it wasn’t. This is the perfect example of who HAIM is. Pop music with a groove you’ve never heard before coupled with the greatest break-up lyrics since Taylor Swift.

7. Bastille – “Pompeii”

Along with “The Wire”, “Pompeii” was also featured as a free single of the week on iTunes and that was how I first heard the song. And then I never looked back. A great offering from a promising new alt-rock group that reminds me of the British version of Imagine Dragons. This is a killer tune with some fantastic lyrics.

6. The National – “Lean”

Until this song, I never understood why The National was so great. And then this song was on the Hunger Games soundtrack and I “got it”. The lyrics are dark and haunting, but its the delivery of the lyrics that make them hit your heart and take root until you can’t think about anything else but that song. This song led me to listen to Trouble Will Find Me, which is now one of my albums of the year.

5. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

It’s a sound unlike anything you’ve heard before. Is it rock? Is it dance? Is it pop? Is it a band made of up 10 or so people all doing very different things that somehow fit together? Is that David Bowie? What’s this song about anyway? “Reflektor” is a song that upon first listen I had a million questions but all these questions just led me to listen to it over and over again. Its still one of the most interesting songs I’ve ever heard and consequently one of the best.

4. The Killers – “Shot At The Night”

This track is Brandon Flowers’ attempt at being modern- by collaborating with hit synthpop act M83- and harkening back to his roots- by writing a tune heavily influenced by the 80’s. It presents yet another sound we’ve never heard from the band who has proven they can write songs in any genre. It’s radio friendly and I hope to see the Killers work with M83 again or pursue more songs in this new direction. This song shows so much potential.

3. Vampire Weekend – “Step”

As Ezra Koenig and co. reflect on cultural changes amidst a hauntingly upbeat melody sung with a simple, soft vocal, one cannot help but be entranced by the story being told. It wasn’t a single but it is easily the best song on the album.

2. The Neighbourhood – “Sweater Weather”

Who’s the Neighbourhood? I found myself asking after hearing this song repetitively on the alternative radio. Then it started playing on mainstream radio and suddenly this song is everywhere. And what a song this is. Sexy, subtle, with a slick beat that you can’t help but move to , it reminds me a bit of what the Arctic Monkeys are doing on AM. Breakthrough Song of the Year goes to Sweater Weather. After such an incredible single I’m excited to see what the Neighbourhood does next. (And if you’re wondering, the whole album I Love You is pretty great.)

1. Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

And the song of the year goes to… the Arctic Monkeys. “Do I Wanna Know” introduced the world to a whole new Monkeys and a whole new style of music. I was a huge fan of the Monkeys’ old stuff but the new stuff is on a whole different level. “Do I Wanna Know” is the best track on a groundbreaking album and a song I am happy to assign the title of Song of the Year.