Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2013 - part 2

Ok, now we're getting to the meaty morsels.
This is getting more in depth than I intended, so from here on resides 25-11. Top 10 to come soon.

Don't spoil the fun by reading ahead! Click here for 50-26


25. THE GAME OF LOVE | Daft Punk
Sometimes the best examples of pure production prowess hide within the slow jams. This thing is pure ear candy. Every sonic element clicking with razor sharp precision. And on top of it, for the first time there is a surprising emotional weight to The Robots. Is this a song about a lovesick android? You bet it is. 

24. RECOVER | Chvrches
One of the best spritely melodies dancing around this year. I liked it so much I found myself disappointed that the album itself didn't have as many like it. But I sure do adore this one. And it has nothing to do with how adorable Lauren Mayberry is. (Although, let's be honest, it helps.)

23. LATCH | Disclosure
(feat. Sam Smith)
The fact that a song like this is merely #28 on this list is a testament to the sheer quantity of quality tunes that came out this year. Listen to Sam Smith belt the hell out of that chorus! Dayum. DAY-UM.

22. IF I HAD A TAIL | Queens of the Stone Age
Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to really soak in the album this hails from. All I know is this here blazer rocks me sideways. Hot damn. The gnarly guitars, Dave Grohl's kit banging... I can't help but do this face listening. 

21. OVERGROWN | James Blake
It should be mentioned that one has absolutely no business listening to James Blake without proper bass capabilities in whatever sound system or headphone you are utilizing. Sure, you can appreciate Blake's soulful croon, but if you can't feel that bass...you are missing the point. You need to be better at life.

20. THAT GIRL | Justin Timberlake
JT and the Tennessee Kids bring you some old school soul goodness. Fantastic harmonies, and some of JT's finest vocal work on the album. The larynx acrobatics featured in the second verse make me swoon. 

19. INGENUE | Atoms For Peace
That's some nasty synth goin' down. Nothing to hate here. And it sure is fun to watch Thom dance, is it not? It is. Don't forget the incredible (for completely different reasons) live version. Thom, my soul delights in you.

18. SHE FOUND NOW | my bloody valentine
Before you click this link, I hope you turn up your sound as loud as you can comfortably manage. As opening track to the flawless mbv, it was a perfect "welcome back." Fuzzy, dreamy, sexy, PERFECT. I can't help but be reminded of "Sometimes" from Loveless, and that is never a bad thing.

Haim was able to channel quite a few voices of the past on their debut, lyrically and musically. Amy Grant is the first one to come to mind with this track. One of a handful of perfect pop songs they blessed us with this year. 

16. INVADER INVADER | Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
If I haven't converted you up to this point, it's probably safe to say this won't help matters. But take an honest listen to this song (with the video, of course), and just imagine this blasting in a club of some sort. You can't tell me this wouldn't blow your mind. How about that faux-dubstep interlude at 2:25? It's a straight up bar burner. The song is about taking over the world. With beams from her eyes and missles from her ears. It's gonna happen. Deal with it.

15. BRENNISTEINN | Sigur Rós
The title means "brimstone." That alone should give you an idea of what to expect. When that cello bowed guitar roars to life, it could basically double as Smaug's theme song. Bilbo would shite in his suspenders if her heard this song. An unexpected journey, indeed.

14. ROAR | Katy Perry
Yes, you are reading that right. Don't argue with me. This song is pop gold. Katy has never been known for great lyrics, but what she does have is a sense of awareness and some of the best damn melodies on the radio, or anywhere. Plain and simple. Don't hate. Just turn off your radio. 

13. 24 HOURS | Sky Ferreira
It's been said everywhere on the blogosphere, but this is the best John Hughes song of the year. Similar to Katy's "Roar," it's a simple pop song with an epic chorus. But what this has that "Roar" doesn't is a little more "hip" and a lot more genuine emotion. Sky is singing her heart out. And it's lovely. 

12. MIDDLE SEA | Yuck
I'm going to be completely open with you guys and admit that when I blast this song and sing along, I almost want to cry. It's an anthem. It's "Roar" for a more discerning soul. It sounds like junior high. It sounds like anything is possible. It's got horns. It's so choice. 

11. DON'T SAVE ME | Haim
The last three tracks before this have been emotional anthems in different degrees. If we're holding to that small trend for the time being, this is definitely the greatest of that  collective. The video shows the Haim sisters holding their own against some ballaz. It's that kind of song. But it also has "Takemeback, take-take-takemeback." And that means it wins.

to be concluded...

Favorite Songs of 2013

my very favorite songs of this year passed. A few things to consider...

Of the 1500+ tracks I digested this year, these are my favorite 50. I rarely do a list this large, but 2013 was just asking for it. There was simply way too much tasty tuneage that rocked my world, and leaving out any of these just felt like a sin. I still had to leave out some scorchers, so it very easily could have been longer.

Also, the usual dilemma when putting together a favorite songs list stands with including multiples of any certain artist/album. Obviously, certain artists had more than one great song this year. Including them all risks sacrificing variety, and is perhaps less interesting. But, not including them is lying to myself. So, while one of my goals is to share good tunes with you, it is not my intent to give you a list of YOUR favorites. These are MY favorites. And my favorites include multiple songs from a handful of artists. So, I figure if anyone has a problem with that, they can suck it

With that said...here is 50-26 (I'll at least do you the service of breaking it up. You're welcome.) Each track name is linked to a video of the song itself. So, clicky. 

50. RAMPAGE | Kavinksy
The appeal of this tune, for me, is 98% nostalgic shock. It's basically no more than a danced-up sample of some Dragonball Z music (Japanese version, of course). Wonder how many people noticed that...? 

49. YA HEY | Vampire Weekend
Lotta catchy goodness coming from V-Dubya this year, but this bit of philosophical melancholy was my fav. 

48. DANCE APOCALYPTIC | Janelle Monáe
Hard to go wrong with The Electric Lady herself. Doin' her thang all sorts of right on this one. The video really adds to the awesome. 

A crushing dub groove, some nasty bass noises, and sharp frustration aimed at self-righteous religious hypocrisy make for some good listening here. 

46. BLACK SKINHEAD | Kanye West (Explicit)
It's no secret that I'm no fan of Kanye. But despite that, he manages to hook me with at least a track or two every time he releases an album. This beat is just too tasty. Damn him.

45. SKIPPING | Milosh 
Most of his tracks are pretty subtle and understated. But when those synths swirl to life around the 36 second mark, this sucker takes off floating on Milosh's airy vocals all the way home. 

44. A DANCING SHELL | Wild Nothing
This funky standout from Wild Nothing's fantastic Empty Estate EP is best heard in context of that release, or while watching the fabulously trippy video. Go ahead. You're welcome. 

43. PULL YOU DOWN | Washed Out
My first listen of the breezy Paracosm was through an NPR stream. I enjoyed the album, but it was the final track and it's spacey reggae bounce that really stood out to me. It wasn't until I bought the album myself that I realized it was actually a non-album "bonus track." Go figure!

42. PROOF | Paramore
Lemme tell ya somethin'... Paramore know how to write them a catchy chorus. Just listen to this pop-rockin' gem and try not to nod your head to that cherry groove. 

41. À TOUT À L'HEURE | Bibio
This light summertime jam is a bit of an anomaly on a mostly low-key instrumental album. That's probably why it stands out so nicely. I sure do miss warm weather right about now.

40. SUIT & TIE | Justin Timberlake
When JT dropped this, his first single in many a year, the blatant MJ-ness of it was just too much to resist. Even though I could do without HOVA's rap interlude, it's still one sweet bit o' honey.  

Yuck really wants us all to remember just how killer the early 90's were. And for those that weren't around, just watch this video and get a full dose of audio-visual nostalgia. Yuck knows where it's at. 
38. CALIFORNIA | Mazzy Star
Very 90's in a completely different way, this hypnotic lullabye is nothing much more than  acoustic guitar and Hope Sandoval's soothing sigh. I swear I can hear raindrops fall as this song progresses. And that whispering guitar outro...sshhh. Time to sleep. 

37. HELP ME LOSE MY MIND | Disclosure 
(feat. London Grammar)
More 90's throwback goodness (a lot of that this year). This song reminds me of my favorite movie soundtracks as a kid. The ones that all seemed to have great dance driven power ballads. Makes me wish I paid more attention to London Grammar themselves this year. Maybe I'll do that right now... 

36. CHLOROFORM | Phoenix
I kind of thought Bankrupt! was a little light on straight up bangers. The grooves were there, but they just seemed light. Except for "Chloroform." This sucker's beat takes it's time. Phoenix's best songs tend to be emotional chameleons, songs that might be happy or sad depending on your mood. This is no exception.

35. FURISODATION | Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
The 20 year old Japanese pop diva is singing about coming of age in this wonderfully jazzy schizophrenic number. And if the video is any indication, her party was quite the event. This song and the video (like everything she does) is ridiculously contagious. It must be seen to be believed. 

34. THE FALL | Rhye
Sometimes there is just too much sultry goodness in one song. This is one such song. Mike Milosh has such a wonderfully androgynous voice and that rolling piano groove is so silky smoov. Is it legal to have this much sexy in one song? Don't know. Don't care.

33. IT IS WHAT IT IS | Blood Orange
Dev Hynes, you saucy minx. There are a handful of similarly juicy tracks on Cupid Delux that could've fit on this list somewhere, but that lovely chorus sung by Samantha Urbani puts this one on a pedestal. And Dev's "Time Will Tell" reprise that closes the album gives this track a bit more weight in the grand scheme of things. 

32. BYGONE | Volcano Choir
This is a builder. It just builds. Until suddenly guitars chime and Justin Vernon shouts "SET SAAAAIL!" I have no idea what the rest of lyrics mean. But belting "set sail" just works. With the wind and the sky and everything. Ahoy. 

Chino Moreno is no stranger to sexy metal. And it would seem that teaming with some of the Isis fellows was a good idea. Hence, this lush little ditty. Not sure I dig the fireball eyes at the end of the video...but I guess the perdy lady he's creepin' on was just too much woman for him to handle.

30. DOIN' IT RIGHT | Daft Punk  
(feat. Panda Bear)
You almost forget Random Access Memories was made after 1981 until suddenly a song like this pops up. Panda Bear sounds as amazing as he ever has riding a light hip-hop groove alongside The Robots Daft. What a sound. My mom said it's her favorite. 

29. FASHION MONSTER | Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
I actually heard this one last year, long before the album's official release. It almost made an appearance on my 2012 list, but a little simmering and some album context shot it up my list for this year. Melodically infectious, and completely absurd. Check out the rabbit man and his keytar. 

28. A TOOTH FOR AN EYE | The Knife
The Knife were being difficult on purpose this year. But it didn't stop them from pumping out this tribal chunk of audio candy. When Karin Dreijer screaches "I'm telling stories trust meeeeeeeeeeee," you know it's official. Trust is all you can do. 

27. WHO SEES YOU | my bloody valentine
Eight beats of the drum, and suddenly a tidal wave of guitar envelopes you. No use fighting the tide, just ride it home. There is no band in the world that sounds like this, try as they may. Listen to that chord progression. Rarely does anything sound so soothing and loud at the same time. Could this be how babies feel in the womb? 

26. HOW'S IT WRONG | Toro y Moi
There's some old school fusion going on here. Somehow those synths remind me of Warren G mixed with Sonic the Hedgehog. And that imagery is just too magical. What else is there to say?

to be continued...