Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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...

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