YEAR IN REVIEW: Top 100 Songs of 2013 [25-1]

(left to right) Daft Punk, Lorde, Justin Timberlake
(left to right) Daft Punk, Lorde, Justin Timberlake

For songs 100-76, click here.

For songs 75-51, click here.

For songs 50-26, click here.

25

/// PUSHA T Numbers On The Board

24

/// DAFT PUNK (FEAT. PHARRELL & NILE ROGERS) Get Lucky

I remember when “Get Lucky” was first released; it was only days after the horrific Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt to capture the Tsarnaev brothers. Something about the timing of Daft Punk’s biggest hit to date seemed fitting, as if they were lifting the weight of the world off our backs, and telling it’s okay to dance… and sometimes, you just need to be lucky.

23

/// VAMPIRE WEEKEND Hannah Hunt

“Hannah Hunt” is the show-stopping track midway through Vampire Weekend’s stunning 2013 collection. Lead singer Ezra Koenig still writes lyrics in a way that only he can, yet he’s refined the process to get the strongest emotional pull out of its listener as possible. The climactic finale only cements the song’s placement in the upper echelon of the year.

22

/// KANYE WEST Blood On The Leaves

21

/// DANNY BROWN Dip

20

/// JAGWAR MA The Throw

19

/// RUSTIE Slasherr

The line between heavy metal and electronica has never been closer than on Rustie’s earth-shattering 2013 single “Slasherr.” The song shoots the speakers like chainsaws on ice, and the bloodbath that ensues is both cleansing and a whoooole lot of cleanup.

18

/// KURT VILE Goldtone

The closing track off Kurt Vile’s Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze is also its best. “Goldtone” slowly unfurls over 10 minutes, but it doesn’t matter, because like leaving a party too early, you want to hang on to every last note, before it ends.

17

/// CHANCE THE RAPPER (FEAT. BJ THE CHICAGO KID) Good Ass Intro

Leave it to a precocious teenage rapper to make an intro track one of the best of the year. “Good Ass Intro” is one hell of an opening statement for Chance The Rapper, who is full of taunts and has the support system to back them up. “If you ever actually hit me, better watch out for my brother / Better yet I’ll take that deal, better watch out for my mother,” he raps.

16

/// SAVAGES She Will

15

/// THE NATIONAL Pink Rabbits

14

/// CHARLI XCX What I Like

Charli XCX’s 2013 was one she won’t soon forget. Besides assisting in Icona Pop’s spring hit single “I Love It,” she also released her own album of some of the best pop music of the year. One of the best of the lot is “What I Like,” which features an assured and confident vocal performance from XCX, all held together by another one of her indelible electro-pop productions.

13

/// THE UNDERACHIEVERS Herb Shuttles

12

/// BLOOD ORANGE You’re Not Good Enough

11

/// TORRES Honey

Torres‘ kicked off the year on a right note, as “Honey” stormed out of the gate with a delicate intensity no one was able to match in 2013. “Oh honey / While you were ashing in your coffee / I was thinking bout telling you / What you’ve done to me,” sings Torres, exposing her soul in the process. It’s her ability to mix the mundane with the illuminating, and how those two never see eye-to-eye, that creates a devastating portrait of at least one musician’s young life.

10

/// KANYE WEST (FEAT. FRANK OCEAN) New Slaves

9

/// LORDE Team

While Lorde was busy making a name for herself with the sleeper hit “Royals,” she also took to task the pop music industry machine and it’s perpetuation of harmful female stereotypes. Her words, and their direction towards Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez hit some people the wrong way. What her detractors forgot, or were just too plain ignorant to research, was that Lorde’s 2013 Pure Heroine is full of anthemic, communal tracks that find joy in our common bonds. Take for example the excellent, and future smash single, “Team.” Despite what she has written, Lorde sings, “And you know / We’re on each other’s team.” Just like any great teammate, Lorde will congratulate you when your successful, but will not let that get away from offering constructive criticism when the occasion warrants.

8

/// EARL SWEATSHIRT (FEAT. VINCE STAPLES & CASEY VEGGIES) Hive

7

/// HAIM The Wire

6

/// DARKSIDE Paper Trails

5

/// PHOSPHORESCENT Song For Zula

“Song For Zula” was originally released in late 2012, yet it’s impact has been felt more than a year after its initial release. For one, let’s talk about those strings. How they are able to illicit such a strong emotional response is beyond me, but between those strings and Matthew Houck’s affecting, visceral vocal performance, nothing sounded as painstakingly beautiful as “Song For Zula.”

4

/// DISCLOSURE When A Fire Starts To Burn

3

/// VAMPIRE WEEKEND Ya Hey

There are a lot of things I can point to that make me feel like an old man, from every time I go to a gas station and see that MUST BE BORN ON OR BEFORE THIS DAY sign acknowledging cigarette and liquor age restrictions, and how wrong it is that someone born in 1995 can now by cigarettes, to every time I watch collegiate sports. But what makes me feel older than any of that is how far Vampire Weekend has come. It still doesn’t seem possible that they’ve been around for more than half of a decade, that is until you hear something like “Ya Hey,” which far exceeds the best moments of any of their previous two albums. It’s a festival anthem in making, with Koenig’s unbridled emotions taking his vocals to places few thought possible years ago. While 2010’s Contra showed strides in the band making more expansive, substantial songs, there was something very insular about the whole thing. Yet on “Ya Hey” the band aims for the rafters and land in the clouds. 

2

/// AUTRE NE VEUT Play By Play

“And I say / Baby,” begins Autre Ne Veut’s gargantuan “Play By Play.” Over twinkling, starlit synthesizers, he belts that phrase four times, each one taking more breath and blood from Arthur Ashin, who records under the Autre Ne Veut moniker. From their, the song builds, and builds, and builds, and then builds some more, until the seal is cracked like a tea kettle violently whistling. “I just called you up / To get that play by play / By play by play / Don’t ever leave me alone,” sings Ashin, hanging on to every note. You get the feeling that this is his last chance to make an impression on whoever it is he’s singing about, and he holds on to it as long as he can. It’s that intensity that fuels the song, saving it from being considered an overwrought self-indulgence, and making it an earnest, passionate plea to finding the strength to survive life’s most challenging moments. It doesn’t get much more honest than this. 

1

/// DRAKE (FEAT. MAJID JORDAN) Hold On, We’re Going Home

We started from 100, now we’re here. Drake has been the target of many in the hip-hop community for his proclivity to sing on his own records, which somehow makes his music “soft” according to his detractors. Well, Drake took those verbal jabs to heart and he acted accordingly. Not only does he not rap on “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” the year’s best track, he delivers a remarkable vocal performance, as if to give his haters a middle finger by flashing them a peace sign.

“I got my eye on you,” begins Drake, cutting straight to the point. He’s never pushy, and the allure comes from his dedicated delivery, as he owns every moment with a tender, loving care. Each moment further cements the song’s place among the best of this century, from that glossy, sun soaked bridge to those fantastic background falsetto vocals courtesy of R&B group Majid Jordan.

True to its place on top of this chart, the song has inspired some of the best covers of the year, from Dev Hynes to Holy Ghost! to Arctic Monkeys. The best of the lot is most definitely Holy Ghost!’s, which replaces Drake’s modern touches with some disco touches even Daft Punk must applaud. But without the outstanding original, none of those splendid covers would exist. With “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Drake made the year’s strongest case for the removal of genre labels and made it look entirely effortless. There’s nothing more endearing than his utter devotion to crafting what will be considered a classic in the years to come, unafraid of confronting his detractors with a heavy dose of affection. All he asks for in return is hot love and emotion, endlessly.

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