An entire year of music, summed up into one list … what a daunting task! Music is entirely subjective to a person’s taste, mood, experience with said song, or opinion on the band to begin with. However, when we think of a “best of” compilation, our goal is not to boast what we think you should be (or should have been) listening to and we’re certainly not trying to downplay any of the other annual mentionables. This list is to showcase talent, to point out the 24 songs we deemed noteworthy from January to December of the year Two Thousand and Thirteen.
2013 proved to be one of intriguing collaborations, ever-uncertain sophomoric album releases, new beginnings, pleasantly surprising masterpieces, and underdog victories. Our list begins with a painstakingly beautiful testament on love called “Song For Zula” from Phosphorescent, followed by a bourbon smoked declaration spat out in near spoken word style from the music industry’s most boundary pushing newcomer this year, King Krule. Standing tall and lanky, with fire-vibrant hair and pallid countenance, Archy Marshall (aka King Krule, formerly known as Zoo Kid) has the voice of a man who’s been to hell and back, booming over the mic. Only he just turned nineteen. He will appear again at the end of the list, spewing lyrical violence over Mount Kimbie’s synth-laced and jazz-infused “You Took Your Time”.
Also on the rise over 2013, we saw the return of the female power pop wave. In the wake of more mainstream controversy queens like Miley Cyrus and Sky Ferreira, the year offered up some diamonds in the rough. First, we have British dance pop maven Charli XCX with her infectious hit “Nuclear Seasons”. Although this song technically released in 2012, its official appearance on 2013’s True Romance makes it a year’s best. In the same rhythmic vein this year were Glasgow darlings Chvrches with “The Mother We Share” and, perhaps even lesser known Swedes, Kate Boy with “Northern Lights” off its EP of the same title. Then we have the sisters Haim, oh yes, the wild-maned power trio from our very own San Fernando Valley. Although the entire album is worth mentioning, we chose to showcase “Don’t Save Me” for its über catchy hook (and you’ve probably heard The Wire about 2,013 times already since their album dropped in September.)
For fans of Sade and sultry slow jams in general, we have included Rhye’s intimate, androgynous croon “Open”. Then, just to balance things out, Superhumanoids’ female/male duet, “Geri”, yet another 2012 track that transferred over to this year’s release from the LA band’s album Exhibitionists, a modern nod to 80s synth-tastic sound. This list goes on to include several other gender rivaling rollouts like Poliça and Justin Vernon’s “Tiff” (who’s sophomore album Shulamith is a best-of as a whole) and Sia’s contribution to Hunger Games: Catching Fire, featuring vocals from The Weeknd and production from Diplo. Did we really just do that? Yes, yes we did. May the odds be ever in your favor, “Elastic Heart”, you deserve a round of applause for totally owning the soundtrack scene this year.
Speaking of sonic towers of power, can we all just take a moment to recognize the sheer genius of these next three? We’ve got the warmest welcome back to Midlake, for backtracking and revamping their band to create an album, which they state as “the most honest representation” of them to date. The title track, “Antiphon” does just that. It reinstates them into the world of indie rock as front-runners, finally receiving their well-deserved moment in the sun. You know who else is enjoying an equally as deserving bask? Arctic Monkeys. Weighing in with potentially the best album of the year, our choice for best song out of many would have to go to “R U Mine”. Off the rock and roll beaten path we’ve got Son Lux, a composer and musician from New York that absolutely nailed it with his 2013 masterpiece Lanterns, off which we’ve added “Lost It To Trying”, a hauntingly operatic-meets-electronic creation that is unlike anything we’ve ever heard.
We could go on and on. These songs, along with all of the other gems, comprise our Best of 2013 playlist made just for you.
Give it a spin here: