2013 was another strong year for music. 2013 brought alot of big releases from some of the biggest heavy hitters in music (Jay Z, Kanye West, Eminem, One Direction, Justin Timberlake, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga, just to name a few) and also gave us the debut of some very talented new artists on the scene. (Haim, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, Chvrches, Disclosure) The end of the calendar year is always the perfect time to reflect on what’s taken place over the past 12 months and for me it’s a fun time to think about what type of music had an impact on myself this year. This list is my collection of the top 50 best songs of 2013. This list is purely based on my opinion. I took into play critical buzz, youtube hits, song likeability, and song frequency (the amount to which I heard this song repeated over the past year) in determining the breakdown of my list. This is by no means the end all be all list, just my opinion. So get your Spotify or iTunes playlists ready for this one and I hope you enjoy Al Jones’ Top 50 singles of 2013.
50. Waxahatchee-Brother Bryan
Killer bass line. Soft and touching lyrics. Welcome to the world Katie Crutchfield. There is a new dope female singer in town.
49. Migos feat. Drake- Versace (remix)
How catchy is this song? Just yell the hook over and over and over again. Drake steals the show on this club thumper.
48. Phoenix-Trying to be Cool
France’s finest five piece kept things moving with this years Bankrupt! And this is the coolest song on this album.
47. Miley Cyrus-We Can’t Stop
This song was the beginning of Miley Cyrus 2.0. An in your face urban jam who’s video let everyone know Miley isn’t a kid anymore.
46. Foxygen-No Destruction
Foxygen has taken over for MGMT in the we are cool but extremely weird department. I loved their album this year and “No Destruction” is one of the reasons why.
45. Pusha T-Numbers on the Boards
One of the hardest tracks off one of hip hop’s best releases in 2013. Pusha T is not only Kanye’s right hand man, but continues to keep “coke” relevant in hip hop.
44. Vampire Weekend-Unbelievers
Upbeat, fun loving song from a band that made “that jump” this year. Vampire Weekend are the real deal and are here to stay.
43. Kacey Musgraves-Follow Your Arrow
The only country single to crack this list, but a very worthy song indeed. Not only is this chick hot but she doesn’t shy away about controversial lyrics. Boys kissing girls and girls kissing girls. Amen. Do whatcha like!
42. Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu-Q.U.E.E.N
Monae. Badu. Same track. Equals Awesomeness. Not much more to say about this one.
41. Justin Timberlake–Pusher Love Girl
We didn’t need two 20/20 Experiences this year, but we did need to hear this song open up Part 1 to let us know that JT still has it, and can kill a good R&B groove better than anyone out there.
40. Laura Marling-Master Hunter
Another English chanteuse who kept folk music live and rocking in 2013. This song is a standout jam on her great album Once I Was An Eagle. If you don’t know about her, it’s about time you check this chick out.
39. Eminem-So Far…
Marshall came back this year and he let everyone know at age 41 he can still spit with the best of em. He samples the hell out of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good,” but it works. It doesn’t sound gimmicky to me. It’s just Em being Em.
38. Paramore-Still Into You
When this song starts I’m not sure if I am hearing a modern day version of Tony Basil’s “Mickey,” but when Haley Williams vocals kick in, you realize quickly that this is a Paramore track and a fun one at that. Catchy song.
37. Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Sacrilege
Karen O and a gospel choir. Ummmm, yeah I’ll take that. Brooklyn’s finest came back in a grand way with this indie tune of survival.
36. Empire of the Sun-Alive
I love feel good pop dance anthems. Don’t you? This Austrialian band has the format down to a science.
35. The National-Don’t Swallow the Cap
Matt Berninger and the boys of the National dropped another gem this year with their album Trouble Will Find Me. I am a huge fan of “Don’t Swallow the Cap.” I just love the groove and chorus of this song.
This is the first of three tracks by this power trio on this list. I just love this band. Infectious grooves all over this record. “Falling” is a great slice of indie pop.
33. Ace Hood feat. Rick Ross & Future-Bugatti
What would this list be without something from Rick Ross on it? Ricky Rozzay joins Future to give Ace Hood his best single yet and one of the shout out anthems of hip hop this year.
32. Phantogram-Black Out Days
Sarah Barthal and Josh Carter are maturing as musicians and sound better than they ever have before. If Black Out Days is any indication what their new album is going to sound like, we are in for a treat.
31. Volcano Choir-Byegone
I will listen to Justin Vernon on anything. Give me a Justin Vernon where his vocals are clearly audible and it’s even better. Volcano Choir is another great project from one of the top 5 most creative men in music today.
30. Arctic Monkeys-Do I Wanna Know
Doesn’t this sound like a British hip hop record? Kinda, sorta? Alex Turner is so in the groove on this song. Lyrically he is on point and the bass line on this song just thumps. Great record.
Bastille was another British import that made a nice splash on this side of the pond. Their single “Pompeii” is a great reason for their American success. Fun fact, the song was inspired by the Roman town of the same name. So not only do you get an enjoyable song to listen to, but it’s a mini history lesson as well.
28. J. Cole feat. Kendrick Lamar-Forbidden Fruit
You really can’t go wrong with a classic Tribe Called Quest groove that you get to spit over. Maybe J. Cole and Kendrick are channelling their inner Q-Tip and Pfife on this stand out cut from J.Cole’s Born Sinner album. Song is a banger.
27. Chvrches-The Mother We Share
Obsessed with Chrvches. They are one of my breakout artists of the year. Never has synth pop sounded so good. This song is the first track off their amazing debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. It sets the album off right!
26. Kanye West-Blood On the Leaves
Yeezy. Nina Simone sample. And a song about abortion. Whaaaaaaat? Yup, rawness and beauty combined. Stellar job Mr. West, Stellar job.
25. Local Natives-You and I
It kinda bothers me that this band isn’t bigger than they are yet I’m content with them staying exactly where they are so I can still see them perform at smaller venues. Local Natives are the best band that you are not listening to. People need to listen up, especially to this beautiful song that kicks off their second incredible album, Hummingbird.
24. Imagine Dragons-Radioactive
Explosive. That would be the word to describe this song and this band’s year. Welcome to the big leagues Imagine Dragons. Don’t screw it up.
23. Pearl Jam-Sirens
Eddie and the boys still got it, after all these years. In 2013 Pearl Jam released some of the best work they have made in years with Lightning Bolt. This record featured the melancholy favorite “Sirens.” Eddie Vedder can still sing his ass off. I love this song.
22. Mikal Cronin-Shout It Out
MCII, singer/songgwriter Mikal Cronin’s second album, is one of the best albums of 2013. Cronin made quite the buzz on the indie rock scene this year. “Shout it Out,” is one of the reasons why.
21. Jay Z-Picasso Baby
One of the best beats heard in hip hop all year. Jay can thank Timberland for production handles on this track in which Mr. Carter professes to us his appreciation for art. I just want a picasso, in my casa…I just want one too.
20. Justin Timberlake-Mirrors
Justin Timberlake was everywhere in 2013, but one place he definitely was, was in women’s hearts after they heard “Mirrors.” The song is classic JT. It’s emotional. It’s a very relatable song that comes with a very BIG chorus.
Another amazing debut album this year came from the English dup known as Disclosure. “Latch” is one of my favorite tracks off Settle, their amazing debut record. This song is made for the clubs and features Sam Smith on the vocals. Straight banger.
18. Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly-Do What U Want
We can thank Lady Gaga for the resurrection of Robert Kelly on the pop charts. These two vocal powerhouses teamed up for the steamy “Do What U Want” off of Gaga’s ARTPOP album. The song is one of the album’s highlights and is helping keep the big R relevant. And what an SNL performance of this!!!
17. Haim-Don’t Save Me
The highlight of my year when it came to concerts this year was watching these three sisters sing this song live on a Saturday afternoon in Austin, Texas during this years Austin City Limits Festival. Great song. Great band. LOVE.
16. RAC feat. Kele & MNDR-Let Go
Electronic music is here to stay. RAC (Remix Artist Collective) are a collection of artists who create mixes for other artists. This year they started to make their own original music and “Let Go” is their crowning achievement thus far. Never hurts when you have MNDR and Kele from Bloc Party to help you get things going.
15. Vampire Weekend-Ya Hey
Ezra Koenig is in the pocket on this gem off Vampire Weekend’s third and best album to date Modern Vampires of the City. This song makes you just want to head nod and sing. This band made huge strides in 2013.
14. Kanye West-Bound 2
I guess we can call this the love moment from Yeezus. In an album that was dark, loud, and provacative, this was Kanye’s attempt to show that he has a heart. And it also created the funniest paraody of the year starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Lauren Mayberry…I love you. Please keep making music like this. Thanks, Jonesy.
12. Big Sean feat. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electonica-Control
The world of hip hop really stopped and took notice when this track dropped on the internet earlier this fall. Kendrick Lamar’s verse is one for the ages. This song actually shut down Twitter for a couple of hours. I forget that Big Sean and Jay Electronica are even on the track, although Sean’s verse is kinda nice too. Dope collabo.
11. Arcade Fire-Reflektor
Can James Murphy produce everything? If so, we’d all be dancing alot more. Strong return from Canda’s finest product not named Drake. Welcome back Win Butler and crew.
10. Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake-Holy Grail
Has to be the best hook of the year no? I mean Justin really steals this song. It’s his song. Jay drops a couple dope bars on this track and the song appears on his album, but make no mistake, this is Justin Timberlake’s song. He kills it.
9. Avicii-Wake Me Up
If you don’t know who Aloe Blacc is, you now do. It’s his amazing soulful voice that you hear all over this record. Get to know him. He’s very good.
8. Robin Thicke-Blurred Lines
I have to admit, I hate this song, but you have to give it some props because it dominated radio all summer long. It was nice to see Pharrel back in the limelight, and I aint never mad with a dope T.I. verse.
7. Miley Cyrus-Wrecking Ball
Miley is not the biggest trainwreck out there. She is all for shock value because that grabs attention and puiblicity, but at the core of her is a talented girl who can wail and she crushes this song. Powerful ballad from one of 2013’s breakout stars.
6. Kanye West-Black Skinhead
How much do you want to see “The Wolf of Wall Street” after hearing this song blasting in the previews? This song is quintessential Kanye. Raw, aggressive, loud, and in your face. It is musical perfection. Ye can thank the dudes from Daft Punk for this gem. They share production credits with Mr. West. Awesome song.
5. Tegan and Sara-Closer
I can’t think of a more complete pop song than this. It is just perfection. Great chorus. Tegan and Sara are no longer indie darlings, they are mainstream talents now that are winning over females with their addicting music. Heartthrob is an incredible album.
4. Haim-The Wire
Fleetwood Mac meets the Eagles in 2013? I think that is a fair assessment of Haim with this track. Not much more I can say about them. You already know that I am obsessed. This is a great song from start to finish with its production to its lyrics to its delivery.
3. Drake-Hold On, We’re Going Home
You know a song is great when you have other artists covering it. I heard Arctic Monkeys and Holy Ghost do good renditions of this song. Drake hit a home run with this record. It’s the type of song the hardest hood loves and your mom loves. This song provided another opportunity to look at Drake as more than just an emcee, he is an entertainer.
Never thought a 16 year old would make one of the dopest records of the year. She did. One of the catchiest debut songs to come out in a long long time.
1. Daft Punk feat. Pharrel and Nile Rodgers-Get Lucky
This was my favorite song of the summer. The Robots returned and our world is such a better place with them in it. Random Access Memories was one of the most buzzed about comeback albums in recent years and music fans of all kind couldn’t wait for Daft Punk to make new music again. They blasted us all with the feel good groove of the year. In the summer of 2013 we all couldn’t wait to get lucky! Thanks for that feeling Daft Punk.