Hello again! This year was a pretty good year for music, so I had a hard time narrowing things down to my favorite 10 or 13 or whatever songs. Well, that’s not exactly true. I didn’t really have a “hard time” narrowing down the list because I didn’t make much of an effort at all to narrow down the list. I just liked a lot of songs. Sorry. Deal with it.
As always, these are not necessarily the “best” songs of the year. But they are some of my favorites—or perhaps they inexplicably got a high “play count” on the ol’ Google Music list. Oh, and fine, maybe one or two of them technically came out in 2012. But if the U.S. official release was in 2013, or if Google Music says it came out in 2013, well then that’s good enough for me. (Also good enough for me: finding out about a song in 2013 that came out in 2012 and just adding it to the list anyway because I don’t care.)
1. Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu — Q.U.E.E.N.
1a. Janelle Monae — We Were Rock and Roll
1b. Vampire Weekend — Ya Hey
I’m not going to rank the rest of the list, but I think these were my favorite three songs of the year. So so good. And both albums were good too. Yes, I was hating on Vampire Weekend when this album came out. I’m not sure I like them but I definitely like the album. And Janelle Monae is great.
2. Arcade Fire — Here Comes the Night Time
I wasn’t in love with this year’s Arcade Fire album at first. And, to be honest, I’m still not in love with it. But I like it a lot. And this is a solid song. Though really, I would not be choosing this song over some others on the album were it not for this video, made by @Seinfeld2000 (the parody account of the Seinfeld parody account):
Okay, now that the embedded videos are out of the way, on to the rest of the list! (Click on song titles for videos.)
Phosphorescent — The Quotidian Beasts — I really really liked this song, even though it is basically a remake of Wicked Game. Seriously. Listen to Wicked Game again and then tell me you disagree.
Lightning Dust — Loaded Gun — I liked the album okay, but this was by far my favorite song. Yes, the beginning sounds a bit like “Closer” by NIN. Don’t let that scare you. Otherwise not at all a similar song!
The National — Don’t Swallow the Cap — Sure, it’s not Alligator or Boxer, but this is a solid song.
M.I.A. — Y.A.L.A. — Somehow, Bad Girls is on this album AGAIN. She released it as a single back in 2012 and then she had previously released it on the Vicki Leekx internet mixtape on New Year’s midnight 2010/2011. It was on my list the previous two years so I have to pick a different song this time. Here you go.
San Cisco — Awkward — Okay, so I think this song came out in 2012. I don’t care. It’s so catchy and good. And the lyrical call and response is pretty good. Leave hear alone dude.
Lil Debbie — Bake a Cake — Okay, this is not a good song. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t listen to it a bunch in 2013. It’s not as good as Gucci Gucci, but that’s a high standard.
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down — Kindness Be Conceived — A solid/fun album! I had to pick one song off of this one, and I’m pretty sure this is my favorite. This is one of those albums I bought because Sonic Boom (my neighborhood record store) had a poster up and the album available to listen/sample at the store. Ooh! Bonus! In finding the video for this song I found out that other person’s voice is indeed Joanna Newsom!
Chvrches — Recover — Solid album; hard to choose a song!
HAIM — If I Could Change Your Mind — Another really fun/solid album; another difficult time choosing one song.
Jake Bugg — Lightning Bolt — Okay, yes, this was out in 2012 (at least in the UK it was!) and then it was in a Gatorade commercial in the US. I don’t care! I like it!
Major Lazer feat. Santigold — You’re No Good — Nothing much to say here. A fun song to run to.
Camera Obscura — New Year’s Resolution — A really pretty song, fitting for an end-of-year list. I liked this album a lot, and they played a great show too!
Tegan and Sara — Closer — A solid song to listen to in the car and rock out a bit. Who cares if the people in the car next to you think you’re a weirdo?
Local Natives — Heavy Feet — So I liked this album, but I was surprised to see how much I listened to it this year. And then I went back and listened to it again today, and wouldn’t you know it: it’s really good! So enjoy.
Jessie Ware — Wildest Moments — Really fun album and a really really fun show at the Neptune. She’s got this sort of mid/early-90s R&B-ish vibe to her. Maybe not so much on this song, but generally. Whatever. A really fun/good album.
Lorde — Tennis Court — Okay, obviously, Royals was in everyone’s head all year. And it was a great song. So really, Royals should be on the list. But I felt like giving a little pub to my second favorite song on the album. Not sure why I like it so much. I think part of it is how tough she sounds during the chorus when she says she wants to go talk at a tennis court. What?
Rhye — The Fall — Okay, it’s a solid album that basically sounds almost like a bunch of Sade covers. That’s good enough for me. Take a listen to the song. And then there’s the album itself, give it a look:
And the name of the album is “Woman” right? Okay, here is a picture of the man who sings the song:
Pretty cool, huh? Not at all what I was expecting.
The Head and the Heart — Another Story — Ballard’s own! Since they are from the area, I figured I’d link to a live performance they did for KEXP. Good stuff. And they were nice enough to do a limited powder blue vinyl release at Sonic Boom for the locals. Thanks!
Okay, that’s about all I’ve got! I’m looking forward to another good year of music. And please leave your favorite songs of the year in the comments! My favorite part of doing this is hearing other folks’ year-end lists and getting even more new music that I’d missed the previous year.
Happy New Year y’all!