Since the year-end traditionally leads to year-end lists, I figured why not join in the bandwagon fun? I present, in no particular order and with no deep thought involved, really, my list of favorite songs of 2013.
1. Instant Crush, Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas. From the artist names alone this is pretty much self-explanatory. Daft Punk is the reigning royalty of electronica, and anything the Strokes front man does is just New York-swagger cool. Heck even Casablancas’ grocery list is probably also cool. Put them together and you know you are bound to get something magical on the side of the synth. It’s electronica ear-candy at first listen. The music video seals the deal.
2. Shot in the Night, The Killers. The band seemed to have made it their musical mission to showcase every dirt and sparkly dust there is in the good old deserts of Nevada. This new single off their 10-year anniversary collection Direct Hits does just that, featuring an outstandingly gorgeous hotel maid getting “some kind of experience” with a good-lookin’ rich hotel guest with a heart of gold. The song is the perfect mix of synth and arena-style bombast. And also, there is something just Vegas-style romantic about a tanned, slick-haired Brandon Flowers in a leather jacket sans the feathers.
3. Do I Wanna Know? Arctic Monkeys. The subtlety and actual rhythm of this song is a good surprise, a far cry from the beloved metal spasms of their first couple albums. Now I loved Favorite Worst Nightmare, et al, but Alex Turner and the boys seem to have matured nicely in their 5th album AM, well evidenced by this single. Ironically though this is the kind of song I would imagine Alex to be singing to ex-girlfriend Alexa Chung. But that’s so 2007.
4. I Could’ve Been Your Girl, She & Him. Anything Zooey Deschanel does comes sprinkled with fairy dust, very much like her bangs, vintage everything, and raspy, old soul voice. Together with musical soul mate M.Ward, the pair released their 60’s throwback album Volume 3, featuring this song that repeats the line “you could’ve been my four-leaf clover” until it gets stuck in your consciousness, and tops that with a music video featuring the most adorable dance sequence ever. Props.
5. Mirrors, Justin Timberlake. The man sure knows how to stage a comeback. Undeniably much older now from his lankier, gangsta-er self from his Justified days, the President of Pop has aged like fine wine, as this song and its correspondingly beautiful video can attest to. Circa Cry Me a River/What Goes Around but sans the bitterness and with more doses of love, Mirrors is JT music, elevated.
6. Give Me a Reason, Pink featuring Nate Ruess. This song has been butchered in many singing reality shows and karaoke bars around the world, but none of that makes it less than perfect in my ears. Pink teamed up with Nate Ruess about the same time I discovered F.U.N. in my life (haha get it?), which just goes to show how bad ass and Grammy-smart she is. The lyrics, per usual Alicia-Moore-style, are not pretentious and are just 360 degrees relatable.
7. Wrecking Ball, Miley Cyrus. I hate myself for putting this in, but it is better than being a hypocrite. Let us be clear: I do not agree with how Miley is basically self-detonating and tweeting about it. I’ve never seen the video below and have no plans to. But when I first heard this song, I immediately wanted a repeat, balked a little when I learned it’s Miley, then made peace with myself that as Sinead O’Connor said, the girl does have musical talent. Rant/rave over, Jekyll/Hyde out.
8. One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks), One Direction. Since we’re being honest, I might as well admit this boy band glitch in my musical system. 1D songs are catchy, okay? But this cover is basically what warmed me up to them because 1. it’s a cover and a medley of two awesome songs. No fair really because Blondie + The Undertones basically = no love lost. And 2., because of the non-dance, dancing in the video. Yep.
9. Cups (When I’m Gone), Anna Kendrick. The hook to me for Pitch Perfect was, “if you don’t like Glee, you’ll love Pitch Perfect.” As a matter of fact, I liked Glee. (About 2-3 seasons ago, but still.) And I loved Pitch Perfect. I watched it with a wary heart as the premise read all flavors of corny, but the moment Anna got on the stage and sang with that cup beat, I was sold.
10. When I Was Your Man, Bruno Mars. Like all artists who broke records with their very first album, Bruno found himself on the receiving end of mixed reviews for his sophomore effort, Unorthodox Jukebox. The album may not be perfect and perfectly catchy as his debut, but doesn’t mean it is lacking hits. When I Was Your Man has Mr Mars at his ballady best – raw, emotional and honest. Plus the afro was cool.
Cheers 2013! You were a good year for music.