Last year wasn’t a bad year for music. It just wasn’t necessarily good. There were a few notable high points, some low points, but for the most part, it was just business as usual. In 2013, we saw Miley Cyrus’ coming out party, Justin Bieber’s impending meltdown, and Kanye West’s ego reach an all time high while breeding with fellow media pimp Kim Kardashian (a match made in baby naming hell). In other parts of the music world, Justin Timberlake returned and instead of bringing sexy back, he brought back mediocrity, while Bruno Mars brought back old school bubble gum. Two unknowns made a surprising emergence into the music scene this year, including rapper Trinidad James and singer Lorde, who both signed multimillion dollar recording and publishing contracts based only on their potential. That should make you feel really good about that nasty student loan that just won’t go away.
The grim reaper claimed many in the music community, including country greats George Jones and Mindy McCready, funk jazzman George Duke, Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed, Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Chris Kelly aka Kriss Kross, 1 Devo, 1 Slayer, 1 Spinner, 2 Temptations and 1 Ohio Player.
Robin Thicke eclipsed his father’s fame, The Florida Georgia Line extended from coast to coast, Imagine Dragons breathed fire, Beyonce went on tour and conquered the world, and Adele finally went away. But lets get to the point of this retrospective. Here are my top ten picks for songs that hit the terrestrial waves in 2013.
Feel free to let me know if I missed something.
Number 10: “Tom Ford” JayZ. With a minimalist approach to a stellar production Jigga created this 3 minute, 15 second endorsement for a designer who makes clothes only he and Warren Buffet can afford.
Number 9: “Get Lucky” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell and Nile Rodgers. These 2 faceless synthpop veterans resurrect Nile Rodgers, the greatest rhythm guitarist of all times, from the disco era to modern relevancy. Welcome Back.
Number 8:”Hail To The King” Avenged Sevenfold. With a hot guitar riff running down the spine of this number and a soaring guitar solo at the heart we should all stand and proclaim HAIL TO THE 80’s. This song is a throwback jersey with a current superstar name on the back.
Number 7: “Feds Watching” 2 Chains and Pharrell. These number 7 stunnas create the ultimate rump shaker which reminds us that if your’re about to go to the Federal Penitentiary you may as well look great while you wait for that gavel to drop.
Number 6: “Swimming Pools” Kendrick Lamar. In his major label debut this rapper, that actually uses his real name, provides a foolproof formula for alcohol overdose. Rehab clinic owners, nationwide, gasp in horror at the prospect of mass bankruptcy.
Number 5: “Same Love” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. A little preachy and a little tear jerky but very topical, extremely bold and totally responsible. This ditti by this underground rap duo also pissed off a lot of moralists, and that’s always a lot of fun.
Number 4: “Scream and Shout” will i am and Britney Spears.
This electronic stomper with the trite lyrics and the storm trooper marching beat is the feel good song of the year in which Britney Spears gives herself a cute new middle name.
Number 3: “Roar” Katy Perry. This video is a motivational speech wrapped in a leopard skin bikini. Listen to this pick me up chorus, get over your hard time and take control of your life one step at a time. Did I mention Katy Perry is in leopardskin?
Number 2: “Started From The Bottom” Drake. In the best rags to riches song since Biggie Smalls’ “Juicy” Drake goes from typical teenage family squabbles to “half a million for a show,” with the rhythmic agility of an Olympic gymnast. Loyalty to old friends and humbly enjoying the trappings of wealth are themes explored in this ode to remembering where you came from. Here Drake is the everyday person implying that there is hope for greatness in all of us.
Number 1: Take a piece of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and add a pinch of Freddie Mercury and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and you have this self penned hit by the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Brilliant multi part vocal harmony, all handled by this teen phenom, coupled with sparse instrumentation catapulted this unknown songstress from New Zealand to the toast of the Western Hemisphere.