From radio hits to deep album cuts, I was impressed by a countless amount of songs this year. Granted, I’ve probably listened to more music this year than I ever have too. Having said that, some of these decisions were a lot more difficult than others, but I think I’ve made a list that gives just enough variety and is still mainstream accessible. Let’s get to it:
5. “Wild for the Night” by A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex and Birdy Nam Nam – Figuring out which song would juuuust make the list was the most difficult decision of any of the songs, and this one was actually a last second substitution for “Fuckin’ Problems”. There are a lot of great tracks from Rocky’s debut album, but when it comes down to it, this rap/techno collaboration gets me more amped than even the smash single. The track does a much better job (comparatively) showcasing A$AP’s rapping chops, and we get more of deep-voiced A$AP as well, which I’m quite the fan of. For lack of a better term, this is the ultimate 2013 track to wild out to.
4. “Collard Greens” by ScHoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar – What “Collard Greens” does best is give off a chill vibe while still hyping you up. From recent memory, there are few songs that can accomplish this. The first song that comes to mind is the remix to “Ignition”. That track is not only hot and fresh out the kitchen, but it has also been immortalized by both college and hip hop culture. Don’t be fooled by this comparison though. The two songs are completely different. In “Collard Greens”, a bass pedal and deep bass tones drive the beat along with a snare sound that reminds me of trash cans. Both Q and Kendrick transition smoothly between tempos to influence when you want to calmly bob your head back and forth and when you want to start pumping your fists. A great track for both chill nights at home and your typical rager.
3. “Four Simple Words” by Frank Turner – While I may not have realized how awesome this song truly was when I first heard it live in 2012, it catalyzed an experience that was awesome enough to keep my attention on the folk-punk artist into the next year. (Okay, honestly, it took a lot of recommendation from my often-time concertmate and close friend Lucas, but I’m glad things turned out the way it did.) After listening through his 2013 album Tape Deck Heart, “Four Simple Words” was solidified as one of my favorite Frank Turner songs and one of the best pieces I’ve heard in a long time. The mood changes three times throughout the track (preventing boredom), and combines both acoustic and electric guitar, upbeat drums, and perfectly accompanying piano to make for a punk symphony that personifies the various attitudes of dancing, partying, being yourself, and being lost in the moment. For me, it’s one of those songs that defines an artist’s style, and its definitive nature earns itself top-tier status.
2. “Boots in the Pool” by DJ Day – Now going simply by Day, this Palm Springs DJ somehow caught my attention through Spotify (or it was his awesome album cover) and I’ve been hooked on his album Land of 1000 Chances ever since. It is the epitome of chill, and “Boots in the Pool” is looping jazz that I can’t get enough of. The constant cymbal hits in the background keep my head bobbing, and the vocals help the beat maintain its serenity. If you don’t enjoy this track, you need to learn to chill the hell out.
1. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell – It’s no secret the robots are musical geniuses, and they struck disco revival gold by bringing in revered musician Nile Rodgers and the angelic vocals of Pharrell Williams for their album. The guitar and bass bring the funk in equal measure, and although the lyrics are pretty damn simple (and 100% bro if you look into it [#subtext]), Daft Punk has always managed to make it work. This was my song of the summer before I ever bothered listening to “Blurred Lines”, and it will remain my song of every future summer indefinitely. I really don’t see any pop hit exceeding the level of class that “Get Lucky” exudes. Arrogance noted. Song is still immortal.
There you have it. Glad I was able to show my musical tastes are both obscure and acceptable. Let me know your favorite songs of the year in the comments or tweet at me (@AndrewMackens) and I’ll respond with my opinion. Thanks for reading!