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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Best Singles of 2013

10) Childish Gambino "3005"

I don't know why Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover aka Troy from Community) has to produce some of the most boring music videos (see: this, Heartbeat) but nevertheless, his songs are incredible. Gambino has great flow, catchy hooks, and probably the best rhymes and lyrics out of anyone currently in the rap game (sans Kanye). "3005" is quintessential Childish Gambino, and I wish his songs got more radio airplay, because they're so good.

9) Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"

Is there any denying that 2013 was the year of Miley Cryus? In a few years when Vh1 does their " I Love The 10's!" special, their lead will be Miley. Between her VMA performance, her AMA performance, and two hit singles, Miley Cyrus ruled the past 12 months. Despite your opinion of her (which we all have one), the girl can sing. Even though I don't know any of the words besides "wrecking ball" and "you, you wre-eeee-cked meeee", I can't get this song out of my head. Since you all know the song by heart, I'll leave you with this mash up of Miley's "Wrecking Ball" lyrics over the music to Mumford and Son's "Little Lion Man"

8) Bruno Mars "Gorilla"

Bruno Mars was all over the radio in 2013, and it's hard to choose which one of his hits to choose from. "Locked Out of Heaven" was probably his biggest single, but many people would consider that a 2012 song. I chose "Gorilla" because I think that's his best single off of Unorthodox Jukebox. The mellow, driving music in the verses crescendo-ing up to a pounding chorus makes you overlook the fact that Mars is singing about shtuping his girl non-stop. This song makes you feel like you're in a hot, sweaty room with your girl for hours on end- just the way Bruno Mars' intended it to be.

7) Justin Timberlake "Mirrors"

I actually like Justin Timberlake as an actor, but after flops like "In Time", "Trouble With The Curve", and "Runner Runner", it was time R&B's prodigal son returned to doing what he do best, turn out soulful pop hits that you just can't help but sing along with. Finding new inspiration with his recent marriage to actress Jessica Biel, Timberlake found new ways to bring sexy back. Or to at least stay classy.

6) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis f/ Wanz "Thrift Shop"

There's hidden genius behind "Thirft Shop". Once you look past the catchy beat, the music that makes you wanna dance, the words that you try to spit out but can't because you realize you don't actually know them, there's an ironic, yet amazing rap song. Ever since the early 1990's, hip hop has been flooded with songs about how rich and wealthy these rappers are. Music videos filled with gold chains, ten Cadillac Escalades, and booze galore. Macklemore turns that notion on its head and sings about spending as cheaply as possible along with going to the club looking ridiculous as hell, but being proud of it. It shouldn't be a surprise that a talented white rapper from Seattle would flip the script on the rap game.

5) Taylor Swift "I Knew You Were Trouble"

When I first heard this song, I assumed it was a new single from Carly Rae Jepsen, or someone of that ilk. I was shocked to learn it was from Taylor Swift. It's not only so much different and so much more evolved than her earlier work, but it's actually a great song. I could do without the minute long soliloquy at the beginning, but finally Swift learned how to reinvent herself- even when talking about the same topic she always sings about (break ups). Plus, this song gave us great YouTube mash up videos like this:

Or this:

4) Tegan and Sara "Closer" 

Rock may be dead, but there are glimmers of  light and hope. I present to you two lesbian sisters doing their best to keep it alive. I don't think words can do "Closer" any justice. I think once you listen to the song, you'll instantly realize the brilliance that it is. Who knew songs about, uh- how to put this delicately- what lesbians in a close physical relationship generally do, could be so damn catchy and awesome?

3) Lorde "Royals"

There's a damn good argument that "Royals" is the best song of 2013, and you're not going to hear too many arguments from me saying otherwise. The only music you hear on the track is a simple drum beat to bolster Lorde's powerful voice. It's a driving song that you never want to end all about the reality of the world you live in versus the fantasy world you hear about in pop music. The only real problem with "Royals" is that the video's boring as hell. But really, isn't that the point of the song?

2) Daft Punk "Get Lucky"

If this was a list of my favorite singles of 2013 (although admittedly it kind of is), then "Get Lucky" is hands down #1. It's THE perfect summer time song. I know that Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" was actually the song of the summer of 2013, but in terms of quality, it was the Daft Punk single. I still can't stop myself from dancing whenever I hear the song. Despite the music being produced and created by techno artists, all you can hear is that electric guitar strumming a tune that reminds you of the 70's. Ironically, Daft Punk proves you don't need fake drum beats and computer generated music to create a catchy pop classic. Plus, isn't really everybody up all night just to get lucky?

1) Kanye West "Black Skinhead"

There is no better innovator currently making music and pushing the boundaries of it than Kanye West right now. I don't know how anyone can create a top 10 music list in 2013 without putting Kanye at the top of it. Despite his personality or his public image, his music is just brilliant. West has always been a musician to point out the flaws and ironies in black culture (just look at his 2009 single "All Falls Down"), but he always seems to do it better and better with each album.

Plus, the beat is so damn good we get movie trailers like this:

And commercials like this:

BONUS VIDEO: The true song of the year.

And it wouldn't be a complete list of music in 2013 without including one of these videos:

Other songs I considered for this list:

- "Applause" Lady Gaga
- "Brave" Sara Bereilles
- "Cups" Anna Kendrick
- "Just Give Me A Reason" P!nk and Nate Ruess
- "Out Of My League" Fitz and the Tantrums
- "Roar" Katy Perry
- "Say Something" A Great Big World f/ Christina Aguilera
- "The Wire" Haim

What was your favorite song of 2013?

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