Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 100 Songs Of 2013

This was a whole lot of fun this year. It is always fun, but there were a lot of great songs released in 2013. So many artists embracing melody in simplistic yet often fascinating ways. I am always astounded by how musicians can continue to engage listeners when it sometimes feels like everything has been done before.

My take on the best songs in 2013 sticks pretty close to the annual gathering and compiling event of previous years. I like music that's listenable, compact, well crafted, honest, and more often than not just really fun. Lots of guitar pop, synth pop, and post-punk stuff here as always.

As I talk with other music nerd friends about the music year that was (or will be shortly), there is some consensus that there were very few clear runaway albums or songs in 2013. You could almost describe it as a tight race, where on certain days based on mood you could flip a coin and arrive at your favourite, or the best in class. I am certain I have quietly flip flopped already on a few of my top 5 choices over at my Top 100 Albums Of 2013 list.

There were also some extremely strong albums, that did not lend themselves to easily carved out "top songs" or singles. Albums by The Knife and Goldfrapp come to mind. Challenging and thoroughly rewarding listens as full albums, but more strong in the sum of their parts and as full works than isolated tracks. Hence why some of those heavyweights are not represented on my songs list.

For Rdio users and subscribers out there, I have also compiled these songs as a playlist. Five of the songs listed below are currently unavailable on Rdio, so as with last year, I have tacked a few extras on the end to make up the full 100.

Please feel free to check it out and subscribe to the playlist here.

So here goes. No real caveats, other than the standard acknowledgement that big lists are fun, and take a lot of time, but everyone knows taste is personal and sequencing is arbitrary after about the first thirty entries :)

100 Editors A Ton Of Love
99 Minor Alps If I Wanted Trouble
98 Beastmilk Death Reflects Us
97 Boy George King of Everything
96 Arctic Monkeys Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High
95 Matthew Good Arrows of Desire
94 Girls Names A Second Skin
93 Xander Harris Night Fortress
92 Gauntlet Hair Heave
91 John Grant Sensitive New Age Guy
90 Asif Illyas Electrical
89 Soviet Soviet Ecstasy
88 Shout Out Louds Illusions
87 Arcade Fire It's Never Over (Hey Orpheus)
86 White Lies Mother Tongue
85 LULS Never Let It Go
84 Weekend Siobhan
83 The Dismemberment Plan Living In Song
82 Sigur Ros Isjaki
81 Of Montreal Triumph Of Disintegration
80 The Black Hollies Unless It's My Imagination
79 These New Puritans Fragment Two
78 The Hunt Fifteen Minutes
77 Annie Hold On
76 Savages She Will
75 David Bowie Valentine's Day
74 Midnight Juggernauts Systematic
73 Phantogram The Day You Died
72 Mind Spiders Suicide
71 Brendan Benson Rejuvenate Me
70 Holograms Attestupa
69 Kurt Vile KV Crimes
68 Frankie & The Heartstrings Nothing Our Way
67 Rogue Wave College
66 The Love Language Calm Down
65 Little Boots Satellite
64 Warpaint Love Is To Die
63 The KVB Human
62 Cults I Can Hardly Make You Mine
61 The Naked and Famous Hearts Like Ours
60 Paper Lions Bodies In The Winter
59 Body Language Just Because
58 Franz Ferdinand Treason! Animals.
57 By Divine Right No One Can Fix Me
56 KA Off The Record
55 Coasts Oceans
54 The Grapes of Wrath Paint You Blue
53 Hilotrons Runaway Heart
52 Vampire Weekend Everlasting Arms
51 Anna Calvi Piece By Piece
50 Chvrches Recover
49 Visage Never Enough
48 Johnny Marr Upstarts
47 Sulk Flowers
46 !!! One Girl / One Boy
45 Frankie Rose You For Me
44 Pet Shop Boys Thursday
43 The National Don't Swallow The Cap
42 Janelle Monae Q.U.E.E.N.
41 Queens Of The Stone Age I Sat By The Ocean
40 Everything Everything Duet
39 The 1975 The City
38 Shad Stylin
37 St. Lucia Elevate
36 Hollerado Pick Me Up
35 Divine Fits Ain't That The Way
34 Sebastien Grainger Going With You
33 Jagwar Ma That Loneliness
32 Dutch Uncles Fester
31 Paramore Ain't It Fun
30 Local Natives Black Balloons
29 Classixx Holding On
28 Telekinesis Power Lines
27 Phoenix Trying To Be Cool
26 Lorde Team
25 Superchunk Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
24 The Limousines Bedbugs
23 Polvo Light, Raking
22 Holy Ghost! Dance A Little Closer
21 Suuns Bambi
20 Gary Numan Love Hurt Bleed
19 Atlas Genius Electric
18 Wavves Demon To Lean On
17 Jamie Lidell Big Love
16 Primal Scream Invisible City
15 Daft Punk Get Lucky
14 Disclosure When A Fire Starts
13 Haim Falling
12 Crocodiles She Splits Me Up
11 Blood Orange You're Not Good Enough
10 Cayucas Highschool Lover
9 Cut Copy In Memory Capsule
8 Junip Your Life Your Call
7 Empire Of The Sun Ice On The Dune
6 OMD Night Cafe
5 Suede Hit Me
4 Baths Miasma Sky
3 Miles Kane Better Than That
2 Mikal Cronin Shout It Out
1 Foals My Number

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top 100 Albums of 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Music year-end list time.

When I took a peak over some lists from the last couple years, it feels like 2013 was a pretty solid year for interesting music. There were a number of bands who created combinations of sounds like no one else can really lay claim to right now. There were also a number of artists who borrowed from their influences really well and wore them unabashedly on their sleeves to stunning effect. Some of the music I came across was instantly engaging, while other releases were tough listens, with rewarding endings if you were patient enough. Some veterans showed they can still compete with and even outdo the kids, while other seniors fell flat and missed the mark slightly.

As always, I threw the net quite wide in 2013, and got most of my biases and overreactions out of the way along the way. I was able to spend mostly meaningful time with upwards of approximately 250 records this year. Listening to as much new music as possible is quite simply what I like to do more than anything else. Some records were unfortunately brushed over prematurely, and hopefully they will float back into listening circulation in due course. Others just did not work for these ears whatsoever.

So this is where I landed. I reserve the right to shuffle things around, but really if that happens I will be the only one who notices or cares. I wanted to get this up, because I don't have the patience or capacity to bugger around with it anymore. The plan is to follow shortly with more detail, narrative and thoughts on the Top 10.

Artist Album
100 The 1975 The 1975
99 Yuck Glow and Behold
98 St. Lucia When The Night
97 Beastmilk Climax
96 Depeche Mode Delta Machine
95 Sulk Graceless
94 Frightened Rabbit Pedestrian Verse
93 !!! Thr!!!er
92 Wavves Afraid of Heights
91 Xander Harris The New Dark Age of Love
90 Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
89 Visage Hearts & Knives
88 Surfer Blood Pythons
87 Lorde Pure Heroine
86 The Grapes of Wrath High Road
85 Arctic Monkeys AM
84 Hilotrons At Least There's Commotion
83 Johnny Marr The Messenger
82 Kurt Vile Walking on A Pretty Daze
81 John Grant Pale Green Ghosts
80 David Bowie The Next Day
79 White Lies Big Tv
78 The Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley
77 James Blake Overgrown
76 Public Service Broadcasting Inform - Educate - Entertain
75 My Bloody Valentine mbv
74 Minor Alps Get There
73 Janelle Monae The Electric Lady
72 Queens Of The Stone Age Like Clockwork
71 Cults Static
70 Soviet Soviet Fate
69 Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of The City
68 Frankie & The Heartstrings The Days Run Away
67 Telekinesis Dormarion
66 Boards of Canada Tomorrow's Harvest
65 Washed Out Paracosm
64 These New Puritans Field of Reeds
63 Little Boots Nocturnes
62 London Grammar If You Wait
61 Gauntlet Hair Stills
60 The KVB Immaterial Visions
59 Asif Illyas Synesthesia
58 Miles Kane Don't Forget Who You Are
57 Shad Flying Colours
56 Pet Shop Boys Electric
55 The Black Hollies Somewhere Between Here and Nowhere
54 By Divine Right Organized Accidents
53 The National Trouble Will Find Me
52 Daft Punk Random Access Memories
51 Everything Everything Arc
50 Jamie Lidell Jamie Lidell
49 Jagwar Ma Howlin
48 Oneohtrix Point Never R Plus Seven
47 Of Montreal lousy with sylvianbriar
46 Sebadoh Defend Yourself
45 Arcade Fire Reflektor
44 Sigur Ros Kveikur
43 Chvrches The Bones of What You Believe
42 Phoenix Bankrupt!
41 Girls Names The New Life
40 Haim Days Are Gone
39 Woodkid The Golden Age
38 Moderat II
37 KA The Night's Gambit
36 Goldfrapp Tales of Us
35 Midnight Juggernauts Uncanny Valley
34 Factory Floor Factory Floor
33 The Hunt The Hunt Begins
32 Adult. The Way Things Fall
31 Gary Numan Splinter
30 Holograms Forever
29 Classixx Hanging Gardens
28 The Love Language Ruby Red
27 Tricky False Idols
26 Weekend Jinx
25 Superchunk I Hate Music
24 The Knife Shaking The Habitual
23 Suuns Images du Futur
22 Anna Calvi One Breath
21 Blood Orange Cupid Deluxe
20 Mind Spiders Inhumanistic
19 Tilbury Northern Comfort
18 Savages Silence Yourself
17 Sebastien Grainger Yours To Discover
16 Junip Junip
15 Frankie Rose Herein Wild
14 Holy Ghost! Dynamics
13 Crocodiles Crimes of Passion
12 OMD English Electric
11 Empire of The Sun Ice on The Dune
10 Dutch Uncles Out of Touch in The Wild
9 Disclosure Settle
8 Primal Scream More Light
7 Foals Holy Fire
6 Polvo Siberia
5 Mikal Cronin MCII
4 Suede Bloodsports
3 Baths Obsidian
2 Local Natives Hummingbird
1 Cut Copy Free Your Mind