I’m quite fond of reflecting on the year that’s gone by at this time of the year, and my favourite way of doing so is by looking back on the music I’ve added to my library over the past twelve months. These tunes have provided the soundtrack to my year, whether they’ve been omnipresent on the radio or I’ve listened to them a lot on my iPod, so I quite enjoy listening to a playlist of the best of them in the week between Christmas and New Year.
I’ve made a top forty list for four years now; you can find my lists for 2010, 2011 and 2012 elsewhere on the blog, but without quite the explanations as you’ll find here.
The list includes some songs that weren’t released in the last year, but I’ve only added to my iTunes library this year, and are ‘new’ to me. The list is based in part on how many times I’ve played the song and when I added it to my library; so that songs that I added to my library near the end of the year still have a chance. In saying that, some songs that I added to my library (like CHVRCHES’ new album) will appear on next year’s list instead of this year’s, to give them a chance to show how good they are.
So without much further ado, here are my top forty songs of 2013 in reverse order:
40. Bakermat – “Leven” (2012)
A pretty obscure song from a Belgian producer, it’s a great feel good song that belongs to montages at the end of summer events, like Glastonbury or Wimbledon. A brilliant horn melody, and a simply soothing sound make it a great track to listen to.
39. Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms” (2012)
The first I’d heard of Chairlift was a few years ago, when I was introduced to the beautiful “Bruises”, but hadn’t heard anything from them until this song late last year. A simple love song, with beautiful vocals and a catchy, synthy background beat as well.
38. Brodinski – “Dance Like Machines” (2012)
“Dance Like Machines” channels Brodinski’s natural flair for creating beats that are catchy and dancey, whilst including vocals to keep your attention through the song. It’s drop, coupled with the lyrics “Robots and androids, dance like machines”, will get stuck in your head for weeks.
37. Kid Cudi vs. The Crookers – “Day ‘n’ Nite” (2008)
I wasn’t a big fan of this song first time round, but due to an interest in both Kid Cudi and The Crookers via other songs, I felt this song was due another spin – and I’m glad I did. It’s a simple mix of Cudi’s down to earth rhymes with The Crookers’ brand of house, and it works very well.
36. Martha and the Muffins – “Echo Beach” (1980)
A song that came on practically every day on MFR Two, which was the radio station of choice at work this summer – it’s a song that’s about getting through work by remembering a special place. I found it resonated more whilst at uni, and it’s catchy chorus and refrain makes it a song I like a lot.
35. Hardwell – “Spaceman” (2012)
A simple, if overlong, dance song – “Spaceman” has one of the hardest, simplest and most recognisable drops you will hear. As a song for a night out, it’s a standard to which others should be held.
34. Katy Perry – “Roar” (2013)
Probably the best song off of her latest album, “Roar” is a Katy Perry song with a bit more fight to it than her usual candy land tunes. It’s simple; it’s good and comes with a great video. What’s more to be said?
33. The Prodigy – “Warrior’s Dance” (2009)
A classic Prodigy song that I didn’t identify to them until this year, “Warrior’s Dance” has that refrain that I’m sure most dance music fans will know well. The drops are tinny and perfectly 90s. It’s a song I should have heard long before I did.
32. Porter Robinson – “Language” (2012)
I don’t know how this song does it, but it’s simultaneously beautiful and an EDM song. It’s got the typical dubstep growls of Robinson’s other songs, like the brilliant “Unison”, but also a gentle, contemplative melody throughout. This song is a brilliant example of what dance music can be.
31. Nero – “Promises” (2011)
Apparently a number 1 in 2011, I’d never heard this great song until a few months ago. It’s got a relentless pounding bass, and keeps a high tempo whilst Nero’s ever-present singer Alana Watson sings of a frayed relationship. The drop manages to be great and keep the emotion at the same time, and makes it a fantastic song because of it.