Playlist: The Best of 2013 (so far)

Now that we’re at the midpoint of 2013, we can look back at the year’s musical offerings. So far, 2013 has been…well, its been a year. We’ve had some amazing releases, anticipated comebacks, incredible debuts, and an overdose of utter shit. But…let’s not focus on that. Let’s try and stay positive, yeah!?

From January to June, 2013 has provided us with more than enough quality music to keep us going until December. Here are the best songs of 2013….you know, so far.
The Airborne Toxic Event – Timeless
(January)

The lead single off Airborne’s third album, Such Hot Blood, was a deeply moving song that’s guaranteed to stir emotions. Written about the loss of several family members, Timeless is a passionately sung ode to life and death. Mikel Jollet’s tender rasp is supported by some beautiful melodies provided by the rest of the band, creating a powerful indie-ballad. The lyrics might be a little “Hallmark-y” at times, but Timeless is a moving song that is definitely worth a listen.

Icona Pop – I Love It
(February)

While this song was already being blasted in Europe back in 2012, us Americans didn’t get to witness Icona Pop’s punky pop euphoria until this year. We haven’t been the same since. With a huge, screaming chorus and an even bigger dance beat, I Love It quickly rose to the top of the charts, giving us one of the year’s best feel good hits!

James Blake – Retrograde
(February)

Dubstep isn’t all about wobble bass and a cluster of noise. James Blake proves that with Retrograde, a mellow, chilled out, and simply dreamy landscape of sound. His soulful crooning, clapping beat, and haunting moans are distinguishing marks of a simply exquisite track.

 

Bastille – Pompeii
(February)

This British indie quartet was able to make their way to America with the release of Pompeii. The background chanting gives this song a unique flavor, along with the uplifting pop melodies, grounded by alternative rock influences. If it sounds like an odd mixture, that’s because it is. However, it yields surprisingly good results. Pompeii simply must be an addition to any indie, alternative, or pop playlist!


Vampire Weekend – Diane Young

(March)

This modern day romp through rockabilly sounds quickly became an indie rock favorite. With vocals and instrumentals interacting seamlessly, each of song’s individual lyrics hit with a biting force, reminding us of the darker side to living like a rock star. Still, the hard rocking guitars, lively drums and unique vocal delivery made Diane Young one name your playlist shouldn’t be without!

Kendrick Lamar – Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
(March)

A laid-back and spacey hip-hop beat seems to be Lamar’s signature sound, and I’m not complaining. “Vibe” was to 2013 what “Swimming Pools” was to 2012…one of the best Hip-Hop tracks of the year. With a crisp rap and a smooth flow, Kendrick takes aim at a music industry that he isn’t happy with, vowing to maintain his focus and vision. Can’t argue with lyrics like that…even if they are disguised in clever wordplay.

Tegan and Sara – Closer
(March)

Although it was actually released in 2012, Closer didn’t quite catch on until it was featured in Glee in 2013. From there, it kind of exploded, making it into numerous commercials and promos. With its infectious chorus and blissful dance beat, its easy to see why! Full of bubbling 8-bit beeping and blooping and layers upon layers of synths, this indie-pop record was a euphoric party starter with enough indie factor to keep it “cool.”


30 Seconds to Mars – Up in the Air
(March)
When this song was debuted from space (fucking space!) you knew it had to be amazing. That, and…you know, its by 30 Seconds to Mars (fucking 30 Seconds to Mars!). Up in the Air did not disappoint in the slightest. Sure, its electronic influences were a bit jarring at first, but in the end, it really compliments the band’s dramatic, hard rock sound. This is definitely one of the year’s best rock songs!


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us
(March)
Technically, this song was released in 2011. However, after the massive success of Thrift Shop, its easy to see why Can’t Hold Us would make a huge impact on 2013. Macklemore’s crisp, biting rap verses tell of his struggles to make it in the industry his way, proving his artistic merit against all the other “swag rappers” out there. Combined with Ryan Lewis’s slick production and some killer guest vocals, Can’t Hold Us is without a doubt one of the best rap songs of 2013.



Ariana Grande – The Way
(March)

Guilty pleasure? No…not really. Ariana is a future pop star in the making, and with a killer voice like that, its not hard to see why. While she isn’t quite at the level Mariah Carey was at in her prime…she’s pretty damn close. With this sweet sounding pop-rnb song, you can bet that Miss Grande is going to have the song of the summer!

The Band Perry – Done.
(March)

This country group sounds best when they’re kicking a little bit of ass, don’t they? This fiery country-rock song featured some gritty vocals and feisty lyrics that make you just want to put on a cowboy hat and turn up the volume!

Janelle Monae (featuring Eryka Badu) – Q.U.E.E.N.

(April)

While we still don’t know what Q.U.E.E.N. actually stands for, we’re still grooving to Janelle Monae’s latest release. With a deep bass, a dark and mysterious beat, more than enough funk to get people moving, and some of Janelle’s most personal lyrics to date, this song isn’t making the wait for Electric Lady any easier. If Q.U.E.E.N. is any indicator of what’s to come, then her sophomore album is going to be very, very interesting, and very, very, funky.
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (featuring Pharrel)
(April)

Forget Robin Thick and Justin Timberlake…this is by far the funkiest jam of 2013! Daft Punk made their long awaited return by surprising everyone with a sudden shift in musical direction. While we were expecting a venture in EDM and digital beats, the french duo delivered a solid combination of 1970’s funk, with twentieth century production. The result was a groundbreaking breath of fresh air that had the world dancing along! Add some soulful vocals from Parrel Williams, and a killer hook, and you’ve got yourself a contender for song of the year.
Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You
(June)

Although they released this song independently in 2012, this indie/rap hybrid didn’t chart until just recently. It’s easy to see why this band is suddenly gaining fans like crazy. Rock fans love their indie instrumentals and rock band appeal. Rap fans respect them because they can actually spit a rhyme, and even sample bits of rap songs in their music! Holding on to You is a solid genre bender that could be added to anyone’s playlist!

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