Morcheeba – Gimme Your Love
Despite a decline in record sales, as well as general interest in trip-hop, Morcheeba continues churning out music. And thank god for their perseverance. Finally reunited with their original lead singer, Skye Edwards, the group has never sounded quite so good! Gimme You Love showed Skye playing the role of a mysterious and alluring muse. With some decadent grooves, a heavier bass, and a splash of electronic dubs, this song is a definite standout on the band’s decade long discography.
Cage the Elephant – Come a Little Closer
This band’s usually gritty indie sound was scaled down, and then rebuilt for a much trippier, psychedelic sound. The new sound, much like the music video, is much more colorful and vivid. The most noticeable difference is deffinitely the change in vocal delivery. However, the change from Matt Schultz’s usual half-sun-half-spoken verses to a spaced out crooning was a change that paid off.
Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing (ft. Florence Welch)
Who knew that Florence Welch made such an attractive man? With the help of her husky vocals, Calvin took sharp aim at the pop charts, and totally hit the mark. The unrelenting synths and driving beat make it easy to dance along, and Florence’s rich voice gave the song a life of its own.
Twin Shadow – Old Love/New Love
Twin Shadow lent his 80’s inspired synth-rock sound to the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto. And yet, this song is just too good to stay hidden in a video game! Those soulful vocals, those quirky lyrics, and those intricate layers of synths upon synths made this song absolutely addictive!
Selena Gomez – Slow Down
I must admit that I feel slightly guilty placing a rather unsophisticated piece of teen pop in front of some much better songs. However, this ear worm stayed stuck in my head for almost half a year. That counts for something! With Slow Down, Selena proved that a Disney star could age gracefully into a charismatic pop star. The song stayed true to her “The Scene” roots, with some addictive dance pop beats. This was a much better release than her Rihanna-rejected Come and Get It.
Of Monsters and Men – King and Lion Heart
One of 2012’s break out acts were still going strong in 2013. Of Monsters and Men waited until last year to release one of my personal favorite songs from their album, and they did with a fantasy epic music video. The song, however, is just as compelling as the music video. The brilliant combination of lead vocalists Nana and Ragnar (sorry, their last names are way too Icelandic for me to type), is simply magical. Their unique brand of Icelandic indie rock continues to dazzle, leaving us to wonder what the band has in store for the future.
Coheed and Cambria – Dark Side of Me
I really wish it hadn’t taken until just this year to catch on to this band’s Sci-Fi prog rock epic. However, it was this year’s single, Dark Side of Me that finally opened my eyes to this band’s vision. Sure, the band’s dark yet melodic sound is brilliant, and Claudio Sanchez’s voice is fantastic, but its the weight of the song’s lyrics that truly captivates.
The Weeknd – Belong to the World
The Weeknd’s post-fame release was a dark and twisted journey through the life of an underground artist, turned global figure. While the sound might have been bigger, bolder, and grander in every imaginable way, Belong to the World still featured the haunting and murky sound that we’ve come to love from The Weeknd. Still one of the most forward thinking and experimental figures in RnB music, Abel Tesfaye’s brilliant sound never fails to leave an impression.
Ed Sheera – Lego House
While the UK has been enjoying this song since 2011 (yes, 2011!), it only caught on in the US after the we noodle that was The A Team made Ed Sheeran a household name. Still, this song had much more life and presence than the aforementioned bore. The gentle drums and pleasant guitars, and Ed’s unique vocal delivery made this song something like a warm blanket for the ears.
AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies
This off beat duo definitely created one of the most unique songs of 2013. Aluna’s voice may be sweet and almost child-like, but it cuts through George’s slick production with a piercing attitude. You can almost feel the bite on her calls of “Little grey fairy tales and little white lies, everything you have said is attracting flies.” Use your imagination there.
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (ft. Pharell Williams and Nile Rodgers)
What could be better than Daft Punk’s slick electronic production? The added vocals of Pharell Williams? Alright, but add a heavy dose of funky guitars from Nile Rodgers? Now we have a perfect storm of groove! Get Lucky was without a doubt one of the biggest and most unlikely hits of the year, ushering in a movement of pop-funk that we haven’t seen since RnB’s death in the late 90’s. Get Lucky simultaneously took us into the future, and reminded us of the classic sounds of the past. This feat truly wouldn’t have been possible without the combination of all parties involved; Daft Punk’s masterful production, Pharrell’s smooth voice, or Nile’s expertise on all things funky.