411 Music Ten Deep 12.12.13: The Top 10 Songs of 2013
Posted by Sean Walker on 12.12.2013
From Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors" and Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," Arcade Fire's "Reflektor," Nine Inch Nails' "Copy Of A" and more, 411's Sean Walker counts down the top 10 songs of 2013!
Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Ten Deep, where Sean was literally laughing his ass off laughing at the Lady Gaga Thanksgiving special, because of how fucking bad it was. It was so hammy and awesome.
Anyways, 2013 was an interesting year for music. EDM became even more popular by merging with folk of all things. Ballads also saw a growth in popularity as three of them topped the Hot 100. This week I'm picking 10 and ranking them. The criteria are simple. The song had to be released in 2013, or make a significant impact in this year compared to the year it was released.
This has been a great year for Justin Timberlake. He has the best selling album of 2013 in his multi-platinum certified The 20/20 Experience. Two of his albums debuted at number one. "Mirrors" is still refreshing to listen to compared today's pop music. With EDM virtually taking over radio, artists like Justin Timberlake who continues to stay true to his classic sound. I was a little skeptical about Justin's come back when I heard the insanely one-dimensional "Suit and Tie." He immediately cleared that up with this soulful jam.
9. Nine Inch Nails - "Copy of A"
This is easily one of Nine Inch Nails' greatest songs. The second single from Hesitation Marks is a great techno number. I'm not even a fan of the genre, and I had fun head banging to this. As usual with the NIN formula, they are able to squeeze emotion into even the most soulless sounding music. That doesn't change here seeing as it was met with unanimous praise. Reznor knows what sounds right when it comes to making great music. He effortlessly calm over a calculated and automated beat that tingles your spine every time you hear the background jingles. With every hard beat, you can feel your heart pound just a little faster than before. The lyrics have some of the most depth I've heard this year. It has just enough of commercial appeal that you wouldn't scratch your head over it being played on top 40 radios.
8. Arcade Fire feat. David Bowie- "Reflektor"
In 2013, I took an extra step in trying to listen to more of the indie variety. I was introduced to Arcade Fire, who were/are one of the more popular groups of the genre, and I wasn't a huge fan of what they were making. Then I watched as they tore the house down on a recent episode of SNL where they introduced their new single "Reflektor." I immediately became a fan of this updated sound. I immediately think of the 70s David Bowie when I hear it. Does plastic soul bring back memories for any of you? Upon further research, I discovered that David Bowie actually provided vocals for the song. This song has some subtle funk in it that is a without a doubt a great addition to the indie track.
7. Daft Punk - "Get Lucky"
Daft Punk lit up the summer this year. Pharell also had a fantastic year as a featured artist, which really elevated his star power as well. Daft Punk decided to switch from their well-known electronica dance pop to a more retro 70s/80s sound. That was also a popular theme from the summer with fellow artist Robin Thicke (Blurred Lines) and Miley Cyrus (We Can't Stop) flirting with the genre as well. Collectively, those three artists ruled the charts for many weeks. "Get Lucky" managed to peak at number two on the Hot 100, becoming Daft Punk's most successful song ever. The lyrics are a bit bland, but the tune is a great listen.
6. Kanye West - "Black Skinhead"
Black Skinhead is one of the many songs on Yeezus that is a great introspective on himself and America. He speaks of every criticism that is thrown towards him like Kim Kardashian, and the continued use of god. The song was co-produced with Daft Punk, which is weird because this isn't really their forte. The song is aggressive and it commands power as Kanye screams and raps over a very industrialistic beat. You can't help but press the repeat button over and over to really get the song. One question though. Why the continued screams of ‘God' over and over. Does anyone know the point of that?
5. Lady Gaga feat. R Kelly- "Do What U Want"
I just can't get enough of "Do What U Want." Lady Gaga has really hit gold with this odd collaboration with R Kelly. The song is this weird combination of R&B and electro-pop that just works. The song is her best since 2009's Telephone. The song speaks of the media and their obsessiveness over her supposed weight gain since Born This Way and just getting dirty with your lover.
4. Phosphorescent - "Song for Zula"
Probably the most ‘out there' song on this list. Not many know of the hippy named Phosphorescent. Hell I didn't either until his song played on Songza. I immediately took a liking to it for its message and its' distinctive sound. The song sounds like an epic ballad that was written one day on the beach. Light violin strings echo thorough out the song. The song starts off with a quote from Johnny Cash's infamous "Ring of Fire" which is a plus for me. You can almost feel like you're in a dream when listening to it. Or high. Whichever works better for you.
3. A Great Big World ft Christina Aguilera - "Say Something"
This song wouldn't have made the list had I not watch the 2013 American Music Awards. I had no clue that this song even existed before that day. The breakout single wouldn't have been known at all if it weren't for Christina Aguilera's involvement. For the first time since maybe her debut song, Christina doesn't actually yell at you for once. She sings with subtlety and grace along with Ian Axel's cold and robotic voice. They mesh well together over the calm piano. They ooze emotion as they sing about not wanting to lose their soon to be ex. You can literally hear Christina's voice CRACK gives away as she is overcome with too many emotions.
2. David Bowie - "Where are We Now"
Has any 411 reader not listened to this song? Better yet, has anyone on her not listened to Bowie's The Next Day? More on that later. "Where Are We Now?" is a great song that almost feels too introspective. It's as if Bowie gives off an essence of death through art. I can't tell if he's talking to a lover, or his long time fans who stuck with him through his constant changes. Instead of being a persona, or doing something weird, Bowie finally allows his music to shine, something I believe hindered his career for a very long time.
1. Sia ft The Weeknd and Diplo - "Elastic Heart"
I know what you're thinking. Why is a song by the barely known (in America) Sia and new R&B sensation The Weeknd number one and not the legendary David Bowie? It's simple. This one is more entertaining. I'm not saying that "Where Are We Now" isn't entertaining. Elastic Heart is just more energetic refreshing. It's a great pop song with alternative hip-hop beats and an oddly addictive vocal interpolation in the background. There's so much happening within this song that you hear something different with every listen. Released for the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack as the second single this song should have gotten more promotion than it did. Sia doesn't go for shock value like Miley did. She doesn't lash out against the media like Gaga did. She simply sings an empowering message about overcoming the odds, which believe it or not, is quite rare in the 'sex sells' world of pop. The Weeknd doesn't sing about what usual contributing rappers/singers talk about whenever they appear on someone else's track. The Weeknd actually contributes to the theme by crooning over the crazy beat and for once, I'm impressed.
That's all for now. I guarantee that there is a song that I missed that I want you to call me out on in the comments section below. Join me next time when I count down the worst songs of 2013!