Hello again! My last post was all about albums (and I didn’t even mention how strong Foy Vance’s entire Joy of Nothing album was), but sometimes you just gotta love a song. Here now is my list of the best songs of 2013–some catchy, some powerful, some emotional, some just fun. I won’t offer much explanation, and if you want to know why the “non-worship” clarification, see my last entry. In no particular order:
1. The Perfect Life–Moby; such a happy song, great to jog to. With the help of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.
2. Give Yourself to Dance–Daft Punk. They had a song that got a lot more radio play, and if you liked that but couldn’t admit it because of the questionable theme, this is the song you want to listen to–same singer, same vibe, more agreeable lyrics. (The message: you should dance. Give yourself to it.)
3. Open-Ended Life–The Avett Brothers. Again, the harmonica. Yes.
4. From This Valley–The Civil Wars. The happiest song this unhappy duo ever wrote. Sweet Jesus, carry me.
5. Ingenue–Atoms for Peace; all about mood; I love the percussion that sounds like someone’s off banging pipes in the basement.
6. Tie: Step & Diane Young–Vampire Weekend. Tracks 3 & 4 from one of my albums of the year.
7. Sun–Sleeping At Last. Do yourself a favour; go out in the sun, somewhere beautiful in nature. Put on some good headphones. Listen to this loud. “We are the apple of God’s eye.” Feel happy to be alive and loved.
8. Brenninstein–Sigur Ros. The Icelandic boys show some muscle.
9. Can’t Complain–Relient K; This is from their 2013 release Collapsible Lung, a collection of pop songs you initially don’t want to like, until you find they won’t leave your brain. A song about being content; I needed it this year.
10. You Put the Flame On It–Charles Bradley. The Screaming Eagle of Soul relaxes for a song that gives off an old-school Smokey Robinson, 60s era Motown vibe.
11. Tie: I Shall Not Want/Good to Me–Audrey Assad. Two deeply moving, almost essential songs, both featuring portions of Psalm 23. The lyrics to the first are deeply honest and ultimately both are very hopeful. Here, listen:
12. Tie: Janey/Guiding Light–Foy Vance. I’ve written about him before, and could include a couple other songs from his latest album, but these two are both excellent.
13. Low Light Buddy of Mine–Iron & Wine–There’s new fruit hangin’ from the old fruit tree. 2013’s most overlooked album.
14. Retrograde–James Blake–this year’s Mercury Prize winner at his best, with ethereal music and handclaps, a nearly perfect 3:44.
15. Gonna Let My Soul Catch My Body–Over the Rhine. Smooth.
16. Bleeding Out–The Lone Bellow. Featuring my favourite lyrics of the year: All the buildings they lean and they smile down on us and they shout from their rooftops words we can’t trust, like “You’re dead, you are tired–you’re ruined, you’re dust. You won’t ‘mount to nothin’, like tanks full of rust.” But we scream back at them from below on the street. All in unity we say “Our time’s been redeemed!”
17. Electric Lady–Janelle Monae. Funky pop perfection, showing off nearly everything Ms. Monae does best.
18. Loneliness & Alcohol–Jars of Clay. Jars show they’re still vital with this song about the way many people in the West bury their true selves under things that don’t matter, all just to protect themselves. We’ve all been here, even if alcohol wasn’t the thing that we used.
19. Spotlight–Leagues. Um, maybe the catchiest song on this list. Great debut album. “Romantic live is the least of these/It comes and goes, come and goes so easily.” Go on, listen:
And there you go. Hope you can discover some new songs here to brighten up your life and point your compass the right way. What were your top songs of 2013?