We're certain you've already consumed a fair amount of similar end of the year lists, but where everyone else sets in stone their rankings based on dubious definitions of cultural impact, we decided to do it a bit differently this year. We picked the songs we enjoyed hearing the most. And without further adieu, here are Baeble's 25 Best Songs of 2013:
STREAMING PLAYLIST BELOW
25. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Kindness Be Conceived" feat. Joanna Newsom
The Appalachian twang and Joanna Newsom's complementary harmony helped give Thao's "Kindness Be Conceived" a lighthearted charm, and its lyrical theme of a one-night-stand helped leave its lasting impression.
24. Washed Out - "All I Know"
From its floral album to its sprinklings of chirping birds, Washed Out's Paracosm
was a vibrant splash into nature, and its leading track, "All I Know", was the perfect introductory cleanse.
23. Charli XCX - "You (Ha Ha Ha)"
We first met the beautifully brash pop singer when she took the stage at Hype Hotel
, and we've since fallen for her outrageous attitude and debut album True Romance
. Our favorite was the album's most inviting track, the stimulated laser show of "You (Ha Ha Ha)".
22. James Blake - "Retrograde"
Blake's signature song from his Mercury Award winning album of the same name encapsulates everything we love about the man: a song that builds from peaceful palms of piano, a simple beat, and spooked out hums to a blizzard blast of fantastical synths that could overtake the song at any time. All is on the verge of total annihilation...and then the storm passes.
21. Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"
Although we often expressed our disdain for the pop star's evolution, the Bangerz
ballad is actually pretty amazing if you concentrate really hard, and don't picture Miley's sloppy-tongue face.
20. Foals - "Late Night"
A repeat from our Best Music Videos
list, Foals' "Late Night" was the sexy and intense Holy Fire
highlight. From a sluggish opening, the song builds into an tumultuous epic flooded with the group's signature electric-stringed textures. As far as our favorite guitar solos of 2013 go—this song's cooling final act takes the cake. Be sure to listen without the video, as its visual intensity has a tendency of eclipsing the song's impressive subtleties.
Watch Foals Exclusive Baeble Session
19. Phoenix - "Entertainment"
The French group's unexpected exploration into Eastern cultural tones caught us all off guard, but as time has progressed, the title track off their fifth studio album has certainly become its most memorable.
18. Lorde - "Team"
Kiwi singer-songwriter Lorde made chart history with her single "Royals", however, we were far more impressed with another track off Pure Heroine
, the 17-year old's debut record. The up-tempo clap and clamor and infectious chorus of "Team" was the single that sold our crew on the teenage pop phenomenon.
17. Lucius - "Tempest"
The Brooklyn-based five-piece have an intriguing visual gimmick as its frontwomen takes the stage as twins, but their debut album Wildewoman
has listeners in cities across the country racing to sell out their shows. From acoustic-driven, eerie verse to echoing chorus the record's leading track "Tempest" is a multi-mood journey we continue to enjoy exploring.
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't On the Dance Floor)"
The Speed Of Things
We were big fans of The Speed Of Things
, Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s sophomore follow-up to 2011's It's A Corporate World
, as it showed us Daniel and Josh's strive to explore in their epic quest to write the perfect pop song. They're certainly one of our favorite bands to see live, especially when the suited duo whips into the glittery "If You Didn't See Me...".
15. Arcade Fire - "Reflektor"
It's the James Murphy-produced, David Bowie-visited single we waited months to hear. Even if we didn't like it, we'd all lie to ourselves and say we did. Luckily, the nearly 8-minute jam didn't fail to impress with its fluttery, bongo-driven pace and boisterous hooks.
14. Mikal Cronin - "Change"
California's Mikal Cronin kept music honest this year with his debut on Merge MCII
. The fuzzy guitar rhythm in "Change" keeps the song positive and upbeat, but the lyrics deliver the raw sincerity that marks this song as one of the best off the album.
13. Justin Timberlake - "Suit and Tie" feat. Jay Z
The 20/20 Experience
JT's 20/20 Experience
's comeback single flows into your minds as smoothly as the son-gun glides across a stage. With a full horn section at his back and a Gatsby's sense of glitz and glam, Timberlake helped solidify his spot on the pop throne in "Suit and Tie".
12. Parquet Courts - "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now"
Tally All the Things That You Broke
This year's Tally All The Things You Broke EP
by Parquet Courts was one of the most solid EP releases. The twangy punk melodies in "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now" spit out life's romantic truths comparing toothaches and seasickness to the pains of heartache.
11. The National - "Sea of Love"
Trouble Will Find Me
Our No. 11 favorite song of 2013 was our No. 2 favorite music video, and for good reason. "Hey Jo sorry I hurt you, but they say love is a virtue don't they?"–a question we may never know how to answer, yet a chorus we'll be singing along to for years, helped make Trouble Will Find Me
's most kinetic track one of its longest lasting.
10. Blood Orange - "Chamakay"
Paired with luscious vocals from Chairlift's Caroline Polachek, "Chamakay" is the seductive tease welcoming you inside Blood Orange's breakthrough album, Cupid Deluxe. It's fragrant mist of creamy bass lines, semi-tropical rhythms, and sweltering sax sets a provocative tone...we don't really want to talk about the images that come to mind as this one plays out.
9. Kanye West - "Black Skinhead"
First premiered on the Saturday Night Live
stage, Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" was like nothing we had ever heard before, and certainly like nothing we'd expect out of the tabloid-famed rapper. Bombastic percussion, heavy breathing, tribal screams, and a chilling sense of unpredictability made "Black Skinhead" a most memorable experience.
8. Phosphorescent - "Song For Zula"
Introduced by a serene ambiance of strings, Phosphorescent's leading single off Muchacho
has the pacifying effect of a low-dose tranquilizer. Matthew Houck's calmingly confident voice is introduced via a Johnny Cash homage: "Some say love is a burning thing, that makes a fiery ring." With hints of his Alabama heritage howling through its most impassioned verses, Phosphorescent provided the year's best love song for sure.
Watch Phosphorescent perform "Song For Zula" Live
7. CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"
The Bones Of What We Believe
Of the many synth-pop groups to find fame in 2013, Glasgow, Scotland's CHVRCHES is who we're most excited to see evolve. Led by Lauren Mayberry, the trio's debut album The Bones Of What We Believe
was a refreshing taste of pop music's progression. Through its gleaming chorus the single "The Mother We Share" helped solidify the trio as one of our favorite new faces of 2013.
See CHVRCHES Entire Hype Hotel Concert
6. Vampire Weekend - "Ya Hey"
Modern Vampires of the City
Vampire Weekend hit the sentimental note with their bright beats in "Ya Hey" from 2013's Modern Vampires of the City
. Frontman Ezra Koenig echoes expressively through the song, tugging at your heart strings, making this tune an irresistible sing along.
5. The National - "This Is The Last Time"
Trouble Will Find Me
Matt Berninger is known for his surreal yet humorous way of dealing with his insecurities on record (the line: "I was afraid I'd eat your brains," from High Violet's "Conversation 16" comes to mind). "This Is The Last Time" is less abstract though. Here, a story about addiction masked as love is delivered in dense textures of guitar and drums that are as thick as the blood pumping away from Berninger's heart. That he's always been so willing to spill it out on the page has always been one of The National's greatest attributes.
4. Har Mar Superstar - "Lady You Shot Me"
Bye Bye 17
Har Mar Superstar - aka Sean Tillmann - is a man of many musical hats. Throughout his career, the singer-songwriter has used each of his albums as toe-in-the-water tests, exploring new genres and studying his audiences' reactions. Formally an artist of cult-following status, with his 2013 release Bye Bye 17
, Har Mar Superstar has finally found mass appeal through a musical style that ideally suits his strengths—super sexy soul. When we first caught wind of the record's leading single, "Lady You Shot Me", we went full-blown fan-boy as its modern pop spin on Motown has guided us to buy tickets to every show he performs in New York City.
3. Jim James - "State of the Art (AEIOU)"
Regions of Light and Sound of God
The piano lets out a testing twang, the smoke bellows out onto the stage, a mystical figure's shadow stands in the forefront as he whispers, "Daylight come, Daylight go / How far will it reach, Ain't nobody know." Suddenly the dawn breaks; lights flash and the familiar face of My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James is there, but he's adopted an entirely new persona. In a deep purple tux, James introduced us to his personal psyche through the creations presented in his solo debut Regions of Light and the Sound of God
. Its highlight came as his habitual concert opener, the somber yet incredibly cool "State of the Art (AEIOU)".
Watch Jim James Live in Austin
2. Kurt Vile - "Wakin on a Pretty Day"
Walkin on a Pretty Daze
Kurt Vile's "Waking on a Pretty Day" was the ambitious teaser to Waking On A Pretty Daze...a 9 minute introduction to the blissed out places Philly's finest hoped to escort his listeners to on the new collection. It's a Sunday morning track, waking when you want, letting some good coffee hit you, and deciding on the fly where the day will take you. With warm pastel-colored guitars orbiting his always charming, uncouth vocals, there is no drama, there is no stress in this track. Just a pleasant, free-flowing mood that sounds exactly like waking on a pretty day.
1. Junip - "Line of Fire"
You should never judge a song solely by the mood its music suggests. Junip's leading single on their self-titled sophomore record certainly taught us a few things about this. On its surface, through enlivened strumming and Jose Gonzalez's lulling voice, "Line of Fire" plays as an inspirational song; one with great escapist qualities. The gradual build has the power to scrub stress and whisk you away to a dream world. However, a month following the single's release, Junip provided its music video, whose tone juxtaposed the song's entirely. According to the song's creators, the song we once considered to be meditative was founded by an illicit soul. Its theme of regret was so powerful that it was used to promote the final episode of Breaking Bad
, which certainly helped imprint itself in our long-term memories.