Top Tracks of 2013

You’ll probably notice that the year’s most acclaimed tracks don’t make my list. I like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” but it’s one of my least favorite songs on Random Access Memories, to be honest. I also like Lorde’s “Royals,” just not enough to make the cut. And I grew to like Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” too, once it appeared on that commercial and I was exposed to it outside the abrasive confines of Yeezus. Those are the top three songs on Rolling Stone‘s year-end list, and actually the top nine songs on their list have evaded my own, which illustrates how different our approaches are to dissecting the best tracks of the year. They have a deadline in early December, so they end up sampling a wide swath of artists and typically just focus on the big singles of the year — they have to. Meanwhile, I get to look at everyone else’s work to give myself ideas and take months to complete my own list, which is highly personalized. Furthermore, it’s impossible for me as one person who listens to music as much as he can but doesn’t do so professionally to sample everything there is, though I certainly do try my hardest.

So my list is limited in nature, since I can only get my hands on so many albums in a timely fashion, even in the age of streaming services. However, whatever handicaps in breadth I face I can more than compensate for with depth, since I give myself more time to find the best tracks on albums and sort them into a good order. Most of the tracks on my list aren’t singles; they’re album cuts, the kind that get ignored in today’s scene. Also, I don’t give a damn about whether songs had any impact on pop culture or on the world at large, since this is just a list of my favorites. I debuted a lot of these songs via Attack Zone Radio last July as something of a mid-year report, so you should still be able to view all of those posts by clicking on the links below if you’re interested in reading some commentary, looking over the lyrics, or listening to songs on YouTube. As for the rest, I plan to resume doing Attack Zone Radio posts again shortly, and will “play” the songs on the list I didn’t feature last summer. (At the very bottom of this page, you can listen to the entire list as a Spotify playlist, too.)

Bottom 40

What’s a list without the usual overflow? I thought I’d consign some of the near-misses to a “Bottom 40” (as opposed to Top 40, see) to highlight some more songs for your listening pleasure.

150. Glen Hansard feat. Eddie Vedder & Jake Clemons – “Drive All Night” (Drive All Night – EP)

149. Chvrches – “Recover” (The Bones of What You Believe)

148. Pistol Annies – “Dear Sobriety” (Annie Up)

147. Paramore – “Future” (Paramore)

146. HAIM – “Honey & I” (Days Are Gone)

145. Disclosure feat. Edward Macfarlane – “Defeated No More” (Settle)

144. Arctic Monkeys – “One for the Road” (AM)

143. Beyoncé – “Blow” (Beyoncé)

142. MS MR – “Dark Doo Wop” (Secondhand Rapture)

141. Arcade Fire – “Afterlife” (Reflektor)

140. Black Sabbath – “God Is Dead?” (13)

139. Pearl Jam – “Yellow Moon” (Lightning Bolt)

138. Elvis Costello & The Roots – “Cinco Minutos Con Vos” (Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs)

137. Deafheaven – “Please Remember” (Sunbather)

136. Ashley Monroe – “Like a Rose” (Like a Rose)

135. Nine Inch Nails – “While I’m Still Here” (Hesitation Marks)

134. Capital Cities – “Kangaroo Court” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

133. Johnny Marr – “Lockdown” (The Messenger)

132. Sons of the Sea – “Plus Minus” (Sons of the Sea)

131. Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear – “Doin’ It Right” (Random Access Memories)

130. Kacey Musgraves – “Follow Your Arrow” (Same Trailer Different Park)

129. Tegan and Sara – “I Was a Fool” (Heartthrob)

128. Paul McCartney – “I Can Bet” (New)

127. Yuna – “Escape” (Nocturnal)

126. Arctic Monkeys – “I Wanna Be Yours” (AM)

125. The Knife – “Wrap Your Arms Around Me” (Shaking the Habitual)

124. How to Destroy Angels – “A Drowning” (Welcome Oblivion) [Bonus Track]

123. Beyoncé – “Partition” (Beyoncé)

122. Primal Scream – “2013” (More Light)

121. U2 – “Ordinary Love” (Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom) [Soundtrack]

120. The National – “Demons” (Trouble Will Find Me)

119. Disclosure feat. London Grammar – “Help Me Lose My Mind” (Settle)

118. Atoms for Peace – “Stuck Together Pieces” (Amok)

117. Capital Cities – “Tell Me How to Live” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

116. Depeche Mode – “Soft Touch / Raw Nerve” (Delta Machine)

115. Eminem – “Rhyme or Reason” (The Marshall Mathers LP 2)

114. Nine Inch Nails – “I Would for You” (Hesitation Marks)

113. Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas – “Instant Crush” (Random Access Memories)

112. My Bloody Valentine – “In Another Way” (m b v)

111. Tricky feat. Francesca Belmont – “Somebody’s Sins” (False Idols)

Honorable Mentions

Since My Bloody Valentine’s m b v, Atoms for Peace’s Amok, and Beyoncé’s Beyoncé are not on Spotify and seven songs from these three albums make the list, I am creating seven honorable mention slots. Basically, these are all songs I profiled for my mid-year report last summer. I still like them, but not quite enough to make the cut.

110. Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?” (AM)

109. The Strokes – “80’s Comedown Machine” (Comedown Machine)

108. Vampire Weekend – “Obvious Bicycle” (Modern Vampires of the City)

107. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Under the Earth” (Mosquito)

106. Alice in Chains – “Voices” (The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here)

105. David Bowie – “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” (The Next Day)

104. Eric Clapton feat. Chaka Khan – “Gotta Get Over” (Old Sock)

Prestige Picks

Since I already mentioned these songs and said I liked them, I might as well grandfather them in by creating a sub-honorable mentions section. (Hey, it’s my list, so I can do what I want.) I’ll preserve the order from Rolling Stone‘s list, which happens to be my order of preference for these three songs anyway.

103. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead” (Yeezus)

102. Lorde – “Royals” (Pure Heroine)

101. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky” (Random Access Memories)

Top 100

We come to it at last. Let’s get to my 100 favorite songs of the year.

100. How to Destroy Angels – “Ice Age” (Welcome Oblivion)

99. Kings of Leon – “Family Tree” (Mechanical Bull)

98. Ashley Monroe – “The Morning After” (Like a Rose)

97. Queens of the Stone Age – “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” (…Like Clockwork)

96. Capital Cities – “Chartreuse” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

95. Elvis Costello & The Roots – “Refuse to Be Saved” (Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs)

94. Tegan and Sara – “Love They Say” (Heartthrob)

93. Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly – “Do What U Want” (ARTPOP)

92. Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run” (Fade)

91. HAIM – “Falling” (Days Are Gone)

90. The Knife – “Without You Life Would Be Boring” (Shaking the Habitual)

89. Tricky – “We Don’t Die” (False Idols)

88. Phoenix – “Trying to Be Cool” (Bankrupt!)

87. Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young” (Modern Vampires of the City)

86. Sons of the Sea – “Come Together” (Sons of the Sea)

85. Beyoncé – “No Angel” (Beyoncé)

84. Avicii – “Lay Me Down” (True)

83. Black Sabbath – “Zeitgeist” (13)

82. Kacey Musgraves – “Blowin’ Smoke” (Same Trailer Different Park)

81. Paul McCartney – “Appreciate” (New)

80. Eminem feat. Rihanna – “The Monster” (The Marshall Mathers LP 2)

79. Primal Scream – “Culturecide” (More Light)

78. Pistol Annies – “Blues, You’re a Buzzkill” (Annie Up)

77. Arcade Fire – “Porno” (Reflektor)

76. Queens of the Stone Age – “Smooth Sailing” (…Like Clockwork)

75. Disclosure feat. Jessie Ware – “Confess to Me” (Settle)

74. The National – “Sea of Love” (Trouble Will Find Me)

73. Nine Inch Nails – “Came Back Haunted” (Hesitation Marks)

72. HAIM – “Forever” (Days Are Gone)

71. Yo La Tengo – “Ohm” (Fade)

70. Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” (AM)

69. Capital Cities – “Origami” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

68. Ashley Monroe – “Used” (Like a Rose)

67. Beyoncé – “Haunted” (Beyoncé)

66. Daft Punk feat. Todd Edwards – “Fragments of Time” (Random Access Memories)

65. The Knife – “Ready to Lose” (Shaking the Habitual)

64. Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun” (Paramore)

63. Kanye West – “Blood on the Leaves” (Yeezus)

62. How to Destroy Angels – “The Space in Between” (Welcome Oblivion) [Bonus Track]

61. Kacey Musgraves – “Stupid” (Same Trailer Different Park)

60. Johnny Marr – “Generate! Generate!” (The Messenger)

59. Justin Timberlake feat. JAY Z – “Suit & Tie” (The 20/20 Experience)

58. Nine Inch Nails – “Everything” (Hesitation Marks)

57. Paul McCartney – “Looking at Her” (New)

56. Arctic Monkeys – “Knee Socks” (AM)

55. Black Sabbath – “Age of Reason” (13)

54. My Bloody Valentine – “If I Am” (m b v)

53. Phoenix – “Drakkar Noir” (Bankrupt!)

52. Kurt Vile – “Goldtone” (Wakin on a Pretty Daze)

51. How to Destroy Angels – “The Loop Closes” (Welcome Oblivion)

50. Arcade Fire – “Normal Person” (Reflektor)

49. Sons of the Sea – “Jet Black Crow” (Sons of the Sea)

48. The National – “Graceless” (Trouble Will Find Me)

47. Queens of the Stone Age – “…Like Clockwork” (…Like Clockwork)

46. Yuna – “I Want You Back” (Nocturnal)

45. Pistol Annies – “I Feel a Sin Comin’ On” (Annie Up)

44. Daft Punk – “Give Life Back to Music” (Random Access Memories)

43. Atoms for Peace – “Judge Jury and Executioner” (Amok)

42. Capital Cities feat. Soseh – “Chasing You” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

41. Ashley Monroe – “You Got Me” (Like a Rose)

40. Kanye West – “Guilt Trip” (Yeezus)

39. HAIM – “If I Could Change Your Mind” (Days Are Gone)

38. Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day” (Wakin on a Pretty Daze)

37. Yuna – “Hanging On” (Nocturnal) [Bonus Track]

36. How to Destroy Angels – “Too Late, All Gone” (Welcome Oblivion)

35. Johnny Marr – “Say Demesne” (The Messenger)

34. My Bloody Valentine – “New You” (m b v)

33. The Knife – “Raging Lung” (Shaking the Habitual)

32. Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round” (Same Trailer Different Park)

31. Nine Inch Nails – “Satellite” (Hesitation Marks)

30. Jason Isbell – “Elephant” (Southeastern)

29. Arctic Monkeys – “Arabella” (AM)

28. Depeche Mode – “Heaven” (Delta Machine)

27. HAIM – “Running If You Call My Name” (Days Are Gone)

26. How to Destroy Angels – “The Believers” (Welcome Oblivion) [Bonus Track]

25. Daft Punk feat. Paul Williams – “Touch” (Random Access Memories)

24. Kurt Vile – “Snowflakes Are Dancing” (Wakin on a Pretty Daze)

23. Arcade Fire – “We Exist” (Reflektor)

22. Yuna – “Someone Who Can” (Nocturnal)

21. Sons of the Sea – “Untethered” (Sons of the Sea)

20. MS MR – “Hurricane” (Secondhand Rapture)

19. The National – “Humiliation” (Trouble Will Find Me)

18. Kacey Musgraves – “Silver Lining” (Same Trailer Different Park)

17. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Lose Yourself to Dance” (Random Access Memories)

16. JAY Z feat. Beyoncé – “Part II (On the Run)” (Magna Carta… Holy Grail)

15. Deafheaven – “Irresistible” (Sunbather)

14. Capital Cities – “Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)

13. How to Destroy Angels – “We Fade Away” (Welcome Oblivion)

12. Atoms for Peace – “Reverse Running” (Amok)

11. Nine Inch Nails – “In Two” (Hesitation Marks)

10. Tricky – “Is That Your Life” (False Idols)

9. Phoenix – “Chloroform” (Bankrupt!)

8. HAIM – “Go Slow” (Days Are Gone)

7. Daft Punk – “Beyond” (Random Access Memories)

6. Sons of the Sea – “Lady Black” (Sons of the Sea)

5. Phoenix – “Bourgeois” (Bankrupt!)

4. Johnny Marr – “New Town Velocity” (The Messenger)

3. Daft Punk – “The Game of Love” (Random Access Memories)

2. Kacey Musgraves – “Back on the Map” (Same Trailer Different Park)

1. My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You” (m b v)

The List as a Spotify Playlist

If you have Spotify, you’ll be able to listen to this list — well, most of it — as a playlist right here. 143 songs are currently available for free streaming.

The seven songs not available on Spotify:

#1: My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You”

#12: Atoms for Peace – “Reverse Running”

#34: My Bloody Valentine – “New You”

#43: Atoms for Peace – “Judge Jury and Executioner”

#54: My Bloody Valentine – “If I Am”

#112: My Bloody Valentine – “In Another Way”

#118: Atoms for Peace – “Stuck Together Pieces”

Sloppy Spillover

Now that the list — in its bastardized 150-song form — is set, it’s time to add a spillover section. The following are songs I have come across since completing the list that I would like to highlight, as well. This is a continuously expanding, unordered list that is simply meant to offer more ideas for your listening pleasure.

  • Kurt Vile – “Air Bud” (Wakin on a Pretty Daze) — Can’t believe I overlooked this one on the first pass. But a deadline is a deadline. (I gave myself until March 31 to complete the list.)
  • Yo La Tengo – “The Point of It” (Fade) — Can’t believe I overlooked this one either. Great stuff.

Both tracks have been added to the Spotify playlist, as well.