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A Will Cleveland Pop-Ed: My Top Songs of 2013

These are my favorite songs of 2013. They are slightly skewed and biased, but I hope you enjoy them as much as I have …

Chvrches — “Recover” 
I don’t normally like electro-pop, but this is so well done (and Scottish and also catchy). I love Scottish music (as seen with my love of Big Country, Arab Strap, John Knox Sex Club and Frightened Rabbit), but this is so well-constructed.

Drake — “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
I was close to picking “Worst Behaviour” (with that weird Canadian spelling), but I picked the popular one. You should embrace me. On a weird note, I am going to see Drake next weekend in Buffalo and I am insanely excited. Miguel and Future are opening. I will report back.

Zola Jesus – “Avalanche (Slow)” 
Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus) often feels cold and oddly industrial (in the vein of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails). Her 2013 “unplugged” release adds to her reputation as an artist. It also makes want to give her a hug.

Woodkid — “Iron” (Even though it was released in 2011) 
This song was technically released over two years ago, but it remains the highlight of Woodkid’s 2013 debut. It is symphonic and dynamic. (It is also French.)

King Krule — Out Getting Ribs  
Much like my Jai Paul obsession, this song was “released” more than three years ago (when Archy Marshall still referred to himself as “Zoo Kid.”) This song demonstrates Marshall at his rawest. It demonstrates his singular genius, while also showing why XL is enamored with him.

Katy Perry (feat. Juicy J) — Dark Horse
I really wanted to include “Bandz A Make Her Dance” here. It is still the best stripper anthem of the last few years, but I decided on this with Katy Perry. This song manages to be both ratchet (and yes, I know what that means) and sexy.

Lana Del Rey — Young & Beautiful 
It’s a classy and catchy turn for Ms. Lizzy Grant (see what I did there?). “Video Games” and “Diet Mt. Dew” are wonderful, but this demonstrates her artistry.

Justin Timberlake — Blue Ocean Floor 
JT is dreamy. This song is both oceanic (watery) and soothing. His two albums spanned nearly four (exaggeration) hours, but this was the best song. If you want some extra credit, please check out the Dibbs remix of this song. 

Tyler, The Creator — Answer
I am a devoted follower of Odd Future (Wolf Gang Kill Them All). I became a huge fan in 2010. I managed to see their second ever New York show in February 2011 when Tyler first played “Yonkers”. He played the following night on Jimmy Fallon. His second solo album was sorta disappointing, but “Answer” shows the promise of OFWGKTA. (I wanted to include Earl Sweatshirt’s “Chum” but (amazingly) I picked a song released this year.)

Touché Amoré — Non Fiction
I already covered my love of emo (and the stupid renaissance from this year … even though it doesn’t exist). These Los Angeles “punks” (with the quotations added for dramatic effect) released my favorite rock song of the year.

Junip — Line of Fire  
Jose Gonzalez is quite dreamy (and also Swedish). If you need evidence of this, just listen to some of his quieter solo work. He reunited with his first band, Junip, a few years back. “Line of Fire” is the lead single off their second “reunited” album. It’s melodic, acoustic and slightly Argentinean. I highly recommend it. 

Mutoid Man — Gnarcissist  
Add both Converge and Cave In and you get Mutoid Man. (Fans of heavy music will get this.) Do it.

Foxing — Rory
The most brutally honest song of the year. I dare you to listen to this song and not feel the raw emotion. (That sounds like a challenge, but it is.)

Mac Miller (feat. Jay Electronica) — Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes 
I have never been a fan of Mac Miller (or Larry Fishman), but he took a step forward in 2013. The highlighted song is his best thus far. The beat is meandering, his rhymes are delightfully abstract. It features a wonderful retelling of The Wizard of Oz myth from the Jay Electronica. (Let’s do a mind meld and ask Jay to finally release that long-rumored debut album.)
A Will Cleveland Pop-Ed: My Top Songs of 2013 Reviewed by Will Cleveland on 12/12/2013 Rating: 5

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