Top 25 Best Tracks of 2013
Every year we like to stray away from our formula of posting one track a day. We know that it’s hard to to keep track of all the songs we post here, and for that, we like to give you the sparknotes. This year we have two lists. The first is from Gabe Jacobs and the second is from Brett Rosenberg. 2013 was an amazing year for music. Here’s why:
Gabe’s Top 25 Best Tracks of 2013
25. Psychic Twin – Unlock Yr Heart
24. Willis Earl Beal – Wavering Lines
23. HAERTS – Hemiplegia
22. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula
21. Jungle – The Heat
20. Young Galaxy – New Summer
19. Rhye – 3 Days
18. Unknown Mortal Orchestra –
So Good At Being In Trouble
17. cry guy – SEXCESS
16. The National – I Need My Girl
15. Generationals – Put A Light On
14. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
13. Foxygen – No Destruction
12. Joey Bada$$ – LongLiveSteelo (Prod. By Kirk Knight)
11. Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey
10. King Krule – Easy Easy
9. Kanye West – Black Skinhead
8. Arcade Fire – Afterlife
7. Krill – Infinite Power
6. Chance The Rapper – Chain Smoker
5. Youth Lagoon – Mute
Youth Lagoon can do it all. He can make beautifully mellow and nostalgic music like he did with “The Year of Hibernation,” and he can make epic head bumping music like he did with “Wondrous Bughouse.” This man is no one trick pony. What he can do with just a piano and his voice, he can do better with power chords and drawn out guitar solos. “Mute” is where is all makes sense, especially when we reach 2:03 and Powers lets it all out. Mute may be the loudest track he has made to date, but that does not mean it is any less beautiful. The long stretch of instrumentals prove how versatile Powers is. Believe it or not, this furry haired 24-year old is a modern virtuoso.
4. Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt
“Hannah Hunt” may not be the best track of the year, but it surely has the best moment. Nothing —NOTHING, beats the 36 second span from 2:42-3:18 of “Hannah Hunt.” It is the moment where the song takes a thrilling turn, boasting a beautiful piano riff and piercing snares. And finally, Ezra lets it rip. “If I can’t trust you then damn it, Hannah/ There’s no future/ There’s no answer/ Though we live on the U.S. dollar/ You and me, we got our own sense of time.” It’s a perfect moment and the one that solidifies Vampire Weekend as not just a playful indie rock group, but one of the best artists of our time.
3. Luke Reed & Tea Leigh – Rivers of Love
The surprise of the list, “Rivers of Love” by Luke Reed & Tea Leigh. This is one of those tracks that I am sure few others payed as much attention to as me. Hell, it may not have even been released in 2013, and I apologize if it wasn’t. But no other song this year has effected me as much as this one. It brings me out of whatever funk I am in and into a world of no worries. It reminds me that sometimes you just have to breath and remember to take things slow. This is the type of music you close your eyes to, the type that acts as therapy. This is rare… at least for me.
2. The National – Graceless
Everyone knew that “Trouble Will Find Me” was a grower. “Sea Of Love” was at first the standout, then “I Need My Girl,” and now “Graceless,” my second favorite track of the year. It’s not that The National are doing anything drastically different. “Graceless” is amazing for similar reasons that “Bloodbuzz Ohio” was amazing. But the formula just does not get old. The track doesn’t start slowly or quietly, but still manages to build to epic moments. That their trick — that is what makes them so good.
1. Jai Paul – Str8 Outta Mumbai
Let’s get one thing straight (or str8?). What makes Str8 Outta Mumbai the best track of the year has nothing to do with controversy surrounding its release. If anything, the idea that the album was potentially released against Jai Paul’s will leaves us with a bit of a bad taste in our mouth. Is this what Jai Paul intended for us to hear? Is this even the finished product? But the questions aside, what we have here is music that feels unbelievably unique. Jai paul is making bollywood-style electro-pop. The style is incomparable. A Tabla-dholak-ghungroo beat with flanged-out guitars, sci-fi laser beam beeps, Punjabi “Hoi’s”, and an unbelievable female Hindi vocal climax. It’s too bad that no one has any idea when Paul will release more music because to put it plainly — nothing beats this.
and now on to…
Brett’s Top 25 Best Tracks of 2013
25. We Are Twin – The Way We Touch
24. Phoenix – Bourgeois
23. Brightener – Bahamas
22. CTM – Variations
21. Tea Leigh & Luke Reed – Color Theory
20. Sticky Fingers – Australia Street
19. Hott MT – Three Days
18. Keep Shelly in Athens – Recollection
17. Sky Ferreira – Boys
16. Autre Ne Veut – Gonna Die
15. Wise Blood – Alarm
14. Party Supplies – Going Back To New York
13. Volcano Choir – Comrade
12. Body Language – The Chasing
11. Kanye West – Bound 2
10. Ramses B – Underwater (feat. Meron Ryan)
09. Odesza – Without You
08. Sin Fang – Not Enough
07. Moderat – Gita
06. Mesita – Damage
05. Nadine Carina – Stars
This is what I call a headphones-essential track. Listening on a cheap pair of speakers just isn’t going to cut it. Nadine Carina’s “Stars” is the type of song that I can’t fully explain how it affects me. Although I will say that goosebumps are almost always in order when dabbling with this tune. The array of trippy, distorted vocals accompanied by an absolutely beautiful melody help to make this my favorite dreampop track of the year. If you’re looking to tune everything else and out get a bit emotional, this is surely the song for you.
04. Folly and The Hunter – Vultures
And the best folk track of the year is undoubtedly Folly and the Hunter’s “Vultures”. This Montreal-based folk outfit has been getting more recognition for the work in recent months, but these guys are superstars in the making. “Vultures” is a beautiful masterpiece of vocal harmonies and some fine piano work that’s most gripping when the chorus rolls around. If you haven’t yet heard their sophomore album Tragic Care, it’s well worth a few listens (or ten).
03. Foals – Inhaler
Now you’ve got to appreciate some hard rock for this track to have any effect on you. I would’ve never expected a group like Foals to produce something this outlandishly heavy, but they’ve proven over the years they are quite the diversified act. Granted this isn’t my absolute favorite rock jam of the year (see #1), but to say I don’t get a little psychotic at the mind-blowing chorus would be a lie. The entire album Holy Fire is something special, but “Inhaler” stands out as the most emotion-inducing of the batch.
02. Way Yes – Macando
Here’s a track that’s been blowing me away all year. It’s got some folk roots ingrained in it, but this is inherently a pop song. Way Yes’ Tog Pebbles might be the best album of the year, and the fourth track in “Macando” took me by storm the first time I heard it. The beautifully strange howling and the intense tribal drumming are just part of what makes this my second favorite track of the year. And if those two features don’t immediately draw you in, the epic sax at the end will be the clincher. Way Yes is definitely my favorite artist of 2013, and I can only hope they receive more national attention in the coming year.
01. The 1975 – Head.Cars.Bending
How this track didn’t make it onto their debut LP is beyond me. I was genuinely kind of upset about it, just because of how freaking good this song is. I caught onto The 1975 last year when they were a little known group out of Manchester. I also was fortunate enough to see them in a couple tiny venues over the last year. Since then, to say they’ve blown up is an understatement. And with their dozens of exceptional songs released this year, none top the beauty and intensity of “Head.Cars.Bending”. The heavy sub bass and drowning synths are enough to completely engulf you for the full 3:28. So give it a listen and see why I consider this song to be the best track of 2013.
Thanks for reading and we hope you keep following Lower Frequencies for all of 2014’s amazing music. What is your list? We would love to hear what your personal favorites were this year especially if they were different from ours. Comment below with your top 25, or 10… or 5.