Top 50 Tracks of 2013 (30-21)

top-50-tracks-of-2013-30-21 copy

top-50-tracks-of-2013-30-21 copy30. Lana Del Rey “Young and Beautiful”

There weren’t many more romantic songs than Lana Del Rey‘s “Young and Beautiful” released this year. Coming from the Great Gatsby soundtrack, the softly symphonic track is filled with the wanting of young love, questioning the length and sustainability of the relationship. Despite Del Rey’s questions, her belief in love wins out “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?/will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?/I know you will.” – Adam Morgan

29. M.I.A. “Bring the Noize”

“Bring the Noize” features a heavy sampling of Marble Players’ “Marble Anthem”. You can hear the metallic notes and tribal like drums throughout M.I.A.’s track about not remaining quiet. She takes the opportunity to lyrically go after people who put money and possessions over people while still adding a dash of bravado about herself. The song hits you like machine guns with her repetitious “d-d-d-d-dem, free-dem”. A big part of the song revolves around the singular line from Kris Kristoferson and Fred Foster’s “Me and Bobby Magee”, made famous by Janis Joplin. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Quite right, as Fight Club taught us, the things we own begin to own us. The song certainly lacks the swag of “Bad Girls”, but it correctly fosters the point that in a world where people cannot get out of the turmoil that they help to create, M.I.A. can indeed make noise successfully standing out as an artist while gaining the popular media’s radio play. – Adam Grabowski

28. Jon Brion ft. Sarah Jaffe “The Blue Umbrella”

Pixar’s The Blue Umbrella is an animated short that ran before Monsters University. The viewer is treated to an anthropomorphic view of a city in the rain where the buildings and other inanimate objects assist a blue umbrella reach it’s goal of meeting a red umbrella. The simple story layered by the instrumental track with the same title. Musician and producer Jon Brion adeptly creates the imagery of rain and wind with simple wooden xylophones and builds it throughout the entire orchestra. Singer-songwriter Sara Jaffe adds vocals that mimic the string parts with notes that float easily on Brion’s musical breeze. – Audra May

27. My Bloody Valentine “Who Sees You”

After 22 years and multiple false reports about a pending new album, the enigmatic Kevin Shields and company finally released m b v in 2013. Despite the pent up anticipation and certain disappointment that typically comes with said anticipation, I was genuinely impressed and pleased with the album in its entirety. While there was several stand out tracks, I felt as though “who sees you” represented the best of old and new MBV. – Greg Scranton

26. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Sacrilege”

Not since “Like a Prayer” has a gospel choir been so well-utilized. Karen O’s vocals go from sweet and breathy to powerful and distorted while Nick Zinner’s delicate guitar dances, then the gospel choir joins in and kills. Let’s not forget that this song has a video that actually presented a compelling story – in reverse. A music video worth watching from beginning to end is a rare thing these days. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

25. The National “Don’t Swallow the Cap”

It’s everything you love about The National, plus it’s dance-able! It’s got the band’s usual mellow feel from those vocals and those up-and-down introspective lyrics, while the rest of the song is just catchy. It sounds like a happy song even if they lyrics aren’t quite sure how they feel. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

24. Robin Thicke “Blurred Lines”

Summer songs rarely translate the same way in winter and such is the curse of Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines.” In the Surviving the Golden Age’s offices, discussions were had in which order the top songs of the year would go “Blurred Lines” one and “Get Lucky” two or the other way around. Maybe its because of the season, maybe its because it got overplayed, but “Blurred Lines” hits the middle of the countdown. Still it seems that years out, “Blurred Lines” will come on your iTunes and you will immediately be transported back to the summer of 2013; hopefully it will be a memory full of parties and good times, that’s what Robin Thicke would want. – Adam Morgan

23. Regina Spektor “You’ve Got Time”

Nothing propels an artist like a theme song to a hit show. Regina Spektor wrote You’ve Got Time for the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and has been nominated for a Grammy. Driving drums and Spektor’s percussive style of piano open the song with the frantic intensity embodied by the shock of the lead character of the series. While the song was created specifically for the show, Spektor’s style still shines through. Her powerful vocals and soaring guitar riffs propel the song along. – Audra May

22. Drake “Started From The Bottom”

Drake‘s “Started From the Bottom” became the Red Sox’ unofficial anthem during their unlikely 2013 World Series championship run. David Ortiz had it as his walk up music and it seemed so perfect; a team that was haplessly in shambles suddenly rose to prominence as some sort of “land of the misfits toys.” Of course, almost none of the lyrics made sense in the Red Sox story nor could the chorus even be played uncensored across the Fenway soundsystem but the thumping Noah “40” Shebib beat could be and that’s all that was needed. – Adam Morgan

21. James Blake “Retrograde”

Although James Blake has been making good music for a while now, “Retrograde” felt like the moment is all came together for the young English singer-songwriter. Combining his quickly improving lyrical songwriting with his consistently deft control of electronic and ambient sounds, “Retrograde” somehow feels spare yet emotionally filled to the brim. By the time Blake brings the song to an overwhelming close, the listener cannot help but feel a little shell-shocked. In a good way. I think. – Mark Steinbach

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Adam Morgan

Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Wreckage Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship.