Top 50 Tracks of 2013 (40-31)

top-50-tracks-of-2013-40-31 copy40. The Neighbourhood “Sweater Weather”
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This might be the one song about sweaters that has sex appeal. This moody track screams “make out session,” even after you have graduated high school. From the moment the song starts with a beat that sounds like it came from the old keyboard in your parents’ basement, you’re hooked. The melancholy California-vibe transports you to a world of beach houses in the chilly off-season. It’s as if the Beach Boys were cold, sad hipsters enticing Rhonda to snuggle for warmth. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

39. Youth Lagoon “Mute”
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Much of Youth Lagoon’s debut album felt small to the point of claustrophobia. It housed ambitious sounds yet still felt closed in by the arbitrary boundaries of lo-fi indie rock. Yet “Mute,” placed toward the beginning of Trevor Powers’s 2013 follow-up LP, places the Youth Lagoon sound in a more expansive arena. Claustrophobic? No, “Mute” is pretty much life-affirming in the breadth of soundscapes it covers in its six minutes. If this is the future of Youth Lagoon’s sound (as the rest of Wondrous Bughouse suggests), Powers will just continue gaining fans.

38. Villagers “Rhythm Composer”

Irish indie folkers Villagers sophomore effort {Awayland} built upon their initial success from Becoming a Jackal. “Rhythm Composure,” the closing track, is a perfect example of Conor O’Brien’s mix of dark lyrics with toe tapping music. The track opens full orchestration and drum rim tapping while a playful guitar riff moves the song along. The rich layering of sound is a welcome departure from the sparseness of their first album. Saxaphones and brass are layered into the track giving the song a lullaby quality. The song fades out with a heartbeat rhythm on synthesizers, emphasizing the title. – Audra May

37. Parquet Courts “Borrowed Time”
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Fun. Fucking fun. I’m not going to get all technical here because there’s no reason to. I suppose if I were to get technical then I guess I could make the argument that this album shouldn’t qualify since it was “technically” released in 2012, later to be re-released in 2013 to a much larger audience. Still, the titular track from Parquet Courts’ first full-length album is just too good to be left off this list on a technicality. – Greg Scranton

36. Avicii ft Aloe Blacc “Wake Me Up”
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“Wake Me Up” is one of the first major hits that the Swedish producer, Avicii, has put out since “Levels”. He transcends progressive house with folk music, thus appealing to a large, diverse audience. Aloe Blacc’s vocals were a perfect match for the tracks youthful and emotionally engaging lyrics. The instrumentals also worked together beautifully to pull you into the track and capture the carefree excitement of folk music, and mix it well with electronic house. This track is a great introduction to the amazing album, True, which has taken bold moves to transform EDM and adapt different genres to appeal to a greater audience. – Stuart Silva

35. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin “Nightwater Girlfriend”
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Hearing Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin‘s “Nightwater Girlfriend” for the first time was a revelation. From the carefree opening handclap beat to the addition of the 1960s California pop guitar and bass, there is nothing tricky about the song. When Philip Dickey’s childlike vocals appear, its almost like a troll but they sound good. Then he takes the vocals and goes into a falsetto which is almost not comprehendible at first listen. The catchy chorus, the water themes, what seems like a slight jab at Surfer Blood (“your boyfriend/did he ever swim to the end?”), but the song really succeeds at the point where most songs fail. The bridge is a glorious disco breakdown befitting of the Daft Punk album. – Adam Morgan

34. Iggy Azalea “Work”

With its light stringed intro that is slowly joined by soft piano play, Iggy Azalea’s hard voice drops indicative as the title for her 2013 standout track “Work” demonstrates. Iggy is an Australian gal who came to the States and worked hard as a model/laborer who was just trying to make it. She took a shot at rapping and what we got was one hell of a “this is who I am” track that shows this white female immigrant can run in the rap game. While the industry may have taken her innocence, she doesn’t feel that she’s a piece of meat as most rap songs try to portray women. Instead, she’s as hard working as anyone and has the skill. With a bouncing hook and clever word play like, “Valley girls giving blowjobs for Louboutins/What you call that? Head over heels” it’s hard not to feel like hustling when this track comes on.

33. Vampire Weekend “Ya Hey”

“Ya Hey” is not the best song on Modern Vampires Of The City, but it’s probably the one I listened to the most. Driving around in the summer, it was almost always something off Modern Vampires Of The City reverberating through my 2001 Daewoo Leganza (a.k.a. Clara Hughes). I took turns abusing “Diane Young,” then “Everlasting Arms,” then “Step,” then “Hannah Hunt,” but the song that never stopped getting played out of Clara Hughes’ terrible sound-system was “Ya Hey.” It’s epic and catchy and fun to sing, and the richer themes of the album are very much present. Most songs off this incredible album deserve to make our list, but “Ya Hey” is my nostalgic and emotional choice. – Dragos Nica

32. Savages “She Will”

Touted by many as the second coming of The Slits, the UK based female four piece surpassed any derivative pigeonholing with their debut album Silence Yourself. What Savages share with The Slits is the ability to circumvent a single genre designation with their unique blend of styles and influences while avoiding the pitfalls of derivative imitation. – Greg Scranton

31. Eels “Wonderful Glorious”

Closing and title track “Wonderful, Glorious” begins as a straight up rock song with a solid bass line. Everett’s lyrical conclusion is a celebration that transitions into a well balanced and delicate three part harmony. The bass returns, slapping out the beat. The discord carried by the guitars sets up the resolution for the end of the song while E belts out some of the most positive lyrics of his career. This is truly a triumph musically for the band, who have grown into a cohesive unit after several years of touring together. – Audra May

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