#TuesdayTop10: Best of 2013 (first quarter)

Three months in to 2013, there has been a whole lot of great music released. We take a look at our leading contenders for “Single of the Year” so far.

Drake, Started From the Bottom10. Drake “Started From the Bottom”
The first time my girlfriend heard Drake‘s “Started From the Bottom,” she did not believe it was Drake. It’s true that Drake several altered his signature flow but even the track’s subject matter and production are new for Drake. His lyrics bounce between trying to prove he hasn’t forgotten where he came from and standard hip hop braggadocio. In typical Drake fashion, he still makes it entertaining with quips like “just as a reminder to myself/I wear every single chain, even when I’m in the house.” – Adam Morgan

Local Natives, Breakers09. Local Natives “Breakers”
Local Natives don’t reinvent the wheel on this track, but the superior artistry and emotion is there on full display, making for one of the most surprisingly forceful and affecting songs of the year. A song as strong as this further asserts Local Natives as one of the most refreshing rock acts to pop up in the past few years. – Mark Steinbach

Camper Van Beethoven, Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out08. Camper Van Beethoven “Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out”
While celebrating their 30th Anniversary, Camper Van Beethoven released their new album, La Costa Perdida. The album’s lead single, “Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out” mixes indie rock with Eastern-influences and neo-psychedelia. The track’s steady rhythm and jam-like qualities allows it to burrow in your brain. -Adam Morgan

James Blake, Retrograde07. James Blake “Retrograde”
It comes as no surprise that Blake decided to release “Retrograde” as his first single, considering the song is such a force of nature. At the same time, “Retrograde” has made high expectations impossibly higher for Blake’s latest record. If Blake can manage to so seamlessly juggle soulfulness and electronic melodies for the duration of an album, the young ambient master may have struck gold. – Mark Steinbach

AsAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Drake06. A$AP Rocky featuring Kendrick Lamar and Drake “Fuckin Problems”
A$AP Rocky bubbled just under the surface of mainstream hip hop for a few years with the understanding that his major label debut would be his breakout. No one predicted that Long. Live. ASAP would break as it did. The main reason the album hit number one in US, Canada, and UK is because of the lead single, “Fuckin Problems.” From the track’s sub bass filled beat to the excellent guest verses from Kendrick Lamar and Drake, the track has become one of the biggest singles of the year. – Adam Morgan

Youth Lagoon, Mute05. Youth Lagoon “Mute”
There are so many things going on in Youth Lagoon‘s “Mute” and, improbably, all of the varied parts work together beautifully. As all this noise and power pervades the soundscape, the most vulnerable piece distinguishes itself as the song’s star: Trevor Powers’s gossamer voice that both haunts the song and ties it all together. – Mark Steinbach

Flaming Lips, Sun Blows Up Today04. The Flaming Lips “Sun Blows Up Today”
With all the crazy publicity stunts and strange, artsy detours, it’s easy to forget that Wayne Coyne and his band have the ability to make lovable, infectious pop music in seemingly effortless fashion. “Sun Blows Up Today” may not be the greatest song of the year, but it deserves distinction as the most fun. – Mark Steinbach

tegan and sara, closer, knocks03. Tegan and Sara “Closer”
Remember when Tegan and Sara were just two sisters making indie rock in the great white north of Canada? “Closer” became the sisters’ coming out to the world. The track’s mix of synth pop and the thumping four-on-the-floor bass drums of house music makes the track an obvious lead single choice and an early 2013 anthem. – Adam Morgan

Foxygen, Shuggie02. Foxygen “Shuggie”
I don’t remember the 1960s and chances are neither do you. No member of Foxygen remember the 1960s either but that hasn’t stopped them from summarizing the decades sound in “Shuggie.” Using The Kinks…Are the Village Green Preservation Society as blueprint, the band made a multi-movement piece that is equal parts catchy, beautiful and unpredictable. – Adam Morgan

David Bowie, Where Are We Now01. David Bowie “Where Are We Now?”
Like much of The Next Day, this song isn’t completely new for Bowie. It has flashes of “Heroes,” flashes of “Space Oddity,” as well as many other classic Bowie themes. In fact, Bowie’s ability to craft something that sounds at least a little new and exciting is a true achievement considering his long, varied career. “Where Are We Now?” transcends the whole “pleasant surprise” script, cleverly combines themes and aesthetic, and carves out its space as a lovely, essential addition to the Bowie catalogue. – Mark Steinbach