Just like last year, I decided to take a quick run down of the songs that I personally thought made a big impact on radio, charts and pop culture for the year 2013.
2013 made us say something beautiful and came in like a wrecking ball when things are in trouble, trouble, trouble.
Funny how diverse 2013 is with some interesting edgy reinvention from a once Disney kid, a new hope from Idol products, a showdown between original Mariah and modern day “Mariah” and an introduction of new and promising artists.
So without further adieu, here is a subjective list of the 20 Songs of 2013 in my personal notes.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: One Direction – Best Song Ever; Paramore – Still Into You; Sara Baraeilles – Brave; One Republic – Counting Stars; Zedd (ft. Foxes) – Clarity; Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child; Selena Gomez – Come & Get It
Jessica Sanchez (ft. Ne-Yo)
– The people behind Jessica Sanchez tried to deviate her from the R&B and diva ballad we used to hear from her during her run in American Idol and the end product is a catchy, upbeat pop tune. With an assistance from Ne-Yo, Jessica showed how diverse she can be as a vocalist and deliver an infectious uptempo that is hard to resist.
19. WE CAN’T STOP
– From songs like 7 Things, The Climb and When I Look at you, Miley Cyrus took a 360 degrees turn and showed her more edgy side. Not that she took a different route in terms of genre, she still stayed pop but the once Disney star created a whole new niche on her side and as a debut single for her new found “liberty”, she infuses her mantra of “I don’t give a *#c!” to some catchy pop tunes.
18. LET HER GO
– Let her go is a sad tune and with the lead vocalists undeniably longing kind of voice, it was able to translate what the song wants to give and more. In the end, Passenger’s Let her go is one of the saddest pop gem that rose dramatically in 2013.
17. THE WAY
Ariana Grande (ft. Mac Miller)
– Dubbed as the modern “Mariah Carey”, Ariana Grande isn’t just a copy cat. She has the voice that can whistle like Mariah and a tone that is flirty yet enthusiastic. Her biggest hit on 2013 is a collaboration with Mac Miller and the potential from this another Disney star alumna is skyrocketing high.
16. I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
– I Knew You Were Trouble for me is Taylor’s transition phase from country to pop. With news around hinting on her big shift in terms of genre, the dubstep style on this pop tune is catchy, beat friendly and infectious. By the way, I never really consider Taylor country but what do I know.
Mariah Carey (ft. Miguel)
– Mariah Carey dropped a bomb in this Miguel collboration of hers and end up having yet another hit on her belt. #Beautiful and yes with that hashtag in the title, is Mariah’s best hit since We belong together. It matches Miguel’s R&B thing and at the same time played well with her flirty, sultry vocal quality that made this song alluringly good.
– How in the world Imagine Dragons can make a song light even if in hindsight it should be dark and heavy? Somehow, the boys have managed to tastefully embrace pop rock with so much ease and still creating a flavor that is identifiable in their terms. Radioactive plays with a percussion beat theme and breathing heavy vocal dynamics but once the song ended, you just have to press that repeat button once again because it was deliberately good.
13. SAY SOMETHING
A Great Big World (ft. Christina Aguilera)
– The combination of A Great Big World’s understated vocals and Christina Aguilera’s ability to showed restraint and power produced a solid lovely ballad. It was poignant, heartfelt and the piano-themed track is simple, honest and sublime.
12. THRIFT SHOP
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
– There’s something playful on this track by breakout artists, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. At first, I didn’t really find what is amusing with the track but after a couple more listens, it grew on me leaving a valuable radio jam. There’s an infectious hook, a fun quality and the song was just writtern with humor.
11. THE MONSTER
Eminem (ft. Rihanna)
– Much like their first collaboration, Love the way you lie, this is yet another hit on both Eminem and Rihanna’s belt. As soon as the song bust out its soaring chorus in the beginning with Rihanna’s recognizable tone demanding much needed attention, the song just exploded with enough gusto and then with Eminem relinquishing an impeccable speedfire rap verses, it’s done. The track is an instant ear treat!
10. GONE, GONE, GONE
– A campy song with enough grit and texture from Phillip’s quality of tone is the perfect roadtrip tune. But that’s not all, Gone Gone Gone is easy, feel good and has a home feel that embraces you without even trying. Who knew something like this will be Phillip’s signature tune? But I am not complaining because this is such a radio friendly, catchy and lovely track.
9. WAKE ME UP
Avicii (ft. Aloe Blacc)
– When pop meets country meets folk meets dance genre, you will be treated with an eargasmic electro-dance pop music. It was even a popular genre this year. The hybrid of this song on paper should not work but with Avicii’s stellar remix and Aloe’s fantastic vocals, I am pleased and I guess everyone else too.
– From the moment Lorde opened her mouth, the single just grabs you from the get go. Her smoky tone matches a certain coolness in this debut single of Lorde that is a winning combination. The chorus is catchy and beat is giving us such urgency of power yet breeze.
– This pop gem from Katy Perry is simple. From the memorable verses, clever lyrics play and a catchy hook-laiden chorus, you will just know it will be a hit.
6. WRECKING BALL
– There’s maturity behind every verses of the song. Miley successfully embrace the emotional attachment on the song and she was able to convey the needed pain and hurt that translates into a pop ballad with enough urgency and a hook loving chorus.
– Justin Timberlake is one of the few artists who was able to leave the shadows of their boyband days. He found his niche in the pop-R&B genre. While this was his sophomore single on his comeback album, I thought thus was his strongest single on that. With his slick vocals, fantastic phrasing, soothing falsettos and amazing dynamics? Justin Timberlake was able to carve a delicious piece of pop tune that is an absolute ear treat.
Rihanna (ft. Mikky Ekko)
– Often times, Rihanna has been nitpicked with her vocals but I digress. One of her shining vocal performance is heard in this wonderful collaboration with Mikky Ekko. There’s just enough emotional investment in this track and Rihanna’s voice is just soaring. Not to mention, Mikky held his own and that bridge is simply a cherry on top of the ice cream.
3. WHEN I WAS YOUR MAN
– Quietly intense. Bruno Mars has proven how reliable of a vocalist he is and how well he can maneuver his fantastic vocals around such emotional song. It was a wonderful storytelling on a piano themed retro pop ballad from Bruno!
2. BLURRED LINES
Robin Thicke (ft. Pharrell Williams & T.I)
– Let me get it straight: Blurred Lines is not lyrically a sensible song but I don’t mind. As the biggest summer track of 2013, Robin Thicke has managed to gloat his silky, sexy voice on his biggest hit to date. It was catchy in hooks. Playful in verses. Memorable in tempo. Sexy, summer fling in rhythm.
1. JUST GIVE ME A REASON
Pink (ft. Nate Ruess)
– On paper, you would think that the combination of Pink and Nate Ruess will not work but boy we are all wrong. The song begins in a quiet, simple build up that leads to a soaring chorus and a bombast vocal fusion from Pink’s solid vocal stylings and Nate Ruess’ recognizable tone. It’s a mash-up of two different style that you easily rejected but could end up surprising you. In the end, I ranked Just Give Me A Reason as the top track of 2013 for one simple reason: A gorgeous song that made everyone got hooked to it!