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The 50 Best Songs of 2013

December 4, 2013  |  10:31am
The 50 Best Songs of 2013
39. Matt Pond – “Starlet”
If you wanted a song that would make you feel tight around the chest during the holiday season (for a reason other than excessive amounts of tryptophan), look no further than “Starlet” by Matt Pond. The singer-songwriter’s music—which is often dreamy, sometimes romantic—has a tendency to make stomachs clench and hearts thump. “Starlet” recounts the story of a romance that ends as intensely as it began. It’s guaranteed to drag out a few emotions even from the season’s biggest scrooges. —Stephanie Fang

38. King Krule – “Easy Easy”
A few months have probably done King Krule some good. Now that audiences have gotten over the initial shock of finding out that lanky 19-year-old Londoner Archy Marshall was the bellowing baritone known as King Krule, tracks from his debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon stand even stronger on their own merits. Particularly on “Easy Easy,” where the singer growls and shoegazes his way through the inner frustration of a down-on-his-luck city kid. The hollow guitar and heavy echo might imply a dark abyss or an indifferent metropolis, but King Krule’s message—sung through that aforementioned gloomy rumble—make a convincing argument to take life easy, if only for just a minute.—Nick Petrillo

37. Bosnian Rainbows – “Turtle Neck”
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s previous projects have seen the El Paso-rooted guitarist thrash cathartic hardcore and lead ambitious jazz-leaning prog, but for Bosnian Rainbows, his newest project, he’s taking on the craft of the pop song. One of the finest cuts is “Turtle Neck,” a mid-tempo crooner that leans on the interplay between Rodriguez-Lopez and vocalist Teri Gender-Bender for a hazy look at a relationship that eventually makes its way to the dance floor.—Tyler Kane

36. Black Joe Lewis – “Come to My Party”
“Come to My Party,” one of the album’s key tracks, is three parts funk, one part soul, and 100 percent party fun, as the name suggests. Like most of Black Joe Lewis’ music, it’s just easy to groove along to.—Stephanie Fang

35. Parquet Courts – “Master of My Craft”
Parquet Courts were there this year to feed our need for reverb-laden stoner tunes. Opener on the band’s debut album Light Up Gold, “Master of My Craft” is a wild, ambitious track that shows off what Parquet Courts do best: throw a bunch of unruly, twang-infused riffs on top of one another and layer them with heavy bass lines and commanding hooks from frontman Andrew Savage. “Death to all false profits around here we praise a dollar you fuckin’ hippie / Wanna walk around in my shoes and then tell me how it feels / Thread count – high / Commissions – high / Hourly rates – high / A minute of your time? / Forget about it.”—Eric Gossett

34. A$AP Rocky – “1Train”
“1Train” set the bar immensely high for posse tracks when LONG.LIVE.A$AP made its debut in January. In fact, the bar was so high that no feature-heavy track has yet to dethrone it 11 months later. With guest spots from Joey Bada$$, Alabama rebel Yelawolf, Detroit screwball Danny Brown, Ghostface-style storyteller Action Bronson, Southern rap’s honor student Big K.R.I.T., or every casual hip-hop fan’s favorite rapper Kendrick Lamar, no hip-hop track this year represented its vast landscape so democratically. It’s wholly possible that “1Train” won’t be topped next year, either.—Nick Petrillo

33. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – “We The Common (For Valerie Bolden)”
Thao Nguyen, the vocalist behind San Francisco’s Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, is known her upbeat, twangy tracks that toe the line between pop and country. She stays true to form with “We the Common (For Valerie Bolden),” a lighthearted, banjo-infused track that makes you want to grab a pair of leather boots and dance along. —Stephanie Fang

32. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs returned this year with one their most polarizing records to date. Although Mosquito received mixed reviews from critics as a whole, the first single off the album “Sacrilege,” received positive reception, being the band’s first piece of new material since 2009’s It’s Blitz. “Sacrilege” is an electrifying, epic ballad from the band, featuring charging vocals from Karen O and ending with a massive choral accompaniment to close out the song.—Eric Gossett

31. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “Run”
While the clear radio single on Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s The Speed of Things was “If You Didn’t See Me (You Weren’t on the Dancefloor,” the album’s best tracks were still waiting to be unwrapped. Case-in-point, “Run,” the album’s second song that draws in with skittish synths and hooks for days—proving that sugary, immediate pop can still pack a punch lyrically.—Tyler Kane

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