Paste‘s 20 Best Summer Songs of 2013

Music Lists

As the end of August draws closer, we’re left with the dreadful realization that another summer is winding to a close. And while our hottest months of the year might have been defined by pools, cookouts and the great outdoors for some, many made life-long memories to new songs released this summer.

As we approach our last weekends of summer, we’ve created a playlist to help you relive (or create) some of those memories. Take a listen to the tracks below, and let us know your own favorite summer songs in the comments section.

20. Telekinesis, “Power Lines”
A true kick-off song for any summer 2013 playlist, “Power Lines” leads you in kindly enough with a lo-fi acoustic guitar only to shift into a traditional blues-schooled rocker. Once Michael Lerner’s drums kick in, they mark a perfect start to any cookout, road trip or pool party you might have to offer.

19. Superchunk, “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”
A summer release date for any Superchunk album is a good sign. And although this cut might have a few less sunny lines like “I hate music / what is it worth,” it carries all of the must-haves for a good summer rock jam—cranked guitars, a driving rhythm and hooks galore.

18. Diarrhea Planet, “Separations”
The most accessible cut from I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Imagination is dripping with hot, sopping, sweaty…garage energy.

17. Deerhunter, “Pensacola”
Pensacola: the name of an ideal vacation spot or the title of a transistor-toned single from Deerhunter. The latter is a hot cut from the band’s excellent Monomania that will take you back to blasting jangly rock tunes in your folks’ basement on summer break.

16. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “Let’s Get High”
It’s an anthem for sure, but Alex Ebert’s talking about “love” here, guys—if you’re into that sort of thing in the hottest months of the year.

15. Washed Out, “It All Feels Right”
Hazy and nostalgia-inducing, Ernest Greene’s flirtation with more traditional instruments on “It All Feels Right” is what we’d guess heat ripples might sound like.

14. Jay Z (feat. Beyoncé) “Part II (On the Run)
Jay Z’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail was generally considered a disappointment, but “Part II (On the Run)” gets a huge helping hand from Beyoncé’s hooks, which give you a good reason to get the hell out of town whenever you like.

13. Disclosure, “Latch”
Nodding to the ‘80s with no shame, this synth-powered cut’s undeniable choruses have many claiming Disclosure just made the best dance record of the year.

12. Kanye West, “I Am a God”
Because what makes you feel younger and more alive than a reminder that you’re invincible? Or that a damn croissant is like, the best way to kick off a sunny morning?

11. Portugal. the Man, “Purple Yellow Red and Blue”
Danger Mouse turned the knobs behind the inescapable tones of summers past on The Black Keys’ Brothers, so it’s no surprise that his effort with Portugal. the Man yielded similar results in this percussive jam.

As we approach our last weekends of summer, we’ve created a playlist to help you relive (or create) some of those memories. Take a listen to the tracks below, and let us know your own favorite summer songs in the comments section.

10. Wavves, “Sail to the Sun”
Self-dubbed King of the Beach Nathan Williams unsurprisingly had something to contribute to this summer’s soundtrack. This bass-led track spits in the face of longevity and reminds young lovers to live in the moment—as if they needed it.

9. Mikal Cronin, “Weight”
From its opening bars, “Weight” feels like you’ve heard it a thousand times. It’s an upbeat, contemplative rocker that proudly reflects Cronin’s roots in California garages.

8. Chvrches, “Recover”
Maxed-out synthesizers have been one of the staples of this summer, and they don’t get more immediate than on Chvrches’ breakout single, “Recover.” It’s a tune that’s equally useful for partying at night and reflecting the morning after.

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dance Floor”)
The lulling, twangy guitars in the intro for “If You Didn’t See Me” might throw first listeners for a loop, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s staples—gliding synths, McCartney-informed bass parts, hummable melodies—all come flooding in for three minutes of indie-pop bliss.

6. Janelle Monae, “Q.U.E.E.N. (feat. Erykah Badu)
In true Monae style, “Q.U.E.E.N.” mixes retro tones with forward-thinking production, all resulting in a danceable track that’s equally rewarding for the careful listener. Whether you’re just looking for a solid cut to “twerk in the mirror” to, or if you need a little self-confidence boost, “Q.U.E.E.N.” is go-to song for anyone who’s wanted to sing “the booty don’t lie” and not feel weird about it.

5. Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”
Timberlake confirmed this summer that he can take anything—whether it’s cheesy ‘80s guitars, eight-minute song lengths or hell, Myspace—and make it look good. “Mirrors” is a bold, long-form trek that proves he’s a songwriter before a hook-crafter and that adventurous songwriting isn’t a dead art in pop.

4. Vampire Weekend, “Diane Young”
Upon first listen, “Diane Young” sounded like a rough departure for Vampy Weeks fans, but if they suspended their shock for long enough, this track arrived customized right on time for hot summer nights.

3. Haim, “The Wire”
Haim has been unstoppable in 2013, releasing tracks like “Falling” that stack hooks on hooks on hooks. “The Wire,” one of the California sisters’ latest, casts a sunny outlook for when that summer fling fizzles out—and sounds damn catchy doing it.

2. Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
“Blurred Lines” was unavoidable before the VMAs, and maybe now we’d just hope the whole package would go away. But strip away all the Cyrus controversy (see what I did there?) and the fact that Thicke is getting sued for sounding a little too much like Marvin Gaye, and you’ve got a soul-fueled hit that’s impossible to wipe from your recent memory for good reason.

1. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell, “Get Lucky”
Robin Thicke’s mega-hit might have out-partied “Get Lucky” in sheer saturation, but there’s no denying that Pharrell’s appearance with the chrome-domes is, without a doubt, the summer jam that reigns supreme in quality. Daft Punk and Pharrell’s not-so-subtle mission statement is slicked over by Nile Rodgers‘ virtuosic take on glossy rhythm guitars, forming an alliance we’d never imagine—but we’re perfectly happy listening to the outcome.

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