Music is the soundtrack of our lives. It adds character and tone to unforgettable moments and memories. It is a catalyst during our highs and a therapeutic release during the lows. With 2013 in our rearview, it’s the obvious and healthful thing to reflect on the year past. One of my favorite things to analyze is the trends in the music industry, as well as the songs that defined the year and became the soundtrack of our lives.
This year the reinvention of music legends, like Justin Timberlake, Fall Out Boy and Daft Punk was realized. Additionally we were introduced to innumerable undiscovered underground artists who commanded the attention of a national and international audience. Below, I’ve listed what I would consider ten of the top songs of the year. The list is in no particular order. It isn’t based on sales research, airplay or charts. It’s simply the songs I heard in the background of life and the artists that left an indelible mark on the music industry in 2013.
Fall Out Boy - ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’
After a several year hiatus during which Pete Wentz pursued side projects and frontman, Patrick Stump, started a family, it was exciting to hear buzz that Fall Out Boy reunited to release new music in 2013. However, the anticipation wasn’t met without it’s own share of skepticism that the foursome, once dubbed ‘Emo’ wouldn’t be able to reinvent another chart topping album, let alone single, on the level they had when they took a break. ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)’ silenced the critics with hard hitting lyrics and power packed riffs and bass. Fall Out Boy picked back up right where they left off, releasing one of 2013’s most notable and played singles. Welcome back Fall Out Boy. What they offer the industry has been missing and is irreplaceable.
Blake Shelton - ‘Boys Round Here’ & ‘Mine Would Be You’
Blake Shelton has been gaining momentum in the music industry for years. And his position as the winningest judge on NBC’s singing competition, The Voice has propelled his personality and music to a much wider listening audience. But in 2013 Blake staked a claim on the Country music charts by releasing two of the most renowned hits in ‘Boys Round Here’ and later in the year, ‘Mine Would Be You’. He reminded us of his roots, proving he doesn’t just have a talent for picking out the winning ‘Voice’ but has long known how to voice his own hits, doing what he does best, entertaining the masses with wit and charm.
Avicii - ‘Wake Me Up’
EDM producer Avicii isn’t new to the music scene by any means. This Swiss talent has been generating hits in his genre for years for an international audience. So it didn’t really surprise Avicii faithful when he strong armed a position on the popular charts with hit single, ‘Wake Me Up’ in 2013. Utilizing his innovative talent he stepped out of the box to produce a gritty blue grass roots track on an electronic platform. And it resounded with the masses earning him one of the top songs of the year!
Daft Punk - ‘Get Lucky’
Another of electronic musics innovators is Daft Punk and their comeback hit this year, ‘Get Lucky’ was welcome refreshment to the summertime charts. Amassing their talent with that of Pharrell William the collaboration features satiny smooth melodies, catchy synth loops and a song that permeated the warmer months of 2013.
Imagine Dragons - ‘Radioactive’
Las Vegas based rockers Imagine Dragon burst on the scene early this year and captivated our ears with hit after hit after hit. ‘It’s Time’ kicked the year off for them but they really hit their stride when ‘Radioactive’ climbed the charts and solidified their presence in the music industry as a solid force we can look forward to indulging in for years to come.
Macklemore - ‘Thrift Shop’
There is only one word that describes Macklemore in 2013 and that is dominant. From ‘Thrift Shop’ to ‘Can’t Hold Us’ or maybe the more emotive ‘Same Love’ their hits climbed the charts and stayed there for the duration of the year. They revolutionized Hip Hop with their point on lyrics that tackled the humorous and then when they had us smiling fearlessly ventured into polarizing societal dilemmas that divide us. Yet under the banner of music they united us and we listened.
Lorde - ‘Royals’
The New Zealander known by her stage name, Lorde, stormed up international charts with her indulgently realistic song for dreamers, ‘Royals’. Using a minimal base loop and just her vocals she lorded over our soundwaves and stayed atop the charts for over 20 weeks. Her ingenious musical approach spawned innumerable remixes and widespread acclaim, leaving its mark on music in 2013...And we’re all hoping for much more 2014 as well.
Zedd - ‘Clarity’
Zedd, another one of EDM’s young and brilliant talents charmed the masses in 2013 with hit ‘Clarity’. His piano driven melodies soar on the wings of the vocalists he features and translate into addictive ear worms. ‘Clarity’ established Zedd’s credibility with popular media and then his follow up, ‘Stay The Night’ featuring Paramore’s Hayley Williams solidified his artistry on the charts and in our 2013 soundtrack.
Justin Timberlake - ‘Suit & Tie’
At the top of 2013 Justin Timberlake stepped back into the spotlight in the industry with lead single off his forthcoming album, ‘Suit & Tie’ and never looked back. It could be argued that his album, ‘The 20/20 Experience’ was the album of the year generating hit after hit. What I find most remarkable about JT’s comeback in 2013 is that he didn’t just successfully reinvent but he innovated, bending the R&B sound back to soul and that decision was popular. That is where his mark will be felt not only in 2013 but in years to come. Welcome back JT! Thank you!
Robin Thicke - ‘Blurred Lines’
Robin Thicke has been one of R&B’s sexiest vocalists for years but in 2013 his single, ‘Blurred Lines’ thrust his artistry to a whole new dimension (somewhat literally). The single, (which also somewhat notably features Pharrell William) ignited the airwaves the moment it was played and clarified his position atop the charts for most of the year. What started as a creative musical evening in the studio, ended up sending him back there immediately to record a full album which was appropriately titled by the single that generated it.