By Charles Louis Dominguez ’14
With 2014 off to a start, it’s a good time to fairly judge last year’s music.
2013 was an eclectic year, bringing us unexpected returns from the likes of Daft Punk and My Bloody Valentine, along with solid releases from notably consistent artists like Kanye West and Kurt Vile.
Along with the usual wave of releases came a new trend: releasing albums with little to no promotion. This tactic was utilized to varying degrees by a number of artists.
Kanye West released his latest album, “Yeezus,” without a radio single, while experimental hip-hop trio Death Grips and Beyoncé both took this to the extreme by releasing albums without even announcing them.
If you paid attention to any media source this year, 2013 was also the year of Miley Cyrus.
Plenty of great songs came out this year, and ultimately it was difficult to choose only 10 to include on this list. Only the strongest, grooviest tunes made the cut.
So here they are—my top 10 songs of 2013.
10. Drake – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
My father loves this song. He was actually the one who showed it to me. Although I was only lukewarm to this track at first, it really grew on me.
At a glance, it’s a cheesy love song. Upon further listening, it’s still a cheesy love song, but it’s also incredibly catchy and pleasant.
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” is remarkably simple, but some of my favorite songs are.
9. Pusha T – “Numbers on the Board”
2013 saw Pusha T prove his status in the hip-hop industry with his album “My Name Is My Name.”
Lead single “Numbers on the Board” sports one of the best beats I’ve heard this year. With production credit to Kanye West, this is unsurprising.
With great lyrics to match its stellar beat, “Numbers on the Board” is a standout.
8. M.I.A. – “Y.A.L.A.”
M.I.A.’s latest album, “Matanagi,” is a noisy romp—distorted, loud and fun to listen to.
Paired with its biting social criticisms, it’s a great album.
“Y.A.L.A.” is a good example of just how fun “Matangi” can be. With its catchy chorus, heavily layered beat, and overarching message, it’s not only one of my favorite songs off “Matangi,” but also one of my favorites of 2013.
7. Atoms For Peace – “Ingenue”
Thom Yorke’s side-project Atoms For Peace’s self-titled album this year had a number of remarkable tracks on it.
“Ingenue,” with its off-kilter beat, makes the obscure beautiful, and is an album standout.
6. Earl Sweatshirt ft. Frank Ocean – “Sunday”
Despite considerable hype leading up to its release, Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album, “Doris,” didn’t receive much coverage once it was out.
With a number of great singles and stellar deeper cuts, it deserves recognition.
“Sunday” finds rapper Sweatshirt and his fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean at their best, delivering great verses against a haunting beat.
5. My Bloody Valentine – “only tomorrow”
2013 saw the release of My Bloody Valentine’s long awaited album “mbv.”
Fans of the 90’s group had long ago given up their dream of seeing a full-length follow-up to “Loveless,” My Bloody Valentine’s most celebrated release. As a result, the album came as a pleasant surprise for longtime fans.
“mbv’s” second track, “only tomorrow,” manages to capture everything I loved about “Loveless” without feeling like a rehash of old work.
With its groggy, triumphant guitar riffs, it easily scores a spot among my favorite songs of the year.
4. Daft Punk – “Give Life Back to Music”
“Give Life Back to Music” is the perfect opener for Daft Punk’s latest full-length album, “Random Access Memories.”
3. Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”
“KV Crimes” a is great rock tune.
With its driving guitar riff and interesting vocal delivery, it offers something reminiscent of the old rock songs your father always talks about.
The grit of the song makes it the gem that it is.
Also, it has cowbell.
2. Kanye West – “Send it Up”
I loved almost all of Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” but, even the first time I listened to it, it was clear that “Send it Up” was my favorite track.
“Send it Up” opens with an braggadocious verse from King Louie. King Louie’s verse fits appropriately over the beat—a futuristic-sounding, abrasive beat that draws easy comparison to an alarm ringing.
From there, West delivers his verse, making allusions to everything from 50 Cent’s 2003 smash-hit “In Da Club” to musician Prince.
It’s self-indulgent, it’s fun–– and it’s one of the best songs I heard this year.
1. King Krule – “A Lizard State”
King Krule’s 2013 album, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon,” is easily my album of the year.
Fittingly, “A Lizard State,” the album’s eighth track, is the best song I heard in 2013.
With its undeniable hip-hop influence and its booming saxophone solos, “A Lizard State” finds the perfect place between nostalgia and musical progression.
“A Lizard State” is boisterous and rowdy, oozing with passion and angst.
King Krule is definitely an act to watch out for. He made the best song I’ve heard in years.