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Top 100 Songs of 2013 (pt.1)

2013 was a really good year in music. There was something for everyone released this year, from the heaviest of metal to the coolest of jazz and everything in between! Here at Gutter Bubbles, we love music…all different styles and genres of music, so when the idea of doing a “Top 100 Songs of 2013” list came up, we had to figure out how to present such a list. Because of the multitude of genres represented (as well as the wide gap of notoriety that exists between some artists) we figured there would be no real fair way to rank these songs. Really, how could you even start when comparing…say Eminem to the Legendary Pink Dots? There is really just no way to do it! So instead, we’ve opted to run our list alphabetically instead of assigning an unfathomable numerical ranking. Every song on this list could’ve easily been ranked in the “top spot” so to speak, so instead, they are all #1 in our book! There will be 20 songs run each day this week, so check back everyday to see which songs made our list.

So with that said, sit back, relax and crank up the volume! This is the best of the best of 2013!


Acucrack “Opensource Organsport” from The Mawn Reproduction

For those familiar with the previous works of DJ? Acucrack (now sans the DJ?), their new album The Mawn Reproduction may come as somewhat of a surprise. Largely devoid of the breakneck drum and bass that characterized their more recent efforts, Acucrack instead delivered a genre-bending album of electronic mayhem, of which, the highlight is “Opensource Organsport” with an infectious groove, pounding chorus and the best sample placement of the year! -Ryan Brun


AFI “I Hope You Suffer” from Burials

AFI have been the recipients of a fair amount of shit for changing their sound so drastically over the last several years. Old school punk rock purists still won’t find much to like about Burials, but tracks like “I Hope You Suffer” propel AFI to previously uncharted territory. Driving synthesizers, nearly jazz-like percussive elements and a vitriol laden chorus are all benchmarks of past AFI tracks, but never have they been so  effective together. AFI may not be the same band they were 15 years ago, but with tracks like this one, that may not be such a bad thing. -RB


The Arcade Fire “We Exist” from Reflektor

This song had me at the opening bass line, which kicked in as I was walking down the street listening on my headphones. I felt like Michael Jackson in the “Billie Jean” video, striding down the sidewalk in perfect time, cement lighting up in my wake. This retro groove maintains for the duration, even if it does morph a bit under your feet. Sultry verses with slightly menacing lyrics piling on harmonies and indie rock drenched guitars. Those who have long held that Arcade Fire was the collective delusion of indie rock hipsters are surely eating their words now as they proudly proclaim “We Exist.” -Rob Dixon


The Arcade Fire “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” from Reflektor

A real synthesis of post-punk, funk and ’80s electro-pop, this brooding yet expansive song sounds like death disco up swept by a sugar rush. With this whole album, The Arcade Fire took some chances and probably lost some fans. But in embracing multiple roots of influence as embodied so well here with this bracing yet hypnotic song, these guys have effectively taken a step forward. -Tom Murphy


Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know” from AM

I’ve never been much of a fan of the Arctic Monkeys. I always just assumed that they were the same jittery, spastic garage rock band that broke out nearly a decade ago. Although completely ignorant on my behalf, I never really gave the band a fair chance, so it was much to my great surprise when I popped in their album AM for a listen. From the opening moments of “Do I wanna know” with it’s hypnotic percussion and slinking guitar riff, I was hooked. I never expected such a mature (and let’s face it…sexy) sound from the Arctic Monkeys. AM is probably the biggest surprise of the year for me, and it all starts with “Do I Wanna Know.” Fucking brilliant. -RB


Arctic Monkeys “Fireside” from AM

“Fireside” features a danceable, groovy bass line that lays a head-bopping foundation while organs, synths, vocoders and guitars swirl about a minor key melody that builds to the immortal question – “Is it hard to make up your mind when you’re losing and your fuse is fireside?” I know Plato wrestled with that one and now Alex Turner does as well to the delight of pop-rock lovers everywhere. -RD


ASG “Avalanche” from Blood Drive

Metal and hard rock music is littered with bands that pay too much attention to being heavy just for heavy’s sake, often to the detriment of the song itself. Not the case with ASG. I was immediately floored from the minute “Avalanche” came over my speakers. Sure, “Avalanche” is heavy, with it’s crashing verses and driving chorus, but what makes the song (and album) special is the attention they paid to the songwriting itself. Everything with “Avalanche” is exactly in the right place, from the stream of conscious lyrics to the meaty guitar riffs. As if that weren’t enough, the songs outro provides just a taste of the shredding to come on the rest of the record. -RB


Atoms for Peace “Ingenue” from Amok

This “single” by the Thom Yorke/Flea/Nigel Godrich/Joey Waronker “supergroup” that is Atoms for Peace may be the best known for Yorke’s interpretive dance in the official music video. “Old Thom’s gotten weird” people said. Well, perhaps. But weird is interesting. Weird is original. Weird makes song that are sonic experiences, with soaring melodies weaving through intertwining layers of drums, bass, synths and tic-inducing, water-drippy percussion. Crank up this song and let it sink into your skull – it won’t be long before you’ll be dancing just like Yorke (or an ingenue). -RD


Atoms for Peace “Amok” from Amok

A classic slow burner, this darkly ambient number ends the album on which it’s named after. The subtle and sophisticated progression articulated mainly by Flea’s bass line all but hypnotizes you into submission while layers upon layers of vocals build to a crescendo of “to run amok, run amok, run amok” and you realize that is exactly what you are now doing. Just as you realize this, the synthesizers suddenly stop, the piano plays the perfect off-chord and the song is over. Like many things Thom Yorke has done in recent times, there is a certain maturity about it. Never heavy handed, but rife with mystery, it is simply the work of one of our greatest artists, still at the top of his game. -RD


Author & Punisher “Fearce” from Women & Children

There’s heavy, and then there’s heavy. Author & Punisher’s “Fearce” falls decidedly into the latter category. Lacking traditional instrumentation that usually defines heavy music (hell, lacking traditional instrumentation at all) “Fearce” is a pulse pounding journey through cyber hell, with enough distortion and bass to collapse eardrums and structures alike. If a war between robots and humans were to ever come to fruition, this would be the soundtrack of millions of lives lost and utter devastation. This is a one of a kind experience, that is as captivating as is is terrifying. -RB


Devendra Banhart “Fur Hildegard Von Bingen” from Mala

Admittedly, I’m not much of a lyrics guy. Never really have been. Sometimes, that’s really worked to my detriment and “Fur Hildegard Von Bingen” is certainly an example of that. The track tells a fairly straightforward story about someone dreaming about a different life. It’s a pretty simple narrative, but an entertaining one nonetheless. In my defense though, it’s easy to miss the story being buried under the sultry but haunting musical accompaniment. -RB


Jon Batiste & Stay Human “Express Yourself (Say Yes)” from Social Music

For a jazz head like myself, it’s so exciting to see an artist like Jon Batiste (and his band Stay Human) come around. Jazz has felt somewhat sterile over the last few years with artists either repeating what has already been done, or pushing the boundaries of music to almost unrecognizable limits. While Batiste and his band pay homage to the past, they also manage to move their music into the future. It’s a precarious balance, but one that they pull of with seemingly the greatest of ease. -RB


Beck “Defriended” from 12″ Single Release

“Defriended” is a refreshingly new sound from Beck. I am completely welcoming of something more experimental from Beck because, though seemingly unthinkable for such a consistently unique and creative artist, I had been starting to find him a bit predictable, and frankly, a bit boring. The song is somewhat akin to Animal Collective, but not nearly enough to distract. Sonically pristine, inventive and all together lush, it is far and away my favorite track I’ve heard from him in quite some time. -Devin Hogan


Beck “I Won’t Be Long” from 12″ Single Release

This one is much more in the vein of classic Beck when compared to “Defriended”, though still not entirely a return to form. Beck seems to be allowing himself to be more influenced by the current sound of alternative pop/rock music than he usually is and it’s not proving to be a bad thing. The reverb drenched vocals in the chorus and the bassy, unexpected breakdown around halfway in are just of few of the details that make this song great. -DH


The Black Angels “Love Me Forever” from Indigo Meadow

Few songs instill more of a 60’s psychedelic vibe than this one. From the dry twang of the guitar tone,  the wavering, long-winded breath of the organ, to the hollow echo of the vocals, this songs sounds like a concoction of Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds and the Rolling Stones all in one tidy little package. -DH


Black Hearted Brother “My Baby Just Sailed Away” from Stars Are Our Home

Turns out Mark VanHoen working with Neil Halstead isn’t just like one of the others bands. This song could have come out on a 1980’s Hawkwind album in that its fusion of Moroder-esque space rock synth work and psychedelia is so lush. But there’s an underlying feel of some strange dance track like futuristic disco even in the guitar work. There’s been little like it since mid-’90s Sky Cries Mary. -TM


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Fire Walker” from Specter at the Feast

Those expecting the standard blues-garage-rock on which BRMC hang their brand better get ready to expand their minds. Specter at the Feast, their latest album, is full of psychedelic goodness mixed into the bluesy, boozy rock n’ roll the band is known for. This is no more evident than on the lead track “Fire Walker”. It starts slow, ambient and mysterious, then hits heavy over a minute in, but doesn’t seal the deal until yet another minute elapses when the sultry and brooding melody kick in. At which point, all neurons in your brain fire a mighty “ahhhhhhhhhh!!!” -RD


Black Sabbath “Zeitgeist” from 13

Many a conversation over this summer included the subject, “did you hear the new Black Sabbath?” in hushed tones, because it’s been many years since Black Sabbath has been cool. But finally in 2013, as in the days of yore, the answer to that question was “yeah, and it’s pretty fucking good!” Perhaps this is because 13 feels like a companion album to Paranoid, but with the maturity of some grizzled old rockers. Take “Zeitgeist” for example, which is the “Planet Caravan” of this record. Tony Iommi’s guitar solo at the end is nothing short of delectable. I could play that guitar solo on repeat all day long and never get tired of it. Young Tony was a badass to be sure, but he could never have crafted something so delicate. For a band with so many ups and downs spanning four decades now, 13 is a bookend on par with the best works of their early career. -RD


James Blake “Retrograde” from Overgrown

It took a lot of time (and a lot of weed) to choose this song over others from James Blake’s new album Overgrown to include on this list. I knew that I had to include at least one song from it, but which one? His alluring soul-inflected voice is exquisitely recorded yet included back in the songs as samples, revealing a trip-hop heart of hearts, on nearly every track. Incredible, soaring synthesizers leap out of the mix and directly into your neural cortex multiple times throughout the album. -RD


The Blue Rider “Yam” from The Blue Rider EP

This song screams out of the gates and never lets up. It’s like these guys gave a real boost of acceleration to a psych-garage-go-go number. If real go-go dancers tried to keep up with this song, they’d struggle or get a real workout because this rock and roll song from out of any specific time frame is relentless and electrifying. -TM

More Top 100 Songs of 2013: part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5


Twitter: @Gutter_Bubbles

About the author:
Has 290 Articles

I am absolutely and unabashedly in love with music. If I could eat a huge bowl of songs for breakfast every morning, I totally would. I'm obsessive about categorization (don't mess with my chronological or alphabetical) and can't stand an unorganized iTunes library. Outside of music and writing, I love baseball (go Rockies), coffee, corgi's and going on fun trips with my girlfriend!


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