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Top 100 Songs of 2013 (pt. 3)

Hot on the heels of part 2 comes the third installment of our Top 100 Songs of 2013! While each day throughout the week features a pretty wide variety of music, today’s offering may just be the most diverse. Metal, electronica, R&B, southern rock….it’s all here! Give these songs a listen cause you might just find a new favorite!

 

 

 

 

 

HIM “I Will Be The End Of You” from Tears on Tape

A common criticism of Finnish based HIM is that they are simply too dramatic,  tailor made for Hot Topic teeny-boppers. Although there may be some credence to that observation, I personally challenge you to listen to this song and not get the chorus stuck in your head for days. I guarantee that before you know it, you will be humming along to singer Ville Valo’s admissions of eternal heartbreak and sadness. Sure, it may be a little melodramatic, but it’s easily one of the catchiest ear worms of the year. -Ryan Brun

 

How To Destroy Angels “Ice Age” from Welcome Oblivion

“Ice Age” is undeniable proof that minimalism in music can be just as effective as the “wall of sound” technique. Clocking in at nearly seven minutes, “Ice Age” is a haunting track that’s merely held together with the finger plucking of strings, sparse background atmospheres and singer Mariqueen Maandig’s chilling yet completely vulnerable narrative. “Ice Age” is a perfect snapshot of what a few talented individuals can do with next to nothing but a few strings and a great melody. -RB

 

How To Destroy Angels “How Long?” from Welcome Oblivion

Skirting between industrial, downtempo electronica and straight up pop music, “How Long?” is the type of song that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go. From the skittish blips and driving bass of the music, to the undeniably catchy melody of the chorus, “How Long?” is simultaneously accessible and challenging to it’s audience. A general feeling of uneasiness pervades throughout the track, culminating in a swirling maelstrom of electronic textures to finish it out, leaving the listener shaken, but begging for more. -RB

 

How To Destroy Angels “Strings and Attractors” from Welcome Oblivion

Like much of the rest of Welcome Oblivion, “Stings and Attractors” features glitchy, scattered electro that bobs and weaves seductively. But what really sets “Strings and Attractors” apart from the rest of the album is the gut-wrenching chorus. In an absolute gorgeous change of pace, Trent Reznor takes the position of backup singer, harmonizing with Mariqueen to create a vocal line that sounds both completely fresh yet completely timeless. “Strings and Attractors” is a delicate masterpiece on an uneasy album, easily warranting inclusion on this list. -RB

 

Jay-Z “Holy Grail (feat. Justin Timberlake)” from Magna Carta Holy Grail

In a somewhat uncharacteristic yet unflinchingly honest reflection, Jay-Z strips away the big pimpin’ exterior to examine how fame and money has affected his life. He references Mike Tyson and Kurt Cobain (side note: the song also interpolates the melody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” which I thought would piss me off, but it’s actually a pretty effective tool) as the pitfalls of fame, yet in spite of the drawbacks associated with celebrity Jay finishes his verse rapping that he’s “still that ni**a/you survived/still gettin’ bigger/illest ni**a alive.” It comes across as somewhat of an about face, especially considering the cautionary extremes, yet the song leaves you feeling like if anyone could conquer the fame game, it would be Jay-Z. -RB

 

Jesu “The Great Leveller” from Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came

Like a long lost song from Swans’ Soundtracks For the Blind, this song builds with a transporting sense of wonder and introspection. But at over seventeen minutes it goes through movements all but unrecognizable from the beginning like something Godspeed You! Black Emperor might do. At just shy of the thirteen minute mark, the triumphant and colossal sounds of guitar crash down in the classic Justin Broaderick mode. This song is a commitment that rewards the journey. -Tom Murphy

 

Lamont Kohner “Vapormask” from VA-WR037

Lamont Kohner’s single off the Wil-Ru compilation VA-WR037 (catchy title, I know) contains deep, growling bass of seismic proportions and is sure to incite a few neighborly noise complaints. Following a lengthy intro filled with subdued, syncopated drums coated with spacey metallic atmospheres, comes an unexpected and truly mind altering percussive shift offering a much more energetic and dancy vibe for the remainder of the song. One of my most listened to tracks of 2013, my only gripe is that I wish it was longer. -Devin Hogan

 

Korn “Love and Meth” from The Paradigm Shift

With the return of original guitarist Brian “Head” Welch last year, expectations for The Paradigm Shift were sky high for longtime fans. The band didn’t disappoint, especially with songs like “Love and Meth”. The return of dual guitar interplay between Head and Munky highlighted the ferociousness of the song which also sees singer Jonathan Davis turn in his most emotional and expressive performance in years. The song is a thrill ride from beginning to end and is sure to get your blood moving. -RB

 

Kylesa “Low Tide” from Ultraviolet

“Low Tide” is just about as pop as Kylesa gets and sounds like something from a dream pop record. This song pushes the band’s envelope further out by going for a more atmospheric, even ambient, feel before engaging in more direct movement that evolves into bracing intensity in the final third of the song. A left field song from a band that has put out its most left field album yet. -TM

 

Lana Del Rey “Young & Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby OST

In what could easily be considered the best ballad of the year, Lana Del Rey takes listeners down a winding path of yearning and recollection. Although the lyrics tend to be a bit dramatic and over the top, it’s difficult not to let “Young & Beautiful” tug at your heartstrings, begging you to listen over and over. With it’s ethereal backing instrumentation and Del Rey’s truly jaw dropping sense of melody and dynamic range, the song is an emotional and haunting journey that aims an arrow straight through the heart of anyone listening. -RB

 

John Legend “The Beginning” from Love In The Future

John Legend has never been a typical R&B artist. While he’s certainly encompassed some elements of traditional R&B, his music also has shades of hip-hop, soul and even rock making Legend one of the more diverse artists in the game. Although his last record, 2008’s Evolver was somewhat disappointing, Legend quickly regained form on this years Love In The Future, thanks in no small part to tracks like “The Beginning”. Accompanied by a throbbing beat, delicate piano and a melody that will get stuck in your head for days, “The Beginning” is a supremely romantic song that’s fit for making babies or thumping through your car stereo. -RB

 

Legendary Pink Dots “One More Dimension” from The Gethsemane Option

On an album of subtle and dark atmospheres, this track stands out for having a vivid bass line that serves as a snake-like backbone to anchor the fluttering of texture cycling back and forth between channels and circular background tones. It comes off like a blues riff inside a shadowy, ritualistic psychedelia. -TM

 

Lil’ Thunder “Razor Blades & Sunshine” from Razor Blades & Sunshine

For a song with such a heavy and self-examining theme, there’s plenty of defiant attitude mixed in with riffs that are both upbeat and introspective. In that way it’s reminiscent of bands like Throwing Muses in that it has deceptively simple layers of sound, mood and meaning. -TM

 

M.I.A. “Sexodus” from Mantangi

The sonic cross-purposes M.I.A. tries out in this song give it a subtle but strong dynamism. The small synth swells, horn-like and more conventional voices, accenting the main beat but also the textural beat alongside lend M.I.A.’s vocals a force and urgency in the mix setting it apart from the other songs on the album. The ethereal swirling tones around the solid rhythmic sounds and textures makes this song sound so wide and open and even haunting. -TM

 

Jimbo Mathus “In The Garden” from White Buffalo

In the mid 90’s the Squirrel Nut Zippers rose to prominence with their unique brand of revivalist jazz. From the minute I heard that band, I was hooked. They quickly became one of my favorite bands of all time, but they broke up (for the most part) in the early 2000’s. I knew that bandleader Jimbo Mathus had been making music on the side, but I was too busy with the Zippers to ever really seek it out. When White Buffalo came out in the beginning of this year, I picked it up on a whim. What greeted me was one of the biggest surprises of the year. “In The Garden” is one of those songs that simply makes you feel good about being alive. It’s got the feeling of a deep fried feast, shared with only the closest of friends, making it an instant classic in the winding and varied discography of one of the south’s finest exports. -RB

 

John Mayer “Paper Doll” from Paradise Valley

When John Mayer first came onto the scene some years back, I really didn’t like him. Scratch that, I fucking hated him. He sang that horribly shitty song about “running through the halls of his high school”. You remember that song, right? Yeah, fuck that song. But when he released his album Continuum in 2006, my perception of Mayer began to shift. Instead of hearing some pop/rock bullshit that couldn’t possibly speak to anyone that actually listened, Mayer actually sounded like he was saying something with his music. And just like that, quicker than the duration of most of his relationships, I became a huge John Mayer fan. Although he still misses on occasion, he also releases tracks like “Paper Doll” which absolutely stun with their simplicity, but also make you wonder how any songwriter ended up with that much talent in the first place. -RB

 

Paul McCartney “Alligator” from New

It’s amazing to consider that Paul McCartney has been making music for over 50 years now. With a track record that long (and storied), its somewhat easy to dismiss anything new that the artist releases. But from the jangly opening chords, descending electric guitar and the trance inducing falsetto of the bridge, “Alligator” sounds simultaneously fresh yet familiar. What becomes abundantly clear however is just how determined McCartney is. Instead of resting on the success’ of the past, he pushes forward, only to realize something ‘New’ in the process. -RB

 

Paul McCartney “New” from New

Planted firmly in the middle of New is “New” (did you get that?), a throwback of the greatest kind. Musically, the song definitely pays homage to Paul’s other band (not Wings), with it’s poppy and infectious melody, harpsichord flourishes and harmonizing vocals. It’s not too far of a stretch to consider “New” like the long lost cousin of anything from Abbey Road or Let It Be and thanks to the vintage delivery of the track, it makes it that much more believable. -RB

 

Midday Veil “The Current” from The Current

The beginning of the song sounds like these people are channeling Morton Subotnick from Silver Apples of the Moon but it quickly unfurls into a moderately menacing synth-psych rock song. But the menace fades as Emily Pothast’s vocals come in and the song swings to a breezy pace. In many ways it sounds like what it would be like for all those Utopian science fiction movies of the 70’s to not go awry but turn out for the best after the great cataclysm that brings the civilization of the future to the brink of destruction–triumphant and redemptive. -TM

 

Moth “Dissolved” from Endlessly In Motion

Seemingly coming from out of nowhere, Denver’s Moth stormed into the year with their new record Endlessly In Motion. Recalling shades of Gojira and Fear Factory, Moth puts a decidedly unique spin on metal. Sure, “Dissolved” features all of the traditional elements of metal, from pummeling double bass to razor precise guitar leads, but what makes Moth special (and a band to keep an eye on in the future) is the attention they pay to songwriting without sacrificing brutality. There is an epic feeling throughout “Dissolved” that sadly is all too often left out of heavy metal. -RB

More Top 100 Songs of 2013: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5

 

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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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