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Top 100 Songs of 2013 (pt. 5)

This is it, the final 20 songs that we’ve selected as the Top 100 Songs of 2013. Like the previous four days, there is some great diversity represented with these 20 songs, so don’t get do comfortable while listening, cause it’s “Bound 2” change (get it?) Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading along and listening with us. Let us know what you think and make sure to check Gutter Bubbles out on Twitter and Facebook! Now it’s on to 2014!

 

 

 

 

Sister Crayon “Cynic” from Cynic

If such a thing as Second Wave trip-hop could be said to exist, this is it. Downtempo, lush, melancholy and soulful, this title track to the band’s latest EP creates a sense of emotional and physical space in the mind lit in violet and indigo. Terra Lopez’s vocals paradoxically soothe and awaken something in you. -Tom Murphy

 

Skinny Puppy “Terminal” from Weapon

The beginning sounds like an odd sequel to “Worlock” but quickly takes on the tone of a futuristic court of inquisition as envisioned by Ken Russell and Edward Ka-Spel. More than on any other song on the album, “Terminal” finds Ogre often singing with smooth transitions and not just in the nightmarish, distorted sound we’ve all come to know and love. Starting simple, the song evolves into an almost overwhelming cacophony of swarming atmospheres perfect in capturing its dystopian vision.  -TM

 

Soulfly “Fallen” from Savages

Max Cavalera may be one of the hardest working musicians in the business, with a new album from one of his various bands out seemingly every few months. Such a strenuous workload would hamper most musicians creatively, but that is not the case with Max and Soulfly. Returning with their ninth full-length, the band hasn’t lost a step. Pummeling riffs hit like a sledgehammer, guitarist Marc Rizzo’s leads are as jaw dropping as ever and there is a fantastic guest vocal provided by Jamie Hanks of I Declare War. It would seem that the busier Max & Co. get, the better the outcome and the destructive urgency of “Fallen” proves just that. – Ryan Brun

 

Stereophonics “Graffiti on the Train” from Graffiti on the Train

I don’t always listen to overwrought, emotional ballads, but when I do, I like them dark and gritty like “Graffiti on the Train.” In an era where people think folk ballads should sound like Mumford and Sons, I feel compelled to point out that it can be so much…better. Sure, the strings swell in a familiar dramatic fashion, but the guitars and vocals are rough and raw, as is the sweltering guitar solo at the end. The overall effect is both heart wrenching and honest and it uses this context to impart a tragic tale as opposed to the narcissistic meanderings that seem to be so popular these days. It should be noted that this isn’t a strict genre-ilk comparison, but I make it because I thank them for this demonstration of what folk-rock should be. -Rob Dixon

 

Justin Timberlake “Pusher Love Girl” from The 20/20 Experience

In the seven years between studio albums, it would’ve been safe to assume that Justin Timberlake probably lost a step, but from the moment the beat drops on album opener “Pusher Love Girl” it became abundantly clear that JT was not only back, but arguably better than ever. The song itself oozes innuendo, leaving the listener pining for another hit of Timbaland’s sharp, space-pop beats and JT’s signature (and damn near timeless) falsetto croon. Thankfully, at just over eight minutes long, “Pusher Love Girl” allows for true enjoyment, not just a quick fix. -RB

 

Time “Nona” from Newstalgia

Sampling “Heroin” and using it to create the beat in the beginning, Chris Steele here establishes a downcast tone amid nostalgic musings about his grandmother. But the line “Not every memory is an heirloom” contrasted with vivid memories of a woman who had such a massive impact on his life and development as a person creates a powerful image on its own as wistful music accents the in-between spaces. -TM

 

Toro Y Moi “Say That” from Anything In Return

Maybe Chaz Bundick was paying tribute to his 70s and 80s era funk heroes with this track but it also stands on its own as a chill dance track with a far better than average bass line. Especially effective is Bundick’s weaving expertly executed falsetto in with his usual singing. If this is still somehow chillwave, chillwave has officially grown up. -TM

 

Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Swim and Sleep” from II

It sounds like someone took three different cassettes that spent some time melting in the sun and cleaned them up a bit, mixed them together and put poignant vocals over the top. Except that would never work, it’s just that the playing is just off of center and perhaps not in the same way across all the instruments yet somehow it’s cohesive. A simple melody was rendered into something ever so slightly fascinatingly alien in the writing of this song and it’s all the better for it. -TM

 

Veronica Falls “My Heart Beats” Waiting For Something to Happen

We’ve heard the driving, upbeat rhythms and C86-esque guitars and vocals before. But there’s something fresh in the delivery and execution as all the members of the band are clearly putting in an energetic performance. Not unlike if My Bloody Valentine decided to write a straight ahead pop song but left in enough weirdness to keep it interesting. -TM

 

Kurt Vile “Girl Called Alex” from Wakin on a Pretty Daze

Though I almost always listen to Wakin on a Pretty Daze as a whole, I can’t resist playing “Girl Called Alex” on its own almost daily. Washed out, melancholic and damn near lethargic sounding, it makes for a perfect chill out tune. It’s Kurt Vile’s finest work in my opinion and likely my most listened to song of the year. -Devin Hogan

 

Kurt Vile “Too Hard” from Wakin on a Pretty Daze

A swirl of beautiful guitar melodies and chanting vocals, “Too Hard” is an eight minute, bliss-filled limbo. The vocals are like a slow flowing river of NyQuil that washes over your brain, lulling you into a state of womb like contentment -DH

 

Dean Wareham “Love is Colder Than Death” from Emancipated Hearts

Wareham’s dry and absurdest sense of humor is on full display here with a song that sounds like a Christmas ballad re-purposed to give it a perversely cheerfully melancholic tone. Few people can make that work but Wareham is one of them. Dispassionate? Perhaps but the words and Wareham’s tone speak volumes about existential crises one experiences as a thoughtful person well beyond crossing into your 30’s and a mid-life crisis. -TM

 

Washed Out “All I Know” from Paracosm

Ernest Greene was really able to tap into the creative zeitgeist of 80s synth pop artist and others in making this expansive and moving tune. Think early 90’s period James, Simple Minds and Talk Talk. The rich swirl of melodies, texture and rhythm just make this one of the most listenable songs of the year because it makes you feel nostalgic and comfortable without the unnecessary psychic baggage implied in either of those states of mind. -TM

 

Water Bear “Imaginary Friend” from Water Bear

If this wasn’t written by candle light reflecting on intense experiences of the recent past, it certainly has that vibe. Kellie Palmblad’s vocals and guitar voicing have a breezy, soulful quality that communicates its emotional colorings directly to your heart. The lyric strategy as it fits into a fairly conventional song structure gives this song a literary quality not often heard in a pop song and it is cliché free. -TM

 

Wax Idols “Stay In” from Discipline & Desire

On a beautifully dark, goth-garage record, this song crosses over into what might be considered shoegaze territory if it weren’t so urgent and splintery. Heather Fortune is somewhat reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux here but the soulful flavor of her vocals is more akin to something like 60’s girl groups. Strong rhythms and bright undertones give an otherwise downcast song a self-empowering buoyancy. -TM

 

Kanye West “New Slaves” from Yeezus

There may not have been a more divisive release this past year than Yeezus. People either loved it and praised its risk taking or took a shit all over it for ripping off other artists (Death Grips, Saul Williams, early industrial music, etc. etc.) Unfortunately, the actual content of the record seems to get lost in that conversation all too often. Especially songs like “New Slaves” that not only challenge the status quo musically, but lyrically as well. It may not be the best song in West’s catalog, but it’s easily the most poignancy, a simplistic exercise in both self-discovery and ignorance. Fucking brilliant. -RB

 

Kanye West “Bound 2” from Yeezus

“Bound 2” may not have the lyrical directness of its counterpart on this list, but it’s easily the most memorable song from Yeezus. The old-school beat during the verses draws attention away from West’s lyrical deficiency (“I wanna fuck you hard on the sink/ After that get you something to drink) until the absolute monster of a “chorus” is unleashed. With enough distorted bass to destroy eardrums and the fully immersive melody courtesy of Uncle Charlie Wilson, “Bound 2” becomes an instant classic (although we still have no idea who Jerome is). -RB

 

White Lies “Big TV” from Big TV

I’ll be honest, the title track from White Lies’ new album Big TV really hits home for me. Mostly, I think, because my home consists of a room downtown with a big TV. And as I sing that catchy refrain, I feel a certain happiness for my room downtown and especially for my big TV. This is incredibly refreshing. Love eternal and expanded consciousness are great subjects for songs and all, but so is “a modern life for a modern girl to lead,” which clearly includes a bed and big TV. – RD

 

White Lies “First Time Caller” from Big TV

A modern-day heir apparent of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, White Lies make good on those lofty comparisons and “First Time Caller” exemplifies why. Creepy, obsessed lyrics are delivered by a smooth and loungy baritone in a melody that’s lovely and sweet. Bursts of strings punctuate the joyous raucous it builds to as the refrain demands; “I want you to love me more than I love you, tell me if that’s something you can do?” Yes, creepy lounge singer, I think I can do that. -RD

 

Chelsea Wolfe “Reins” from Pain Is Beauty

The build in this song is worthy of Jarboe herself. From the ghostly vocals, the building percussion and the looming, sharp guitar echoing, this song builds across multiple movements like a miniature classical piece. The pounding, accented drums in the middle have a hypnotic urgency underneath Wolfe’s ethereal singing as the song rushes toward a genuinely epic climax like something that would be great in a good fantasy film. -TM

More Top 100 Songs of 2013: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

 

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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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