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The Top 50 Songs of 2013

10. James Blake – Retrograde

There are two reasons that ‘Retrograde’ is great: Firstly, James Blake is basically two prodigies in one, and ‘Retrograde’ is the first time that soul/jazz prodigy James and electronica prodigy James have ever collaborated. Through some weird alchemy, they came up with a pop anthem: tangled and otherworldly, but effortless. The second reason is that among the cloying, “I’m so hot for you” love songs that predominate, ‘Retrograde’ is the first song in recent memory that not only describes the terror of falling in love, but actually evokes that feeling in musical form. – Edward Sharp-Paul


9. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Those affable dorks Arcade Fire have been a magnet for many labels since their all-conquering debut, but rarely have they sounded dangerous. They take a darkly turn on the sprawling, disco-infused 'Reflektor', all smoke and shadows as the track slinks from dancefloor groove to chorus bombast. There's so much happening that you barely notice a rare Bowie cameo. – Lachlan Kanoniuk


8. Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener

It’s hard to know what will translate. Until ‘Avant Gardener’ saw Courtney Barnett break internationally, I figured that she was too deadpan, too colloquial to make sense anywhere but Australia. I was wrong, and it turns out there’s a universal appeal to songs about attempting a spot of gardening on a hot day and being hospitalised with respiratory problems. Or maybe that’s just the ones that unfold with genius wordplay and a novelistic eye for detail, over an effortless, loping garage rock groove. – Edward Sharp-Paul


7. Cloud Control – Dojo Rising

‘Dojo Rising’ is a masterclass in gently unfurling momentum. Beyond that, it’s hard to put into words what makes it so special. It’s a feeling, a weary resignation letter illuminated by Alister Wright and Heidi Lenffer’s harmonies. It’s lovely, but then the band arches and reaches upward for that glorious coda, and it becomes something else entirely. Wright has staked a claim as one of Australia’s best, most understated songwriters, here and all over Dream Cave. – Edward Sharp-Paul


6. Violent Soho – Covered In Chrome

Violent Soho are celebrated for their unreconstructed brattiness, but their reputation does them a disservice. The first 55 seconds of ‘Covered In Chrome’ showcases their less-heralded abilities, with teasing arpeggios and Luke Boerdam’s impressionistic lyrics. And then? “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!” Ah, there’s the brattiness. Shouting along to ‘Covered In Chrome’ is the most fun you’ll have all year. – Edward Sharp-Paul


5. Phoenix – Entertainment

The best pop songs are the ones that take a few listens to appreciate. I’m unsure how many times you need to hear ‘Entertainment’ to fully absorb its greatness. It might be about the time you notice the two fleeting yelps of Thomas Mars in the first 30 seconds of this meticulously layered, wonderfully executed pop song. In fact the intro might be the most exhilarating 30 seconds of pop we’ve heard this year. As for the song’s Eurasian melodic hook, just watch the start of the video on YouTube to evidence just how great it really is (yes, it involves a choir of Chinese children). The rest of the album might not be as good, but who cares? ‘Entertainment’ is an instant classic. – Andrew Murfett


4. Big Sean – Control (ft. Kendrick Lamar, Jay Electronica)

Hip-hop is storytelling. It’s personal and collective mythologies, and it’s in a very good state at the moment. People lost their collective shit over ‘Control’ because Kendrick Lamar gave the game circa 2013 a plot hinge of ‘Luke, I am your father’ significance. It said, “This is who matters right now, and this is how high the bar is.” That was enough for the geeks, who immediately revised their all-time rankings. And yet! Those of us more interested in music and lyricism had a feast. Jay Electronica’s verse is great, and even Big Sean’s verse is very good in that effortless, “imagine if I really tried” way of his. Most importantly, No ID’s beat is spot on, full of the rain-soaked menace that give Lamar’s boasts such weight. – Edward Sharp-Paul


3. Dick Diver – Calendar Days

‘Calendar Days’ – the title track of Dick Diver’s second album – already feels like an instant classic and an old friend. ‘Alice’ is the more immediate pop moment, which is why it made the FL mid-year list. However, there’s something about ‘Calendar Days’ that nags, the familiar settings and the low-key sadness. Like the rest of the album, it coats modest hopes and everyday compromises in a warm, inviting jangle. – Edward Sharp-Paul


2. Lorde – Royals

OK, so the lyrics are pretty sharp, a perfectly contradictory blend of insolence, envy and aspiration, but the triumph of ‘Royals’ is that Ella Yelich-O’Connor has put down a minimal, effortlessly catchy pop song that just happens to be one of the most vocally elaborate überhits since ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. And yet it never feels over-worked. Leaving aside age, geography and politics, it’s simply a stunning song, a declaration of self that feels universal, a pop chorale that never feels gimmicky. – Edward Sharp-Paul

WHY LORDE’S PURE HEROINE IS FL’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR


1. Daft Punk – Get Lucky (ft. Pharrell Williams)

Within 20 seconds of hearing ‘Get Lucky’ for the first time, I knew I’d be hearing it at weddings 20 years hence. Never in my short listening life have I been so sure of a song’s universal, indelible quality, but I suppose that’s the sort of thing that happens when you assemble some of the finest musicians to ever grace a recording studio. ‘Get Lucky’ is flawless dance pop from not one, not two, but three of its finest practitioners. – Edward Sharp-Paul


Listen to FL's songs of the year on RDIO:


CLICK THROUGH TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR OUR WRITERS’ LISTS

Comments

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berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 6th Dec, 2013

Rap God is the perfect example of how bland Eminem has become. He's the Satriani of hip hop.

It doesn't help that DVLP provided 6 minutes of snoozefest production.




Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 6th Dec, 2013

I find that NIN track so boresome I start to fall aslee...

nos235

nos235 said on the 6th Dec, 2013

when doing multi page lists (as is your want FL) could you do a tl;dr summary list at the end on one page (pretty please)

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 6th Dec, 2013



Is it Everything? That's just about the worst NiN song I've ever heard.

doubtfulsounds

doubtfulsounds said on the 6th Dec, 2013

I can't believe I forgot to include Avant Gardener on my list :(

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 6th Dec, 2013



Yeah, but c'mon, it's not as bad as Starfuckers Inc.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 6th Dec, 2013

Nope, I quite like Starfuckers.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 6th Dec, 2013

Yeah, Starfuckers is fun.

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 6th Dec, 2013

It's weak arsed corny bullshit

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 6th Dec, 2013



Yeah.


Yeeeah.

But it's fun.

It does have the distinction of being the only thing on The Fragile I skip these days ha ha

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 6th Dec, 2013

Yeah.


Yeeeah.

But it's fun.

It does have the distinction of being the only thing on The Fragile I skip these days ha ha

It got way overplayed on Triple J at the time. I think it damaged me.

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 6th Dec, 2013

Any list that doesn't have this track is invalid imo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcS_AHCAWG0

Oflick

Oflick said on the 6th Dec, 2013

I honestly think Reflektor is one of the weakest tracks on AF's new album.

nos235

nos235 said on the 6th Dec, 2013

No Capital Cities or Cloud Cult

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Lv7J5lN_-OE/Ta7u8y9YuSI/AAAAAAAABFk/LCwE38s7eFg/s1600/FC_Therefore_41757_lg.gif

LIST=INVALID.

Leanne_Albs

Leanne_Albs said on the 6th Dec, 2013

lily allen 'hard out here' is the best song of 2013 by far, ...why isn't even on this list????

spintheblackcircle

spintheblackcircle said on the 6th Dec, 2013

I can't believe Bound 2 appears in this list. It's one of the worst songs i have ever heard and its only indelible quilaty is its train wreck of a video.

nos235

nos235 said on the 7th Dec, 2013



Kanye is the most over rated artist on the planet by a fucking mile

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 7th Dec, 2013

Any list that doesn't have this track is invalid imo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcS_AHCAWG0

That song is proper sexy timez

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 7th Dec, 2013

Good to see The Kite String Tangle getting some lovin'. He's a mate of mine and he's fantastic.

Harrishun

Harrishun said on the 11th Dec, 2013

If I Had A Tail over I Appear Missing, My God Is The Sun, Smooth Sailing, Fairweather Friends, I Sat By The Ocean, Kalopsia or Vampyre of Time and Memory is some bullshit, yo'.

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 11th Dec, 2013



So, you just wanted the entire album in there?

SLIGHTLY RELATED: I'm doing my top 100 songs of the year at the moment. Am up to 61, doing 20 songs each over a five-parter. You can read parts one and two here and here.

loudQUIETloud

loudQUIETloud said on the 16th Dec, 2013

This should have been there instead of Rap God.
[youtube]CXuPVYTG2r0[/youtube]