Well here we are again. It’s time to reveal my picks for the songs of the year. There are 20 this year and, like last year, I’m breaking it up into 2 posts – easier to digest that way. I’ve included the play counts from iTunes to show just how much some of these songs got played during 2013. If some of them seem low, blame Spotify, which I finally succumbed to completely this year. When I first put this list together, I didn’t think it held a candle to last year’s but the more I listen to it, the more I really love the songs on it. I learned my lesson in 2011 when there were not enough slow songs to balance out the thumping dance tracks that it’s important to include the whole spectrum of BPM. As usual, these are in no particular order, other than the order they appear on the CD I made. Links are to YouTube videos where you can hear the songs.
Armin Van Buuren / This Is What It Feels Like (feat. Trevor Guthrie)
Plays in iTunes: 19
Where did I first hear this song? I can’t even remember! It is probably a Spotify radio discovery or something like that. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for those DJs that put out albums with various artists providing the vocals. Trevor Guthrie is from the band Soul Decision which graced us the with the song “Faded” (a song, that if nothing else, is a karaoke song for advanced singers only.) I heard it and I thought it might fit in with one of the books Heidi was working on and the rest is history. It starts this year’s list off on a perfect note.
Belinda Carlisle / Sun
Plays in iTunes: 51
“Sun” was Belinda’s first brand new U.S. pop single in forever and a day (ok, it was 17 years) and it proved that she hasn’t lost her touch. There’s always a song that I hear in January that makes me think “this is going on the year-end CD for certain” and this year, “Sun” was that song. I am a sucker for “-able” rhymes and Anna and I love how the word “sun” becomes an 8 syllable word when sung by Belinda in the chorus. A joyous pop single that never got old for me this year.
Daft Punk / Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Plays in iTunes: 26
Every time Heidi hears this song, she thinks of Stephen Colbert and various others dancing to it. “Get Lucky” is a fun song that started the summer off right, even though Pharrell is a dubious singer at best. Hearkening back to such classics as the diana album and songs like “Upside Down”, it makes me wonder what would happen if Madonna and Daft Punk got together.
Tegan & Sara / I Was A Fool
Plays in iTunes: 49
According to some, 2013 was the year Tegan & Sara “sold out.” I prefer to look at it as widening their fan base. I had always liked them enough, but never enough to actually purchase an album. Heartthrob is very worthy and a solid pop album and “I Was A Fool” was in heavy rotation all spring. It earworms Anna like nothing else – so much so that she almost refuses to listen to it.
Betty Who / Somebody Loves You
Plays in iTunes: 37
Someone somewhere said that they feel like a Betty Who hipster because they knew “Somebody Loves You” before the Home Depot proposal viral video. Truth be told, that’s how I feel. Taken from Betty Who’s free EP The Movement, I expect big things from this very tall woman in 2014.
Kacey Musgraves / My House
Plays in iTunes: 56
“Any KOA is A-OK as long as I’m with you” was one of my favorite song lyrics of the year, if only because it reminded me of staying in KOAs a teenager when I took family camping vacations. My dad always said that if you look for KOAs, you could be reasonably sure it was a decent campground. Anyway, Kacey Musgraves is an artist that makes the list two years in a row, this year with a song about driving her RV across the country. I’ll be forever grateful to my friend Blake for putting Musgraves on my map.
Studio Killers / Jenny
Plays in iTunes: 25
I really can’t remember how I stumbled upon “Jenny.” It just showed up one day and I’ve been playing it ever since. How can you dislike a song that uses an accordion and steel drums so boldly? It explores that oft traveled no-man’s-land between being someone’s friend and someone’s lover. The album is also worth checking out – just a fun pop album, nothing more, nothing less.
Mayer Hawthorne / Her Favorite Song
Plays in iTunes: 32
So many good songs to choose from my album of the year, Where Does This Door Go, but ultimately, I settled on the first single. I love how this song is kind of R&B and retro jazz all at the same time. The subtle presence of Jessie Ware is just icing on the cake. I really need to try to figure out how to see Mayer Hawthorne in February in Minneapolis, even though it breaks my “no winter concerts in Minneapolis” rule.
Cher / Take It Like A Man
Plays in iTunes: 30
I said earlier this year somewhere that “Take It Like A Man” is the gayest song Cher has ever done – and I say that with humility and love, as Cher herself once said. Autotuned to the hilt, “Take It Like A Man” is a solid dance tune that ranks up there with the best work that Cher has done. Here’s hoping she does this one on the Dressed to Kill Tour in lieu of doing “After All” for the 85th time.
Slow Knights / Under Attack
Plays in iTunes: 71
According to my iTunes play counts, “Under Attack” is my most played song of 2013 – 71 plays as of this moment in time. It’s my number two most played song overall, cracking through the juggernaut made up of songs from MDNA, so to say that I like it is an understatement. My friend Bess told me that the first time she heard it, she thought “Well of COURSE Dan likes it. It sounds like ‘Holiday’.” I had never made the connection until she mentioned it, but it kind of does. Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light – a man who frequently shows up in these year-end lists – provides the vocals on a track from Del Marquis’ (of the Scissor Sisters) solo album of sorts. BLx2 has such a way with a pop melody and this is no exception.
Second half coming up shortly!