Group E: “Pure Heroine”
18. “A World Alone” – Lorde
17. “Glory and Gore” – Lorde
Lorde, Lorde, Lorde…what is left to say about this talented 17 year old? She had one of the biggest hits of the year which is unlike anything else that usually populates the top of the charts. She is already facing backlash and people are getting tired of her. I don’t care if “Royals” is overplayed. Instead my focus is on Pure Heroine, I’m all in on Lorde, which is why she gets two songs on this list and her own grouping. I can’t pick between “A World Alone” and “Glory and Gore” you can’t make me, so I’ll put them here. She offers us something different, I think it caught some of us off guard.
Group D: “Music After Dark”
Remember in Part One when I talked about “Tell Me a Lie” and how it was the most sexually charged song on this list? Well we’ve reached that point of the list. The next group of songs all live in a playlist on my iPod which one friend refers to as “The sex music playlist.”
16. “2Nite” – Skin Town
We all understand The Weeknd has this type of music on lock. It’s his lane. It’s his corner to own. However, since his arrival, it has opened doors for artists who have similar styles and subject matter, which is fine by me. The first time I heard “2Nite” I was hooked. Hyperbole be damned but I thought that it exceeded anything I have heard from The Weeknd. This belief has waned a bit since that initial impression but I do believe “2Nite” stands side by side The Weeknd’s best.
15. “Dark Star” – Jaymes Young
Oh, Jaymes Young, you slay me. The hook on this song is perfect and gets the point of the across in an instant. Darkness emanates from this track and draws you into it’s shadows. That hook though…just trust me and take a listen.
14. “Waiting Game” – BANKS
At various points making this list, there were songs that were no brainers and others that required a second or tenth listen. I knew a BANKS song was making this list but I wasn’t sure which one. Her London EP is solid and each track seemed good but nothing stood out. One night I was walking back to my apartment from the train and “Waiting Game” came onto my iPod. I’m not sure why but the song clicked. I finally got it and it burned a hole in my chest. The best songs aren’t always the catchiest or the ones which are nostalgic sometimes the best ones make you feel something.
Group C: “Propensity to Ill”
13. “Coffins” – MisterWives
I love finding new music. It is one of my favourite things to do on a day to day basis. “Coffins” is one of my favourite finds of the year. The song is pure charm and is catchy as hell. It was in heavy rotation for my summer drives and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
12. “Live Forever” – OnCue ft Skizzy Mars
Anytime a song samples a song you originally love only good things can happen. In this case OnCue takes a James Blake favourite and raps his ass off. ‘Nuff said.
11. “Life Round Here Remix” – James Blake ft Chance the Rapper
Speaking of James Blake here’s my 11th entry on the list. Words cannot describe how much I love this song. I’ve seen it bring people to their knees and make them crawl in the fetal position. No lie, it has happened. One night my friends and I had a potluck and I designated myself the DJ for the night. We had an interlude of songs which Chance the Rapper is featured on which ended with this remix. One of my friends is a huge James Blake fan, as in, she has gone to see him every time he’s come to Vancouver, and she never heard this remix before. She couldn’t handle it, in fact I think we’re still trying to peel her off the floor.
10. “Power Trip” – J.Cole ft Miguel
Do I really need to explain why this song is on the list? The debut single of Born Sinner gives J.Cole the big hit he has been looking for. It announces his arrival and carves his lane. Miguel’s hook has spent plenty of time hanging in the air of summer nights, in fact I think it’s still there.
Would you believe me if I said I was in love/Baby, I want you to want me
9. “Ghetto Symphony” – A$AP Rocky ft Gunplay & A$AP Ferg
Since Rocky spit like Andre, I’m gonna kill ’em like Big Boi
The line above is all you need to know about my favourite A$AP Rocky song. Each verse can stand on it’s own but put together it makes something great. Ghetto Symphony, indeed.
Group B: “The Music Crushes”
8. “Cocaine Hearts” – Nylo
I initially had “Cocaine Hearts” five spots lower but decided that I love Nylo so much she deserves to be in this group. Listen to “Cocaine Hearts” and tell me different. Equal parts sensual, nostalgic, and haunting.
7. “Desire” – Meg Myers
My love for Meg Myers is well chronicled on our site. She is the only girl to make an appearance on all of my music crush related posts. This isn’t a small feat considering I seem to gain a new crush every week. My feelings haven’t changed about Meg, her songs hit harder than any other of my music crushes. Let her words burn a hole in your heart and smash it into ten thousand pieces. The line “Boy, I wanna taste you, I wanna skin you with my tongue“ still sends shivers down my spine.
6. “Paradise” – Alina Baraz
My friend sent me this song in December. My response after he sent it to me, “Why do you have do this to me?” This song has been on repeat ever since and it does not look like I’ll be tired of it anytime soon. You’re welcome.
Group A: “Let it Ride on Repeat”
5. “Bang” – Jon Waltz
If you had told me in January that one of my favourite rap songs of 2013 was going to be by some 17 year old kid from Memphis I would laughed in your face. Well it is March 2014 and that is exactly the case. This song has everything and it is clear what influences Jon. He has a hook that Drake would kill for. He plays with his voice at parts like Kendrick. And settles into a nice flow like A$AP Rocky. The kid is only 17, ridiculous.
4. “Hold On, We’re Going Home Cover” – ASTR
Hold up, instead of picking one of the highlights from Nothing Was the Same, I’m choosing a cover of it? Fact. ASTR takes “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and makes it their own. It feels less like a cover than a response/different point of view to the original. So sit back, enjoy, and try not to swoon too much.
3. “Poetic Justice Andrew Gentry Remix” – Kendrick Lamar
This is everything a remix should be. It keeps what makes something without losing what made the original song great. In this case, Kendrick’s raps are still the star but is given a new background, kicks up the production and the results are phenomenal.
2. “Spaceship II” – Alex Wiley ft Chance the Rapper & GLC
Put it this way, nobody asked for a sequel to the original “Spaceship” but we should all be glad Alex Wiley made one anyway. Wiley keeps the spirit of the original but adds his own life experiences and twists to the song. Add the fact that Chance kills his guest verse and you have my second favourite song of 2013.
Lil’ college dropout blame it on Ye’
1. “Blood on the Leaves” – Kanye West
There are moments in life where you just have a gut feeling about certain things. For this list, my gut feeling was: a Kanye song will end up being number one. Sure any of the songs in the top 20 could’ve been number one at some point but that would’ve felt like I was being too cute. Instead I’m keeping it simple here. My favourite album of 2013 is easily Yeezus and it’s not even close. So why over think things? The only concern was which Kanye song would be number one? In my mind only four songs had serious consideration:
“Blood on the Leaves”
Kanye, himself said that the second verse on “New Slaves” was the best of all time. “Black Skinhead” has the most mainstream sound in my opinion. And “Bound 2” feels like it could go on any Kanye album and thrive. So why do I like “Blood on the Leaves” so much? The evolution of the song grabs me every time. It feels like a roller coaster as if the first 1:06 of the song is a build up. Because at 1:07 the drums kick in and you don’t know what hit you. The first time you listen to it, you’re not ready. Even now when I’m expecting it, it still gets me pumped. A year from now I will still be coming back to this song. Six solo albums in and Kanye is still surprising me.