You won't find Lorde or Miley Cyrus here
This year was a transitional time for pop music: after years of beats trumping melodies, songs you could sing along to returned to the top of the charts in 2013. Not only were tunes you could hum back in vogue, so were mid-tempo ballads as songs like Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” Rihanna’s “Stay,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” dominated at radio.
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I. spent the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was female artists who brought the sizzle to the charts in the form of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop,” and, of course, Lorde’s “Royals.”
Picking my top 10 songs was a bit of a struggle this year. The Top 5 came easily enough, but then there about 20 songs that I liked but didn’t love. Domestic talent has seen a resurgence, so I was a little surprised that 1/3 of my list came from new British singer/songwriters, none of whom have broken through yet in a meaningful way here...even though they are all certainly worthy contenders to continue to build in 2014.
I’m a big country fan, but as so many other critics have written this year, the current top country male artists have tied themselves up in a bundle of cliches, leaving women such as Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and Brandy Clark to produce the most interesting work —even if mainstream radio isn’t embracing them as it should.
My Top 10 is a totally subjective list: each song had to be a radio single released in 2013 and we had to be able to get a high-quality copy of the video (in all honestly, that changed one position on the list when we couldn’t get one clip), but other than that criteria, the list is simply the songs that I found myself listening to over and over this year, especially the Top 5.
Additionally, two songs that seems to have made everyone else’s list—Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and Lorde’s “Royals” — are nowhere to be found in my top 10. While I ended up begrudgingly liking “We Can’t Stop” after hearing it for the 1,000th time, it was never a song that resonated with me. While I understand all the hype over “Royals,” by the time I got around to making my list, I was so burnt out on it that it joins songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Losing My Religions” that I never need to hear again in my life.
What were your favorite songs of the year?