My Top 20 Songs of September 2013

The summer was sensational for songs, and September didn’t let up. Brilliant tune after tune made its way to my ears. I went in detail with the written accompaniments of my favourite songs of the summer, so I’ve decided to switch things up a bit here and practice some brevity.

That said, here are my Top 20 Songs of September 2013, described in 10 words or less.

20. Porcelain Raft – The Way Out

Getting pretty damn good at using synths that “cry.”


19. Flyleaf – Something Better

The best not-by-Paramore Paramore song of the year.


18. Two Door Cinema Club – Changing Of The Seasons

The seasons might change, but the hits keep coming.


17. In The Valley Below – Peaches

Peaches is delicious, succulent, juicy, fresh, from the first bite.


16. Foxes – Youth

Those lips. That look. The hooks. This song.


15. Autumn Hill – Fire

Brilliant New Country-Pop. That chorus, burning hearts and ears.


14. Katy Perry – Roar/Ylvis – The Fox/Natalia Kills – Saturday Night

Does The Fox Say Roar On Saturday Night?


13. Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had

Toe-tapping, foot-thumping, piano pop of the highest order.


12. Goldfrapp – Jo/Drew

Ethereal. Deep breaths. Cold air. Warm summers. Jo and Drew.


11. Mikky Ekko – Kids (Monsieur Adi remix)/Zedd – Clarity

Kids: when remix trumps original. Clarity: a flat-out smash.


10. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

A reflection of a band with unparalleled creative might.


9. Editors – The Phone Book

My favourite song from their latest album. Wonderful.


8. The Killers – Shot At The Night

Simply, spectacularly: M83 + The Killers = a monster tune.


7. Haim – Strong Enough

A fantastic choice of a cover that makes magic. #TeamCrow.


6. Placebo -A Million Little Pieces

No more glowing in the dark for… my heart.


5. Avicii – Wake Me Up

Made when Gustaffson came out to it vs. Jones. Monstrous.


4. King of Leon – Supersoaker

Meh at first. I was so wrong. Absolutely massive.


3. Blue October – Sway/Bleed Out

Sway: Justin Furstenfeld doesn’t get the credit he so rightly deserves.


Bleed Out: He’s shown an incomparable ear for melody, mood, major songs.


2. Alt-j – Matilda (Johnson Somerset remix)

Absolute transcendence. Rarely ever said of remixes. Pure, powerful, bliss.


1. Neko Case – Local Girl

For me, quite simply the best voice on the planet.


And a bonus, brilliant, breathtaking live rendition.

A Modern Take On Teenage Angst


You can probably recall a song that, though it may be “old,” remains fresh, vibrant, and unmistakably alive. A song that brings you back to another place and time, gives you chills, lifts the hairs on your arms, and perks up your ears any time you hear it. For me, one of those such songs is Placebo’s ode to youth, confusion, and holding onto it all for dear life, “Teenage Angst”. I can listen to and enjoy it in any season, at any time of the day, regardless of mood, fullness of moon, or impending doom. I guess that’s what you’d call a classic song. I know it is for me, as I’m sure is the case for many others. Pretty special for a song that’s over 20 years old.

Placebo has tinkered with “Teenage Angst” to fantastic effect several times over the past 20 years. Such is the song’s magnificent malleability and the creativity of the band. Brian Molko, the song’s progenitor, recently said that, after 20 years of tinkering and reimagining, Placebo has finally found the perfect version of the seminal smash. He intimated that this new reimagining feels right, as if the song had been on a journey, a soul-searching sojourn in various chambers of the heart, and has finally found the beat that will sustain it, steady, serene and seared with sorrow.


The scary, beautiful, wonderful thing is, I agree with him completely. The tone, pace, and guitar work of the new version is perfect and sublime. To me, this is how “Teenage Angst” was always meant to sound. There is a devastating sadness here that previous iterations, although brilliant, frothing with fervour and manic (the original), and pretty, tender and despondent (the cabaret, Brixton version), have never touched on. Now, there’s a maturity in the melancholy, a sageness that pervades each note and nook, an acceptance of what’s happened before. All that came before what is now needed to happen. It’s a revelation, one of life’s most important lessons, learned, and now finally, thankfully, shared.

The journey has been long and arduous. Experimenting in details, ultimately, experience prevails. Many fluid gestures later, stepping back in time, to some place familiar, some place new, home.