The Song Of The Summer has become kind of a big thing the past couple years, hasn’t it? I hear people talking about the premise, blogs posting about it, and MTV doling out awards for it. So it must be a thing, right?
So, what is a “song of the summer” then? To the masses, the song of the summer captures the pop culture Zeitgeist, or more practically, it’s the song that gets asses shaking and dance floors quaking. That’s nice and all, but I’m not nearly so limiting.
For me, The Song of The Summer has one criterion: it must be a sick, wicked, unbelievable, awesome tune. Nothing else. It doesn’t have to be Hi-NRG, doesn’t have to inspire you to twerk, doesn’t have to have a webpage dedicated to what rhymes with its most memorable line. All that shit is extraneous. A song of the summer is a great song, no matter the style.
If this list reflected what was the song of the summer for the most amount of people, then without a doubt, it was Robin Thicke’s (read: Pharrell’s) “Blurred Lines”. But (hipster pissing contest moment alert #1) I was on “Blurred Lines” a while back, so for me, that tune was disqualified from the jump. If we continue to look at what captured the attention of the masses, the only other song in the same ballpark as “Blurred Lines” in terms of scale and reach was Icona Pop’s “I Love It”, but (hipster pissing contest moment alert #2), I was not caring and loving that song way back in 2012, so again, the judges say it must be disqualified.
Thankfully, the list that I’ve made doesn’t give two shits about what the song of the summer was for most people. It lists what the songs of the summer were for me. I sound like a bored, rich and percoceted up dance mom when I say that, but it’s true. No one else is going to publish my favourite songs of the summer, so I thought I might as well give ‘er a go.
The songs that I liked most during the summer of 2013 were and are incredible. It was difficult to narrow it down to 30 songs, but I figured I’d give it the old University of Maryland College University (actual name of an actual school) try. All 30 songs are legitimately fantastic, but I had to devise an ordered list because ranking things gets me through the day like being a rancid ratchet does for Miley Cyrus, like protecting his family does for Walter White, like mobile poker gaming does for John McCain, and like misreading public perception does for the Tories.
Figuring out the order to place the songs was the hard part. If I wrote this list on a different day/week/month, the order might be different. That said, I think I put the best of the best at the top where they belong.
Since 30 songs (with videos/links to audio) is kind of a lot, I’ve divided the list in two. Here’s the first part, My Top Songs of Summer 2013 (30-16).
(One last note: not all of these songs were released this summer, but all of them made a massive impact on me over the last 8-10 weeks.)
30. (Tie — the only tie on the list.)
Young Fathers – Ebony Sky
Hard-hitting, riveting. I am aghast that this has less than 500 views on Youtube.
That sample. It’s perfect. The contrast between ASAP Rocky’s bravado-peppered flow and the music-box beauty of Britney Spears’ “Everytime” sample is magical. Ryan Hemsworth nailed this one big time.
29. Divine Fits – Ain’t That The Way
That riff is so clean, so mean.
28. Louise Burns – Emeralds Shatter
This song deserves waaaay more attention. Dark, menacing, yet powerfully inviting, Louise Burns, the ex-Lillix member has crafted an amazing song with “Emeralds Shatter”.
27. HAIM – The Wire
Their best song — by far — to date.
26. The 1975 – Sex
Sure, the original “Sex” was released last year, but there’s a newer version/video that was released this summer. The differences between the two are subtle, and I may prefer the original, but the newer version (song and video) is also slick and compelling. (NB: video, NSFW.)
25. Sarah Bareilles – Brave
I love Sarah Bareilles’ voice, I think she’s a fantastic melodicist/lyricist/composer, and “Brave” is such a joy of a song. Other than that, nothing to hear here.
24. Chvrches – Gun
Ho hum, just another ridiculously good pop song from the break-out stars of the year. The way Chvrches bridge hooks together continues to astound/impress me.
23 Justin Timberlake – Tunnel Vision
I kind of wish he had sung a bit of this one in his bloated, 3.5 hour set at the MTV VMAs. Either way, I slept on “Tunnel Vision”. It took me time and repeated listens to hear how cool, intricate, and pristine Timbaland’s production is and how strong JT’s vocal is. (NB: video is easy on the eyes, but NSFW.)
22. The Joy Formidable – Silent Treatment (William Orbit remix)
I hadn’t heard from William Orbit for a few minutes. I’m glad he called back. This subtle reworking of The Joy Formidable’s already gorgeous “Silent Treatment” brings me back to his heyday in the 90’s and makes me feel like he never left. I continue to be awestruck by the undeniable charisma of front-woman Ritzy Bryan.
21. The National – Hard To Find/This Is The Last Time
I like both of “Hard To Find” and “This Is The Last Time” equally. They’re both stunning tracks. The riff of the latter is pure sadness. The National are amazingly consistent in their ability to knock you off your feet.
20 Ace Hood – Bugatti f. Future, Rick Ross
That chorus is hella fun to belt out, especially at a wedding.
19. Daft Punk – Doin’ It Right f. Panda Bear/Lose Yourself To Dance f. Pharrell, Nile Rodgers
Who knew that a Daft Punk and Panda Bear (of Animal Collective) collabo would be sensational? I know, anyone who would give it 2.6 seconds of thought, or anyone who chooses to give “Doin’ It Right” a listen. “Lose Yourself To Dance”, the second official single from Daft Punk’s massive comeback record, is right there with “Get Lucky” in terms of quality. Hell, it might even be better. The Daft have released a shiny teaser of the full-length video for LYTD, but for me, nothing will come close to topping what one fan did: syncing the song to a clip from a Stevie Wonder performance on Soul Train (featured below). It’s one of the best fan-made videos for a song I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine a random visual suiting its aural source more perfectly. Well done neonwiretv.
18. Florida Georgia Line – Cruise
Just one of those incessant earworms that you can’t shake. I can’t recall how many times I sang that chorus over the summer. I like the newer version featuring Nelly as well, but have chosen to include the video for the original tune below.
17. Selena Gomez – Slow Down
Wildly catchy. This girl is in the pop game to conquer the world. I’m down with her ambition.
16. Shad – Stylin
Shad’s flow is incontrovertible and his lyrics are considered, funny, and deep. The man is a menace on the mic. “Stylin” oozes cool through the screen and speakers, with Saukrates on the hook, concise down to the nanometre.