2013 in music, part 1: Singles

It was good to be 21 for the whole 2013 before turn 22 on December. It has been a blast, sad-exciting, bittersweet, year. Every year-end I make kaleidoscope of the songs that have made impressions through my days the whole year. So these are my list of 22 notable songs from December 2012 to November 2013 in my life.

  1. Gabrielle Aplin – Salvation [Alb. English Rain]
    As a singer/songwriter, Miss Aplin sure knows how to make a good lyric. The phrase “psychedelic silhouette” in this song smoothly caught my attention.  This song is leaked on iTunes on January this year. The leaked version, in which Aplin sings beautifully through only piano and violins as the instruments, somehow sounds better than the album version. This December, this track officially serves as the album’s fifth single. This song is just psychedelic, enough said.
  2. Utada Hikaru – Sakura Nagashi [Single / Original Soundtrack from “Rebuild of Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo]
    After two years gap of not releasing any single, Utada finally released this song on October 2012. Just like her single “Beautiful World” from her 2007 album Heart Station that served as soundtrack to the first two Rebuild of Evangelion movies, “Sakura Nagashi” does as the soundtrack of the third instalment. The song is sad and sentimental, just suitable for the post-apocalyptic story of Evangelion. The film is sad, seriously (spoilers: Nagisa Kaworu died a horrible death and Ikari Shinji was losing it). I can’t wait for the final instalment.
  3. Dido – Girl Who Got Away [Alb. Girl Who Got Away]
    After listening to lines like “If only for today I wanna be the one who got away; the lover who really loved; a dancer who danced to the last song.” and to “I wanna think the heart is bigger than the head.” and also to “I know what it’s like to be past over; to go unnoticed; to be clumsy, get things wrong. And I know what it’s like to arrive too late; to be told to leave; to be walked upon.”, I can’t not love this song. I just can’t.
  4. Paramore – Ain’t It Fun [Alb. Paramore]
    NO MORE CRYING TO YOUR MAMA ‘CAUSE YOU’RE ON YOU’RE OWN IN THE REAL WORLD. Oh God yes! What a perfect punch line! This song screams “Let’s grow up! It’s exciting to do lot of things.” This band never ceases to amaze me. Especially Hayley Williams.
  5. Demi Lovato – Heart Attack [Alb. Demi]
    “I’m putting my defenses up ’cause I don’t wanna fall in love. If I ever did that, I think I’d have a heart attack.” Catchy lyrics, easy tune, but mature enough. At first I’m not really into this number, but later this year I was like “damn it’s actually pretty good.” I never listened to Demi before Unbroken era. Since “Skyscraper” and “Give Your Heart A Break”, I think she’s a serious deal.
  6. The Band Perry – Don’t Let Me Be Lonely [Alb. Pioneer]
    The best thing about country music is that they are very simple, down to earth, yet so deep you oughta say “Oh my God, that’s so true”. That’s whenever I listen to “When we’re young, life’s a dream. It’s a beautiful and a burning thing. We grow up and then it’s gone. But the memory goes on and on and on.” I was rooting for this album to be nominated for Grammy 2014, but damn it Grammy, why is it not? Not even a single material from this album is nominated.
  7. James Blake – Retrograde [Alb. Overgrown]
    You don’t wanna miss what this musician creates. I think the music that Blake creates is quite minimalistic but his voice, I say it once more: it’s his voice, that makes his songs sound heavy. Yes his song is so deep and low and heavy and gives a dim-ambient aura (read: no song of him sounds cheerful, okay). But I gotta say this: ALL OF HIS MUSIC VIDEOS ARE MASTERPIECE! Just take a look . With those being said, he’s simply a musical genius who is nominated for 2014 Grammy’s Best New Artist! How awesome is that? I’m rooting for you man, though I am too for Ed Sheeran. You British blokes are killin’ it.
  8. Fall Out Boy – The Phoenix [Alb. Save Rock and Roll]
    I’ve been a fan of them since From Under the Cork Tree (2o05). Besides their music and Pete Wentz, I like them because of the firmness of Patrick Stump’s voice (well, that’s a weird way to put it, i know). The Phoenix was released as a promotional single. Actually I love a lot of songs from this album. Unlike all the previous albums, they sound more solid in this album. And they left their giving-a-very-long-title-to-every-single-track style behind. Kudos to that!
  9. Jamie Cullum – Save Your Soul [Alb. Momentum]
    Another British bloke! It’s a 4 years span between The Pursuit (2009) and this album, and here’s what happened: He’s married and having two daughters. That inspires a lot of materials for Momentum and makes it a lot less heavy than any of his albums. I love track the most because that piano tunes he makes, trance-y hook, and catchy “eh-eh-eh” post chorus.
  10. Florence + the Machine – Over the Love [Alb. The Great Gatsby (Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film)]
    IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS SINCE CEREMONIALS (2011) AND FINALLY MY BELOVED, MOST FAVORITE MUSICAL ACT IN THE WHOLE WORLD RELEASED SOMETHING EVEN THOUGH JUST ONE SONG! I woke up one day to my college friend telling that FATM contributed a song for The Great Gatsby film and I was like “OH MY GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL FOR TELLING ME” (thank you Sitha for this). I don’t need to explain a lot more for this song for this song is masterpiece just like ANY of FATM’s songs. Along with this track, I like the notable Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” too. It’s a shame that Florence needs to take a one year break (since 2012 I guess) so that the production of FATM’s third album has to wait. NEW ALBUM ASAP PLEASE! ALL HAIL FLORENCE + THE MACHINE!
  11. Imagine Dragon – Radioactive [Alb. Night Visions]
    I can’t recall what makes me know this song in the first place.  Those beating drums in this song though. Love it. It’s definitely one of notable release in 2013. I love the music video for the beautiful Alexandra Daddario in it. The song is featured in Stephenie Meyer’s film, The Host, and in the finale of True Blood’s sixth season.
  12. Ke$ha – Crazy Kids [Alb. Warrior]
    There’s catchy tune in the bridge I love the most: “‘This is what we got and then it’s gone. They call us the crazy ones. But we gon’ keep on dancing ’til the dawn. ‘Cause you know the party never ends and tomorrow we’re gonna do it again. We’re the ones that play hard, we live hard, we love hard, we light up the dark.” I’m not into the rest. I’m not that into conspiracy theory (because it’s scary), but speaking of the matter, I think Ke$ha has become an agent of Illuminati since this album (omg I can’t believe I’m saying that lol). But, really.
  13. Sara Bareilles – Chasing the Sun [Alb. The Blessed Unrest]
    She’s a princess of simple yet elegant pop. She’s a princess of inspirational songs. “Chasing the Sun” is one of 13 amazing tracks that has strong message in the lyric. How will I ever forget the chorus line “You say: ‘Remember that life is not meant to be wasted. We can always be chasing the sun. So fill up your lungs and just run!” ? I won’t and I cant. Sara Bareilles is a true inspirational singer/songwriter ever exists. I’m rooting her for her Grammy!
  14. Ellie Goulding – You My Everything [Alb. Halcyon Days]
    Summer 2013 was the time when the final season of Skins aired. The series featured this song on the first episode of the season, Fire Part 1, in which the exotically beautiful Kaya Scodelario played as Effy Stonem. I was in love with this song right there and then (I swear Scodelario enhanced the feel)! The beats are formed beautifully and the sweet yet not cheesy lyric makes the song even better.
  15. Daft Punk – Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) [Alb. Random Access Memory]
    Daft Punk y’all. They became August issue of MTV Asia Artist of the Month and “Get Lucky” was broadcasted every, like, 15 minutes. I was actually surprised that an electronic duo chose to go deeper into 80s pop. You can’t not be addicted to this track with Pharrell enhancing the magic. I swear Pharrell was featured in a dozen of musical acts this year, including the top charter “Blurred Lines”. People are not giving this unique duo too much credits for saying that Random Access Memory is one of the best production this year, because it really is the best production and Grammy granted them with 5 nominations including Record of the Year and the most waited nomination on Grammy night: Album of the Year.
  16. Lady GaGa – Applause [Alb. ARTPOP]
    Mother monster is back on business! Rumour has it that the first single of ARTPOP was actually randomly picked; that the producer said “just release the last track on your album” to Gaga and voila: Applause. I agree that this track is not her biggest achievement so far. True it is not as big as “Poker Face” or “Bad Romance”, but if some people say that it sounds like a leftover from The Fame (2008), they’re totally wrong.  The song has a lot of progressive elements from her career, musically and lyrically speaking. Gaga defines her fame, her journey, musics, and arts in her own way called ARTPOP. “Pop culture was in art. Now art’s in pop culture; in me. My ARTPOP could mean anything”, she claimed. It’s a shame that her attempt in preventing leak by releasing this single one week earlier (the same date as Katy Perry’s “Roar” release date) made a controversy and a lot hates thrown at her way. Well I’d say, “Seriously, people? That’s shallow.”
  17. Lorde – Royals [Alb. Pure Heroine]
    Nine consecutive weeks she topped US Billboard Hot 100. At age 16, she’s been declared the youngest artist and the first New Zealand singer ever to top the Hot 100 chart. “Royals” is also the longest running debut number-one single, tied with Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK” (2009) and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (2012). All hail for this girl. I think her style in writing lyrics using several controversial references and smooth-yet-frontal sarcasms quite helps her famous arise. The surprising fact that she writes this song inspired by reading National Geographic magazines and the song escalates her name from NZ to US, I mean, really, it is mind-blowing. But that makes her style and music unique and her songwriting skill is frankly on a prodigy level even for a breakthrough act.
  18. Pitbull – Timber (feat. Ke$ha) [Alb. Global Warming: Meltdown]
    Is this song your guilty pleasure song that makes you dance to your heart’s content? The answer might be yes! “It’s going down, I’m yelling timbeeeer~ you better move, you better dance!” The unique sound of harmonica through the beat of the dance music would make you wanna move. It’s like you were on a countryside hearing a country tune yet you move to the dance song. It’s Pitbull, dale!
  19. Birdy – All You Never Say [Alb. Fire Within]
    If you feeling sentimental, this song may be good to listen to. “If only I could look into your mind, maybe then I’d find a sign of all I want to hear you say to me.” She may be good at covering songs like she did in her self-titled debut album, but how about if she sings her own song? Don’t be skeptical because her songwriting is exceptionally great, combined with her piano-based musicality.
  20. Zedd – Stay the Night (feat. Hayley Williams) [Alb. Clarity Deluxe Edition]
    How could I not adore this song when Hayley Williams sings it? I could never not love what Hayley sings. Even when she talks she sounds musically beautiful. When she opens the song by declaring “I know that we are upside down. So hold your tongue and hear me out.” while Zedd’s piano on the background, I swear that’s enough to make me leave everything what I was doing to just to hear her out to the end of the song. This song is MAGICAL. Enough said.
  21. M.I.A. – Exodus (feat. The Weeknd) [Alb. Matangi]
    I already have the album on my playlists but I hadn’t listen to any of the track until I saw somebody on my Tumblr dashboard reblogged “Exodus” and I tried to listen to it. This is the first time I ever listened to M.I.A. The rest of the tracks on the album are actually not my type since there are too many heavy beats running around. But this track is different. The beat is served in the right amount and the song gives a good mood.
  22. Sia – Elastic Heart (feat. The Weeknd & Diplo) [Alb. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)]
    The Hunger Games trilogy is so far the modern post-apocalyptic dystopian-future story I love the most. Now it is one of several successful franchise in the world. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film instalment based on the second book, Catching Fire. I say, the film was made and thought thoroughly. The plot was detailed just like the book. And it was very emotional. If it is referred to The Hunger Games, “Elastic Heart” which is written and performed by Sia, talks about even though the Capitol’s attempt in breaking her might be too hard for her to bear inside, she would never show her broken and crying face. But the song is not limited only about that, since the music video actually doesn’t include footage from the film at all. If I could give awards, I’d award Sia as the Songwriter of the Year.

Not to mention:

  1. OneRepublic’s “Native” in which I love ‘If I Lose Myself” so much.
  2. Celine Dion’s comeback with “Loved Me Back To Life” after 6 long years (Taking Chances, 2007). She covers Merriwheather’s “Water and a Flame” and duets with Stevie Wonder in “Overjoyed”, which I think awesome.
  3. The formidable Eminem with “The Marshall Mathers LP2”.
  4. All hail to 30 Seconds To Mars’ “LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS”. I adore “Up In The Air” and “Bright Lights” and how Jared Leto makes the music videos.
  5. Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City”.  The opening track “Obvious Bicycle” is so sentimental.
  6. Last but not least, Arcade Fire with “Reflektor”! This album contains heavier materials than those in The Suburbs (2010). I still love The Suburbs better.