We have reached the halfway point of our 2013, so it’s time to bring out our mid-term lists for the season. With so many great options to choose from already in 2013 it was hard to narrow this list down. Acts like Foxygen, JT, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs may have all gotten snubbed, but here is what made our top 5:
5. Savages – “She Will”
Savages have certainly made their presence known in 2013 with their debut Silence Yourself. Although it’s hard to decide on a clear-cut favorite, “She Will” ultimately won out for its ability to sum up the entire album nicely, as well as for reigning in as one of the more moshable, kick-ass tracks on the album.
4. Vampire Weekend – “Step”
Everything about this song drives me insane. From the opening Souls of Mischief “Step to My Girl” shout out, to the way that the vocals to the song follow the backtrack of the same Souls of Mischief song. Yet these vocals are set to the jangly baroque piano sounds of Pachelbel’s “Canon” as the back track. Then you still have the lyrics, where Ezra plays with the concept of struggling to rid himself of the pretensions that come with not wanting the music he loves to become “mainstream”. The song shows maturity, but also a vulnerability that comes with loving some silly piece of music (which is his “girl” everyone keeps “stepping to”) so much that it hurts.
3. Autre Ne Veut – “Play by Play”
I still struggle to fully comprehend what it is exactly about Anxiety that draws me in so much. I’m not necessarily a huge R&B fan, nor do I usually find ways to appreciate the Phil Collins-esque vibe that encompasses this album. Nonetheless, I can’t help myself when the opening jangle of that keyboard kicks in like a finger rolling down a harp. First you’ll get lost in the angelic, precisely-produced music, and then you’ll be swimming in Arthur’s over dramatic, overwhelmingly torrid, yet beautiful vocals.
2. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
Yea, you may be sick of hearing this song by now, but it doesn’t take away from the brilliance of this relatively simple, and extremely groovy jam pulled off by the collaborative minds of the Robots, Pharrell, and Nile Rodgers. For our full breakdown/review of this track, click here.
1. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”
Arguably the most power-packed song of Kanye’s career, even more so than “Power” itself. Packed with production (albeit minimalist), tribal beats, anti-racism and anti-establishment themes, this song is attempting to take on the world in just over three minutes. Bravo to Kanye for such a bold move, all set to an infectious, foot-stomping beat.
The “Just Missed Our List” List:
Wes: Sigur Ros – “Brennisteinn”
Sigur Ros came back this year with the most angry, industrial sounding album they have put out since Von. And wow, is that great. The harder-hitting album still plays into the beautiful, airy, ambient-type music the band often makes and the combination is riveting. If only I could understand Icelandic tongue.
Todd: Deerhunter – “Leather Jacket II”
Lazy 90’s punk rock is making a resurgence, and here is one of my favorite examples of that from this year so far. Deerhunter proved with Monomania that they have the ability to pull off many different styles of albums, but no matter what they do, polished or not, it’s always great to listen to. From the opening guitar squelches, to the extremely distorted vocals, to the all out melt down at the end of the song, it’s impossible not to love this track.
Austin: Baths – “No Eyes”
Baths’ sophomore release proved to be a bit darker in theme than his debut, yet still feels like a lighter melodic dance album at its core. “No Eyes” sums up the album nicely with its bright exterior, and crippling dark and depressing interior. For a full breakdown of this song, you can click here.