The Truth About Music: Play It Loud

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Sean's Top Songs of 2013

Songs Without A Home

Here, in no order, are some of the best songs of 2013 that aren’t featured on albums that made my top 10 list.

The Wire” by HAIM: HAIM’s album Days Are Gone wasn’t the great debut many people made it out to be. Beyond a few good front loaded tracks, it descends into bland power pop towards the middle and never pulls out of that holding pattern. Still, the record isn’t without it’s charms, and no song is more charming than “The Wire.” A throwback to the sound The Strokes were experimenting with around the time of their initial breakup, “The Wire” is pure pop bliss, a driving rock beat, and a killer chorus. If HAIM can string together a whole album as great as this song, they may just live up to the hype next time.

We Sink” by Chvrches: Chvrches debut album The Bones Of What You Believe was one of the most assured and enjoyable debut records of 2013. While opener “The Mother We Share” gave us a preview of what was to come back in 2012, “We Sink” was the song that showed they were more than a one song wonder. Lauren Mayberry sings about a relationship that is failing, but one that is so great it is worth saving, for the good of the two people involved and the greater love of the collective world. Heavy stuff, but Chvrches have proved they are a band who know how to tackle heavy concepts, all based around a beat you can dance to!

Letter Of Intent” by Ducktales: Ducktales have taken criticism once in a while for being devoid of personality. While there is some truth to this, their relaxed brand of cosmopolitan indie pop is more about atmosphere than substance. With “Letter Of Intent” they reached a new level of sleek sophistication. Guest vocalist Jessa Farkas describes a hazy afternoon spent spying boys in galleries and high rise balconies, as the keyboards and guitars create a mood of airy detachment. New Yorkers with central air conditioning need great songs too, and this one fits the bill nicely.

Demon To Lean On” by Wavves: Over the course of four albums, Wavves have gradually edged out of the garage and into the mainstream, but have never lost their loose LA slacker ethos. “Demon To Lean On” does nothing to reinvent their formula and is the better for it. All chugging guitars and heavy distortion, Wavves continue to carry the pop punk torch forward into 2014.

Retrograde” by James Blake: While Overgrown may have been a moderate disappointment when compared to his 2011 debut, James Blake’s low key, moody  sophomore record was plenty good on it’s own. Case in point; “Retrograde.” While it doesn’t have the immediacy of “The Wilhelm Scream,” the song builds and builds to an intense, paranoid crescendo, all while Blake’s gorgeous voice carries the song to the heavens. Overgrown may not have reinvented the game the way his self titled album did, but it proved he is a dynamic young artist who won’t be going away any time soon.

Green Garden” by Laura Mvula: Sometimes great music comes in the simplest and most basic form. “Green Garden” is not one of those examples. A richly layered tapestry of a composition, Laura Mvula pulls from gospel, world music, and r&b influences to create a song both intoxicatingly pretty and fascinatingly complex.

Primetime” by Janelle Monae: With her Sophomore album The Electric Lady, Monae solidified her position as one of the leading voices in the new r&b movement. While describing her as strictly an r&b artist doesn’t come close to telling the whole story, “Primetime” proved she can write a classic slow jam as well as anyone. Trading verses with Miguel, “Primetime” is classic soul with an eye directly on the future, a perfect summation of Monae’s career thus far.

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