Year In Review: Top 100+2 Songs of 2013

Firstly, I should justify my decision to extend the traditional top 100 to the obscure 102. There is really no excuse, I’m very indecisive and I really struggled to get it down to 100. Thus, I thought it would be a unique touch to actually refer to it as the ‘100+2’ list. This is not to say that the two additional songs are only there as an anomaly and a talking point. Rather, I just could not bring myself to cut them from the list.The songs, RY X’s “Berlin” and Touch Sensitive’s “Pizza Guy”are performed by Australian artists and struck me as highly original productions from two artists from opposite sides of the musical spectrum.RY X is an LA-based Australian singer/songwriter whose career has slowly grown over the past few years. “Berlin” is a classic homesick-boy tale that seems to unlock his insecurities, allowing him to produce a vulnerable, melancholy song that ebbs and flows along the fine line between nostalgia and actuality.“Pizza Guy” doesn’t have the same touching storyline that led to its production; however, it does live up to its inane name with bouncy electronic hooks, formed in a similar mold to Classixx’s “Holding on”, which comes in at number 47 on the list.The beauty of creating your own list is that it opens up the stories and memories you have of listening to these songs for the first time, or in some circumstances the seventh or eighth, where they really struck you and lingered in your mind. I recall being rather nonchalant about Andy Bull’s “Keep on Running” when I first heard it, due to its lack of ungodly range as in his previous work. With persistence, I began to think of it as an amalgamation of two distinct genres, brought together to create a radical anthem illustrating his existential angst linked with the pressure that we all seem to be put under by our own peers.In contrast, my number one for the year, “Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send” by Australian band The Drones, could not have left a bigger imprint on me if it had struck me in the face with an oversized Queensland banana. The stark imagery, the gritty guitar work and the outrageously passionate delivery from Gareth Liddiard has not ceased to amaze me. It is undeniably a powerful anthem for the confused and the defeated, and one that has not received the credit it rightfully deserves.Another great reason for compiling this list is that sometimes it is difficult to escape the asphyxiating nature of peer pressure. Under the guise of friends and strangers alike, we may succumb to liking or disliking a song based upon their judgments. My opinion of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” seemed to harden when I heard female friends disparage the shamefully catchy song for its overt sexism. I must say, I was initially a huge fan of the song and regrettably the film clip because I enjoy beautiful women parading around in next to nothing—call me a Neanderthal, if you must. However, as I have left it out of my top 100+2 this year, the effect the criticism had on me personally has clearly left a lasting impression.I also nearly included the overplayed, yet critically underrated Miley Cyrus ballad “Wrecking Ball”, on the basis that it really is an excellent pop song with heart and soul. Once again though, I found myself finding it easier to justify its exclusion rather than a song from Buchanan or Elizabeth Rose, for example, based on my prejudice. I enjoyed each of these songs on their own without having to know a huge amount about the artist’s own story; however, Miley’s antics seemed to negatively effect me and she did not make the list.I wanted, almost needed to include songs from The Weeknd, but could not justify his inclusion over some of the lower ranked songs. I felt the Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age deserved more than two songs on the list, but again I could not sneak them in. No artist, in fact, had more than two songs this year. I don’t know if that’s because I tried not to obsess over artists too much or if it was truly an even year. Anyway, here is my list of Top 100+2 Songs for 2013:1. Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send – The Drones2. Elevate – St Lucia3. Heartbreaks + Setbacks – Thundercat4. Play By Play – Autre Ne Veut5. Wasting My Young Years – London Grammar6. Reflektor – Arcade Fire7. The Vampyre Of Time And Memory – Queens of the Stone Age8. Is This How You Feel? – The Preatures9. Alive – Empire of the Sun10. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith11. Let Her Go – Jagwar Ma12. Promises – Cloud Control13. Hold on, We’re Going Home – Drake ft. Majid Jordan14. Get Lucky – Daft Punk15. Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? – Arctic Monkeys16. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake17. Baby I am Nobody now – Andy Bull18. A Baru In New York – Yolanda Be Cool ft. Gurrumul (Flume remix)19. Graceless – The National20. Happens – Sampha21. Diane Young – Vampire Weekend22. Afterlife – Arcade Fire23. The Wire – Haim24. Royals – Lorde25. Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues – Safia26. Riptide – Vance Joy27. Acid Rain – Chance the Rapper28. Byegone – Volcano Choir29. So Good At Being In Trouble – Unknown Mortal Orchestra30. Wolf – Pyramid31. My God Is The Sun – Queens of the Stone Age32. Dojo Rising – Cloud Control33. I Was An Eagle – Laura Marling34. California Daze – Peace35. The Hurry And The Harm – City and Colour36. Always – Panama37. Wakin On A Pretty Day – Kurt Vile38. Don’t Save Me – Haim39. Can For Now – Underground Lovers40. Black Skinhead – Kanye West41. Free Your Mind – Cut Copy42. Youth Wasted – The Bronx43. Desert Night – RÜFÜS44. Sacrilege – Yeah Yeah Yeahs45. Smother – Daughter46. Back To The Middle – Deerhunter47. Holding On – Classixx48. Where Are We Now? – David Bowie49. Year Of The Dog – F**k Buttons50. Fresh Strawberries – Franz Ferdinand51. Retrograde – James Blake52. Primetime – Janelle Monae ft. Miguel53. Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow54. Nirvana – Sam Smith55. Mercy – TV on the Radio56. Chamakay – Blood Orange57. Do I Wanna know? – Arctic Monkeys58. 3005 – Childish Gambino59. Luck Now – Big Scary60. Doin’ It Right – Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear61. All The Time – The Strokes62. I Am A God – Kanye West ft. God63. Sleep – Snakadaktal64. Plastic Soldiers – Portugal. The Man65. Nosetalgia – Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar66. Trying To Be Cool – Phoenix ft. R Kelly67. Sunday – Earl Sweatshirt ft. Frank Ocean68. You & Me – Disclosure (Flume Remix)69. Step – Vampire Weekend70. Victory – Janelle Monae71. Overgrown – James Blake72. My Number – Foals73. Resolution – Matt Corby74. Gun – CHVRCHES75. The Breach – Dustin Tebbutt76. Too Much – Drake ft. Sampha77. When Yesterday’s Gone – Hungry Kids of Hungary78. St Germaine – Underground Lovers79. Head On/Pill – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard80. The Worst Guys – Childish Gambino ft. Chance the Rapper81. Everything’s A Thread – John Steel Singers82. Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey v Cedric Gervais83. Warm Water – Banks84. All I Could Do – Oscar Key Sung85. Play with Fire – Vance Joy86. Hey Now – London Grammar87. When A Fire Starts To Burn – Disclosure88. Hands – Saskwatch89. Under Your Skin – Dan Sultan90. Keep On Running – Andy Bull91. Night Sky – CHVRCHES92. Man I Need – Jagwar Ma93. Comfortable – The Aston Shuffle94. From The Sun – Unknown Mortal Orchestra95. Drag Me Home – World’s End Press96. The Good Life – Elizabeth Rose97. Human Spring – Buchanan98. Speak To No End – City Calm Down99. Forbidden Fruit – J Cole ft. Kendrick Lamar100. Closer Than This – St Lucia101. Berlin – RY X102. Pizza Guy – Touch Sensitive This is an edited work derived from a blog post by William Balme and has been republished here with his William Balme

December 16th 2013
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