End Of Year · Music

Backfill: 2013 EOY: 4 of 4

Back to this. I want to finish filling this in before December, as then I’ll start on my one for this year – and that will be posted here and Buzzjack simultaneously. As usual, bold for tracks that should be higher, but because I want to leave the links in now, I’ll strike through tracks that are less good for tracks that are a bit awful compared to what I’ve rated them as. Italics are my comments now, unless they’re lyrics. Which are there too. This is all copied over from Buzzjack.com, archive writing by myself. That’s the point of ‘backfill’ to put writings I’ve published elsewhere before this and that I can’t get away with passing off as something new.

60. Katy B – 5am
Won’t let history repeat in parallel lines
Chart Peak: #5

Certainly one of the strongest growers this year, 5am took 9 weeks to reach its eventual peak of #5 on my chart (and 5 weeks later is still there) and a track that I originally thought had nothing on What Love Is Made Of has finished over 60 places higher than it. Just really undeniably lovely, I said this down by Crying For No Reason but it’s worth saying again; with 3 singles like this this album is going to redefine SOMETHING at least. (well.. the album was quite good, 5am is still very incredible though)

59. Colour The Atlas – Snow
Oh no, there goes another and it tastes like snow
Chart Peak: #13

Final entry from UP in here, and as my only Unknown Pleasures successes come out of nowhere, that I was so overjoyed at it finishing 4th may have helped it a little here. Obviously what also helped it is the very atmospheric buildup that this promising young indie band have created with some really lovely sounds. MMM. It’s very good. I recommend it.

58. Smallpools – Dreaming
But I could go all night right here between their crossfire
Chart Peak: #6

Another summer song, one that should easily be a hit (if it’s ever bothered with) as it’s bright, lovely indie-pop that features a very unique instrumental that’s reminiscent of Sail, if Sail were less moody and more fun and ready to party at a moment’s notice. One of my absolute favourites from American bands of their ilk of late, it never fails to make me happy. (this brand of alt-dancepop is normally quite awesome and remains so)

This is how an angel dies
Chart Peak: #2

Speaking of the devil, up next is Awolnation’s now incredibly famous Sail. I had heard it back in 2011 but it never fully registered before crossing over the UK almost a full 2 years later (see look at me I’m a big hipster, I had actually seen it popping up in Youtube recommendations for that long and had listened a couple of times but it did only click towards the end of 2013). While some people don’t like his voice it’s the imperfections that make it so addictive, as well as those incredible instrumental sections which are quite the highlight.

56. Hurts – Miracle (<3 always forget about this tune but it’s awesome)
You can see what a savage I’ve become, in my eyes
Chart Peak: #3

One of the first tracks I was obsessing over this year, Hurts’ return struck a very big chord with me, the bridge and chorus feel much bigger than anything off their first album, as if they’ve fully mastered how to feel grandiose while singing over great pop tracks. I’ve been playing it regularly throughout the year. With Under Control currently doing very well for me they should also have a hit on my chart of next year assured (as I excluded that for growing on me too late)

55. Passenger – Let Her Go
Everything you touch surely dies
Chart Peak: #3

A radio hit that only really started to tire towards the end of its run, I ended up really falling for the soft, slightly weird tones of Passenger in the middle of the year. One of the nicest of the year’s hits, now that I haven’t heard it for a couple of months it feels almost completely fresh again. (meh, don’t really care about this now, although it’s not that bad)

54. Belanger – Take Me Home
I need a little sympathy
Chart Peak: #6

When Look Up won LIII I didn’t think it would be topped. Fortunately, I was wrong and an even better winner was yet to come. Cut from the same cloth of heavy stabbing dance but focused a little more to the side of connecting with the track also it was a pretty perfect combination and while I only gave it 7 points at the time I’d happily give it 12 now. (definitely a key recommendation, if you can find it on the internet, I think that link is dead now sadly)

53. HAIM – The Wire
You know I’m bad at communication, it’s the hardest thing for me to do
Chart Peak: #10

Hitting a real retro feel with their third single, HAIM, who were becoming more and more my type of band with each passing day at this point, saw this stay in my affections for a very very long time, the lyrics are interesting and based on the video, very good at going against the norm, and the catchiness of the tune demands you give it more and more listens.

52. Panic! At The Disco (feat. Lolo) – Miss Jackson
Climbing out the back door, didn’t leave a mark
Chart Peak: #1

The best track so far I’ve heard from Panic! At The Disco (while they’re definitely my kind of band I don’t know as much about them as I’d like, but this song really connected with me), for a time I was really quite into this and its fun alt rock power. While the guys do a good job in most of it, the highlight is Lolo’s very short verse towards the end, building up to a wonderful climax.

51. Tove Lo – Out Of Mind
So you believe I’d forget you, Seriously?
Chart Peak: #2

I don’t think I could have dreamed when Tove Lo first appeared on the scene that she’d come up with something this good (and arguably, hasn’t topped it because I think this should be quite a bit higher, it’s close between this and her most well-known song Stay High of course). The phenomenal pop workings and the power behind her voice make this one of my favourite hits from the tail end of the year. Oh yes, undoubtedly a good part is her passion in the chorus but possibly the best part is those beautiful warblings towards the end, they are too pleasurable to listen to in a song that’s already hitting all the right buttons by being all loud and in-your-face. Definitely her greatest song for me.
50. Disclosure – F For You
I’ve been infected with restless whispers and cheats
That manifested in words and lies that you speak
Chart Peak: #5

Those highlighted lyrics are repeated over one of the more understated Disclosure instrumentals, before launching into a buildup over the ‘fool for you’ parts. While, particularly because it was not a Disclosure collaboration, this took a good time to grow on me, because it was touted as a future single I really made the effort and now I couldn’t really imagine Disclosure without it. It finishes as their second highest song here, some really masterful work.

49. London Grammar – Strong
You’re caught in the middle
Chart Peak: #6

London Grammar’s second single is by far the more beautiful one. Not to take anything away from Wasting My Young Years but this succeeds far more at both being emotional and not getting boring. A lovely ballad and something that I’m going to imagine as the signature song from London Grammar from now on.

48. Florrie – Live A Little
I get a little dangerous
Chart Peak: #3

Florrie’s 2013 single starts off with.. ahem.. a flurry of fantastic instrumental sounds before becoming a brilliant pop song typical of what I’ve come to expect from her. The blog hype and cries at lack of success continues to be entirely justified. Very fun.

47. Jannika B – Pohjanmaan Tuulia
Mä vieraan kylän reunalla, oon matkalaukut mudassa
Chart Peak: #2

I will keep saying this until more people pick up on it, it really should not be only me (and maybe a couple of other people) who loves this. I might sound a little ridiculous at this point but it’s a pop song most big artists should kill to have, the sense of pace for building emotion is spot on, and it never falters long enough to get boring unlike so many ballads. Jannika’s Finnish singing voice sounds so aurally pleasing on here and I can never get enough of this; it’s the 4th single from Jannika’s album but by far the best. An underrated and understated Finn pop triumph. (I really like Finnish songs and I’d spent a long time proclaiming the virtues of this beautiful ballad, it was a BJSC entry of mine and didn’t do that well which kept me into it)

46. Sia (feat. The Weeknd & Diplo) – Elastic Heart
But why can I not conquer love?
Chart Peak: #3

Managing to be glorious as most Sia songs AND most Hunger Games songs are, Elastic Heart is pretty brilliant; hanging around in my affections for a long time even through only hearing it occasionally, even one listen to it can send joy through me. And, well.. it’s Sia and ever since Titanium I’ve paid her plenty of attention. (oh yes, this is 2013, not 2015, it got a big re-release in that year but I had already fallen in love with it ages ago)
45. OneRepublic – Counting Stars
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive
Chart Peak: #6

What SHOULD be mindless commercial radio fodder from OneRepublic these days actually manages to be rather infectious and like most of the big hits up here, shows no sign of tiring. Singing along to the lyric ‘no more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars’ is incredibly fun, as ironic as doing so may be. One of the best hits of the year.

44. The Saturdays – What About Us   (forgive me my sins about the Saturdays, although this is one of the better ones they have)
Now I’ll take the lead, you’re so far behind me
Chart Peak: #2

I may be in denial about being a fan of the Saturdays because one needs to keep up appearances but on the down-low (so forget I said this next part) I love them nearly as much as Lee does, still have not gotten their new album but otherwise total fan. When the proper version of What About Us finally turned up, with no Sean Paul because who needs him these days, I was quite on board. It’s the bridge again. So good.

43. Royksopp (feat. Susanne Sundfor) – Running To The Sea
And all is wasted in the sand, like breaking diamonds with your hand
Chart Peak: #3

Submitting a beautiful, clear track in collaboration with Susanne Sundfor, Royksopp make it in from the tail end of last year with this beauty. Ethereal and otherworldly after a while of listening to it, there are too many reasons to love this. (and in all honesty should be top 10 for me here, this is PERFECT)

42. Arion – Lost
So hollow and hopeless, her sleepless night awaits, like a twisted dream where love takes a violent shape
Chart Peak: #4

An extremely promising young metal band, Arion entered UMK this year with this powerful song and instantly captured my attention. I’ve been pretty obsessed since, the way they sing ‘YOU’RE NOT LOST’ as the song takes a dive into the chorus just makes me feel like everything is right with the world. I would have loved to see this one represent Finland if only to see the reaction it would have gotten from fans, I say it’s metal, but really it’s on an accessibility level with Lordi, has far more of a melody than that, and would have worked very well at Eurovision I think. Arion are now firmly on my list of ‘new bands of 2013 to love’ because of this song. (and unlike most small bands that I keep on lists with that sort, I’ve kept well up to date with these guys and have been loving songs from them to date, in fact, they’re behind my current BJSC entry, At The Break Of Dawn)

41. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Chart Peak: #1

The final song to miss out on the top 40 is I Knew You Were Trouble, which improves greatly on last year’s position of #100-something after having a year or so to play with it, now it’s one of my favourite Taylor songs. Probably now my favourite from Red if we tally everything up fairly. (and probably my favourite Taylor song overall, I think I said that in 2012)
40. Antti Railio – Ruostunut Ankkuri
Kai oon jotain tehnyt oikein kun sä vielä siinä oot
Chart Peak: #2

At #40 is my 4th highest entry to BJSC this year, the awesome power rock ballad from Antti Railio, winner of Finland’s Voice 2013, this being his first single following that. Despite him being a male rocker I had a few hopes that it could win over some people as it is just THAT good a ballad. It builds and builds, his voice is a bit rough but I keep coming back for it and as he hits the final chorus, the epic feelings are indescribable. LOVE. And I remain proud of how it performed, even as a DNQ I was pleased it got so close and managed to fend off at least SOME naysayers. (if you’ve ever wanted a Finnish power-balladeer reminiscent of Meat Loaf, check this out, and honestly, why wouldn’t you?)

39. Team Rockit – aura
rockit boys, gregorian och ikaros
Chart Peak: #8

Slowly growing on me throughout the latter half of the year, I’m now quite obsessed with Team Rockit’s triumph of aura. Some wonderful foreign rap parts are complemented well by a beautiful stabbing chorus, this ended up being a beautiful discovery and a great introduction to a group who have many good songs but certainly none to top this aural marching bliss. (man, too good a bop, in its build, am limiting the number of bolds now, but this deserves everything)

38. Lights – Cactus In The Valley (feat. Owl City) (Acoustic)
If my yesterday is a disgrace, tell me that you still recall my name
Chart Peak: #5

Lights’ main single from Acoustic with a feature from Owl City, this was inevitably was going to be great, and more than any other track on Siberia, the acoustic version outstripped the original so well, adding layers and layers of emotion on the now-duet. Beautiful.

37. Coldplay – Atlas
Sometimes the wire must tense for the note
Chart Peak: #2

Coldplay’s Atlas is everything I want from a good soundtrack single, feels atmospheric, fits with the feeling of the film, which it does with Catching Fire just as brilliantly as all the songs from the first film. On its way to becoming one of my favourite Coldplay tracks, always feels poignant and never dull.

36. State Of Drama – Falling
There’s a place where you never have been before
Chart Peak: #2

The second-best song out of Melodifestivalen this time, I never expected to like this so much as they looked like a throwaway band, but the 00s alt rock guitar band ‘throwback’ sound really appealed to me this time round, and as my favourite song in the strongest MF heat I’ve watched, was excellent seeing them proceeding to the final against all odds. State Of Drama have crafted a very lovely song that due to a very addictive chorus, keeps me coming back. Obviously I knew it was going to flop at Eurovision but had this gone all the way it would have brought something really quite different to Eurovision – and I look forward to their 2014 entry. I know I’m doomed to be one of their only fans though. (I actually rank this ever so slightly ahead of the song that beat it here, as my favourite Melfest song out of all the years I’ve been watching, the lyrics and feeling are just incredible on this)

35. Alyssa Reid – Satisfaction Guaranteed
The clock ticks it’s time, but still I can’t unwind
Chart Peak: #6

Coupled with iconic video that me and Joseph (but mainly Joseph) have been showing off at any convenient opportunity, is possibly Alyssa’s most accomplished track yet. It is a very perfect pop song and outstrips many of the ones on the charts right now very nicely. Go Canada’s finest. (deserves slightly lower but it’s still a good song)

34. Lorde – Tennis Court
I’ll see the veins of my city like they do in space
Chart Peak: #3

Fun fact, I thought she said ‘iPhone’ in the chorus until just a minute ago when looking up the lyrics. Tennis Court is probably shaping up to be Lorde’s finest hour. While I keep liking Royals more and more, that’s at a very steady pace, it’s gone from dislike back in March to ‘like’ now so it’ll be a long time before I love that. Tennis Court is however something I can completely get on board (and was at the beginning) for the new young popstar on the block. It’s melodic, it’s fun, it promises intrigue. I have wanted this to be a followup smash all year, let’s hope it doesn’t get completely forgotten.

33. Matrix & Futurebound (feat. Baby Blue) – Magnetic Eyes
you’re so magnetic
Chart Peak: #5

Possessing a real talent for clear dance tracks, Magnetic Eyes is the highlight of Matrix & Futurebound’s work so far, the vocals work very clear and it doesn’t get tiring. May be nothing we haven’t really heard before but it’s doing the sort of quirky dance I love very well and the buildup before the drop is VERY COOL.

32. Ghost Beach (feat. Noosa) – Close Enough
Who am I to call everything mine?
Chart Peak: #9

The second highest ‘foreign’ BJSC entry entered this year, this is one of a few tracks I’ve come across that regularly gives me ‘chills’. Big points for that. It’s a duet, which helps, and the chorus is real fun indie-pop power. Both artists really outperformed my previous expectations on this one.

31. Adélen – Bombo
I see love like a fire
Chart Peak: #7

Closing off a relatively obscure section is Bombo by new Norwegian-who-wishes-she-was-Romanian star Adelen. While at the time of Melodi Grand Prix I did prefer Ms Berger winning, over time, as summer dawned, the joys of this began to work their way over me, as it is an utterly superb summer track that I’ll probably use next summer and the summer after that. Still pretty amazing even when the whether is awful, nothing like a really strong dance-pop song when the genre gets it right. It just narrowly misses out on the title of my favourite ‘failing NF song’ of 2013.
30. Rihanna (feat Mikky Ekko) – Stay
Round and around and around we go
Chart Peak: #1

My first #1 of the year and the highest Rihanna solo single this time round, the Bajan queen’s piano ballad Stay is first to fall from the top 30. The duet card is played yet again here, but for an artist who so often makes club bangers, it’s really refreshing to see her do something almost completely stripped back, with only minimal instrumentation. Very beautiful, it may not quite get into my top Rihanna tracks or the top edges of this chart but that should take away nothing from it.

29. Katy Perry (feat. Juicy J) – Dark Horse
So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you’re falling for

Chart Peak: #2

The ONLY Katy Perry song that has really grabbed me this time around, Dark Horse, as a promo single, had me playing it over and over again, so much so that I can’t understand why they spent so much time on Roar (obvious smash though it was it’s still basic) and Unconditionally when this was waiting to be a leftfield hit ‘dark horsing’ the charts. The sooner it smashes over here (if it’s released here) the better, because this is feeling like a mini-Titanium situation right now. (as a history lover I both adore and am horrified at the video that I don’t think was out when I wrote this, as it’s so relevant, I’m just gonna embed it in here)

(Almost as accurate a depiction of Egypt as that in Rome: Total War, I’m gonna be playing a campaign as them for research for History Of A Nation*)
28. HAIM – Falling
And if it gets rough, it’s time to get rough
Chart Peak: #7

The second song called Falling in less than 10 songs. This one is far more complex; hitting all the retro notes right on their third single, HAIM made themselves for me with this song. I initially dismissed it rather quickly but after a few weeks of ignoring it kept going back to it (kept hearing it calling heehee.gif). Too many harmonies and layers to deal with. (okay this is a welcome respite in a region that while isn’t bad, just has far too much pop for me)

(*this is sarcasm)

27. The Saturdays – Disco Love
You take me back in time, to 1999, we hear the DJ playing Hit Me Baby One More Time
Chart Peak: #1

Guilty. It’s too good a pop song to ignore (nah, you can ignore it, this should be nowhere near this high). Plus all the references are pretty cool, especially for a song of the Saturdays, I’m impressed how many they worked in there.

26. Ellie Goulding – Burn
Light it up, like we’re the stars of the human race
Chart Peak: #2

This however, this was the pop song of the summer. Burn is a song that can work well anywhere, I could see it in a club, on the radio, in front of elderly relatives, under a summer sunset, etc. There aren’t that many songs I can say that about. And in it is such a warm current of good feeling, unity, catchiness and the knowledge that one of your favourite female singers is actually singing one of the biggest hits of the year – very little gets better than that. While it may not be Ellie’s career zenith, it’s certainly a clear highlight and one I’m very proud she’s had.
25. Cat And The Menagerie – Better
You’ve got disaster to the left, and devastation to the right, catastrophe in front of you and a fiasco in behind
Chart Peak: #10

Yeah, that #10 peak was a bit of an oversight in the long run. Better has ended up as my favourite discovery from BJSC this year, a dark brooding indie-pop track that does promise some optimism with the hook line, but that atmosphere… so good. It should have really picked up a lot more support than it ended up doing. Can everyone just enter tracks as brilliant as this to every contest next year? Because if so, the contest will be very very good.

24. Alexis Jordan – Acid Rain
I know you’ll come to save me from harm
Chart Peak: #1

I have come to the conclusion I prefer her solo version, as much as I love a good guest rap now and then – and this is definitely the best track using Rattle as its backing. Acid Rain was supposed to be a huge comeback for Alexis but as we all know, that did not work. MMM, it’s not quite what her first album was but her voice still is as brilliant as it was before, this should mean great things for 2014.

And no, this was never going to be #1. I do love it but I’m not BLINKERED. (I had a poor reputation for taste in my early days in doing these, I think you can see why with the evidence posted on this blog so far. However I think 2013 was the real turning point)

23. YOHIO – Heartbreak Hotel
Chart Peak: #1

My favourite entry to a country’s national final that didn’t go to Eurovision, I was expecting several good things from a performer with an image like Yohio’s, and based on just that I wanted Sweden to send him, but then I heard the track; and my love for him was activated. And so, seemingly was the rest of Sweden’s. I’m still bitter. (still true in 2016, justice for YOHIO) Brilliant performer, and a great pop-rock song that was all over my early months of the year.

22. Bastille – Pompeii
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
Chart Peak: #5

Everything went so right for this. A new up and coming rock band? Check. Some lovely imagery on their new single by evoking images of the most famous ruined Roman town? (as a history nerd, any song with historical references is instantly awesome) Check. To top off the good music in the song, does it have a great hook line? Check. And now, with all of that, is this song actually successful? It is. Bastille are the answer to their own italicised question when I consider the future of the rockier side of the popular music scene, more innovative bands like them taking centre stage with great songs like Pompeii will be certainly leave me optimistic.

21. Naughty Boy (feat. Sam Smith) – La La La
When our worlds collide I’m gonna drown you out before I lose my mind
Chart Peak: #1

Among the million sellers this year, a huge radio hit featuring the man who also helped bring us the wonders of Latch seemed a bit of a tall order, but helped by the use of a slightly annoying gimmick that I’ve learned to appreciate now made it. Sam Smith continues to have some of the best vocals in pop out there, and I look forward to his debut album (and as I said in 2012 with Latch, no good would come of that, but La La La is good enough if not quite #21 good). Of course, La La La continues to be massive, so well done Naughty Boy for finding inspiration in your artistic partners (for once).

20. Avril Lavigne – Rock n Roll

I don’t care if I’m a misfit
Chart Peak: #2

I was really quite pleased with Rock N Roll; lately it has seemed like many of my previous favourite artists could never deliver the way I expected them to, and while I do appreciate their efforts I’m just going to go back to the old stuff every time. Rock N Roll is Avril’s one great attempt lately at defying that trend, it’s nothing that new but it captures old Avril and her battle against this new order in pop quite nicely, and it’s a pretty damn nice song as well. This sort of Avril is welcome any time.

19. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

It’s a revolution I suppose
Chart Peak: #9

Despite giving this a frankly awful chart run, I was loving this pretty epic song throughout the year, even as my second year of university started, and so it’d be very silly not to give it a very good placing here. The clear highlight of Imagine Dragons so far, promising some lovely intriguing sounds, and some brilliant rebellious-anthemic lyrics to sing out as it pounds through the chorus, all serves to give it a great post-apocalyptic feel. Definitely a hit I was glad to support all the way through.

18. Selena Gomez – Slow Down

You know I’m good with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
Chart Peak: #1

Going all the way up to possibly becoming my favourite Selena song (it still has to challenge Naturally but we’ll see how that goes) is her second single from Stars Dance, showing off some far more interesting and dare I say sensual pop than even Come & Get It promised, and if I’m honest, is far more interesting musically than that one. While remaining classy like Selena always does in the face of far less subtle moves from other ladies in the pop genre, it gets across its message very nicely and obviously. I will always make time for this these days.

17. P!nk (feat. Nate Ruess) – Just Give Me A Reason

No nothing is as bad as it seems, we’ll come clean
Chart Peak: #1

People, we have reached the evolutionary peak of the adult radio ballad. It will never get better than this. Just Give Me A Reason, or as I like to call it these days, the misnomer of ‘Screech’, is also a duet and I’m sure we know I feel about those normally, it’s the contrast of both male and female voices working together that is so good and Nate and P!nk do this wondrously. Easily eclipsed all of P!nk’s previous work to become my favourite of hers, would have won this shiz easily if I were doing this on points (i.e. lots of points for being at #1, 1 point for being at #40) and has never, ever, not for one little play, gotten boring.

16. Zedd (feat. Hayley Williams) – Stay The Night

Don’t dull the sparkle in your eyes
Chart Peak: #1

My dream collaboration of the year after getting very into Zedd’s work in the early part of the year – and of course playing Paramore a lot as well. It pretty much did live up to the expectations I had of it but surprisingly, the highlight was not Hayley singing. She does a very capable job on it sure and it’s very good to listen to but this here is some of Zedd’s best work as an instrumental as it builds up to the chorus, it has those epic beats that move with the music seamlessly that are just what I love about him. Should hopefully, like Slow Down, be a hit in waiting. (this is perfection nightcored these days)

15. Tegan & Sara – I Was A Fool

But stand still is all I did
Love like ours is never fixed

Chart Peak: #1

You might remember a period (well blog readers won’t) where for ages, my signature was dominated by Tegan singing over a piano, taken directly from this video. That was when I was completely and utterly living for this song and this song alone. Pretty much. Taking their newfound pop sensibilities to new lovely heights, this would be a brilliant pop song to work on the radio, it is pretty emotional, Sara’s backup vocals working to add gravitas to the song like no band ever could, and, tentatively as I haven’t explored their discography as much I’d like, their clear best. (still their clear best, despite my preference for rock, this song is just that incredible)

14. Katie Sky – Only You

You’ve got one life, so go live it
Chart Peak: #1

The dominator of my January, Only You, the happiest and most optimistic pop song I’ve come across since, I don’t even know. It’s not just the lyrical content, and god knows I do love some unbridled optimism enough to blinker me to all other aspects, this was the perfect followup to Sweet Sweet Melody for Katie, the addictiveness and cute factor she’s achieved this time are really off the charts. This is now what I think of when I think ‘cute pop song’. Seriously. If only I didn’t have to put this as low as #14.

13. Zlata Ognevich – Gravity

I’m like a butterfly, spinning round a sword as if to dare
Chart Peak: #1

Another pretty great pop song, and I only love these when they are near perfect, Ukraine’s bronze medal finisher Gravity. Disney-esque song, beautiful imaginative video, unreasonable amount of key changes, what on earth is not to love? It has a real optimistic (yeah, this is THAT section) rousing quality, especially in studio form, which I don’t think was quite able to translate to the live stage as well as it should have. While this wasn’t quite my favourite moment of Eurovision 2013, this remains the song I wish had won on the night, it is far superior in terms of providing a musical moment to the actual winner and reaches a level of pure awesomeness that Only Teardrops never quite does. (and not yet my highest Eurovision song in this, it’s been since 2013 that a Eurovision song has been so high anyway, I hope to put one back to those levels at some point)

12. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Entre la nuit, la nuit et l’aurore
Chart Peak: #1

2014 may well see me becoming a big fan of Arcade Fire, it often takes only that one big song that is pretty representative of them to open up the doorway for much more love with me, I had previously never gotten their popularity aside from the ‘very-different-for-them’ Sprawl II, until Reflektor. Now I even appreciate Rebellion (Lies), a song I had previously expended a lot of effort on trying to like and failing. For Reflektor, despite being almost 8 minutes long, every one of them is still enjoyable many many listens later. The gratuitous French is pretty good for grabbing your interest, and then the chorus leaps up and swallows you in. I’m still slightly surprised at myself that I put an Arcade Fire song at #1. Afterlife going top 5 with me helped reassure me it wasn’t a fluke, and after adding the album to my iTunes over Christmas to go join The Suburbs, I’m now ready for more! (and here is where I start to become REALLY credible, because everyone knows the way to become credible is to love Arcade Fire to pieces – Reflektor is an absolute tune though, maybe even still my favourite although I have so many now I’ve gotten addicted to all the albums)

11. AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies

How’d you think it felt when you stuck the knife in
Chart Peak: #2

Just narrowly missing out on my top 10 is the best solo track from probably my favourite ‘new’ artists in 2013. New as in having not released a full-length before this year. Attracting Flies is definitely shows off the best of what they can do, it has sharp, clear production values, Aluna’s vocals are at their strongest, and it is showing off a bit of a different message in the lyrics. Very much the soundtrack of March 2013 for me now, can never resist the combination of George’s beats and Aluna.

10. Aliona Moon – O Mie

Vreau un nou inceput!
Chart Peak: #1

My favourite entry of Eurovision 2013 came from quite an unlikely country, Moldova. Near last to reveal their entry, O Mie, as a ballad, came into the field amidst a sea of other ballads that looked to promise the slowest show in quite a while. Despite this disfavourable beginning for me, O Mie worked its way up in my affections very very nicely, and I realised that it was the best of what it had to offer. The Moldovan/Romanian lyrics sounded very passionate in Aliona’s hands and the performance on stage turned out to be my favourite of the night, what with lightning and a rising dress as the stormy nature of the ballad reached its peak. O Mie is a great example of why I continue to follow Eurovision closely, you never know where a great song like this is going to come from and surprise you.

9. Eminem (feat. Rihanna) – The Monster

But I’m actually weirder than you think
Chart Peak: #1

Taking the place for me of the late Rihanna lead single every November this year, Eminem’s The Monster was a late challenger for the top spot when it first premiered, but it just fell short (my top 10 are really quite close together, in fact my top 50 is all pretty close but eh). While like on Love The Way You Lie I do love Rihanna’s chorus, Eminem’s verses, his flow and emotion really do come through here. I’m also grateful that this kept up Rihanna’s #1 streak, I’m going to be rooting for something, anything to do that until she misses one year eventually.

8. The Pretty Reckless – Follow Me Down

Now I know that there’s a different way to die, My body breathes, Heart still beats, But I am not alive
Chart Peak: #1

An unusual mid-year rock obsession… well, not that unusual for me but as this dark track came for me at the height of the sweltering heats it’s always felt a little out of place. But it is wonderfully dark, there’s some very interesting sounds at the beginning of the track – well, if you listen you’ll know what they are, and the rest of the track is, while not as poppy as what was on The Pretty Reckless’ first album and definitely more fierce and foreboding, very much still their sound. After a disappointing start to this era with Kill Me, with this and Going To Hell, it looks like Taylor Momsen’s band is going from strength to hard rock strength.

(this theme though erm) (this would be a reference to the emo stuff)

7. San Fermin – Sonsick

Ease your mind, and when you think, you’re thinking clear
Chart Peak: #2

Given how much I’ve shown my love for Sonsick up to now (I was ALL over this song in 2013), that it made it this high should not be surprising. What starts out as a fairly standard indie-pop song in the verses is actually very deceiving, as in the middle of this song lies the chorus of the year. Especially when you turn it up loud. It then explodes in many, many layers of multi-layered instrumentation of vocals, when it gets to ‘when you think you’re thinking clear’ I almost never fail to sing along/punch the air, and if the whole thing was the chorus on repeat, I’d live with that just as well. Trumpets punctuate the bits that are vocal-free, the song is one of the most complex I’ve ever come across and definitely the most unique indie-pop song I’ve found this year (well, I found it towards the tail end of last year; it only started getting its big blog push in May though and I only started really loving it February onwards).

I shouldn’t even talk about what it did in the contest as I’ll never get over that (it was a shock non-qualifier despite nearly everyone agreeing that it was VERY GOOD). At least I know it amassed a small fanbase. ❤ In my dreams this’d be a shock hit and everyone would come round to it in droves, unfortunately I think it’s now going to just fade into the musical background unless San Fermin have anything more to show us – with one debut single they have outstripped many many other bands and it will be hard to top. (their immediate followup Daedalus was unfortunately quite disappointing) (Emily & Jackrabbit in 2015 were pretty good, so I do like other songs from them! Anyway, Sonsick comes with my HIGHEST recommendation, go seek it out)

6. Zedd (feat. Foxes) – Clarity

If you pull then I’ll push too deep and I’ll fall right back to you
Chart Peak: #3

The highest song not to make #1 on my chart is probably naturally a song from the earliest part of the year. As I’ve become very into what Zedd promises, this was the standout and the track I kept coming back to. I’m not even sure what to say except that it is a very very great dance song, this year’s Titanium, but with a far more skilled producer at the controls. On no other track can I be as easily at one point appreciating the beauty of the singer’s voice and then suddenly, with very little warning, find my head going with the drop and beat. This is the sort of song I love seeing become a hit, and it’s good it did… in the USA. Zedd, and Foxes, this is a masterpiece, and I hope over time it gains a ‘forgotten classic’ status.

5. Avicii – Wake Me Up

All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost
Chart Peak: #1

Wake Me Up – most instant song of the year. Country, soul and dance uniting in one glorious meld makes for a really, really ultimate song (Wiki gives one of the genres as folktronica *.*). While Aloe Blacc sets his vocals to high power and pleasant (I think you mean SOULFUL) listening, Avicii provides a very awesome chorus riff to burn the song into one’s memory. I have loved this pretty much from the moment it premiered, and all the way through the remainder of the year. The riff initially sounded like something that should have existed way before now, obviously now I can’t imagine it not existing. This feels like the future of dance songs and I hope to see many more following in its wake. (and I would not be disappointed, for better and for worse, none quite topping this masterpiece though)

4. Amaranthe – Amaranthine

You are all I needed, believe me
Chart Peak: #1

This was admittedly a song of 2011. However, due to it being my most-played song in 2013, as well as being one of my entries to BJSC this year – my favourite no less (and with that in mind was SO chuffed that it became my highest scoring entry yet ❤ (see, BJSC do do good things sometimes) – it would be completely wrong of me to exclude Amaranthine from the running. So, where to start with this? Amaranthine is Amaranthe diverging a little away what they do best, they still are utilizing all three vocalists, with harsh-vocal guy in reduced capacity, but they’ve slowed down the normal apocalyptically fast tempo that is common in their other big songs like The Nexus and Hunger. Of course it is all about the very emotional, calling chorus that starts out with just Elize by chorus 1, and then adds the other vocalists and guitarists from the band as the song reaches its beautiful climax about 3 minutes later. Time goes so fast when I listen to this song, I enjoy it all* too much.

*when I say ‘all’ that definitely includes the harsh vocals, I mean, at going on for 100 plays, how can I not? They aren’t jarring once you expect them.

(Like with Sonsick, this comes with my highest recommendation, I think, without exaggeration, that Amaranthine is now one of my top  10 songs of all-time, so it certainly should have won this rank, even if it’s not technically from this year, but my 2016 rank will pay no attention to that, what matters is that they made an impact on me in the calendar year, not their release date)
3. Disclosure (feat. AlunaGeorge) – White Noise

Lately I’ve been thinking if you wanna get tough, then let’s play rough
Chart Peak: #1

White Noise has been in the running for this almost since the beginning of the year, and making it all the way to third is something that definitely isn’t too shabby. Basically, I love AlunaGeorge for Aluna’s gorgeous fragile vocals, and I love Disclosure for their ability to mix the voices of the singers they have on their tracks with beats that suit the profile of the singer just perfectly. The delicate tapping of the dance beats in the background is perfect, especially for the sort of addictive listening I like to do for these types of songs. Still cannot believe it was so successful as to get all the way to second place one week in the charts, that was one of the highlights of this year. It is so easy to get swept up in the flawless beauty on offer here, I would have loved to put this at #1 as well as the both of the two ahead of it.

2. Paramore – Still Into You

Let ’em wonder how we got this far, cause I don’t really need to wonder at all
Yeah, after all this time I’m still into you

Chart Peak: #1 (3 weeks)

Taking the silver medal is a band that is no stranger to my unequivocal love, Paramore’s go at making a pop song in Still Into You. After a bit of a disappointment to start the era in Now, I spent a lot of time going back over all the past Paramore glories from their previous two albums, which probably made me quite ready to get well into another single as soon as it hit the scene. Now, although this is their most accessible tune they’ve ever done, I didn’t really mind, because they’d done it so well that it probably brought them a legion of new fans, and it meant they got a small hit out of it, which was a reward to see in itself. Now all of you young ones go back and buy Riot and Brand New Eyes and appreciate where your new faves have come from. I can’t yet call Still Into You Paramore’s best song (it has Misery Business, currently sitting in my top 10 of all-time, to overcome first) and I’m not even sure I can call it the second-best as it’s too soon, but it makes me way too happy to care about ranking songs or selling out or anything. Pretty much perfect for a summer night, and I certainly couldn’t stop playing it around that time of the year. Awesome in every way. (also would have been a great candidate for my #1 so while it won’t take my reordered one, it’s still getting a bold – and no, it’s not Paramore’s best song but it’s very close)

1. Little Mix – Move

But there’s just one problem, I’m a bit old school
When it comes to lovin’ I ain’t chasing you

Chart Peak: #1 (7 weeks)

In some ways, putting Move at #1 feels strange, because up until about halfway through November it would have been Still Into You’s for the clear taking. I really liked Move when it first premiered, even debuting it at #2 in my ever-more-irrelevant chart, but I almost let it die away before I suddenly had an epiphany with it and it shot back up to #1, sitting there for 7 weeks, 2 weeks longer than any of my #1s aside from Fireflies (10 weeks). And as Fireflies was in my 2010 chart which I kinda made up, it’s my longest ~genuine~ #1, acheiving its 7th week at #1 on its 13th week of life. Enough chart stats, the reason I like Move so damn much is its complexity for a girlband single, the likeability of Little Mix, the video shows off some really lovable choreography, the way each band member’s voice works in and out to distinguish the many parts of the song, the way it commands to get up and dance (in the mind if not physically) as it builds, the building itself, it is perfect. From wanting to like Little Mix when they made only ‘pretty good’ songs and just had a great image last year, this year it’s love all the way and it’s mainly because of this beauty. Even though it was a late challenger, I came to the conclusion that it was just that little bit better than Still Into You and so joins (Fireflies), Titanium and Euphoria in my EOY #1 lineup. (It’s still very good, don’t get me wrong, and is certainly the best track made by an act starting out from X Factor, but there are others that deserve the #1 spot slightly more than this one)

Reordered list:
1. Amaranthe – Amaranthine
2. Paramore – Still Into You
3. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
4. Royksopp – Running To The Sea (feat. Susanne Sundfor)
5. Avril Lavigne – Rock N Roll
6. Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
7. The Pretty Reckless – Follow Me Down
8. Aya Hirano – Super Driver
9. Avicii – Wake Me Up
10. Team Rockit – Aura
11. Little Mix – Move
12. San Fermin – Sonsick
13. Tegan & Sara – I Was A Fool
14. Aliona Moon – O Mie
15. Zedd – Stay The Night (feat. Hayley Williams)
16. Tove Lo – Out Of Mind
17. Disclosure – White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge)
18. Zlata Ognevich – Gravity
19. State Of Drama – Falling
20. Arion – Lost
21. Zedd – Clarity (feat. Foxes)
22. Ecstasy – Exhale
23. Naomi Pilgrim – No Gun
24. Eminem – The Monster (feat. Rihanna)
25. YOHIO – Heartbreak Hotel

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