Hello. My name is Adam and I like to listen to music. I was asked to do a little rundown of my top 20 songs for 2013. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve been losing sleep over what to cut and what can stay.
But what follows are 20 handpicked songs from throughout the year that I’ve enjoyed a lot. They aren’t ranked in any particular order, because that would make my brain melt.
I hope you have a lovely time listening to them.
cake – @peace
A close friend of mine once described music as something that helps us to feel; something that describes complicated emotions in a tangible, manageable way. These guys have it nailed.
New Zealand outfit @peace released their 2013 EP Girl Songs on Valentine’s Day, and the irony of this is both humorous and melancholic. Do yourself a favour and download the two EP’s ahead of their full album release later in 2014.
They can be downloaded from the @peace Bandcamp page.
25 bucks (feat. purity ring) – danny brown
Danny Brown’s latest album Old is one of my personal favourite releases of the year. Much like the free 2011 mixtape XXX, the album has been split between the bangers that everyone loves and a slightly more serious, introspective series of songs.
These tracks explore the rapper’s childhood, crack-dealing days and coming to terms with the consequences of his drug habits, and prove that Danny Brown is about more than just molly and deepthroating your mum.
kiss land – the weeknd
For anyone who knows me, it shouldn’t be surprising that at least one Weeknd track has shown up in this list. His first three mixtapes, remastered and rereleased last year as Trilogy, are a sonic dance through modern nihilism and faded memories of nights long gone.
Kiss Land was released in September and signalled a slight change from the overwhelming darkness of the original projects. However, the title track is one of my favourite songs of the year and does a pretty good job at summing up The Weeknd’s vibes in a 7 and a half minute long journey.
new slaves – kanye west
The release of Kanye West’s latest album Yeezus divided his fanbase between those who longed for the College Dropout-era of music, with creative use of samples and elaborate lyrics, and those who love the more experimental direction of this new album.
I fucking love it. The strong, abrasive sounds and complete disregard for atypical structures help to create something abstract and fantastic. The slamming minimalism and pulsing bass mixed with obscure samples has made an aural smorgasbord. Get amongst it.
work (remix) – A$AP ferg
What end of year list would be complete without a banger? Second from the A$AP Mob to release a debut album, Trap Lord is the first offering from A$AP Ferg – and it fucking bangs.
With a number of rappers appearing on the official remix of Work, if you don’t get turnt up by this track, you may have no soul.
man of the year – scHoolboy q
It was a quiet year for the TDE rappers, with no one releasing any major projects – save for a couple of standalone tracks. ScHoolboy Q has released one of the catchiest songs of the year, which is great news ahead the release date announcement for his hotly anticipated album Oxymoron.
If this track – and the countless others released this year – is any indication of the album, 2014 is gearing up to be dominated by ScHoolboy Q and the TDE crew. Watch this space.
favourite song (feat. childish gambino) – chance the rapper
A newcomer to the scene, Chance the Rapper quickly began to spread his unique voice and catchy beats across the internet following the release of his second mixtape Acid Rap earlier this year.
Featuring Childish Gambino, Favourite Song is an overwhelmingly infectious track. Combining a bouncy, bubbly beat with fun bars and a hook that will stay burrowed in your head for days. You’ve been warned.
twin hype back – run the jewels
My biggest regret of 2013 was sleeping on the fantastic debut album from Run The Jewels. Made up of a duo between rappers Killer Mike and El-P, this free record released through Fool’s Gold is 10 of the hardest tracks released this year.
With slamming, sonic production and witty, violent lyrics spit by the two MC’s, this 32 minute long record will leave you all riled up and salivating for more. Keep an eye out for the second album sometime in 2014.
Cop one of the most fierce albums of 2013 here and get turnt right up New Years Eve.
you may think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat – death grips
This was a pleasant surprise. Released exactly 13 months, 13 days and 13 hours after their last release, No Love Deep Web, Sacramento group Death Grips dropped a new album completely out of the blue, to the adornment of fans across the globe.
Government Plates is more of paranoid, nihilistic music we’ve come to know and love from the group. But this track is next level meth-music; the type of thing people listen to before committing major felonies and treason.
Download Government Plates here and set yourself up for a noided new years.
1train – A$AP rocky
It’s hard to believe this album was released this year. We’ve heard Goldie being played on radio stations and internet streams since late 2012, but the album was released early in January – which is great news for this list.
1Train is a fantastic collaboration track between some of the biggest rappers in the game today. The song features verses from Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T, and is a banger to pull out at any party.
palm trees – flatbush zombies
These guys are fast becoming one of my favourites groups around today. After releasing their mixtape D.R.U.G.S back in 2012, their 2013 follow-up BetterOffDEAD is one record I’ve been blasting at least once or twice a day.
The group is composed of three rappers: Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick “Arc” Elliot, who also produces the majority of the group’s beats. Palm Trees is a great song to blast when you’re just chilling with the homies on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Both their mixtapes can be downloaded for free from here, so you really have no excuse.
waiting game – banks
This is a fairly new addition to my 2013 music collection, but one that needs to be recognised. For fans of The Weeknd and sonically-powerful tunes, you should totally give Banks a listen.
I’m not exactly sure how to describe her four song EP London. It’s deeply atmospheric music with a mysterious, dark mood that lends itself towards an ephemeral series of songs that are just fantastic. Just give it a blast, it’s 17 minutes you won’t regret.
copy of a – nine inch nails
When I discovered Nine Inch Nails back in high school, they quickly become the pinnacle of music for me. Still to this day, I have a deep reverence for Trent Reznor’s music and Hesitation Marks – their first album since 2008 – does nothing to dampen this.
Harkening back to Pretty Hate Machine, this album mixes the dark, mechanically industrial sound with the ambience and electronic-inspired sounds of later release like The Fragile and Year Zero.
love game (feat. kendrick lamar) – eminem
When I heard Eminem was releasing a sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP, there wasn’t a lot of excitement in the air. Unfortunately, this was a classic case of judging a book by its cover – before it had even arrived.
There are some banging tracks on the album, but the one that stands out to me is Love Game. With an unconventional beat and great lyrics from both Eminem and Kendrick, it was a pleasant surprise to find near the end of the release.
the wire – david dallas
Another Kiwi entry into the list, David Dallas had me won over after releasing the brilliant Rose Tint back in 2011. And when I first heard Running earlier in the year, there was a lot of optimism for his new project.
This has been solidified following the release of Falling Into Place in October, the sweeping sounds of this epic coupled with Ruby Frost’s haunting voice have locked it in as one of my favourite tracks of the year.
larry – delusional thomas
Something that I found entirely by accident has become one of my own personal hidden gems for the mixtapes of 2013. The Delusional Thomas tape was released as an alter ego to the popular rapper Max Miller.
The dark, psychotic trip created by the release’s various creeping beats and the distorted, up-pitch voice gives the feeling of something extremely dark and manic, with the violent lyrical content to match.
hold on, we’re going home – drake
Drake splits my friends. He’s quite the polarising artist, who I’ve heard a wide range of arguments about both for and against his music. I can see both sides of the argument, but I admit – I love me some Drake sometimes.
But even the most ardent anti-Drake peeps would be hard pressed to avoid humming the tune and tapping alone to the retro-style beat of Hold On, We’re Going Home. This track bumps just the right amount and is likely to turn any frown upside down. Or something.
so good at being in trouble – unknown mortal orchestra
Way back in February, Unknown Mortal Orchestra released their second album II and it has been blasting during the warmer, sunny months of the year out in the backyard of my flat.
There’s nothing more cruisey for a cheeky day of drinking and laxing than the alternative, lo-fi jams from one of the dopest bands around at the moment. They’re playing at Laneway next year, which geared up to be the best festival line up I’ve seen in a long time.
sweatpants – childish gambino
I’ll be the first to admit, I was never really a huge fan of Childish Gambino. I liked that track with the Minority Report punchline about Asian girls, but that was about it.
But then the latest album dropped and I was blown away. After listening to Because The Internet on a whim, it quickly became one of my most frequently listened to albums. There are some spectacular beats and examples of wordplay on the release, so stop sleeping on it.
pusher love girl – justin timberlake
This guy just has a great track record for releasing fantastic tracks, to be honest. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve listened to the second part of The 20/20 Experience, but this track right here is the best way to open the first part.
That based outro alone is worthy of a End of Year mention, but the whole track is a combination of different styles from throughout JT’s career, blending together to create one of the catchiest songs of the year.
And also here’s a playlist for your party.
Goodbye and have a lovely New Years.
If you had a great time with this, you can follow me on Twitter where I regularly make comments about my testicles and occasionally say something fanboyish about The Weeknd.