The Year in RearView (Pt. 3): Favorite Songs of ’13 Everything I Love is On the Table (a playlist)

…and now the songs that wormed their way into my ear in 2013.

everything i love

2013 in RearView: Everything I Love is On the Table

What follows is a list of 100ish songs that I couldn’t get enough of and to which I kept returning. Although I didn’t really “rank” songs, I definitely placed those that achieved “Most Favored Track” status at the beginning of the playlist and worked on making this more of a mix. (But feel free to listen in whatever order, manner, or mode you desire.) I’ve left the longer, odder, and more experimental tracks to the end. Along with the songs, listed below are some passing observations, odd thoughts, reason(s) for inclusion, favorite lines (in italics), and miscellaneous marginalia. Typical editing faux pas apply. Oh and sorry no Daft Punk (boring to my ears) or Robin Thicke (stupid and demeaning).

Last year, I did this thing where I limited myself to one song per artist; this was both foolish and disingenuous. I’ve revised that approach but limited myself to only two songs per artist at most. (Still, I could easily have three or four songs from the National, Haim, Chvrches, and Waxahatchee on this list.  Just listen to each of their records instead.)

  • “The Mother We Share” by Chvrches* …the euphoria and optimism that radiates from Chvrches songs music is what I crave from all pop music, plus this track just makes you want to let loose
  • “Falling” by Haim …so many gems on this album but I’ll go with this track as it showcases that lovely blend of soulful vocals and R&B tinged pop/rock that makes this band such a revelation and joy
  • “Sea of Love” by The National …when I had my down moments this year, this track always brought me back:  an anthemic, fist-in-the-air all out rock song that encapsulates the bitter sweet nature of living and loving
  • “You” by Bibio …every evening should end with this track; the chillaxing bliss blends exquisitely with the sentiment of the song…”find somebody just like… You”
  • “Open” by Rhye* …the montage in my mind: images of lovers, ex-lovers, new lovers in various states of disrobing anticipating, regretting, and wondering
  • “Misery Over Dispute” by Waxahatchee …the vitriol that comes through in Katie Crutchfield’s vocals perfectly captures the sentiment of choosing to stay in a destructive relationship.
  • “Old Skin” by Olafur Arnalds …I want to be enveloped in the peace and euphoria this track evokes in me… always
  • “I Don’t Know How” by Best Coast …about as perfect as pop song gets…from remorse to blissful abandon
  • “Song For Zula” by Phosphorescent …a sprawling majestic blanket of sound filled with a wanderer’s existential musing on love and its discontent(s)
  • “Chamakay” by Blood Orange …sultry, smooth, and sweet, this duet seeps into my skin and simply makes me want to groove
  • “How Come You Don’t Want Me Now” by Tegan and Sara …perfectly encapsulates the “end” of love; another album with multiple tracks to choose from.
  • “Take A Fall For Me” by James Blake with RZA …a downbeat juxtaposition of smoky earth vocal from RZA and ethereal, blue-eyed soul of Blake’s production; bass pounding into your bones.
  • “Byegone” by Volcano Choir … pregnant with unbridled emotion, yet moody, laconic stream-of-consciousness storytelling that builds into an ecstatic release; this music makes me believe in something more
  • “Honey” by Torres … bone chilling, electro-folk that explodes into a wall of wondrous anger
  • “End and End” by Their/There/They’re … this sentiment:  “the long life that we desire, the short life that we will settle for”; this is called maturity and wisdom?
  • “Sonsick” by San Fermin …a mini-baroque musical filled with explosive horns and percussion and the angelic vocals from the ladies of Lucius; I think this is the internal monologue of a latter day Nora Helmer wondering about choosing a drab and routine life.
  • “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” by Superchunk … two minutes of perfect, blissed out power pop about the powerlessness of art in the face of death and real-world obstacles
  • “Only A Clown” by Caitlin Rose put your record on let the band play a song all about love and believing
  • “Teenage” by Veronica Falls driving late at night I’ll let you listen to the music you like, then I’ll drop you home
  • “The Perfect Life” by Moby …oh my. Wayne Coyne getting preacher like, a gospel choir, an epic build up and raucous ecstasy throughout!!!
  • “Emkay” by Bonobo …just chill. Just chill
  • “Dust to Dust” by The Civil Wars …a stripped down sparse duet that is burns with unspoken utterances and emotions
  • “Oh Yeah” by Foxygen …a paisley, psych, blues infused party of a track
  • “New York 2017” by Party Supplies …keep the dance party going to the sunrise!
  • “Sex” by the 1975 …another pop-rock piece of genius; a latter day Cars-esque sound
  • “Turn It Around” by Lucius …50s girl pop brilliance with baroque indie production
  • “Red & White & Blue & Gold” by Aoife O’Donovan …that voice. spellbinding. intoxicating.
  • “Never Wanted Your Love” by She & Him …Brill building pop brilliance. I’m so tired of being clever, everyone is clever these days.  Amen sister!
  • “You & I” by Local Natives …another gorgeous rumination on the end of love that embraces and envelops you in its epic expansive emotional abyss
  • “Always Forever” by Vondelpark …music that feels like you are plunging into a warm body of water, floating in bliss
  • “Team” by Lorde … Don’t get me wrong “Royals” is a good song but the beats on this track and Lorde’s voice sinks into my bones; favorite line of the year: I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hand’s up in the air… so there. Ditto.
  • Hold On, We’re Going Home by Drake …is there anyone in the HipHop/R&B world making sexier music than Drake? No.
  • Cover Me Up by Jason Isbell …Isbell’s voice is piercing; this line just destroys me: someone needs medical help more than magnolia’s bloom.
  • “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend …cheery, up-tempo, Elvis Costello-like ditty about burning in hell for not being a “believer”.  Brillz.
  • “Crazy” by Au Revoir Simone …I just want to sway to these dreamy voices
  • “Gustavo” by Mark Kozelek …masterful storytelling
  • “Grins” by Charlie XCX …many great dance tracks on this record but I love how dynamic and busy this song; Charlie’s voice exudes longing
  • “Holding On” by Classixx …just. a. phenomenal. dance. song.
  • “Half Angel Half Light” by The Men …muddled, fuzzy country-punk rock for letting it all out
  • “In the Kingdom” by Mazzy Star … man did I ever miss Hope Sandoval’s gorgeous voice and Mazzy Star’s sprawling dreamscapes
  • “Chain My Name” by Polica … that smoky quality of Channy Leaneagh’s voice
  • “My Number” by The Foals …electro-clash rock returns?!?! YES!
  • “Bad Kingdom” by Moderat …feels like a dark Depeche Mode dance tune filtered through groovy drones
  • “Everything But” by The Range …adore the euphoria and bliss in this track juxtaposed against all the spacey, minimalist trip hop-y dance elements
  • “Great Lake Derelict” by The Appleseed Cast …consciousness and soul expanding
  • “Down Down the Deep River” by Okkervil River …Will Sheff channeling early 80s Springsteen here and it’s exquisite
  • “Smother” by Daughter …this line: Sometimes I wish I’d stayed inside my mother, never to come out… (ugh, punch to the gut)
  • “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves …a great piece about the double standard women face in this world and the wise admonishment/advice to simply live life on one’s own terms – not your typical Country song material but what refreshing reversal, no?  Perhaps the good old boys are losing their grip.  Hope so.
  • “All I Know” by Washed Out …blissed out chillwave
  • “Your Fine Petting Duck” by Devendra Barnhart …most unexpected, genius transition, just wait for it
  • “We Want the World” by Icona Pop …an anthem for the all night-dance party generation
  • “Ego Free Sex Free” by Autre Ne Veut …okay, there are a lot of voices saturated with a sexy sensuality on this mix, what’s wrong with that?  Find a dance partner and get grooving
  • “I Remember You” by Rilo Kiley …technically an older song but released this year and makes me miss RK
  • “Home” by Austra …Austra’s voice is just mesmerizing and takes this desperate lover’s plea to operatic proportions
  • “Roar” by Katy Perry …yes, Katy Perry.  Why?  Because I love the sentiment of this song: believing in oneself and assertive self-empowerment. Plus, the production on this track with the retreat and explosion at about 3 minutes is perfect pop.
  • “Chum” by Earl Sweatshirt …the beat is sick, trance inducing; Earl’s rap is genius
  • “Wanderlust” by the Weeknd …again, all kinds of crazy, sex, cool with angelic Prince-like falsettos and 80s synth
  • “Upstate Blues” by Into It. Over It. …from the opening note I am remembering long drives, mixtapes, and snow covering the Merritt Pkwy.
  • “Weight”  by Mikal Cronin …the well-made indie/alt-pop song: Exhibit 1
  • “Husbands” by Savages …aggressive post-punk rockers from the UK; the breath-y, shrill gets me every time
  • “Bound 2” by Kanye West …see what I did there? Also, I think the juxtaposition of all the different samples is pure genius.  Why not higher up?  Just felt right at this stage.
  • “Attracting Flies” by AlunaGeorge …time to get grooving again.
  • “Pretty Boy” by Young Galaxy I know you feel isolated and I feel what you don’t say
  • “Funeral For My Children” by Anna Von Hausswolf …if Anna’s voice and organ playing were filling churches, I would join the flock.
  • “Isjaki” by Sigur Ros …difficult to choose just one song from their most masterful record since Takk… but this is perfect distillation of the Sigur Ros style: grandiose, epic, majestic, transcendent.  One of the best live acts you might ever see.
  • “Houdini Crush” by Buke & Gase …another track that takes me back to memories of dorm rooms, dark clubs in the northeast, and late night chats
  • “Peace and Quiet” by Waxahatchee …the strain of righteous indignation that permeates is exquisite.  Also see above.
  • “In the City” by Caveman …retro, baroque 80s pop in the late Roxy Music vein
  • “Dream the Dare” by Pure Bathing Culture …lush melodies and dream vocals; yeah I’ve got a type.
  • “Honey & I” by Haim …a Fleetwood & Mac infused ballad that further showcases the Haim sister’s deft songwriting and rich vocal work; “The Wire” or “If I Could Change Your Mind” also could have landed here.
  • “I Need My Girl” by The National …that opening guitar chord haunts (and scores) my dreams
  • “You’re Not Good Enough” by Blood Orange …Dev Hynes is a retro 80s genius; this track is a silky, sexy track that is somewhere between a Prince and Whitney Houston jam – why didn’t that ever happen?
  • “Return of a Queen” by Dawn Richard …more lush and moody R&B
  • “Closer” by Tegan and Sara all you think of lately is getting underneath me; all I dream of lately is how to get you underneath me. Thank you Tegan and Sara for reminding us that you can be cleverly coy and sexy without being crass and demeaning
  • “We Sink” by ChvrchesI’ll be a thorn in your side until you die… love that line
  • “Nobody Asked Me If I Was Okay” by Sky Ferreira …so yeah there is a little Kelly Clarkson thing going on here; every once in a while I need that, I make no apologies.
  • “Light Out” by Javelin …the optimism and brightness in this song; we could use more lighthearted and celebratory music in the world – says the boy with all the dark and melancholic selections
  • “Other Plants” by Drop Electric …I also have a think for sprawling, expansive songs that explode into euphoric crescendos.
  • “Ragtime” by Neko Case …every time I listen to Neko Case sing, it feels like an intimate experience surrounded by good friends in a cozy dimly lit room, oh yeah… the Hideout
  • “Bird Balloons” by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper …a heavyweight emotional fight of a song that leaves me emotionally spent in the best way possible
  • “Loretta’s Flowers” by Swearin’ …takes me to a basement full of bittersweet, lip biting memories
  • “Diane Young” by Vampire Weekend …so many clever, witty songs on this record but I love the modernized Buddy Holly, barbershop feel of this one
  • “Sacrilege” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs …for a brief moment it felt like this could be vintage YYY blending their art-punk aesthetic with a gospel choir.  This song is exquisite
  • “Bar” by San Fermin …I love his compositions.  They are like mini-musical dramas
  • “Comrade” by Volcano Choir …yeah that Justin Vernon guy’s voice is pretty insane, right?
  • “How Loud Your Heart Gets” by Lucius …best closing track on a record of the year; a majestic powerful explosive ode to the unrelenting quest for love
  • “When Winter’s Over” by Torres …Mackenzie Scot can just pierce you with her voice
  • “Track ID Anyone?” by DJ Koze …downtempo grove time
  • “You & Me” by Disclosure …late 90s house/dance with Eliza Doolittle getting sultry
  • “Reprise” by Gold Panda …the scratchy LP sound on top of this dance-trance beat, brilliant choice
  • “3 Days” by Rhye …the story of a tryst? A hopeless love affair? A passing fancy?
  • “Come Here” by Talib Kweli & Miguel …the interplay between Talib’s rhymes and Miguel’s soul is sweet music to my ears
  • “Come Walk With Me” by M.I.A. …brilliant reworking of Blur’s Ballad of a Charming Man
  • “Wasting My Young Years” by London Grammar …smoky sweet Goth-y pop
  • “Hello Stranger” by Julia Holter …a song in movie about a dream or a dream within a song about a movie or a movie about a song from a dream?
  • “Mute” by Youth Lagoon …the quirky mix of psychedelic and spacey reminds me of early Flaming Lips; let’s hope he follows a similar career arc!
  • “Are You With Me Now?” by Cat Le Bon … a sort of latter day Francoise Hardy
  • “Every Weekday” by Camera Obscura we’re gonna make a record and sail around the world, we might not storm the charts completely but we’ll do our very best, as long as I’m with you, I’ll have a friend so true; Glaswegians always seem to have their priorities straight!
  • “Concession Speech Writer” by Their/There/They’re …man these guys just make me smile
  • “Walking on a Perfect Day” by Kurt Vile …a nine minute guitar laden reverie from one of the finest players out there; this a lazy summer afternoon track and record; hints of Dean Wareham and Shoegazer rock with 70s rock all bundled together
  • “Keep Your Head Up” by Cults …three dream pop tracks follow: (!!!)
  • “Gravitron” by Au Revoir Simone …(swoon)
  • “Sorrow” by Frankie Rose …(sigh)
  • “He Is a Sorcerer” by Rainbow Arabia …ah the sweet joys of synth
  • “Kissing the Machine” by OMD …and more synth from 80s giants
  • “Far From the Roses” by Minor Alps …the dream of the 90s is alive
  • “Try To Explain” by Flaming Lips …all of The Terror has this layer of fuzzy, drone over moments of delicate and gorgeous melodies; it sonically evokes the idea that our happiness and joy rests on the brink of tragedy and vice versa
  • “The Beauty Surrounds” by Houses …the title pretty much encapsulates the song
  • “Cadillac Desert” by William Tyler …without a single word, Tyler’s music takes me to distant horizons and abandoned vistas that leave me awestruck; this track as with many on the record will take you on long journeys without taking a single step
  • “Sun Harmonics” by Jon Hopkins …11 minute electronic downtempo trance or meditation inducing pleasure to wind down
  • two additional tracks without any commentary.

and if you want to see me cry, play Let It Be or Nevermind.

happy listening

a.a.

* Technically these tracks were released on the internet in 2012 but weren’t available on a physical EP, single, or album until 2013 unlike “Don’t Save Me” by Haim or “I Love It” by Icona Pop, which appeared on EPs, otherwise they would be on this list.  Feel free to disagree with my way of classifying but I’m just explaining.  

2 thoughts on “The Year in RearView (Pt. 3): Favorite Songs of ’13 Everything I Love is On the Table (a playlist)

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