21 December 2013

Top Songs of 2013: Sunset In The Rearview

posted by: Jordan Best of the Year | Lists & Rankings

2013 came, and went in a blink of an eye. That’s what happens though, right? And on top of that, all this shit happened in 12 months. For example, Chance blew up in a matter of 8 months, and Kanye talked to Jesus (he said what-up Yeezus). Then we have Lorde, the 16 year old sensation, and R. Kelly having a song with Lady Gaga. On paper, 12 months seems like a while, but realistically, it’s quite the opposite. Before we knew it, December came upon us, and we had to gear up for all of our “2013” releases. Well, look no further, as here is Sunset in the Rearview’s Top Songs of 2013.

This year is slightly different than what we’ve done in the past. We decided to increase our top song count from five to ten because who in the hell can narrow it down to five and not feel like songs got snubbed?

Download Best Songs of 2013 here 
(Use this as the decryption key if asked: YVTGoxTk1UbDqH9RVmJqYxz0hPhcMAWHytOyqiUBoZw)
(Below contains around 80% of the songs. Mixtape songs aren’t on Spotify, thus not on this player. IE: Chance The Rapper, Skizzy Mars, etc…)

Hit the jump to read all of our picks.

Lydia Bear

Lydia’s Picks: @SunsetRearview
10. Sideways – Skizzy Mars

9. Chocolate – The 1975

8. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

7. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith

6. Rivers – Bipolar Sunshine

5. Pusha Man – Chance The Rapper

4. Another Love – Tom Odell

3. Interlude (That’s Love)  – Chance The Rapper

2. Dreaming – Smallpools

1. On Your Own – Fryars

2013 brought with it a ride of emotions. There were good days, there were bad days, but there was always good music. My picks for top 10 songs of the year are a complete hodgepodge. Justin Timberlake’s 8+ minute-long “Mirrors” is on there right alongside a “Sideways,” a cut from young rapper Skizzy Mars’s mixtape. Beyond these upbeat pop vibes and others from Bastille and Smallpools, there is both complex and melodic hip-hop from Chance The Rapper, and dark indie songs from Fryars, Sam Smith, Bipolar Sunshine and Tom Odell. But tying together these varying sounds is that each of them related to a part of who I was in 2013. The pop songs reflect my days of needing “Sideways” as a pre game anthem, letting “Mirrors” soundtrack countless runs, and choosing “Chocolate” to spice up a long commute home. The hip-hop let me explore the intersection between production and lyrics, stories and emotions; the coupling of a traditional bragging rights hip hop song with the hidden “Paranoia” section on “Pusha Man” is one of the best juxtapositions I’ve heard in a song to date. And, quite honestly, the slower songs made me feel less alone on longer days: the beauty I find in “Another Love” comes from more than just the piano and tempo adjustments, and I found “On Your Own” was there to fall back on every time I needed to hear that heartbreaking–yet uplifting–closing line “and stay strong, when you’re feeling like you don’t belong.” So while there’s little pattern in these picks, they make up the most telling soundtrack for my year. Thanks for the ride.


Jordan’s Picks: @JDimerrr
10. Worst Behavior – Drake

9. Love Me Again – John Newman

8. Favorite Song – Chance The Rapper

7. Pusha Man – Chance The Rapper

6.  Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake

5. Blood On The Leaves – Kanye West

4. Pompeii – Bastille

3. Nirvana – Sam Smith

2. Lay Me Down – Sam Smith

1. Interlude (That’s Love) – Chance The Rapper

Picking your favorite songs is harder than my finals, and I had a pretty hard semester. I have had a Spotify playlist that I’ve kept updated all year with my favorite songs and it was at 60 some songs in November. Then, December decides to creep up on us fast and I create a separate playlist to narrow down my favorites to 10. Narrowing it down to 30? Easy. 15? Meh. 10? Impossible. Some songs get the love, some get the snubs. I’ve changed this list at least 5 times. Tinkering where Chance should go, adding Kanye, subtracting Drake, adding Drake back, figuring out which Sam Smith I like better, and there you have it, my top 10 of 2013. We start with Drake, and end with Chance, but the rest of them are all worthy of constant repeats. Chance, Drake, and Kanye dominate it for the most part because they respectively, in my humble opinion, had the 1, 2, and 3 album of the year. Chance’s Interlude (That’s Love) gets the #1 spot because seeing him perform this song live was amazing. The new kids on the block, Sam Smith, Bastille, and John Newman, all proved that America sucks at singing, and the real talent is overseas. Seriously though, Sam Smith is the one to look out for in 2014. Also, Chance will win 2014 just like he did with 2013. I love music, and I love you.


Arjun’s Picks: @THEArjunGrover
10. Childish Gambino – Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)

9. Dylan Owen – The Window Seat

8. Skizzy Mars – Phases (ft. Conner Youngblood)

7. Drake – Worst Behavior

6. Chance The Rapper – Pusha Man (ft. Nate Fox & Lili K.)

5. Tel Aviv – Thriller

4. Skizzy Mars – Sideways

3. Drake – Started from the Bottom

2. Kanye West – I’m In It (ft. Justin Vernon)

1. Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home (ft. Majid Jordan)

This is my second rendition of this list. I started with a list of songs only from Yeezus, Acid Rap, and Nothing was the Same, but that was boring and I like to share undiscovered music. There was a positive conclusion to draw from the original list, which is the fact that we are living in the peak of a hip-hop renaissance where we have a “big three” of great hip-hop artists creating great art. It is amazing to watch but something you might not realize in the moment. Kanye, Drake, and a stunning new talent in Chance The Rapper are leading hip-hop to the promise land of both critical and commercial successes, despite the growing amounts of niche markets within the hip-hop realm.

The list I have above still drives that point home, while also focusing a little more on the independent artists who have impacted me this year. In 2013, especially, I have tried to push movements from young artists on the site. So, while I do like to share undiscovered music, the actual reason I altered my original list is because I personally want to remember 2013 as the year of the youth–and I could be ridiculed for this list. I mean, it is tough to leave “New Slaves” off of a best songs list when every “important” publication is placing it at #1 or 2. But man, to probably quote Pusha T, I like what I like. And music from the youth appeals to me because I am part of that. So yes, 2013 is the year of the “big three” and the year of the youth and the year I stuck to my guns and ranked a Skizzy Mars song ahead of a Drake song. Worst!

Andy BEar

Andy’s Picks: @avolosk
10. Power Trip (ft. Miguel) – J. Cole

9. Ribs – Lorde

8. Come Thru – Drake

7. Lost (ft. Noname Gypsy) – Chance The Rapper

6. Good Ass Intro – Chance The Rapper

5. Latch (Acoustic) – Sam Smith

4. Blood On The Leaves – Kanye West

3. Pusher Love Girl – Justin Timberlake

2. Bound 2 – Kanye West

1. Worst Behavior – Drake

I hate 2013. For many reasons public and private, this year blew; music, however, is not one of them. In that regard, I got everything I could ever ask for (except for the Van Halen of the 00 and the 2000); funky hip-hop to catchy pop and some stuff right in between. And to be quite honest, this order could have gone P(10,9) ways (that’s a math joke for you guys), because really the only one that wouldn’t move is “Worst Behaviour” and I can’t really tell you why. All I know is that I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve listened to it at least once a day since Nothing Was The Same dropped. I guess it’s just something about the energy of it that I really dig, but it is far and away my favorite song of this year. As far as the rest goes, close your eyes and point and you’ll have a good track, from JT’s R&B banger “Pusher Love Girl” to Kanye’s glimpse of the old-him on “Bound 2.” Like I said, as far as this year’s music went, to quote Future Hendrix: “We had a good year this year, we made a lot of fortunes/And we very fortunate”

Dusty Bear

Dusty’s Picks: @dcbui
10. Retrograde – James Blake

9. White Teeth Teens – Lorde

8. Solace – FYFE

7. New Slaves – Kanye West

6. Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake

5. Get Lucky ft. Pharrell – Daft Punk

4. Blood On The Leaves – Kanye West

3. Too Much ft. Sampha – Drake

2. Pusha Man – Chance The Rapper

1. Glory & Gore – Lorde

2013 marked yet another interesting and continuously pioneering year for music, the industry and our consumption behaviors. There were more festivals, music streaming services and breakout indie acts than we’ve ever seen before, and a lot of that has to do with the changing landscape of music’s environment. This year was also especially unique in that we were able to see both newcomers and megastars share the mainstream spotlight (think Chance and Kanye, Lorde and Drake.) That kind of diversity is always a positive thing for the industry as it adapts to the stream-first, buy-maybe mentality of today’s consumers. Not unlike others, Lorde, Drizzy and Ye dominated my top-10 songs list, but all three are deserving as their songwriting was absolutely undeniable this year. And without question, I have to give a we’re-not-worthy bow down to teenaged New Zealander responsible for songs like “Glory and Gore” and “White Teeth Teens.” We often heard that Lorde was “wise beyond her years,” but that’s simply not true. Lorde is just from another fucking planet. I can’t wait to listen to this album again in the heart of winter (probably when it should of come out) with it being so introspect and melancholy. Then, there’s the the polar opposite of a 16-year-old white girl, Kanye West. With Yeezus being so polarizing, I think a lot of people will go back to tracks like “Blood On The Leaves” and “New Slaves” in years to come and realize that once again, Yeezy was just a bit ahead of his time and underappreciated in the present (808s & Heartbreak, anybody?) The last artist I’ll highlight probably has Kanye to thank for paving the way for his success, and that’s Aubrey Graham. I’ll be honest, Drizzy’s first album blew, his second was good, but he really (and finally!) came into his own on Nothing Was The Same. I guess third time really is the charm. Jams like the Sampha-accompanied “Too Much” and the groovy “Hold On, We’re Going Home” showcase Drake at the top of his game, telling vivid stories of heartbreak and lust with authenticity he never seemed to be able to achieve previously. Cheers 2013, can’t wait to see what next year has to offer.


Eric’s Picks: @EricSkelton
10. Started From The Bottom – Drake

9. Pusha Man/Paranoia – Chance The Rapper

8. White Teeth Teens – Lorde

7. Put A Light On – Generationals

6. Song For Zula – Phosphorescent

5. Campo – Toro Y Moi

4. On Your Own – Fryars

3. Juice – Chance The Rapper

2. Step – Vampire Weekend

1. Retrograde – James Blake

My iTunes library is bipolar. Sometimes I’m just sitting in my room alone serenading myself with the pretty sounds of Bon Iver or Rhye before it decides it’s time for me to stop being a little pansy and start breaking all of my possessions to “Love Sosa”. I usually go along with it. Anyway, my point is it’s hard to rank songs that you can appreciate equally for wildly different reasons. How do you compare a song like Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” with James Blake’s “Retrograde”? If I wrote this on a Saturday night after several long island iced teas (just kidding, I totally drink beer ‘n stuff too) Drake would probably make up at least half of my list. If I filled it out on a quiet Tuesday evening, Fryars would land the top spot with his beautiful single, “On Your Own”.

Anyway, I’m not proud of myself for quoting Drew Carey at a time like this but in my list the points don’t matter. Look at it as a “Best of” compilation of all the awesome diverse music we saw this year and ignore the numbers next to each song. At this specific moment, it’s topped by a stunning James Blake song that actually can’t be described with words and rounded out by Drake’s “Started From The Bottom”, which soundtracked more than a few blurry late-night memories over the months. In between are two Chance The Rapper songs (he gets two because he won 2013) that show off his ridiculous range, a song other than Royals by that New Zealand girl I mentioned earlier (because she’s anything but a one-hit-wonder), a couple pretty songs from Toro Y Moi and Phosphorescent that fall under the “songs I’ll still be listening to in fifty years” category, my favorite Vampire Weekend song of all time (really), a sparkling cut from Generationals that soundtracked my summer, and a heartbreaking track from Fryars that gets me all kinds of emotional. Thanks, 2013!

Alicia Bear

Alicia’s Picks:
10. Need U (100%) – Duke Dumont

9. What I Like – Charli XCX

8. Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake

7. One for the Road- Arctic Monkeys

6. Flickers- London Grammar

5. Black Out Days – Phantogram

4. I’m Not Dancing – Tirzah

3. Confess to Me – Disclosure feat. Jessie Ware

2. My Song 5 – HAIM

1. Fall Over – Banks

It’s another year and of course this means another year of replaying the same songs over and over again. This is by no means a bad thing when you’ve got addictive dance tracks like Tirzah’s “I’m Not Dancing” , Disclosure’s “Confess to Me” or Duke Dumonts’ “Need U (100%), leading you into electronic paradise. When I wasn’t completely into the idea of feeling like I was in a club, I had Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” to keep me warm at night.  I as usual however, couldn’t keep my ears away from the classic loves of mine like Arctic Monkeys and their indie tune “One For the Road”. To keep the indie cravings going I fell deeply in love with London Grammar’s “Flickers”, which soothed me in all ways possible. In between that I got a fusion of dark-electronic with Phantogram’s “Black Out Days” and spiced it back up with Charli XCX’s “What I Like”. In the end however, there are two songs that had be hooked for months and still have me held down. HAIM’s “My Song 5” has the sass, addictive flavor, and unique vibe that has me still wanting more. While Banks’ simply took what we all have ever thought about love and heartbreak, and put it into a powerful, electronic gem that I’m still completely amazed by. Thanks 2013, you kept my ears pleased with your variety of fabulous jams.

Enjoy our picks, and put this on repeat for the next 12 months until we do this again.

Shout out to Chance The Fucking Rapper.


Full list of songs:

Fryars – On Your Own
Smallpools  – Dreaming
Chance The Rapper – Interlude (That’s Love)
Tom Odell – Another Love
Chance The Rapper – Pusha Man
Bipolar Sunshine – Rivers
Sam Smith – Lay Me Down
Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
The 1975 – Chocolate
Skizzy Mars – Sideways
Sam Smith – Nirvana
Bastille – Pompeii
Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves
Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
Chance The Rapper – Favorite Song
John Newman – Love Me Again
Drake – Worst Behavior
Kanye West – I’m In It
Drake – Started from the Bottom
Tel Aviv – Thriller
Skizzy Mars – Phases
Dylan Owen – The Window Seat
Childish Gambino – Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)
Kanye West – Bound 2
Justin Timberlake – Pusher Love Girl
Sam Smith – Latch (Acoustic)
Chance The Rapper – Good Ass Intro
Drake – Come Thru
J. Cole – Power Trip
Lorde – Glory & Gore
Drake – Too Much
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Kanye West – New Slaves
FYFE – Solace
Lorde – White Teeth Teens
James Blake – Retrograde
Vampire Weekend – Step
Chance The Rapper – Juice
Toro Y Moi – Campo
Phosphorescent – Song For Zula
Generationals – Put A Light On
Banks – Fall Over
HAIM – My Song 5
Disclosure – Confess to Me
Tirzah – I’m Not Dancing
Phantogram – Black Out Days
London Grammer – Flickers
Arctic Monkeys – One for the Road
Charli XCX – What I Like
Duke Dumont – Need U (100%)


Recommended for you...

Filter By Genre

Sunset's Jams on Spotify

sunset in the rearview