2013 in music

Today, as you all know, is New Year’s Eve. I love NYE because it’s always a time where I reflect on the past year. What’s happened in the world, in the UK, to those around me and to me as an individual. For the last three years or so, I have published a list of my favourite and least favourite music of the past year and 2013 is no exception. So with no further ado, here is that list!

SONGS OF THE YEAR

The 1975 – Chocolate / Sex

My new find of 2013, Chocolate is the most infectious song I have heard in years. If I was just to have chosen ONE song of the year, Chocolate would have been it. I must have listened to it hundreds of times this year and it never ever gets boring. It’s catchy as hell. ‘Sex’ is also an incredible song and one that makes me feel like dusting off the old air guitar 😉

Jessie J – Thunder

Impossibly catchy and remarkably clever, this song deserves a lot more attention than it’s been receiving. The use of instrumentation to symbolise rain and thunder is genius and Jessie sounds awesome.

Robbie Williams – Go Gentle

Just a sugary sweet song and one with fantastic lyrics.

Disclosure – White noise

This duo can be credited with the revival of house and garage music. One of the few songs that will get me going if I’m out clubbing!

OneRepublic – Counting Stars

Ryan Tedder is a genius as a songwriter anyway and there’s just something so unique and great about this tune. 

Gary Barlow & Elton John – Face to face

Another song which is impossibly catchy, especially the ‘oohs’ in the hook! The pair sound great and this is one heck of a song.

Calvin Harris – Thinking about you

One of my favourite Calvin songs. Don’t know quite what it is about this one but it just makes me wanna dance!

David Bowie – Where are we now?

Mr Bowie launched back onto the music scene earlier this year with this extremely melancholic song. It’s incredibly beautiful and reflective, however, and I love it.

Pharrell – Happy

Heard this in a shop a few weeks ago and wondered what it was so whipped out my phone and used Shazam to tell me what it was. Pharrell is a genius musically and I love the old-school feel to this song and the harmonies. Its simplicity makes it one of the best pop tracks from this year.

Lady Gaga – Applause

Despite loving Gaga, I wasn’t too fussed about Artpop as an album. Absolutely love this single though. The electro-pop sound reminds me of her début album and it’s a fantastic song.

Mariah Carey & Miguel – #Beautiful

Not really a Mariah fan but this catapulted into the UK charts and I fell in love. I love the rough sound of the instrumentation and how the track is guitar led. The two sound awesome together and that guitar intro is to die for.

Zedd & Foxes – Clarity

This is just perfect. It’d work just as well as a ballad but it’s a great dance track. The lyrics are awesome but the music is what makes it.

Bruno Mars – Treasure

SO catchy and old-school, I love it! The reason I probably love it so much is because its reminiscent of early Michael Jackson and Prince tracks – two of my musical heroes.

The Script – Millionaires

Another song which deserved greater attention. Just love the message in this song and once again it’s really catchy. It’s another song with catchy “ooohs” as a hook!

Bo Bruce – Save me

Loved Bo on The Voice and her début album and single didn’t disappoint. This deserved a lot more recognition as it’s a beautiful, quirky song. One of the finest songs of this year.

Emeli Sande – Clown

This got irritating after over-exposure but upon its release, I loved this. I just thought it was the most gorgeous song I had heard in years. It reminds me a lot of another of my favourite songs ‘All time love’ by Will Young as the pair are both simple and use minimal instrumentation – a piano and strings. Great lyrics, fantastic vocal delivery and a beautiful song. Just shows you good, meaningful music can still find its way into the charts.

Olly Murs – Hand on heart

I love Olly but usually love his album tracks more than his singles. This was another case of that – when ‘Right place, right time’ was released, I fell in love with this and downloaded it straight away. I was delighted that he made the decision to release this as a single because it’s exceptionally beautiful. 

Rita Ora – Radioactive

This is so damn good and fantastically catchy. A piece of electro-pop heaven!

Taylor Swift – 22

Say what you will about Taylor, she knows how to write a good pop song! A great summer track.

Justin Timberlake  – Take back the night

Another tune reminiscent of early MJ. So smooth, laid back and cool.

Le youth – Cool

Awesome song.

Rizzle Kicks – Skip to the next bit

Love these guys. So full of energy and cheeky. Not a massive fan of all their songs but this is awesome.

Rihanna – What now

Again, not a massive fan of Rihanna although I love a few of her songs. I love the power and electricity in this song and its composition – the delicate verses and the full of energy chorus. The melody in the verses is gorgeous.

Rebecca Ferguson – I hope

Some believe this to be irritating and I can understand this viewpoint with the repetition of ‘I hope’ but I love the unique chord progression and the song itself.

ALBUM TRACKS OF THE YEAR

Katy Perry – Birthday, Double Rainbow

Off Katy’s latest offering ‘Prism’, ‘Birthday’ is an infectious pop song which I find almost as addictive as ‘Teenage Dream’ was. ‘Double Rainbow’, meanwhile, is a gorgeous ballad with beautiful lyrics.

Robbie Williams – No-one likes a fat pop star, Snowblind

‘No-one likes a fat pop-star’ is a witty and humorous take on the press’s focus on Robbie’s weight. I love the carousel feel of the song and the musical-like chorus. ‘Snowblind’ is a delicate, beautiful track where Mr Williams puts his heart on the line. Lovely to see him and Mr Guy ‘Genius’ Chambers working together again. They really are a winning combination. 

Gary Barlow – God, We like to love

Both fine, fine pop tracks. ‘God’ begins hauntingly before launching into an inquisitive and beautiful track questioning spiritual existence. ‘We like to love’ meanwhile is a beautiful Coldplay style track with a stunning vocal delivery from Captain Barlow.

Justin Timberlake – Don’t hold the wall, Strawberry Bubblegum, Tunnel vision

The production on this album is off the hook! Timbaland did an awesome job. ‘Don’t hold the wall’ is an awesome, catchy number. ‘Strawberry Bubblegum’ and ‘Tunnel vision’ are the same but a little darker in nature.

Agnetha Faltskog & Gary Barlow – I should’ve followed you home

Perhaps the most underrated song of the year. One of Gary’s finest compositions ever, this is a stunning song with a perfect vocal delivery by both. They sound gorgeous together and Gary’s falsetto at the end is absolutely perfect.

Lawson – Love locked out, Are you ready

The funk-infused ‘Love locked out’ is something very different for Lawson but something that works well. Meanwhile, ‘Are you ready’ is a song I’d heard long before its release by watching live performances on YouTube. The energy that song has is brilliant. Awesome songs.

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

Gary Barlow – Since I saw you last

Most members of the GB Army and most Thatters had a feeling Captain Barlow would be releasing an album this year and we weren’t wrong! This had a lot of unnecessary criticism by the press but I think it is an amazing album. ‘Let me go’ still isn’t my favourite Barlow track but the other songs make up for it. Upon first listen, it’s a great album but the more you listen, the more it grows on you. Some beautiful songs on here and Gary ventures into funk territory every now and again, making it a little more experimental than his previous efforts. A lovingly created album.

The 1975 – The 1975

This was the album I was most looking forward to this year and it did not disappoint. I discovered this band way back in March this year and after being impressed with all of their EPs, I couldn’t wait for this. This album is just incredible. Taking inspiration from a lot of 1980’s music, merged with alternative/indie rock tracks, The 1975’s début offering is bold, catchy, funky and awesome. An infectious album.

Katy Perry – Prism

Another of my most anticipated albums of this year. I was a little more apprehensive about this as I wasn’t majorly fussed on lead single ‘Roar’. ‘Teenage Dream’ happens to be one of my favourite albums of all time so I was worried that this might be a let-down but it certainly wasn’t. This is pretty much just a more mature version of that album. A lot of catchy songs, a bit of nostalgia and some angrier, more personal tracks. A great album.

Robbie Williams – Swings both ways

This is just perfect. I have recently developed a stronger love of jazz and swing music so this album couldn’t be released at a more perfect time! I like that Rob decided to include some original tracks on here, breaking it up and preventing it from being just another covers album. He sings swing songs amazingly and there’s some awesome collaborations on here. A fine album.

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Part 1)

This was a surprise to me. I like JT a lot but I never thought I would end up purchasing one of his albums! In the end, I realised that I was so addicted to the tracks on Spotify that I would have to purchase a copy. The production by Timbaland is second to none on this album and it’s full of catchy, old-school sounding pop/R&B tracks.

John Mayer – Paradise Valley

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this album as I wasn’t fussed on Mr Mayer’s last album. They both share a more Country theme and whilst I enjoy Country music, I just wasn’t sure. I loved début single ‘Paper doll’, however and gave the album a listen in its previews on iTunes. I quickly realised that it would be another album I would be purchasing this year! It’s a really laid back album and one that would be perfect for an American road trip in Summer. This album gave me a lot of comfort at a time when I wasn’t feeling too confident about things.

Mark Owen – The art of doing nothing

This man’s solo career is so incredibly underrated! This album is bold and brilliant. You can tell a lot of effort went into writing and creating this album and it’s such a shame it didn’t reach higher in the album charts. Having said that, at least we, the fans have supported him and can keep him to ourselves! Awesome songs and an amazing album.

Jamie Cullum – Momentum

Jamie Cullum is such a brilliant musician. I love a lot of his work and I love how he makes jazz music cool. Fair enough, Momentum isn’t the most jazz-themed album you’ll find, it’s more of a pop album but it’s still a really great album. Jamie is so underrated.

Bo Bruce – Before I sleep

As I said above, Bo Bruce didn’t disappoint with her début album. It proves that if musicians work with the right songwriters you can create a masterpiece. I wasn’t keen on Bo’s EP that she had released before going on The Voice but this album is fantastic. Really quirky and a little dark in places but her voice is to die for.

Lawson – Chapman Square (Chapter Two)

Chapman Square remains one of my favourite albums. The guitar-driven tracks full of heartfelt lyrics and emotional messages really get me and I just think it’s an awesome album. This re-release with a few new tracks didn’t disappoint either. Whilst ‘Brokenhearted’ and ‘Juliet’ are songs I don’t consider to be the best representation of Lawson’s work, the other new tracks make up for them!

Keane – The Best Of Keane

I absolutely love Keane and so a Greatest Hits album from them is very much welcomed by me! They’re a huge inspiration to me as an amateur songwriter as their main instrument in most of their songs is the piano which is my main instrument. This makes Keane stand out as a band as they use an alternative instrument to the usual guitar in bands.

SO BAD THEY’RE GOOD

Britney Spears & Will.I.Am – Scream and shout

I have a love-hate relationship with Britney. I am more of a fan of cheesy, 90’s Britney than her latest work. This track is SO bad with Britney’s utterly bizarre attempt at a British accent but it also happens to be so damn catchy…

Britney Spears – Work bitch

Here she is again… There’s just something so satisfying with the lines “You’d better work bitch”. So bad, yet so damn good!

Robin Thicke & Pharell – Blurred Lines

I tried so hard to hate this, I really did, but I can’t. Its utterly sexist and repulsive video aside, the track is so repetitive and annoying yet horrendously catchy. Having it blasting from a car I was a passenger in made me realise that actually I do quite like it considering how annoying it also is.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop

I was undecided if this was one of my favourite songs of this year or whether this should be in this list here. I settled on this list. It’s not really horrendously bad, it’s just a little annoying but it’s also so damn catchy. Who doesn’t love to yell “This is f*****g awesome”, even in the clean radio edit version?!

The Wanted – Walks like Rihanna

I do quite like The Wanted lads but everything about this song should have put me off. I couldn’t help it, though. It’s so bloody brilliant! The lyrics are atrocious but it’s so damn catchy and bad that I can’t help but to love it!

One Direction – Best Song Ever

I confess that I do actually love One Direction’s music. Once again, this is so cheesy but it’s also awesome. There, I said it!

Robbie Williams & Dizzee Rascal – Goin’ crazy

Another song where I am still questioning if it should be in this list… The only reason it’s here is because of Dizzee Rascal. His tracks are so unnecessary but often so catchy too. I do absolutely love this song, no matter how random this collaboration was.

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

Dodgy video aside, this song is actually great. It may have the cheese-factor a little again but it’s an emotional and personal song and for that, I do love it. It’s just the fact we have to be subjected to a naked Miley swinging from side to side on a wrecking ball which kinda ruins it for me…

MOST ANNOYING SONGS

Michael Buble – It’s a beautiful day

I love Mr Buble, don’t get me wrong, but when you work in a shop that plays Heart all day long, you grow to hate him too. Heart appear to have a deal with Michael Buble and play his music a little too often. I was never majorly fussed on this song in the first place, never mind hearing it about 20 times a day.

Daft Punk – Get lucky

Oh I loved Daft Punk. Stuff like ‘Da funk’, ‘Robot rock’, ‘Harder better faster stronger’ are masterpieces. So was ‘Get Lucky’ on first listen before it got over exposure. I love the 70’s feel of it but it’s just so blimmin’ irritating after being played on every single radio station and TV programme there is.

Passenger – Let her go

It’s a sweet song but once again, over-exposure has taken this song and removed all meaning.

Olly Murs – Dear darling

I love Olly but I have heard this song far too many times in 2013.

Union J – Carry You

I have nothing against Union J, they’re a great band and George Shelley is a piece of phwoar. It’s just I never liked this song anyway and their album has been advertised WAAAYYY too much on YouTube meaning before every video I’ve had “I’ll carry yoooouuuu”.  -.-

Avicii – Wake me up

Not a fan of Avicci. That is all.

Lily Allen – Somewhere only we know

I love Lily but this cover is completely unnecessary! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Keane’s version is one of the greatest songs ever written and I’m a massive fan of Keane and their original. I just can’t stand this Disney-like version. Ewww.

James Arthur – Impossible

Believe it or not I’m a fan of the original by Shontelle. When it came out I instantly fell in love with it. The lyrics are amazing and it’s an awesome song. I just can’t stand James’ version. The fact it’s been played excessively too doesn’t help.

The Lumineers – Ho Hey

Another great song. It’s just unfortunate that it’s been over-played.

So there we are, that’s my insight into this year in music. If you spent time reading all of that then thank you!

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