Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Best Of 2013 - part 5

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

Before we start on my top 20 for 2013, a word of thanks to anyone who's read this blog over the past year and a half (that means you!). Whether you've visited just the once or several times, thanks for your comments and enthusiasm. 

The voice of 2013: Pharrell Williams

And, if you notice any broken YouTube links or expired videos on any of the pages, be sure to let me know so I can fix them. OK, let's get on with it...

Number 20 "Wanted (Dead Or Alive)" by Strange Talk

The second appearance by Strange Talk on this list (we saw them back in Part 3 with "Picking Up All The Pieces"). "Wanted (Dead Or Alive)" is one of the standout tracks on their Cast Away album, which ended up as my favourite album for 2013.

Number 19 "September" by St Lucia

Another artist back for seconds is St Lucia, who were at number 98 with "Elevate". Released at the tail end of 2012, "September" also appeared several months later on the When The Night album - that's when I discovered it, since I was still listening to the group's self-titled EP when "September" actually came out. In 2013, St Lucia also popped up on "Modern Hearts" by The Knocks, which made my number 111 position for the year.

Number 18 "Glorious" by Cascada

It should have been the perfect combination - Eurodance exponents Cascada (famous for "Evacuate The Dancefloor" and a slew of high-energy cover versions of songs that were originally ballads) and the Eurovision Song Contest. Instead, their entry for Germany at this year's competition only ended up 21st (out of 26) and faced criticism that it was too similar to Loreen's "Euphoria" - a quality I don't consider to be a problem at all. In fact, the track had to be cleared of plagiarism charges before it could compete.

Number 17 "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rogers

The multimillion-selling return of Daft Punk gave the French disco pioneers their biggest hit to date - and for a while was the year's top single around the world (no pun intended). It was soon eclipsed by "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke in terms of sales and hype - a fact which made Pharrell Williams, who performed on both tracks, more visible than he'd been in years. Pharrell ended the year with the months-old Despicable Me 2 song "Happy" atop the UK top 40 (and very close in Australia), while Daft Punk didn't really live up to the promise of "Get Lucky".

Number 16 "I Was A Fool" by Tegan And Sara

I've never gravitated towards the music of twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin before, but on their Heartthrob album, the usually indie-influenced duo discovered pop. Second single "I Was A Fool" was more downbeat than the first (which is still to come on this list) - and although I liked that original version just fine, I was also quite partial to the Monsieur Adi remix. 

Number 15 "C O O L" by Le Youth

Not, as the name suggests, a French act - but the pseudonym of American DJ/producer Wes James. "C O O L" is a reworking of "Me & U", a track originally recorded by mid-table R&B singer Cassie - and the R&B to dance update reminds me of the Booty Luv singles from a few years back. Le Youth's next single is a similar not-quite cover version of TLC's "No Scrubs" called "Dance With Me", which should end up on my 2014 end-of-year chart.

Number 14 "Thursday" by Pet Shop Boys featuring Example

After the career disappointment that was the Elysium album, Pet Shop Boys had a dazzling return to form on 2013's Electric, which was produced by Stuart Price (famous for taking Madonna back to her pop/dance roots with Confessions On A Dance Floor). This fourth single from Electric ended up as a bit of an afterthought, even though it should really have been the lead single. I'm convinced that had it been released when the hype for the album was at its highest, it could've given them another hit, not least of all because of the appearance of Example - an unexpected collaboration that works perfectly.

Number 13 "What's Going On" by Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E

Unlike Le Youth, Monsieur Adi is actually French, but one similarity between "C O O L" and "What's Going On" is that this track also takes elements from an R&B song and works them into a dance track. The original tune in question is Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler's "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)", with a number of vocal hooks used in this reinterpretation. For A*M*E, it's her second guest vocal appearance on this list, after featuring on "Need U (100%)" back in Part 3.

Number 12 "On The Metro" by Girls Aloud

Here it is: what's likely to be the final ever appearance by Girls Aloud on one of my end-of-year lists (unless they reunite every few years). Not actually a single, "On The Metro" was one of the new tracks on career retrospective release Ten. Another one, "Every Now And Then", made my end-of-year chart last year, while "On The Metro" found its way onto my chart this year due in no small part to the group's performance of the track during their farewell tour (which you can watch below).

Number 11 "5-HT" by The Good Natured

I was expecting big things for The Good Natured this year. The British synthpop band had featured on my year-end top 100s the past two years (with "Skeleton" in 2011 and guesting on Adrian Lux's "Alive" in 2012), and things got off to a great start with the release of this song early in 2013. Then, the band was dropped by their label and unable to get the masters for their album, Prism, back. Only one other song, teaser track "Lovers" (number 151 on this list), ever emerged. Hopefully they can resurface in 2014. As for the song's title - 5-HT stands for 5-hydroxytryptamine, otherwise known as serotonin.

Number 10 "Count On Me" by Chase & Status featuring Moko

It was only logical that after the '80s revival of a few years back there would be a '90s revival - and this track by the UK drum & bass duo incorporated elements from just about every big dance genre from that decade. Piano house chords, diva vocal, rave synths, sample loops and those unmistakable beats all combine in this dance anthem which sounds like a long lost single from 1991.

Number 9 "Fight The Feeling" by Echoes

My favourite song as 2012 ended was "Echo" by Foxes - and my top track at the close of 2013 is this debut single by Echoes, a synthpop trio from London who could easily be a long lost band from the '80s.

Number 8 "Vocal" by Pet Shop Boys

And, here's a synthpop group who actually are from the '80s - with the best single from their best album since 1993's Very. Released after teaser track "Axis", "Vocal" would have been massive if it had been released in either the '80s or '90s - and I still think it would have made the perfect follow-up to "Thursday" had that been Electric's lead single. Classic PSB with a modern twist, it was a sure sign there was life in the duo still.

Number 7 "If I Could Change Your Mind" by Haim

The single chosen to follow "The Wire" (which, despite being their breakthrough record, only ends up as my number 190) is the second appearance of Este, Danielle and Alana Haim on this list. One of the tracks on Days Are Gone in which the band's '80s influences shine through, it hasn't made its mark on international charts yet - but it's so catchy, it's only a matter of time, right?

Number 6 "Applause" by Lady Gaga

The backlash I've been expecting for quite a while seemed to really take a hold this year as Lady Gaga's third full studio album received a very mixed reaction - and this lead single wasn't the runaway hit we've seen before with "Bad Romance" and "Born This Way". I think "Applause" - and the other singles released from ARTPOP so far - rank among her best releases, but I'm not sold on the album as a whole, and I wouldn't mind a break from all the over-the-top awards show performances and oddball music videos to be able to focus on the music.

Number 5 "5AM" by Katy B

Up until now, I hadn't been fully convinced by Katy B (the B stands for Brien). I didn't mind 2011's "Broken Record", but I've generally found her singles a bit forgettable. But, in this lead track from the forthcoming Little Red album, she really hit the mark. One-off or sign of things to come?

Number 4 "Closer" by Tegan And Sara

You know you've reached a new audience when your song is performed on Glee - and that's what happened to Tegan & Sara with this lead single from Heartthrob. The album was produced by a veritable who's who of big name producers, including Greg Kurstin, who's worked on massively commercial albums for Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Katy Perry over the past couple of years.

Number 3 "Falling" by Haim

We've seen them twice already on this list, and here's my favourite effort by Haim this year. All I have to do now is work out which sister is which...

Number 2 "We Can Be Friends" by Donkeyboy

Judging by the fact that they'd lifted six singles from their debut album, Stereolife, I was looking forward to Donkeyboy doing a similar thing with Silver Moon - but they only ended up releasing three: "City Boy", "Pull Of The Eye" and "Silver Moon". Album track "Drive" made my end of year chart for 2012, and here's another song that could've been a single as my second favourite song for 2013.

Number 1 "Lost & Not Found" by Chase & Status featuring Louis M^tters

I always wonder at the start of a year what will end up as my favourite song for the upcoming 12 months, and I never would've guessed last January that Chase & Status would be the act behind my top song for 2013. Before "Lost & Not Found" came along, I'd only really been aware of the duo's 2009 track "End Credits", which I didn't mind - but this lead single from the Brand New Machine album made me sit up and take notice. One of those songs I loved on first listen and had to replay again and again, it has the perfect combination of beats and melody. Interestingly, as you'll see below, the British act comprised of Saul Milton and Will Kennard were also responsible for my number 200 song for the year.

My top 200 for 2013 in full:

1          LOST & NOT FOUND Chase & Status featuring Louis M^tters
2          WE CAN BE FRIENDS Donkeyboy
3          FALLING Haim
4          CLOSER Tegan & Sara
5          5AM Katy B
6          APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
8          VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
9          FIGHT THE FEELING Echoes
10        COUNT ON ME Chase & Status featuring Moko
11        5-HT The Good Natured
12        ON THE METRO Girls Aloud
13        WHAT’S GOING ON? Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
14        THURSDAY Pet Shop Boys featuring Example
15        C O O L Le Youth
16        I WAS A FOOL / MONSIEUR ADI MIX Tegan & Sara
17        GET LUCKY Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rogers
18        GLORIOUS Cascada
19        SEPTEMBER St Lucia
20        WANTED (DEAD OR ALIVE) Strange Talk
21        SHOW ME WHAT LOVE IS Alphabeat
22        HUMAN RACE Margaret Berger
23        IN YOUR CARE EP Bright Light Bright Light
24        LIVE A LITTLE Florrie
25        MOONSHINE Bruno Mars
26        FLATLINE Mutya Keisha Siobhan
27        TONIGHT Jessica Sanchez featuring Ne-Yo
28        SUNRISE (WON’T GET LOST) The Aston Shuffle vs Tommy Trash
29        LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
30        CLARITY Zedd featuring Foxes
31        I FEED YOU MY LOVE Margaret Berger
32        DISCO LOVE The Saturdays
33        TURN ME OUT Russ Chimes
34        SKIRT Kylie Minogue
35        TRIGGERFINGER Donkeyboy
36        LOVE IS ENOUGH Parralox
37        HOLD THIS MOMENT Vanbot
39        THE A&R EP Annie
40        DON’T SAVE ME Haim
41        SUN Belinda Carlisle
42        UNDER CONTROL Calvin Harris & Alesso featuring Hurts
43        LIKE HOME Nicky Romero & NERVO
44        BEAUTIFUL LIFE Armin van Buuren featuring Cindy Alma
45        BAIYA Delphic
46        THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
47        LIKE A STRANGER Kitten
48        NEED U (100%) Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E
49        FALL The Presets
51        THINK OF YOU MS MR
52        LA LA LA Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith
53        POMPEII Bastille
54        POP A BOTTLE (FILL ME UP) Jessica Mauboy
55        HEY PORSCHE Nelly
56        DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly
57        PICKING UP ALL THE PIECES Strange Talk
58        LAURA PALMER Bastille
59        BELOVED Say Lou Lou
60        CUCKOO Adam Lambert
61        RIGHT NOW Rihanna featuring David Guetta
62        GLASSHEART Leona Lewis
63        ONE MORE SUMMER No Doubt
64        WORLD ON FIRE The Royal Concept
65        CARRY YOU Union J
66        CINDERELLA Diana Vickers
68        BURN Ellie Goulding
69        CLOSURE Owl Eyes
70        NYC Dido
71        SOOTHE MY SOUL Depeche Mode
72        MUSIC TO MAKE BOYS CRY Diana Vickers
73        HOLD ON, WE’RE GOING HOME Drake featuring Majid Jordan
74        SATELLITE Little Boots
75        TAKE OFF Conor Maynard
76        WILD Jessie J featuring Big Sean
77        BROKEN RECORD Little Boots
78        OF THE NIGHT Bastille
79        THE BAIT Electric Guest
80        LOVING YOU Matt Cardle / Melanie C
81        REAL Gorgon City featuring Yasmin
82        VENUS Lady Gaga
83        JUST GIVE ME A REASON Pink featuring Nate Ruess
84        ARMY OF TWO Olly Murs
85        OBLIVION M83 featuring Susanne Sundfør
86        HEAVEN / FREEMASONS MIX Depeche Mode
87        REMIX (I LIKE THE) New Kids On The Block
88        WALKING ON AIR Katy Perry
89        FANTASY MS MR
90        TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
91        RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME Olly Murs
92        ONLY YOU Hurts
93        BREAK MY HEART Blue
96        FIRESTARTER Samantha Jade
97        GIVE IT 2 U Robin Thicke featuring Kendrick Lamar
98        ELEVATE St Lucia
99        TREASURE Bruno Mars
100      SONNENTANZ (SUN DON’T SHINE) Klangkarussell featuring Will Heard
101      HURT LOVERS Blue
102      GORILLA Bruno Mars
103      GOODBYE GOODBYE Tegan & Sara
104      ACID RAIN Alexis Jordan
105      CITY OF DREAMS Dirty South & Alesso featuring Ruben Haze
106      SHADY Adam Lambert featuring Nile Rogers & Sam Sparro
107      FLESH AND BONE The Killers
108      TO THE END OF THE EARTH Jessica Mauboy
109      SILENT MORNING Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés
110      U B THE BASS Luciana
111      MODERN HEARTS The Knocks featuring St Lucia
112      WALKS LIKE RIHANNA The Wanted
113      IN A WORLD LIKE THIS Backstreet Boys
114      REAL SLOW Miami Horror featuring Sarah Chernoff
115      DEAR DARLIN’ Olly Murs
116      MIRACLE Hurts
117      RIGHT HERE Rudimental featuring Foxes
118      RUN RUN RUN Dragonette
119      BROKEN BOY Thief
120      YOUTH Foxes
121      CHANGE YOUR LIFE Little Mix
122      THE PHOENIX Fall Out Boy
123      AMERICAN GIRL Bonnie McKee
124      LIKE A DRUM Guy Sebastian
125      MOVE Little Mix
126      BEAUTIFUL Jessica Mauboy
127      INSTANT CRUSH Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas
129      SHIVER Avec Sans
130      IMAGINE IT WAS US Jessie Ware
131      BEST SONG EVER One Direction
132      LET THERE BE LOVE Christina Aguilera
133      WAITING ALL NIGHT Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre
134      SOMETHING’S GOT A HOLD ON ME Jessica Mauboy
135      MAP Frankmusik
136      LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN Lawson
137      YOU & ME Disclosure featuring Eliza Doolittle
138      MOTORWAY Little Boots
139      LOOK RIGHT THROUGH Storm Queen
140      HEARTS LIKE OURS The Naked & Famous
141      SUMMERTIME SADNESS (REMIX) Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais
142      SHOT AT THE NIGHT The Killers
143      ELASTIC HEART Sia featuring The Weekend & Diplo
144      THE OTHER SIDE Jason Derulo
145      PERMANENT STAIN Backstreet Boys
146      I WISH Cher Lloyd featuring T.I.
147      HIGHER (FREE) All About She
148      BLURRED LINES Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
149      BROKENHEARTED Lawson featuring B.o.B
150      HOW YA DOIN’ Little Mix featuring Missy Elliott
151      LOVERS The Good Natured
152      THUNDER Jessie J
153      JUST ANOTHER GIRL The Killers
154      LEGACY Nicky Romero vs Krewella
155      WAKE ME UP Avicii
156      A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES Linkin Park / Steve Aoki
157      RELOAD Sebastian Ingrosso featuring Tommy Trash & John Martin
158      HIDE & SEEK Bertie Blackman
159      THINKING ABOUT YOU Calvin Harris featuring Ayah Marar
160      I COULD BE THE ONE Avicii vs Nicky Romero
161      TEARS Freemasons featuring Katherine Ellis
162      HAPPY Pharrell Williams
163      SO GOOD TO ME Chris Malinchak
164      HEART ATTACK Demi Lovato
166      STORY OF MY LIFE One Direction
167      MADE TO LOVE John Legend
168      COME AND GET IT Selena Gomez
169      SOLDIER Samantha Jade
170      BOOMERANG Nicole Scherzinger
172      AXIS Pet Shop Boys
173      WORK BITCH Britney Spears
174      SAFE AND SOUND Capital Cities
175      BEAUTIFUL LIFE Union J
176      WE OWN THE NIGHT The Wanted
177      WHAT ABOUT US The Saturdays featuring Sean Paul
178      CHEATING John Newman
179      #BEAUTIFUL Mariah Carey featuring Miguel
180      LIFTED Naughty Boy featuring Emeli Sande
181      IT’S MY PARTY Jessie J
182      MIRRORS Justin Timberlake
184      ATTRACTING FLIES AlunaGeorge
185      YOU’RE NOT THE ONE Sky Ferreira
186      TRUE LOVE Pink featuring Lily Rose Cooper
187      AFTERGLOW Wilkinson
188      SHOW ME LOVE (AMERICA) The Wanted
189      BLIND Hurts
190      THE WIRE Haim
191      LOVE SOMEBODY / REMIX Maroon 5
192      CANNONBALL Lea Michele
193      SAY GOODBYE Gabrielle
194      IF I LOSE MYSELF OneRepublic
195      HEAL Loreen featuring Blanks
196      MISS JACKSON Panic! At The Disco featuring Lolo
197      WHITE NOISE Disclosure featuring AlunaGeorge
198      WHAT I MIGHT DO Ben Pearce
199      LOSING SLEEP John Newman
200      ALIVE Chase & Status featuring Jacob Banks

That's it for another year! Join me on January 8 as I start our weekly journey through the ARIA charts of 1989. As promised, I'll also be filling in the gaps in my personal year-end top 100s in 2014 - starting with my top 100 for 2000 some time in January. As always, thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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