Best Of / Feature

2013 Best Songs: Part I

With best wishes for a happy 2014 comes our guide to the most popfoolish songs released in 2013.

Elyar Fox

41. Elyar Fox – Colourblind
Not released as a single

Elyar Fox is essentially a mini version of Conor Maynard. Not exactly what the popworld needs then, but like Conor himself, he has plenty of potential if given the right sort of material. Elyar’s official debut single ‘Do It All Over Again’ is out 12th January 2014, but sadly it’s nowhere near as good as ‘Colourblind.’ A buzz single from May 2013, we find it a delighting bouncy pop romp for preteens, and popfoolish to the extreme.

Highlights of the song:
The vocals are very enjoyable.
Lowlights of the song:
‘JJ Price Tag playing in the background.’ That’s a genuine, irony-free lyric from the song.
The cringeworthy lyric video which largely involves inanely grinning cavorting youths wearing the lyrics as t-shirts.
Best lyric:
It’s a toss-up between ‘I was sleeping with my heart tucked under my pillow’ and ‘Knocked me out now I’m staring at the ceiling.’

Vengas Hot

40. Vengaboys – Hot Hot Hot
Released: 08/07/13
Netherlands chart: #13

The Vengaboys need no introduction, and we believe that this article from July articulates why the song deserves a place on the list. Completely bonkers? Yes. CrapPop? Sure. Does it matter? Not a jot.

Highlights of the song:
Kim definitely brings this song to life.
Lowlights of the song:
The European electronic aspect of the song feels rather shoehorned in.
Best lyric:
‘Oh what to do on a night like this? / Music sweet, I can’t resist.’

Hadouken!39. Hadouken! – The Vortex
Not released as a single.

We were largely disappointed by Hadouken!’s third album ‘Every Weekend,’ released this year, but nonetheless we went to see them live. ‘The Vortex’ is an obvious highlight of the album, impressing us with its hard sounds, and the build up to its delicious climax.

Highlights of the song:
The general atmosphere of the song.
Lowlights of the song:
James’ vocals sound much better live than they do on record.
Although by no means short, the song ends rather abruptly. We would prefer an extended mix.
Best lyric:
‘Each and every weekend we spend it like the whole world’s ending.’

Katy Rorar38. Katy Perry – Roar
Released: 02/09/13
UK chart: #1

‘Roar’ was the biggest Pop Girl single of the year and absolutely inescapable. We feel that it is essentially down to this that ‘Roar’ appears on our list. Katy Perry’s poor X Factor performance of the song, which was one of the main causes of us bemoaning popstar’s performances on X Factor, certainly did it no favours. Nonetheless, it feels distinctly Katy Perry and solidifies her position as a bankable, reliable, and supreme popstar.

Highlights of the song:
The little vocal tics such as the way Perry sings ‘nothing’ and ‘politely.’
‘Rooa-uh-uh-uh-uh-oaaar’
Lowlights of the song:
Tacky video.
Best lyric:
‘I stood for nothing / So I fell for everything.’

Count on me

37. Chase & Status / featuring Moko – Count On Me
Released: 29/09/13
UK chart: #5

What we most appreciate about this song is that although it uses the 90s house sound which has been so in vogue this year, it remains an individual take on the sound, a Chase & Status homage if you will. This makes the song much better than if it had been an all too fashionable, trend-chasing attempt at a hit. Moko’s vocals are incredible, and we challenge you not to turn up your stereo when this song comes on.

Highlights of the song:
Those beats.
Lowlights of the song:
Nothing jumps out as bad on this song.
Best lyric:
‘All this love that I am giving / Can it ever be enough?’

Daley Broken

36. Daley – Broken
Released: 27/09/13
UK chart: N/A

We noted in our review of ‘Broken’ that it sounded similar to Aiden Grimshaw’s material. With sufficient passing of time, we still think ‘Broken’ is a mature and classic sound for Daley, and we believe that it is exactly the sort of song that Daley should be releasing. That the song didn’t light up the UK charts will certainly be a setback, but because we think Daley is something special, we sincerely hope that his record label don’t lose faith just yet. On the merits of this track we would certainly buy the album.

Highlights of the song:
Daley’s voice.
Thoughtful and restrained yet beautiful instrumentation.
Lowlights of the song:
It doesn’t hit you round the head with its amazingness. It should. All the best songs do.
Best lyric:
‘Not a quitter, but I need to give up this fight / For my sanity, my pride.’

Jessie Wild35. Jessie J / featuring Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal – Wild
Released: 26/05/13
UK chart: #5

We’re not going to lie. We weren’t keen on the song when it first came out. What changed? Well, we’re still not very keen on Jessie J as a popstar, and her vocals during the verses sound ropey to say the least. However, the bridge and chorus of the song is undeniably a complete earworm, and we have even grown rather fond of the guest features.

Highlights of the song:
The way Big Sean pronounces ‘mirror.’
Jessie J’s barefaced cheek in inviting two guests on a lead single.
The chorus.
Lowlights of the song:
It’s a shame that we have to say this, but Jessie herself is the weakest link here.
Best lyric:
‘If I swim with the piranhas guaranteed that I’ma most probably have a fish dinner’ courtesy of Big Sean.

John Newman Love

34. John Newman – Love Me Again
Released: 30/06/13
UK chart: #1

Another song, like ‘Roar’, that was entirely inescapable this year. Despite radio’s best intentions, it’s hard not to resent the song, merely on the absurd amount of airplay it received. Putting these feelings aside there is no doubt that this is a very good song. Even though it remains a Mark Ronson soundalike to our ears, we have grown to properly relish this song.

Highlights of the song:
The piano.
The trumpets.
John’s unique voice.
Lowlights of the song:
Everybody losing their shit over it and proclaiming John Newman as the messiah when in fact the song sounds exactly like what Mark Ronson was doing, arguably better, five years ago.
Best lyric:
‘Filled with all the strength I found / There’s nothing I can’t do.’

Paramore Into You

33. Paramore – Still Into You
Released: 14/03/13
UK chart: #15

‘Still Into You’ sounds so much like a Katy Perry release that we’re not entirely convinced that Perry hasn’t sneakily replaced Hayley as Paramore’s vocalist. Since Hayley Williams realised that she wanted to be a mainstream popstar rather than a slightly alternative indie poster girl, Paramore have slowly but surely turned into a pop band. As long as they keep churning out material like ‘Still Into You’ then we’ll be happy.

Highlights of the song:
Its listenability. It slips down our ears ridiculously easily.
The middle 8 is delicious.
Lowlights of the song:
Why didn’t Katy Perry release this?
We quite enjoyed Paramore when they were more ’emo’ tinged.
Best lyric:
‘Some things just / Some things just make sense / And one of them is you and I.’

Calvin Harris Thinking

32. Calvin Harris / featuring Ayah Marar -Thinking About You
Released: 
04/08/13
UK chart: #8

We can never remember the name of the guest vocalist on the song but does that really matter? This song is the cream of the electronic music crop in our opinion, with Calvin Harris rarely disappointing us, and the perfect background to a chilled out day in the sunny park.

Highlights of the song:
Calvin’s sumptuous production.
Luscious vocals.
Lowlights of the song:
When pushed to name a lowlight, we would go for the rather basic structure and beat of the song.
Best lyric:
‘I can hold you, keep you safe until you fall asleep.’
Miley Wrecking31. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Released: 25/08/13
UK chart: #1

We considerably warmed up to this song as compared to how we felt about it when it was first released. We also happen to think the corresponding performance of the song on X Factor was one of the finest guest performances this season. No need to use thirty dancers as a distraction; just Miley and a microphone. The less said about the video, and Miley’s desperate need to ‘shock’ by wearing as little as possible, the better. There is no denying this is a remarkable pop song though.

Highlights of the song:
Miley’s vulnerabilities come across in her vocal performance.
When was the last time a big power ballad was successful?
The bellowing.
Lowlights of the song:
After the whole ‘fun time Miley’ and VMA narrative, we were looking forward to more songs in the style of ‘We Can’t Stop.’
Best lyric:
‘Don’t you ever say / I just walked away / I will always want you.’

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