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Updated by Parker Klyn on Feb 28, 2017
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Favorite Songs of 2013

Parker's favorite songs of 2013.

Vampire Weekend - "Step"

Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City was the best album of 2013, so it's only fitting that the best track from that album is my favorite track of this year. The production is meticulous, including (but not limited to): a tambourine, toms, snare, harpsichord, piano, guitar, bass, a church choir, and Ezra Koenig's vocals. The many references scattered throughout the track give a nod to Vampire Weekend's cultural genius. The chorus is simply stunning; when Koenig sings "I feel it in my bones" I always get chills. "Step" is my favorite song of the year.

Autre Ne Veut - "Play By Play"

When "Play By Play" was first released, there were inevitable comparisons to Usher's "Climax". Both have slow builds and rewarding resolutions, which are in major contrast to the drop-heavy tendencies of today's dubstep world. It takes 1:30 for Arthur Ashin to sing anything other than "and I said, baaaaaaabyy." When the song finally comes together, layers of Ashin's pained vocals align to form the 2 1/2 minute long finale.

Earl Sweatshirt - "Sunday" feat. Frank Ocean

Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean's breakout Odd Future collaboration came in the form of "Super Rich Kids" from Frank's album Channel Orange. While that song followed the Saturday night adventures of lazy, weed-smoking, overprivileged kids, "Sunday" feels like the next day, where Earl tries to explain to his lover why he does what he does. Earl expresses himself with accurate angst and logical reactions ("I could be misbehavin' ... I'm fuckin' famous if you forgot). Frank's verse oversteps the novelty of Frank rapping, as it is a direct yet uninterested response to Chris Brown, delivered with all the intensity of a drive on the freeway.

Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines" feat. Pharrell and T.I.

I first heard "Blurred Lines" on the way to Wal-Mart. Then I heard it on the way home. I've loved it ever since. There are two main aspects of the song: the killer bass line, which descends every eight bars into a new section of song. Second is the catchy percussion section, which through some Pharrell magic, has kept America willing to dance to this song any place: in a car, at the mall, in the dentist's office. The video perfectly expresses the fun of just having a good time without overstepping boundaries. "Blurred Lines" is the Top 40 event of the year.

Ariana Grande - "Piano"

Ariana Grande wants to write you a song. She doesn't want to overwhelm you with emotions. She doesn't have an edge. She just wants to make you dance. Ariana realizes that it'd be easy to write a song about Cupid and shooting arrows, but it'd be much harder to make you dance. While some of Yours Truly fell short, this song is easily the highlight. What makes this song so great is the minimalistic production that still maintains a level of pop. "Piano"'s chords set up the foundation for one of the best pop songs of the year.

Disclosure - "Latch" feat. Sam Smith

For the first minute of "Latch", you wonder whether this song really came out in 2013 or it's just a lost Hall and Oates track. The verses contain beautiful low synthesizers underneath a 6/8 house beat. But the star of this song is British vocalist Sam Smith, whose deep love for whomever he is addressing will leave even the listener overwhelmed. The highlight of the song is clearly the chorus, which has Smith singing using his near-impossibly high vocal range to show his lover that he will never let go.

Earl Sweatshirt - "Chum"

In their early years, Odd Future, to the non-listener, seemed a group of delinquent smokers who preferred to rap about rape than real issues. And that would be correct. However, after Earl's long, mysterious leave to Samoa, he returned with the most down to earth Odd Future song yet. He laments about his father ("I just used to say I hate him in dishonest jest"), the struggles of being biracial in a Los Angeles high school ("too white for the black kids, too black for the whites), and how Complex magazine tried to mess up his life ("niggas tryna get a raise at my expense"). "Chum" is a strange name for this song, because it's about as far away from chummy as rap can get.

The Preatures - "Is This How You Feel?"

Upon hearing "Is This How You Feel" for the first time, the listener immediately experiences the excitement of a rock groove, something that has been under-appreciated recently. "Is This How You Feel" is the breakout single from Australian band The Preatures. Lead singer Isabella Manfredi appears to have a low range as she sings simple love lyrics. Then the chorus comes. Her voice explodes into a beautiful falsetto for one of the most fun choruses in recent memory.

Chance The Rapper - "Good Ass Intro" feat. BJ The Chicago Kid, Lili K., and Kiara Lanier

Chance The Rapper seems like the chillest dude alive. He's friendly ("you did a good-ass job"), he loves his family ("gotta watch out for my mother), and he doesn't give a shit ("how many bitches have I fucked since I got suspended?"). All of this occurs over a smooth soul foundation, with his collaborators repeatedly singing "I'm good." The loud horns add to the spectacle at the end where Chance just seems like he's happy to be alive.

CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"

Nobody off the Top 40 makes more accesible pop than Scottish trio CHVRCHES. The clear highlight from The Bones of What You Believe is "The Mother We Share". Its crisp, lush synthesizers sound clean and polished - something lacking in today's electronic spectrum. But clearly the best aspect of this track is Lauren Mayberry's vocals. They are borderline angelic and are smoother than cream. I'll admit, I have no idea what "The Mother We Share" is about. But for a song this good, I don't have to.