Best of 2013

[Spotify playlist]

Although I’d used Spotify intermittently for a couple of years, in 2013 the vast majority of my music listening migrated to that platform, especially after my midyear acquisition of a smartphone transformed my iPod from a jacket-pocket mainstay into a nightstand curio. With hundreds of thousands of songs immediately accessible, I found myself tracking new releases to a degree I’d never before bothered to attempt, and just about every Tuesday, I checked Metacritic—or Spotify’s own New Releases playlist—to see if anything caught my eye. (After years of downloading leaks, the actual release date of an album suddenly became significant once again.) The result of that voracious approach (“Bobby McFerrin? Why not?”)  was that I heard way more new music in 2013 than in any previous year—at least a couple of hundred albums, probably.

Early in the year, I created a playlist to keep track of my favorite new songs, as I’ve habitually done every year since 2004. (Until recently, I used iTunes.) Every so often, I’d add a song or three to the “Best of 2013” playlist, and by late December, it had ballooned to more than 160 tracks. Given the change in my listening habits, this was, unsurprisingly, quite a bit more than I’d ever before featured on a year-end playlist; the nine I’d previously assembled averaged about 90 tracks and never exceeded 110. But while I ultimately axed a couple of songs that I wasn’t all that wild about, I couldn’t bear the thought of paring down the entire playlist just for the sake of year-to-year consistency.

And so here it is: all 160 tracks, of which 149 are available on Spotify in the United States.  (The remaining 11 songs appear grayed out below.) As usual, I’ve obsessively and laboriously sequenced them into a mix that I’d like to think has a pleasing flow as it moves from one genre/aesthetic to the next. Still, 10+ hours of music can be a little overwhelming, so I’d encourage listeners to dip in and out at random points. The first few songs are in that position mostly because I thought they’d make a good energetic start, but you might find a better place to begin. Enjoy.

  1. Paramore, “Still Into You” (Paramore)
  2. Best Coast, “This Lonely Morning” (Fade Away EP)
  3. Camera Obscura, “Do It Again” (Desire Lines)
  4. Eleanor Friedberger, “Stare at the Sun” (Personal Record)
  5. Fleetwood Mac, “Sad Angel” (Extended Play EP)
  6. Neko Case, “Man” (The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You)
  7. Superchunk, “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” (I Hate Music)
  8. The Joy Formidable, “This Ladder Is Ours” (Wolf’s Law)
  9. My Bloody Valentine, “New You” (M B V)
  10. The Besnard Lakes, “People of the Sticks” (Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO)
  11. Yuck, “Lose My Breath” (Glow and Behold)
  12. Veronica Falls, “Teenage” (Waiting for Something to Happen)
  13. Ducktails, “Ivy Covered House (The Flower Lane)
  14. Frankie Rose, “Sorrow” (Herein Wild)
  15. Haim, “The Wire” (Days Are Gone)
  16. The Preatures, “Is This How You Feel?” (Is This How You Feel? EP)
  17. Phoenix, “Entertainment” (Bankrupt!)
  18. Charli XCX, “You – Ha Ha Ha” (True Romance)
  19. The 1975, “Chocolate” (The 1975)
  20. The Strokes, “Tap Out” (Comedown Machine)
  21. Sky Ferreira, “You’re Not the One (Night Time, My Time)
  22. Delorean, “Destitute Time” (Apar)
  23. Wild Nothing, “A Dancing Shell” (Empty Estate EP)
  24. Bibio, “À tout à l’heure” (Silver Wilkinson)
  25. Junip, “Your Life Your Call” (Junip)
  26. Beck, “I Won’t Be Long” (single)
  27. Arcade Fire, “We Exist” (Reflektor)
  28. Jagwar Ma, “Uncertainty” (Howlin)
  29. Toro y Moi, “Say That” (Anything in Return)
  30. Cut Copy, “We Are Explorers” (Free Your Mind)
  31. Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound” (In a Tidal Wave of Mystery)
  32. !!!, “Station (Meet Me At The)” (Thr!!!er)
  33. Holy Ghost!, “Dumb Disco Ideas” (Dynamics)
  34. Classixx feat. Jeppe, “I’ll Get You” (Hanging Gardens)
  35. The Juan Maclean, “You Are My Destiny” (single)
  36. Lindstrøm and Todd Terje, “Lanzarote (Radio Edit)” (single)
  37. Grizzly Bear, “Gun-Shy (Lindstrøm Remix)”  (Shields: B-Sides)
  38. Todd Terje, “Strandbar (disko)” (single)
  39. Justin Timberlake, “Suit & Tie (Aeroplane Vocal Mix)” (single)
  40. Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E, “Need U (100%) (Radio Edit)” (single)
  41. Jessy Lanza, “Keep Moving” (Pull My Hair Back)
  42. Annie, “Back Together” (The A&R EP)
  43. Sally Shapiro, “All My Life” (Somewhere Else)
  44. Jessie Ware, “Imagine It Was Us” (Devotion [U.S. version])
  45. Dawn Richard, “Riot” (Goldenheart)
  46. Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It” (Stars Dance)
  47. will.i.am feat. Britney Spears, “Scream & Shout” (#willpower)
  48. CHVRCHES, “Gun” (The Bones of What You Believe)
  49. Tegan and Sara, “Closer” (Heartthrob)
  50. Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch, “Sweet Nothing” (18 Months)
  51. Kelly Clarkson, “Catch My Breath” (Greatest Hits: Chapter One)
  52. Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble” (Red)
  53. M.I.A., “Come Walk With Me” (Matangi)
  54. Sleigh Bells, “Bitter Rivals” (Bitter Rivals)
  55. Marnie Stern, “Year of the Glad” (The Chronicles of Marnia)
  56. Queens of the Stone Age, “My God Is the Sun” (…Like Clockwork)
  57. Pelican, “Vestiges” (Forever Becoming)
  58. Polvo, “The Water Wheel” (Siberia)
  59. Iggy & The Stooges, “Ready to Die” (Ready to Die)
  60. Savages, “She Will” (Silence Yourself)
  61. David Bowie, “Love Is Lost” (The Next Day)
  62. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Sacrilege” (Mosquito)
  63. Nine Inch Nails, “Everything” (Hesitation Marks)
  64. Kanye West, “Black Skinhead” (Yeezus)
  65. Jay Z, “Picasso Baby” (Magna Carta Holy Grail)
  66. Run the Jewels, “Run the Jewels” (Run the Jewels)
  67. Angel Haze, “Echelon (It’s My Way)” (Dirty Gold)
  68. Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly, “Do What U Want” (ARTPOP)
  69. Drake feat. Majid Jordan, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (Nothing Was the Same)
  70. Ciara, “Body Party” (Ciara)
  71. AlunaGeorge, “You Know You Like It” (Body Music)
  72. Blood Orange, “Chamakay” (Cupid Deluxe)
  73. Jacques Greene feat. How to Dress Well, “On Your Side (Radio Version)” (single)
  74. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Latch” (Settle)
  75. Danny Brown feat. Purity Ring, “25 Bucks” (Old)
  76. Hot Chip, “Dark and Stormy” (single)
  77. Maya Jane Coles, “Stranger” (Comfort)
  78. Emiliana Torrini, “Speed of Dark” (Tookah)
  79. Glasser, “New Year” (Interiors)
  80. Julia Holter, “In the Green Wild” (Loud City Song)
  81. Kate Boy, “Northern Lights” (Northern Lights EP)
  82. The Knife, “A Tooth for an Eye” (Shaking the Habitual)
  83. Atoms For Peace, “Default” (Amok)
  84. Darkside, “Freak, Go Home” (Psychic)
  85. Blondes, “Elise” (Swisher)
  86. Gold Panda, “We Work Nights” (Half of Where You Live)
  87. Lusine, “February” (The Waiting Room)
  88. Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, “Photon” (Elements of Light)
  89. Gregor Schwellenbach, “Kaito’s Everlasting” (Gregor Schwellenbach Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt)
  90. Dawn of Midi, “Io” (Dysnomia)
  91. Brandt Brauer Frick, “Ocean Drive (Schamane)” (Miami)
  92. The Range, “Loftmane” (Nonfiction)
  93. µ-Ziq, “Houzz 10” (Chewed Corners)
  94. Oneohtrix Point Never, “Zebra” (R Plus Seven)
  95. Four Tet, “Parallel Jalebi” (Beautiful Rewind)
  96. Boards of Canada, “Cold Earth” (Tomorrow’s Harvest)
  97. Fuck Buttons, “The Red Wing” (Slow Focus)
  98. Colin Stetson, “High Above a Grey Green Sea” (New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light)
  99. Dustin Wong, “Cityscape Floated” (Mediation of Ecstatic Energy)
  100. Cave, “Arrow’s Myth” (Threace)
  101. Brokeback, “Don’t Worry Pigeon” (Brokeback and the Black Rock)
  102. NEXT Collective, “Perth” (Cover Art)
  103. Christian McBride & Inside Straight, “Gang Gang” (People Music)
  104. Chance the Rapper, “Pusha Man/Paranoia” (Acid Rap)
  105. James Blake, “Retrograde” (Overgrown)
  106. Rhye, “The Fall” (Woman)
  107. Quadron, “LFT” (Avalanche)
  108. Laura Mvula, “Green Garden” (Sing to the Moon)
  109. Allá, “Without U” (#feedthedragon volume one)
  110. Thundercat, “Oh Sheit It’s X” (Apocalypse)
  111. Beyoncé, “Blow” (Beyoncé)
  112. Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu, “Q.U.E.E.N.” (The Electric Lady)
  113. K. Michelle, “V.S.O.P.” (Rebellious Soul)
  114. Lady, “Money” (Lady)
  115. Charles Bradley feat. Menahan Street Band, “Strictly Reserved for You” (Victim of Love)
  116. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, “Rouse Yourself” (Howl)
  117. Mavis Staples, “Can You Get To That” (One True Vine)
  118. Mariah Carey feat. Miguel, “#Beautiful” (single)
  119. Emeli Sandé, “Next to Me” (Our Version of Events)
  120. Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop” (Bangerz)
  121. Ariana Grande feat. Mac Miller, “The Way” (Yours Truly)
  122. J. Cole feat. TLC, “Crooked Smile” (Born Sinner)
  123. Justin Timberlake, “Take Back the Night” (The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2)
  124. Bruno Mars, “Treasure” (Unorthodox Jukebox)
  125. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky (Radio Edit)” (single)
  126. Mayer Hawthorne, “The Innocent” (Where Does This Door Go)
  127. Pharrell Williams, “Happy” (Despicable Me 2 soundtrack)
  128. Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, “Blurred Lines” (Blurred Lines)
  129. Elvis Costello and the Roots, “Walk Us UPTOWN” (Wise Up Ghost)
  130. Lorde, “Royals” (Pure Heroine)
  131. Pentatonix, “Daft Punk” (PTX, Vol. 2)
  132. Petra Haden, “Psycho Main Title” (Petra Goes to the Movies)
  133. Kronos Quartet with Bryce Dessner, “Tour Eiffel” (Aheym)
  134. Blue Hawaii, “Try To Be” (Untogether)
  135. Goldfrapp, “Drew” (Tales of Us)
  136. Laura Marling, “Undine” (Once I Was an Eagle)
  137. 78violet, “Hothouse” (single)
  138. Laura Veirs, “Sun Song” (Warp and Weft)
  139. Low, “Just Make It Stop” (The Invisible Way)
  140. The National, “Don’t Swallow the Cap” (Trouble Will Find Me)
  141. Au Revoir Simone, “Crazy” (Move in Spectrums)
  142. Xenia Rubinos, “Cherry Tree” (Magic Trix)
  143. Vampire Weekend, “Diane Young” (Modern Vampires of the City)
  144. Parquet Courts, “Stoned and Starving” (Light Up Gold)
  145. Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, “Home Chds” (Last Night on Earth)
  146. Kurt Vile, “KV Crimes” (Wakin on a Pretty Daze)
  147. Deerhunter, “Back to the Middle” (Monomania)
  148. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “The Opposite of Afternoon” (II)
  149. Yo La Tengo, “Well You Better” (Fade)
  150. Paul McCartney, “New” (New)
  151. Foxygen, “No Destruction” (We Are 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic)
  152. Blitzen Trapper, “Ever Loved Once” (VII)
  153. Caitlin Rose, “I Was Cruel” (The Stand-In)
  154. Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go ‘Round” (Same Trailer Different Park)
  155. Anna Kendrick, “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s ‘When I’m Gone’)” (single)
  156. Sam Amidon, “My Old Friend” (Bright Sunny South)
  157. Brad Paisley, “Southern Comfort Zone” (Wheelhouse)
  158. Pistol Annies, “Hush Hush” (Annie Up)
  159. Ashley Monroe, “Weed Instead Of Roses” (Like a Rose)
  160. Brandy Clark, “Stripes” (12 Stories)
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