After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task. Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs. Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix. Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.
“I Luv This Sh*t”
August Alsina featuring Trinidad James
From album: Downtown: Life Under the Gun
August Alsina has one foul mouth on him, but his real talk mixed with the slower, horn-accentuated production is a match made in heaven, if a blasphemous one (see the hook).
From album: She
According to highly underrated alt-R&B musician Alice Smith, Hollywood isn’t very kind: “I see no reason for chasing / in Hollywood, got to lose my patience / want this life to be a cabaret…” Hollywood may not be for the ‘faint of heart’, but “Cabaret” it self is brilliant.
“Every Man Should Know”
Harry Connick, Jr.
From album: Every Man Should Know
Sometimes the simplest, and most important life lessons to become a gentleman are best conveyed through song, preferably a mix between traditional pop, jazz, and country.
From album: Ciara
Judging by this track, Ciara is far from being a ‘freshman’… definitely. “I ain’t no amateur / baby I know how to handle ya / If you ready for this ride, get your saddle up / I need a boy with some stamina…”
“Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)”
From album: The Gifted
We expect nothing less than Wale’s clever wordplay between “piece” and “peace”, particularly on an album titled The Gifted. Specifically, Wale informs us that too many people don’t want to hear about Jesus or his ‘peaceful’, Christian approach; they’re more concerned about the bling-bling (aka Jesus piece).
Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake
From album: Magna Carta…Holy Grail
Magna Carta…Holy Grail certainly left plenty to be desired, but few can deny that Jay-Z is one of the kings – all hail, “Holy Grail”!
From album: Indicud
Basically, Cudi is saying you can’t mess with him… he’s unbreakable… or something like that.
“Let Us Move On”
Dido featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: Girl Who Got Away
Even English singer/songwriter Dido had to get Kendrick Lamar on the track… can’t blame her. “Let Us Move On” is arguably the best moment from an underrated album nobody bought. Well, I bought it to be fair.
From album: Contrast
The video is a trip…‘course the song is too. Conor may still have some ‘schmaltz’ about him, but he also has some swag. Swag on brother – swag on!
“Pusher Lover Girl”
From album: The 20/20 Experience
Love and sex have been compared and likened to everything at this point (thanks R. Kelly). JT decides to make his lady like a drug dealer, only she deals love instead of say cocaine. What’s shocking is that this album opener works triumphantly.
Wale featuring Juicy J & Nicki Minaj
From album: The Gifted
What does one learn from the ‘cellulite anthem’ “Clappers”? That “Shawty got a big ole butt…OH YEAHHHHHH!!!”
From album: Demi
I’m not going to front, I’ve been listening to Demi put her “defenses up” all summer… I don’t think she could really survive the number of heart attacks she’d receive at the hands of my playlist on repeat though…
“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”
Alice In Chains
From album: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
While the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs (at least that I can remember off the top of my head), I’m not so sure Satan created them… Regardless, this title track from Alice In Chains’ most recent album was among the best hard rock performances of the year, potential misconceptions and all.
“While I’m Alive”
From album: Miracle Mile
While I’m Alive” sports an irresistible, danceable groove; Electronic cues further sweeten things while the soulful guitar is the ‘cherry on top’. Well written, the theme of “While I’m Alive” is getting past the past, broken relationships, and living ‘while I’m alive.’
“Bandz A Make Her Dance”
Juicy J featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne
From album: Stay Trippy
Everyone needs a good stripper anthem in his (or her) lives, right? On the raunchy “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, Juicy J spits: “Bands a make her dance, bands a maker her dance / All these chicks poppin’ p***y, I’m just poppin’ bands…”
From album: Ciara
Just when ‘the art of making love’ was getting boring… Ciara’s here to spice things up!
“Her Favorite Song”
From album: Where Does This Door Go
Yeah, the accompanying music video is weird, even if the ‘dogs’ are meant to represent guys that are dogs (in theory), but the song is brilliant. “But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on / she plays her favorite song and fades away…” I do the same thing… well not quite in the same context though…
From album: The Blessed Unrest
Here’s the gist of the song: STAND UP AND BE A MAN!!! $%^!
From album: When It Was Now
I promise this song is not about a popular brand of condoms or making love… really: “Take a picture you could never recreate / write a song / make a note / for the lump that sits inside your throat…” I promise!
J. Cole featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: Born Sinner
I know, I know – I somehow missed this gem on my “50 Best Rap Songs”, but the atonement is on this broader list. The one-two punch of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar is nothing short of fire, period.
Lil Wayne featuring Future & Drake
From Album: I Am Not A Human Being II
“Love Me” may have been a shallow as everything else was on I Am Not A Human Being II, but at least it was enjoyably shallow. “Long as my b*****s love me / I can give a f**k ‘bout no hater…”
From album: Delta Machine
Sure, this track is titled “Angel”, but it surely must be representing a dark angel… Mysterious, chilling, and ‘bothered’, “Angel” finds Depeche Mode doing what they do best.
Pusha T featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: My Name Is My Name
The rap IQ on “Nosetalgia” is off the charts, particularly with Kendrick Lamar collaborating with Pusha. Pusha T proclaims himself the “Black Ferris Bueller, cutting school with his jewels on…what I sell for pain in the hood, I’m a doctor…” while Kendrick Lamar’s slaughtering verse is capped off with “Go figure mother f**ker, every verse is a brick.” True.
“Ain’t It Fun”
From album: Paramore
Ain’t It Fun” may be Paramore’s best track EVER. Driven by a funky groove, the band goes ‘big’ with a gargantuan bass line, full-force punk-laden guitars, and gospel vocals. ‘ain’t it fun’? – Definitely!
French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne
From album: Excuse My French
The raunchiest track from French Montana’s debut album is the best. It’s all about popping… and I’ll leave it at that!