Top Ten of 2013: Favorite Songs - The Part-Time Critic

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top Ten of 2013: Favorite Songs

I have no idea if I am going to make more than one "Top Ten" entry for 2013, but I was suddenly inspired during a study break to try and list out my favorite songs of the year. You know me, I love making lists. It's always a fun process for me. I love how the process forces me to try and understand why I've found myself enjoying something more and whether or not that enjoyment was of better "quality" than another. In some senses, it can be kinda arbitrary and forced, but I still think it's a fun and revealing process. With music, my tastes are less refined and more broad; I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about music as I can be about film. I use to joke with my old roommate that I was perpetually two months or so behind everyone else in catching on to big songs; which might help explain why Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" and Florence Welch's "Sweet Nothing" found their way into contention until I realized they were actually releases from 2012! A couple more notes about the list before getting into it:

- I don't have a lot of time to pay attention to different music niches, so my taste runs fairly broad and popular. Perusing the "Best Of" lists on the internet I realize that I've never even heard of 3/4 of the artists that populate them. Much of the time, the real groundswell of good art comes from these kind of artists and I wish I had more time to pay attention to them. Alas, I can't, so I don't. As a Christian man, I wish I could seek out the better underground and independent Christian bands but I just don't have the time and effort to do it. If anyone wants to share some of the best stuff currently out there with me, please do so in the comments!
- This list is a favorite list, not a "best of" list. I don't have any insight into the objective quality of a song or to its place in influencing the industry. My system for ranking basically boils down to: "What did I find myself enjoying and listening to the most this year?"
- Saying I enjoy the music doesn't mean a ringing endorsement of the content of the lyrics or the artists. This is perhaps one of the most difficult tensions I find with being a Christian man seeking to be discerning about the music I listen to. Most of the time, if the song is just rub strongly against my morals (even if I enjoy the actual music) I just can't stomach it and thus don't listen. Songs in that category this year: "Blurred Lines", "We Can't Stop", "Black Skinhead", and to a lesser extent "Get Lucky". Its not a perfect system, but I think it's important to name my tensions going in.

Songs I liked, but didn't make the Top Ten (in no order)
"Burn" by Elle Goulding
"The Lightning Strike" by Snow Patrol
"Next to Me" by Emeli Sande
"Let Her Go" by Passenger
"My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" by Fall Out Boy
"Clarity" by Zedd
"Treasure" by Bruno Mars
"Take Back the Night" by Justin Timberlake

10. "Monster" by Eminem
9. "Demons" by Imagine Dragons
8. "King and Lionheart" by Of Monsters and Men
7. "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic
6. "Wagon Wheel" by Darius Rucker
5. "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
4. "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
3. "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Ray
2. "Wake Me Up" by Avicii
1. "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake

- In the end, I found myself returning to Timberlake's "Mirrors" over and over again. I just really, really like that song. Outside of that, most of these songs are just fun little hits. Late in the summer and early Fall I think I listened to Avicci's "Wake Me Up" every day. Nothing overwhelmingly awesome for me, no amazing new discoveries. Found myself mostly listening to a lot of the Imagine Dragons and Of Monsters and Men albums along with a smattering of songs from various artists. So, what are your favorite songs of 2013? Got any suggestions for great Christian music from 2013 that I can easily get my hands on? Feel free to share.

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