The 15 Best Songs of 2013 So far

Well it’s halfway through July and most everyone else did this in June. What ev.

15. Portugal. The Man – Purple Yellow Red and Blue 

Just a happy synthy fun time. Totally a summer singalong.

“All I wanna do is live in ecstacy.”

14. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down – We the Common (for Valerie Bolden) 

First heard this in January and it’s still full of bouncy goodness.

“I could be your saint. You could be mine.”

13. Justin Timberlake – Suit and Tie (feat. Jay-Z)

The Grammy comeback performance was surprisingly good, and the song makes me want to dance every time I hear it.

“As long as I got my suit and tie / I’ma leave it all on the floor tonight”

12. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young 

Not so keen on the whole album, but this catchy one has gotten under my skin in a good way.  I love it when it comes up on the radio.

“Irish and proud, baby, naturally. But you got the luck of a Kennedy /
So grab the wheel, keep on holding it tight.  ‘Til you’re tunneling over into that good night.”

11. Foxygen – San Francisco 

Now we’re getting good. To my knowledge there has not been a true psychedelic band in our generation (though Wolfmother was close).  Foxygen just might be it.
“Your eyes are like a cup o’ tea. Ascend into the sun with me.”

10. Haerts – Wings 

The video absolutely makes the song. Chock full of nostalgia for me, and now I just like the song by itself.

“I’ll never let the magic go. I’ll float away into your afterglow.”

9. Phosphorescent – Song for Zula 

Already topping at least one best-of list for the year (Paste I think) the somber background synth here with his haunting vocals and the Johnny Cash shout-out is nothing short of brilliant.

“Now my heart is gold, my feet are right /
And I’m racing out on the desert plains all night.”

8. Daft Punk – Get Lucky 

If this song were a movie, it would be the 2013 summer blockbuster. Doesn’t have to be critically acclaimed (though it may be). Just has to make you feel good.

“She’s up all night ’til the sun; I’m up all night to get some /
She’s up all night for good fun; I’m up all night to get lucky”

7. The Thermals – Born to Kill 

OK, now it’s serious. This is 1:48 of in-your-face, slap-you-around gritty pop punk. And I never get tired of his edgy yet melodic voice.

“I will never be done, I’ll always be hungry.
And each final breath I take burns a bright fire inside of me.”

6.  Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeroes-  Better Days 

Such a great mellow song. It seems that they’re aging into wisdom (even more now) and they’re not even 30.

“We don’t have to talk. Let’s dance.”

5. Lake Street Dive – Seventeen 

The coolest opening act I’ve seen all year (w/ Josh Ritter at the Crystal). This song was the highlight of the set. And, with the exception of Taj Mahal at the Bluesfest, the sexiest musical thing I’ve seen all year as well. (Video is from an NYC show)

“I wish I’d met you when I was seventeen.”

4.  The Mowglis – San Francisco 

Party on, Mowglis. Nothing but perky, pop choral fun here.

“Do you feel the love? (I feel the love)
C’mon c’mon, lets start it up!
Let it pour out of your soooooul”

3.  Josh Ritter – Apple Blossom Rag 

I’ve said it before, but this will always be a go-to lullaby for my kids. Exquisitely painful, beautiful folk ballad.

“Oh, the appleblossom rag
Oh, for such a knife
That from my blood could love unbraid
Without taking my life”

 2. Patty Griffin – Wild Old Dog 

Watch this video from the Bing Lounge performance, remember I’m Texas boy, and understand how much I love Patty Griffin. Especially the intro story and then from about 4:10 to 4:40.

“It’s lonely on the highway / Sometimes a heart can turn to dust.”

 1.  Aoife O Donovan — Red & White & Blue & Gold 

I was privileged to see Aoife perform this for Prairie Home Companion at Edgefield last Wednesday night. Quite possibly the most perfect summer romance song ever written.


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