The 30 Songs of the Year: 14-1

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This article will be translated within ten days // Bydd yr erthygl hon yn cael ei chyfieithu o fewn deg diwrnod

At this point in the countdown you may now relax; there will be nothing but excellent and amazing songs coming your way. Some euphoric, some heart-breaking and some just put-your-hands-in-the-air-and-dance-all-your-troubles-away-amazing.

Halfway through actually writing this article, Beyoncémageddon happened and, in the middle of the night with no prior warning, Beyoncé Knowles ‘dropped’ her fifth album straight onto iTunes with 14 songs and 17 videos to boot.

It was, at its best, the music moment of the entire year.

At its worst it was just an excuse to spend £12.99 but when you’re faced between buying bread or the new Beyoncé album I think we all know what you’re going to choose. I mean, you can make your own bread for free can’t you.

Because it was such an amazing moment and an amazing album packed with utterly beautiful songs, it was very hard not to just render the list moot and compile the Beyoncé list but that wasn’t very fair on all the artists who’d worked so hard i.e. I didn’t want to chuck any of the best songs of the year off this list. As such, only one Beyoncé song is present but there are at least 4, if not 5, songs on that album worthy of a placing on a list.

Well, that’s just a lesson for Beyoncé to be more punctual next time, isn’t it.

14. Black Skinhead – Kanye West

Yeezus was Kanye West at his best; egotistical, mad and inventive. The most surprising moment of the album – aside from the grinding synths of New Slaves, the utter beauty of Blood on the Leaves or Bound 2’s hilariously horrid video – comes in the form of Black Skinhead. With its Daft Punk engineered beats, it’s possibly the furthest away from a pop song that you could get but, funnily enough, it represents Kanye at his most mainstream. The video is utter garbage, however.

13. Trouble – Neon Jungle

Very new and very excellent girl bands are few and far between nowadays, since most of them are either carbon copies of the Spice Girls, Sugababes and Girls Aloud or just the Frankenstein-like copy of all three. One thing Neon Jungle aren’t is your typical girl band and they more than showed off their troublesome qualities. A grinding, explosive beat pounded with I Love It-style vocals, Neon Jungle emerged a girl band like no other in 2013 and long may it continue in 2014.

12. Elastic Heart – Sia, The Weekend & Diplo

The best cut from the soundtrack of the new Hunger Games movie is this moving piece by Australian singer Sia, who you would of course recognise from her many vocal spots for the likes of David Guetta and Flo Rida. She also happens to be quite a good songwriter and wrote everything from Rihanna’s Diamonds to Lea Michele’s Cannonball. Expect to hear quite a lot from Sia in 2014, even if you can’t really distinguish what you’re hearing into actual words.

11. XO РBeyonc̩

Here we are. The best song on Beyonce’s album. Written by Ryan Tedder – who wrote Halo – this is the most pop moment of the album. And you may think that’s a bad thing but this song really is beautiful – and it’s understated video, filmed at Coney Island in America, fits the tone perfectly. Most surprising of all is the fact that it’s directed by Terry ‘Wrecking Ball’ Richardson but then again even if Beyonce had licked some demolition equipment we still would have called it the best thing ever. Well done Bey.

10. We Can’t Stop – Miley Cyrus

Speaking of Wrecking Ball, this year was firmly the Year of the Cyrus. Miley may have turned into a huge self-parody of herself and all the ‘ratchet white gurls’ out there but let’s not take that away from the fact that she launched her year with a massive single. This is that single. As one way to rebrand yourself from your Party In The USA days it sort of does the job. But then you film the video and it all hits the fan. It still sounds like a number one single though, doesn’t it.

9. Doing It Wrong – Anita Blay and Ian Masterson

This is the theme song to the BBC Three show ‘Some Girls’. It only took the first 30 seconds of the chorus for me to become addicted and spend most of 2012 and 2013 trying to find this song. In late September, my prayers were answered and the full song popped up online. It really is quite good isn’t it?

8. SuperLove – Charli XCX

Charli XCX wrote I Love It by Icona Pop. If this song is one thing, it’s Charli XCX stating that while, yes, she can write amazing pop songs like I Love It by Icona Pop she can also write amazing pop songs that are not I Love It by Icona Pop and she can sing them as well. The video is glorious and it also has robots. Like, proper full size robots.

7. Paper Heart – Chloe Howl

Every year the press makes one emerging act the ‘future star’ of the next year using various outlets like the BRITS’ Critics’ Choice Award or the BBC Sound Of…nonsense. This year everyone’s seemed to go for Sam Smith, which is nice for him, but Chloe Howl hasn’t won any of these accolades yet and with such astounding syth-pop songs like this, she certainly needs to.

6. Hurricane – Bridgit Mendler

If Miley is the Disney star gone wild, then Bridgit Mendler represents a distinctly calmer state of affairs. It’s not as if this girl or any of her songs are likely to cause any international conflicts anytime soon. Hurricane is a very strange song upon the first listen – the chorus is, admittedly, fabulous but Mendler’s spoken vocals do grate so – but then the song pop ups as you’re playing pool in a Student’s Union in Swansea and all of a sudden it all makes sense. This song is properly amazing.

5. Rich Boi – Porcelain Black

Porcelain Black was featured on last year’s list and admittedly she hasn’t done a lot really this year but in the summer she released videos of her performing five brand new songs and this song was the best. A RedOne produced ‘jam’ that suggests perhaps Porcelain Black is mellowing in her later years. She is, of course, the ripe old age of 27.

4. Saturday Night – Natalia Kills

Natalia Kills had the best album of the year with her masterpiece ‘Trouble’ and this heart-breaking yet soul-rousing slice of emo-pop with tribal drums and biographical lyrics makes Kills stand tall amongst her contemporaries. What is a crime to all of humanity, though, is that no-one’s really noticed her or how amazing she is yet. Which is a bit annoying when you have songs as good as this. Best lyric of the year; ‘The boys I kiss don’t know my name/The tears I cry all taste of blame/Bad luck and dirty cops/I’m a *shall we say ‘bloody’* teenage tragedy.’

3. Heart Attack – Demi Lovato

While Miley twerked her way to the bank and back, Demi Lovato released a so-so album which ripped off various pop trends yet didn’t make any good songs out of them. The first single off the album, however, is a complete work of art and for a time made it seem like Demi might have the album of the year on her hands. And then Made In The USA came on and everyone ignored it and went back and listened to this. What a song.

2. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus

This was Miley’s ‘look at me I’m amazing when I’m not twerking as well’ moment. Well, it should have been if she hadn’t had licked that bloody hammer. Phallic tools aside, this gorgeous power-ballad really does cement what an amazing vocalist Destiny Hope actually is, even if the viewing public really didn’t get the exposed Bangerz in the video at all.

1. You’re Not The One – Sky Ferriera

This is the best song of the year for many reasons:

1) It just is OK.

2) The chorus is completely unbelievable.

3) ‘It’s the middle of the night and I’m so gone’ is amazing, isn’t it.

4) It made Sky Ferriera actually release an album.

5) The whole song is just a complete pop triumph and very surprising given what people were expecting from Ferriera after the whole Everything Is Embarrassing success.

6) It makes you sad. It makes you happy. It makes you hopeful. It makes you dance. On its best day, pop should do all of these things.

Those were the best songs of 2013. An improvement on last year?

Sure, since there was more Gaga and Beyoncé than last year.

But let’s all hope that in 2014 pop stays away from guitars, twerking and soft-core music videos and actually just gets back to being amazing on its own terms.

Have a good year and well done everyone. Except Robin Thicke. Bad Robin Thicke.

Image: pigeonsandplanes

Related Article: The 30 Songs Of The Year: 30-15

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