Year-end lists are always difficult. Fitting an entire year of music into a condensed list doesn't do all released music justice, but it must be done. Below is a selection of ten of the best records from 2013, ranging from hip-hop to EDM. It's all creating a debate, so check out the list below, listen to the songs and let us know what you think of the list, and if you have a top ten of your own, don't be afraid to share it.
1. Kanye West - New Slaves
No song sent quite as strong of a message in 2013 as Kanye West's, 'New Slaves.' In a year that saw the outspoken star saturate the airwaves with interviews, and in the process creating some of the year's most memorable sound bytes. The music from his album 'Yeezus' made many uncomfortable, with harsh truths and experimental production, and many tried to write it off, but it didn’t change the reality and message of the record, and 'New Slaves' exemplifies the album to a tee.
2. Arcade Fire - Afterlife
It’s difficult to pick between AF’s album title track and ‘Afterlife,’ but the record eeks out the victory by way of its teased roll out and accompanying visual. The layers of the record, from its soft disco groove to the lyrics depth, the single is as catchy as it is substantive, and those are the makings of a classic record.
3. Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home
No matter what genre you prefer, this song was one you sang along to, and if you are a musician, one you wish you wrote. The infectious record preceded the superstar's platinum selling album 'Nothing Was The Same' and solidified Drake's spot atop hip-hop.
4. Daft Punk - Get Lucky
When you think of Summer 2013, you think of two songs, and this was the more widely loved and least controversial of the two. The Pharell & Nile Rodgers assisted single took over airwaves internationally and helped the german robots notch another hit album to their catalog. 'Get Lucky' was a record that was nearly universally adopted after one listen, and had everyone signing about 'Getting Lucky' this year.
5. James Blake - Life Round Here
James Blake's sophomore album 'Overgrown' has plenty of gems within its confines, but the single 'Life Round Here' is a stand out. Blake, who would remix the record with hip-hop's 2013 golden child Chance The Rapper, layers aggressive electronic with ambient calm for a masterpiece of a record.
6. Martin Garrix - Animals
One of EDM's undeniable hits of 2013 was brought to you by 17-year old Dutchman Martin Garrix. The addictive single took over festivals and made a star out of the young man in the process. The record is easily one of the year’s best in the highly competitive EDM scene.
7. Blood Orange - You're Not Good Enough
The second track from Dev Hynes’ a/k/a Blood Orange’s sophomore album ‘Cupid Deluxe,’ the single ‘You’re Not Good Enough’ is about as deceptive of a song as they come. On the surface the track is a funky, dance record, but upon analyzing the lyrics, you realize the harsh message hidden in the tune. Hynes’ songwriting prowess is a marvel and the entire album is some of 2013’s best work.
8. Beyoncé - XO
Beyoncé’s late entry into the mix shook up the music world, and while listeners are still coming to from their shock of the album realease, many favorites are beginning to emerge. One of the three official singles from the album is ‘XO,’ and the record is rightfully placed as one of the projects top singles. It is a stadium-ready record, and as it was the only song B would perform on the latest leg of her tour, it seems she would agree.
9. Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines
The backlash surrounding Thicke's summer hit has nearly made people forget how big of a hit the record was. As unfortunate as some of the lyrics may have been to some, the record was a bonafide smash and you could not avoid the record if you tried during Summer 2013.
10. Disclosure - White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge)
Brotherly duo Disclosure had an enormous year, with their single ‘White Noise’ playing all over the place, they scored a hit, and in the process introduced AlunaGeorge to the US. The single is incredibly infectious and Aluna’s vocals over the duo’s production is a match made in heaven.
Honorable Mentions: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us, Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop, Autre Ne Veut - Play by Play, Bastille - Pompeii, Avicii - Wake Me Up, Lorde - Royals,The National - Graceless, Ariana Grande - The Way