The Best Songs of 2013

WAMH’s very own, Sam Feldman, has compiled a comprehensive passport to his thoughts on the 100 best songs of 2013. Make sure to scroll to the latter half of the article where Sam dishes some extra knowledge on the composition of the top fifty songs. Do you agree with his list? What songs do you think deserve prestigious placement in the upper echelon of 2013 music culture?

How many tracks from Kanye West's "Yeezus" break into the top 100?

How many tracks from Kanye West’s “Yeezus” break into the top 100?

100.

Title: Free Your Mind

Artist: Cut Copy

Album: Free Your Mind

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

99.

Title: Defriended

Artist: Beck

Album: Defriended – Single

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

98.

Title: Everything

Artist: Nine Inch Nails

Album: Hesitation Marks

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

97.

Title: If So

Artist: Atlas Genius

Album: When It Was Now

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

96.

Title: Where Are We Now?

Artist: David Bowie

Album: The Next Day

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

95.

Title: Wake Me Up

Artist: Avicii

Album: True

Peak Chart Position: 4

94.

Title: Song for Zula

Artist: Phosphorescent

Album: Muchacho

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

93.

Title: Smooth Sailing

Artist: Queens of the Stone Age

Album: …Like Clockwork

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

92.

Title: So Far…

Artist: Eminem

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

91.

Title: Picacho (feat. Maceo)

Artist: Young Thug

Album: 1017 Thug Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

90.

Title: Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko)

Artist: Rihanna

Album: Unapologetic

Peak Chart Position: 3

89.

Title: Let Nas Down

Artist: J. Cole

Album: Born Sinner

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

88.

Title: Body Party

Artist: Ciara

Album: Ciara

Peak Chart Position: 22

87.

Title: Molasses (feat. RZA)

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Album: Doris

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

86.

Title: Defeated No More

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

85.

Title: Finger Back

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

84.Holy_Fire_II

Title: Late Night

Artist: Foals

Album: Holy Fire

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

83.

Title: Rhyme Or Reason

Artist: Eminem

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

82.

Title: The Heat

Artist: Jungle

Album: The Heat EP

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

81.

Title: #Beautiful (feat. Miguel)

Artist: Mariah Carey

Album: The Art of Letting Go

Peak Chart Position: 15

80.

Title: Closer

Artist: Tegan and Sara

Album: Heartthrob

Peak Chart Position: 90

79.

Title: Whorehouse

Artist: CEO

Album: Wonderland

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

78.

Title: Come Down to Us

Artist: Burial

Album: Rival Dealer EP

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

77.

Title: Follow Your Arrow

Artist: Kacey Musgraves

Album: Same Trailer Different Park

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

76.

Title: Love Is Lost – Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA

Artist: David Bowie

Album: The Next Day Extra

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

75.

Title: I Sat By the Ocean

Artist: Queens of the Stone Age

Album: …Like Clockwork

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

74.

Title: Everybody’s Something (feat. Saba & BJ the Chicago Kid)

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

73.

Title: Do I Wanna Know?

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Album: AM

Peak Chart Position: 83

72.

Title: All Night

Artist: Jai Paul

Album: Jai Paul (Leaked)

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

71.

Title: Hudson

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

70.

Title: Here Comes the Night Time

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Reflektor

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

69.

Title: Nosetalgia (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Artist: Pusha T

Album: My Name Is My Name

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

68.

chance-the-rapper-acid-rap

Title: Good Ass Intro (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid, Lili K., Kiara Lanier, Peter Cottontale, & Will for the O’mys)

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

67.

Title: Feds Watching (feat. Pharrell)

Artist: 2 Chainz

Album: B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time

Peak Chart Position: 66

66.

Title: Girlfriend

Artist: Icona Pop

Album: THIS IS… ICONA POP

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

65.

Title: St. Justice

Artist: Albert Hammond, Jr.

Album: AHJ

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

64.

Title: Wakin on a Pretty Day

Artist: Kurt Vile

Album: Wakin On a Pretty Daze

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

63.

Title: Old Love / New Love

Artist: Twin Shadow

Album: Music of Grand Theft Auto

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

62.

Title: Demon to Lean On

Artist: Wavves

Album: Afraid of Heights

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

61.

Title: Juice

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

60.

Title: The Red Wing

Artist: Fuck Buttons

Album: Slow Focus

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

59.

Title: 1Train (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, & Big K.R.I.T.)

Artist: A$AP Rocky

Album: LONG.LIVE.A$AP

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

58.

Title: Big Wheel

Artist: Cass McCombs

Album: Big Wheel and Others

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

57.

Title: Nothing But Time

Artist: Lily & Madeleine

Album: Lily & Madeleine

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

56.

Title: F For You

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

55.

Title: Plenty of Girls In The Sea

Artist: MGMT

Album: MGMT

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

54.

Title: You’re Not the One

Artist: Sky Ferreira

Album: Night Time, My Time

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

53.

Title: Pusha Man (feat. Nate Fox & Lili K.)  & Paranoid (Hidden Track)

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

52.

Title: Roar

Artist: Katy Perry

Album: Prism

Peak Chart Position: 1

Chvrches_-_The_Bones_Of_What_You_Believe

51.

Title: The Mother We Share

Artist: CHVRCHES

Album: The Bones of What You Believe

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

50.

Title: Obvious Bicycle

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

The opener to the best album of the year, “Obvious Bicycle,” mixes thumping percussion and soaring voices into a song unlike anything else that Vampire Weekend or any artist has done before.  When Ezra Koenig belts “Listeeeeeen,” that’s exactly what you do.

49.

Title: Recover

Artist: CHVRCHES

Album: The Bones of What You Believe

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The second single from CHVRCHES’ stellar debut album sucks the listener in with CHVRCHES’ trademark synth chords. Then the melancholy chorus shatters the ceiling.  Listen for the male vocalist repeating “bah bah bah bah” during the chorus.

48.

Title: Normal Person

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Reflektor

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

You can easily visualize the sneer on Win Butler’s face when he sings “Do you like rock n roll music? Cuz I’m not sure if I do.”  Despite Butler’s wariness of rock n roll, this song is purely that.  Churning guitar, head nodding (or maybe even head banging) and attitude are abundant.

47.

Title: Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Artist: Queens of the Stone Age

Album: …Like Clockwork

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Hear only the first chord to “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” and terror will suddenly grasp you.  This terror is founded, as the song is the opener to the heaviest album since Zeppelin ruled the world.  QOTSA immediately lets you know they are not here to fuck around.

46.

Title: Everlasting Arms

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Vampire Weekend first gained recognition with their African inspired baroque pop.  Years later, a trace of their old self can be seen on this track, only it’s accompanied by lyrics more aching and music more complex than anything found on Vampire Weekend’s first two albums.

45.

Title: 24 Hours

Artist: Sky Ferreira

Album: Night Time, My Time

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

“24 Hours” is certainly a pop song, but Ferreira charges it with such menace throughout the verses it seems like Joan Jett’s return to form.  That’s only until the chorus though, when you can’t help yourself from getting lost in the bubblegum catchiness.

44.

Title: Shabba (feat. A$AP Rocky)

Artist: A$AP Ferg

Album: Trap Lord

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

One of the most thug songs of the year somehow manages to simultaneously be one of the catchiest.  As A$AP Ferg compares himself to Shabba Ranks, try not to bounce along.  As soon as you hear the spare beat that opens this song, you know the party’s about to get dirty.

43.

Title: Retrograde

Artist: James Blake

Album: Overgrown

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

Kanye West and Justin Vernon personally overlooked the production of this song, and it shows in its near Yeezus minimalism.  When Blake sings “Suddenly I’m hit,” the song sends a laser blast directly to the part of your brain that loves music.

42.

Title: Only a Clown

Artist: Caitlin Rose

Album: The Stand-In

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

This country-pop-rock song combines genres as it jangles through Rose’s expert songwriting.  Rose sings “let the band play a song all about love and believing.”  Well, Caitlin, you wrote that song, and it’s called “Only a Clown.”

41.

Title: Counting

Artist: Autre Ne Veut

Album: Anxiety

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

Experimental? Oh yes.  Catchy? Most definitely so.  This song is mesmerizing, even as it drops bits of sonic waste into the mix.  Seriously, you’ll probably be taking off your headphones to see what all that commotion is, only to realize it’s the masterpiece that is “Counting.”

40.

Title: If I Had A Tail

Artist: Queens of the Stone Age

Album: … Like Clockwork

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Nobody expects to dance to a QOTSA track, but as soon as the groove enters on this track try not to swing your hips.  Don’t worry, it’s still menacing as shit.  The chorus pulls away all the bullshit and melts down the metal like only Josh Homme can.

39.

Title: Send It Up

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

The beat is a siren wail, King L is moving cocaine on the first day of school, and Kanye is pissed.  This song is like a club track on PCP.  And who else besides Kanye would insert a dance hall voice at the end of his song to yell some half-unintelligible shit?  The answer is nobody.  Only Kanye.

38.

Title: Hive (feat. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies)

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Album: Doris

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

Earl and a couple buddies team up on one of the top five beats of the year to exercise their wordplay.  Earl and company are certainly in top form too, as they casually mention Dr. Jekyll, Auschwitz, and fat bitches.  The beat itself is so entrancing that it’s next to impossible to not bob your head.

37.

Title: Worship You

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Most of Ezra Koenig’s lyrics are hardly decipherable on this track, as he sings them faster than most rappers could.  The rhythm marches without fail, and then the chorus blows your mind.  If you do bother to look up the lyrics, you’ll discover that Ezra writes about some pretty heavy subjects, chiefly religion.

36.

Title: New Slaves

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Kanye remarks on racism, consumerism, and nearly every other –ism out there.  The beat is sparse until the 2:50 mark, when a drum introduces a new Kanye, who pours his heart out with the help of some auto-tune.  This song is only 4:16 minutes total, but from it’s starting point to the end, it traverses miles.

35.

Title: Banana Clipper (feat. Big Boi)

Artist: Run the Jewels

Album: Run the Jewels

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Killer Mike and El-P go in on this song.  This is like the “Niggas in Paris” of 2013, where two friends just make themselves sound like the two most bad ass rappers on earth.  Plus, Big Boi closes the song, and when has someone ever complained about hearing Big Boi spit rhymes?

34.

Title: XO

Artist: Beyonce

Album: Beyonce

Peak Chart Position: 66

Damn, Beyonce is the queen of pop.  Her atypical marketing of her most recent album didn’t harm it in the slightest.  On the contrary, the buzz surrounding the release of Beyonce was incredible.  And it’s because of songs like “XO,” the first single from the album, that allow Beyonce to do pretty much whatever the fuck she wants.

33.

Title: Voices

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

Disclosure mastered the electronic pop song on their debut album, Settle.  When the chorus rushes in on this track, you can’t decide whether to sing along or just dance.  “I tried to resist,” sings Sasha Keable.  If you try to resist this song… well good luck with that.

32.

Title: Tangled Envisioning

Artist: Waxahatchee

Album: Cerulean Salt

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Katie Crutchfield will break your heart.  She bares her soul with her simple and folky guitar and personal lyrics.  The melody is far from complex, but the combination of all the elements of this song make the sum much greater than the parts.

31.

Title: Numbers on the Boards

Artist: Pusha T

Album: My Name Is My Name

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The Kanye West beat is just straight up nasty.  The synth seems almost haphazard.  Oh ya, and then there’s Pusha T.  He is more gangsta than ever, as he proclaims he sells “a brick on his birthday.”  Another key to this song is the moments-long Jay-Z sample, serving as momentary relief from the grimy production.

30.

Title: Favorite Song (feat. Childish Gambino)

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

A Betty Wright sample holds this track together as Chance raps his ass off, and then sings his ass off on the ultimate sing-along chorus.  Best line? “White dudes Harlem Shake/ Why you laughin?/ Cuz you Harlem Shake!” This my jam.

29.

Title: The Wire

Artist: Haim

Album: Days Are Gone

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

This song is just hook after hook, and each one is better than the last.  The three Haim sisters are perfectly polished.  The beat is a direct cop from “Heartache Tonight” by Eagles, but Haim lends it a swagger that the Eagles never could.

28.

Title: El Rito

Artist: Destroyer

Album: Five Spanish Songs

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Dan Bejar, the frontman of Destroyer, is not Spanish.  In fact, he made Five Spanish Songs solely because he was tired of the English language.  Lucky for us, his Spanish cover songs of five Sr. Chinarro tracks produced “El Rito,” one the funkiest power-pop songs released in recent history.  Even though you may not follow any of the lyrics, the energy is tangible.

27.

Title: My Number

Artist: Foals

Album: Holy Fire

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

“My Number” is catchy as hell while still being a genuine rock song.  The lyrics are about independence, a theme that stretches back to the roots of rock n roll music.  “My Number” is like an updated version of every song about claiming yourself for your own after years of subjugation, either to a partner, family member, job, or anything else under the sun.

26.

Title: I Should Live In Salt

Artist: The National

Album: Trouble Will Find Me

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Matt Berninger’s remorse is terrifying.  The extent of his sadness knows no bounds.  When he sings “Behind/ Ahaha,” the emotion in his voice is so powerful that it washes over you like a infinite sea of sadness.  The National are somehow able to turn this melancholy into pure bad assery.

25.

Title: By the Throat

Artist: CHVRCHES

Album: The Bones of What You Believe

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

“You know, you know, you know that you’re going to far.”  The male vocalist repeats this line over and over throughout the song, while Lauren Mayberry’s icy voice soars above it all.  The explosion of synth notes transports you to a happy place, but this song is far from sunshine and daisies; it has it’s fair share of heartbreak.

24.

Title: Unbelievers

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The most straight up pop song from Modern Vampires of the City is brilliant in its simplicity.  The lyrics are thoughtful, and the tune is instantly recognizable.  When Ezra Koenig sings “and you love the sea-eeeeee” it’s real tough not to give your heart to Vampire Weekend.

23.

Title: “Let’s Play” / Statue of a Man

Artist: Mutual Benefit

Album: Love’s Crushing Diamond

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Jordan Lee somehow manages to make his songs contain every emotion known to man.  Joy and depression are both represented in this song.  It could make you weep, but from happiness or sadness would be unclear.   One thing is certain though.  This song is 100% beautiful.

22.

Title: Interlude (That’s Love)

Artist: Chance the Rapper

Album: Acid Rap Mixtape

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Chance gets sentimental on the interlude from his killer mixtape, Acid Rap.  “Interlude” may not be about any certain girl rather than about life in general.  And Chance undoubtedly loves life.  That’s love.

21.

Title: Swan Dive

Artist: Waxahatchee

Album: Cerulean Salt

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

This song rambles along under Waxahatchee’s gorgeous voice and lyrics.  “let me pretend this is the love I need,” pleads Katie Crutchfield.  I’d pretend anything for you Katie.  I’m convinced you’re the girl of my dreams, and it’s all because of this song.

20.disclosure-settle

Title: White Noise

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

“White Noise” went unnoticed by the masses in America, but in the United Kingdom it was a number two hit.  And for good reason.  The bounce in this song’s chorus is inescapable.  The words “Just noise/ White noise,” could be stuck in your head for weeks after hearing this song only once.

19.

Title: Diane Young

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The first single released from Modern Vampires is a combination of surf rock, Elvis Presley, and a good time at the sock hop.  Once again though, Vampire Weekend has written powerful and resounding lyrics, this time about aging and death.

18.

Title: Hold On, We’re Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan)

Artist: Drake

Album: Nothing Was the Same

Peak Chart Position: 4

Drake owned 2013, and the biggest reason was this song.  This song appealed to all corners of the music world, from rap fans to your grandparents.  Kudos to Majid Jordan’s production, which was the key to this song’s global dominance.

17.

Title: Hiders

Artist: Burial

Album: Rival Dealer EP

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

There’s not much to say about this song, other than you need to listen to it.  It’s melancholic beauty encapsulated.  The vocal samples are mostly unintelligible, except for the haunting “always protect you.”  And the drums!  When the drums finally appear, they are like the backbeat to an eighties pop song by Huey Lewis and the News.  The only problem with this song? It’s too short.

16.

Title: Sunday (feat. Frank Ocean)

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Album: Doris

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Earl teams up with Frank Ocean and spits some of the deepest and most heartfelt rhymes of the year.  Ocean more than holds his own too when it’s his turn to drop a verse too.  The chorus is touching too.  “All my dreams get dimmer when I stop smoking pot.”

15.

Title: Victim of Love (feat. Menahan Street Band)

Artist: Charles Bradley

Album: Victim of Love

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Bradley belts like James Brown never died.  When he yells “I’m a victiiiiiim,” you can’t look away.  The man sounds like he’s burning up, and he really makes you feel it.  This is the most impressive vocal performance of the year.

14.

Title: Step

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

An ode to all the influences Vampire Weekend has synthesized, “Step” also achieves levels of angelic beauty.  An absolute must-listen for music fans everywhere.

13.

Title: Ya Hey

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The Alvin and the Chipmunks voice is unexpected and perhaps even a bit jarring at first, but as you listen to this song more, you realize it’s one of the most affecting songs written in any of our lifetimes.  Deep lyrics, (a standard of Vampire Weekend by this point), background chanting, and pounding bass combine to make this song something you’ll never forget.

12.

Title: Golden Wake

Artist: Mutual Benefit

Album: Love’s Crushing Diamond

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

The lyrics of this song are brilliant.  The vocal inflection that Jordan Lee lends to those lyrics is just as brilliant.  The strings swell, and I dare you not to cry.  Enough said.

11.

Title: Blood on the Leaves

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: 89

Kanye proved once again that he does whatever the fuck he wants.  He combined the sacred “Strange Fruit,” a song about lynching, and the significantly less sacred “R U Ready,” by TNGHT.  The result was pure gold though, as Kanye laid down one of the best verses of his career at the end of this banger.

10.

Title: When a Fire Starts to Burn

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

A vocal sample is repeated over and over (and over) as Disclosure’s sparse beat rocks the house.  The key moment is at 3:09, when the beat comes back and everybody starts shaking their asses.

9.

Title: Black Skinhead

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: 69

Kanye somehow turns Gary Glitters “Rock n Roll Part 2” beat into people breathing, and he makes it sound damn cool.  Not only that, he includes several high pitched shrieks, he mentions King Kong, and he named the song “Black Skinhead.”  Fucking “Blkkk Skkkhead.”

8.Daft-Punk-Get-Lucky-feat.-Pharell-Willams1

Title: Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)

Artist: Daft Punk

Album: Random Access Memories

Peak Chart Position: 2

The ingredients in the pot that was “Get Lucky” was going to be a hit no matter what.  Nile Rodgers laid down a shimmery disco guitar shuffle, Pharrell filled the lyrics with pop sheen, and Daft Punk masterminded it all.  Every kid in America loved this song, and for good reason.

7.

Title: Wake Bake Skate

Artist: FIDLAR

Album: FIDLAR

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

FIDLAR stands for Fuck It Dude, Life’s A Risk, and this song certainly supports that statement.  “Wake Bake Skate” is nearly an anti-song, clocking in at less than two minutes and including punk lyrics such as “try and make it through another year/ Just to hang out with my best friends and drink a lot of beer.”  It’s the anthem of underachievers everywhere.

6.

Title: Hold My Liquor

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Kanye teamed up with long-time collaborator Justin Vernon to make five and a half minutes of atmosphere, every drop of it thick, dark, and menacing.  Chief Keef sings in a more heartfelt way than ever before, and probably ever will again.  If that’s not enough to make this song a gem, albeit a twisted and cloudy gem, Justin Vernon’s performance certainly pushes it over the top.

5.

Title: Mirrors

Artist: Justin Timberlake

Album: The 20/20 Experience

Peak Chart Position: 2

Timberlake compares wife Jessica Biel to a mirror.  That’s pretty much it.  Also, it’s eight minutes long and was a number two hit, which is really, really, really, tough to do.

4.

Title: Afterlife

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Reflektor

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

“Afterlife” slowly builds and builds until Win Butler yells, “I’ve gotta know!” And then you’re dancing.  At least until the chorus is over and the darkness creeps back in.  Thematically, “Afterlife” is heavy.  Simply by naming the song “Afterlife,” it automatically takes on a certain level of intensity, but Arcade Fire rises to meet the challenge.

3.

Title: Help Me Lose My Mind

Artist: Disclosure

Album: Settle

Peak Chart Position: Did Not Chart

The closer to Settle has a surreal quality.  It’s sad, but also classic danceable Disclosure.  And the reasons behind its sadness aren’t clear.  London Grammar’s vocal performance absolutely crushes this song too.

2.

Title: Bound 2

Artist: Kanye West

Album: Yeezus

Peak Chart Position: 12

If you ever wondered what Kanye being sincere sounded like, here you go.  This is Kanye’s song for Kim Kardashian, after an album filled with lines like “Put my fist in her like the civil rights sign.”  Kanye’s admitted he’s not the best with the ladies, but here’s how he makes up for it.  The sample is pure genius.  This is Kanye’s greatest song, and one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

1.

Title: Hannah Hunt

Artist: Vampire Weekend

Album: Modern Vampires of the City

Peak Chart Position: Non-Single

Ezra Koenig paints a lyrical picture of an entire relationship, full of heartbreak, regret, and things altogether too complex to understand.  Then, the song crashes into a perfect piano solo followed by Ezra shouting to the heavens “If I can’t trust you then dammit Hannah/ There’s no future, there’s no answer/ Though we live on the US dollar/ You and me we got our own sense of time.”  It’s up to you to determine what that means, but it can mean a lot of things, each one more profound than the last.  Well done, Vampire Weekend.