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The 20 Best Songs of 2013 (in 10 Words or Less)

12/20/2013 09:55 am ET | Updated Feb 19, 2014
  • Kristi York Wooten Journalist and founder of SustenanceGroup.org, focused on music, global health and women's rights

I spend most of my time dodging Atlanta traffic while listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" or John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" (as spun on vinyl by the local DJ), so the last thing I would expect to do is fall in love with the pop charts. Yet, that's exactly what happened in 2013, thanks in part to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," a respectably funky attempt to resurrect the sound of the 1970s band Chic ... and the first reason in a long time to listen to Top 40 music. That's not to say everything I heard on the radio this year was worth a mention, but quite a few tunes made 2013 more bearable -- and hummable.

Below, I list my 20 favorite songs of the year, each with a description that's 10 words or less. Take a listen and let me know if you agree with my choices!


Daft Punk - "Get Lucky"

As close as 2013 can get to the Chic Mystique


Drake - "Hold On, We're Going Home"

Making genius out of smooth beats and monotone choruses

Lorde - "Royals"
Forget Katy Perry, this is the real teenage dream.


Avicii - "Wake Me Up"

Thank God for Aloe Blacc.

Bruno Mars - "Treasure"
Michael moonwalked a little in heaven when he heard this.

Paul McCartney - "New"
Not so new, but so delicious

Elvis Costello And The Roots - "Wise Up GHOST"
What happens when drama and mystery meet Elvis and Questlove?

Diane Birch - "It Plays On"
A mega-talented songwriter blossoms after the death of her father.

The Neighbourhood - "Sweater Weather"
Resurrected from 2011; hands-down best moody alternative song


India.Arie with Gramps Morgan - "Thy Will Be Done"

Infectious, gospel-inflected reggae for the self-empowerment set

Robert Glasper Experiment - "I Stand Alone"
So glad jazz has a crossover champion!

Quadron - "Favorite Star"
If only Sade were a Scandinavian millennial ...


Fitz and The Tantrums - "Out Of My League"

This is my jam. It was awesome live, too!

Dent May - "Born Too Late"
Crazy-cool Mississippian pop that owes the Beach Boys big!


Eminem - "The Monster"

Seize the moment and don't squander it. Add Rihanna.

The Cat Empire - "Still Young"
Horns + Aussies = bliss

Fortress Social Club - "Dream Girls"
Old-fashioned sexist rock 'n' roll


Jake Bugg - "Trouble Town"

A dream of the Wild West, with an English accent

Tennis - "Origins"
2012 holdover - updated girly dream pop with a shoegazing drone

CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

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