Here’s what moved me in 2013, in no particular order:
Sneak Out The Back Door – Ron Sexsmith
Anxiety in the face of social obligation never sounded so Zen.
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Impossible to deny.
Please Baby Stay – The Walkervilles
Great new band from Windsor. Catchy basslines, tight harmonies, insane drumming.
Wayne – Gnarwalz
My rockstar-in-the-making cousin wrote this epic east coast jam. That’s him singing. How fucking cool is that?
Kapuskasing Coffee – Justin Rutledge
I love the pause between ‘makes me think of you’ and ‘too’. In my opinion, this some of his best songwriting yet.
Song for Zula – Phosphorescent
Song of the year? Arguably. First heard it on on CBC’s The Signal. It literally stopped me in my tracks.
I Was A Fool – Tegan and Sara
I’m an old school T&S fan (truth). Their latest effort is both an impressive evolution and a near-perfect pop record. Shiny hooks, heartbreak lyrics, no filler. And they wrote it themselves – how many pop stars (yes, the twins have reached pop star status) can say that? I could’ve picked almost anything off this album, they’re all hits.
Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard – Beck
Though technically released in 2012, this irresistible track from the mighty Beck wasn’t performed by the man himself until 2013. Here’s one of the many cover versions found online. Note the George Harrison guitar.
Lightning Bolt – Pearl Jam
Soaring melody. Tight performance. Hummable guitar interplay. A perfect PJ rocker.
Pretty Saro – Bob Dylan
An outtake from my favourite Dylan era – the period from the late 60s to the early 70s when Bob hid away, raised a family, and sang with a soft sort of twang. During his reclusion, he wrote (and in this case, covered) some of the most beautiful lilts of all time. Crazy to think this was sitting idle for the last 43 years.
Of Space and Time – City and Colour
I don’t like all of his tunes but I like this one.
Pretty – The Weeknd
The blatant sexism in The Weeknd’s lyrics is hard to take, but his voice is undeniable and when he sets a hook, he sets it deep. Wait for the chorus.
Don’t Swallow The Cap – The National
These guys are the complete package and I loved this song right away. “Everything I love is on the table, everything I love is out to sea.”
Blurry Nights – Hayden
Best track on his new album, for my money. Starts off strong and only gets stronger when Lou Canon nails the second verse.
Grace For Saints and Ramblers – Iron and Wine
One of the best songs I’ve heard from him in a while. In a messy and ugly and beautiful world, it all came down to you and I.
Badge and Gun – John Mayer
In the midst of 2013’s pop explosion, John Mayer may have quietly penned the year’s best song.
Let Her Go – Passenger
Why didn’t I write that?
Robotic – Hannah Georges
Love this tune. So much energy. So much confidence. Can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
Recovery – Frank Turner
I kind of didn’t want to include this song but the chorus is just so damn 90’s sing-along good.
Wild Country – Wake Owl
Further proof that all you need to write great songs is an acoustic guitar and basic chords. That and a whole lotta soul.
Put on Colonge – Donovan Woods
Sweet Jesus. What a voice. What lyrics. What a melody.