Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Top 40 Singles of 2013

It's 2014, but I'm not done looking back on 2013 yet, so let's take a look at the top 40 songs that were played on the radio this year.

I was tempted to put songs like “Blurred Lines” or “Royals” on this list because of the fact that they were so successful, but this list isn’t about commercial success or radio play. It's simply my favorite 40 singles of 2013.

40. Come and Get It
Artist: Selena Gomez
Release date: April 7, 2013
Album: Stars Dance
Peak position on Billboard's Hot 100: 6

Selena Gomez proved that she's nowhere near as annoying as her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber. While her songs aren't as good as someone like Pink or Kelly Clarkson, Gomez may just end up being a decent pop singer yet.

39. Feel This Moment
Artist: Pitbull (featuring Christina Aguilera)
Release date: March 15, 2013
Album: Global Warming
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 8

This song, while not Pitbull's best, was a nice collaboration between the two pop standouts. The song uses the recognizable synth riff from A-ha's "Take On Me," which was one of the best aspects of the song.

38. Carolina
Artist: Parmalee
Release date: February 4, 2013
Album: Feels Like Carolina
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

I used to hate country music, but these days it's a different story because contemporary country music has some variety to it. Parmalee's "Carolina" is a great example of that.

It's got somewhat goofy lyrics, but the interesting singing voice and the musical elements of the song add up to make a very easy-listening track for a car ride.

37. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
Artist: The Band Perry
Release date: August 26, 2013
Album: Pioneer
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 59

"Don't Let Me Be Lonely" is a catchy, ear-pleasing song, but the lyrics are deeper than most songs you'd hear on the radio. Essentially a plea to God for courage to find love, the song tackles a topic almost everyone has gone through, is going through or will go through.

36. Work Bitch
Artist: Britney Spears
Release date: September 17, 2013
Album: Britney Jean
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

To say I was unimpressed by this song when I initially heard it would be an understatement. To be fair, I heard a low quality version on YouTube. Then I listened to the official high quality version on Ms. Spears’ Vevo.

Now I love every part of it – from the impossible to resist ??? and the quirky British accent as Britney tells us to, “Go call the Governuh.” Damn you Britney Spears and you’re ear worms!

It’s the kind of song that makes you want to break it down and dance like you’re in a music video. I would imagine it’d be hard to sing and dance to it at the same time, but Britney doesn’t typically sing live anyway so that’s a moot point, right?

35. Everything Has Changed
Artist: Taylor Swift (featuring Ed Sheeran)
Release date: July 16, 2013
Album: Red
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 32

Sometimes Taylor Swift, on her own, can be hard to take. With Ed Sheeran, however, she has a winning combination. Together, they have a sound that you'd expect to find in a Seattle coffee shop. It's a song with optimism and a tinge of sadness, but is perfect for a Sunday afternoon drive.

34. Roar
Artist: Katy Perry
Release date: August 10, 2013
Album: Prism
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1

Even though I don't think this is some of Katy Perry's best work and the lyrics are irrefutably corny, the song is easy to listen to and wiggles it's way into your head. Then you find yourself humming the tune while you're picking out fresh vegetables at Target or making a return at Kohl's or picking out a movie at the Redbox.

33. Timber
Artist: Pitbull featuring Ke$ha
Release date:
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

This song is all about the harmonica.

That’s what makes it a freakin’ great song. Ke$ha does a nice job with the vocals and Pitbull gets in his signature bits, but the harmonica gives this would-be 100% dance song a down-home feel.

The blend of genres can fail miserably or work really well. In this case, it’s a home run.

32. Crash My Party
Artist: Luke Bryan
Release date: April 7, 2013
Album: Crash My Party
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 18

If you want a romantic country song, search no further than "Crash My Party." It's about a man who will (happily) rush to his girlfriend's side if she beckons him. Sounds like he's whipped, huh? He's willing, so it's all good.

It's an easy-going tune that puts you in a peaceful state of mind. If you're angsting in rush hour traffic, this song calms you down. I speak from experience. Watch the video

31. Downtown
Artist: Lady Antebellum
Release date: January 22, 2013
Album: Golden
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 29

This wasn't Lady Antebellum's best song of all time -- that distinction still goes to "Need You Now" -- but it's a nice pop/country song with just the right amount of attitude to make it fun. Since Sugarland is officially on hiatus/disbanded, Lady Antebellum may as well fill their shoes. Watch the Video

30. Wasting All these Tears
Artist: Cassadee Pope
Release date: May 31, 2013
Album: Frame By Frame
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 37

I didn't watch Cassadee Pope when she was on The Voice, but I enjoyed this song. To be honest it doesn't amaze me. There's not an astounding vocal performance here. The lyrics aren't the best of the year. It's basically a good song. Good vocals, good lyrics, and a good tune. Sometimes amazing isn't needed and good gets the job done. That's the case here.

29. I Want Crazy
Artist: Hunter Hayes
Release date: April 22, 2013
Album: Hunter hayes
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 19

Hunter Hayes could do no wrong in 2012. He didn’t have quite the same momentum in 2013, but it was successful nonetheless.

It’s southern, romantic and catchy – probably appealing to a good percentage of the demographics. One thing about all of Hunter Hayes’ songs – and this one is no exception – is that they feel authentic.

It sounds like Hayes is having a good time when he’s singing. It’s hard not to sing along with this song and not smile. Watch the video

28. The Other Side
Artist: Jason Derulo
Release date: April 3, 2013
Album: Tattoos
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 18

Jason Derulo knows how to make pop music. It's not epic -- probably not a classic -- but it gets you moving and trying to hit his high notes when it comes on the radio.

Watch the video

27. Cups
Artist: Anna Kendrick
Release date:
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

How many people were shocked to find out that Anna Kendrick is the girl from “Up In The Air” or even more shocked to find out that she was ??? in the Twilight movies?

Evidently she’s a singer – and a decent one too. "Cups" is like a light, pleasant treat for the ears.

26. Night Train
Artist: Jason Aldean
Release date:
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

Jason Aldean proved he had the chops to belt out a note when he partnered with Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Want To Stay.”

He does it again with “Night Train,” which sounds somewhat similar to “Don’t You Want To Stay” now that I think about it.

It’s not a bunch of extended notes though. Portions of the song see Aldean successfully inging soft and low, as though there was nobody else around.

With some awesome guitar work, this song leaves a lasting impression.

25. I Love It
Artist: Icona Pop
Release date: February 5, 2013
Album: This is...Icona Pop
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

This song was originally released in Sweden in 2012. It wasn't until 2013 that it made a major impact though. This song was all over the place -- on Dancing with the Stars, The Vampire Diaries and shoe commercials. The lyrics are simple -- and don't even make sense -- but they're fun to sing along with. Half of the song is them singing and the other half is filled with shouting vocals. It became a welcome addition to the airwaves in the U.S. in 2013. Watch the video

24. Don’t Ya
Artist: Brett Eldredge
Release date: March 2013
Album: Bring You Back
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 30

Sly, smooth, country seductiveness is what this song is. It's an up-tempo song that's all about flirtation and giving in to inhibitions. I had a lot of fun trying to sing the main chorus word-for-word. Some days it worked better than others. Watch the video

23. Demons
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Release date: October 22, 2013
Album: Night Visions
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 6

"Demons" at number 23? It was hard to put the song this low because it's a thoroughly fun song, but the other ones were just a little bit better.

Still, "Demons" was one of the best songs of 2013 for sure. It's a little bit of pop and a lot of rock -- the perfect formula for any song in my opinion. Watch the video

22. Get Lucky
Artist: Daft Punk (featuring Pharrell Williams)
Release date: April 19, 2013
Album: Random Access Memories
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 2

The last Daft Punk song I remember getting radio play was "One More Time" in 2000. I’m not a follower, so I don’t know what they did between then and now, but “Get Lucky” caught my attention.

It was right back to the 70s (or for the first time in my case) with this catchy tune. It's a great disco/funk song that is perfect for pop radio. Watch the video

21. We Can’t Stop
Artist: Miley Cyrus
Release date: June 3, 2013
Album: Bangerz
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 2

It's the song that got everyone talking about Miley and for good reason. It's a fun pop song/anthem of independence with feel-good music. Her antics may have overshadowed her music this year, but Miley did churn out some respectable music. Watch the video

20. #Beautiful
Artist: Mariah Carey featuring Miguel
Release date: May 7, 2013
Album: The Art of Letting Go
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 15

From the very start of this song, it takes you to a star-filled night in a romantic setting.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising since Mariah Carey has always been a sultry singer and Miguel made a lot of ladies weak in the knees this year. Mariah and Miguel crooning together was a no-brainer right?

Although it condones bad driving practices (“I like when you run red lights,” Mariah sings), it’s a sexy song that’s easy to sing along to – not that many people will probably be singing when they’re listening to this song. Watch the video

19. The Monster
Artist: Eminem (featuring Rihanna)
Release date: October 29, 2013
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

Any song that includes the name “Rumpelstiltskin” in the lyrics has to make the list. This song is no "Lose Yourself” but Eminem proves that he still has some serious rapping abilities. Rihanna reuniting with Em doesn’t hurt the song one bit either.

18. Applause
Artist: Lady Gaga
Release date: August 12, 2013
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 4

Like I said in my review of ARTPOP, most of Gaga’s new songs are disappointing. They don’t compare to “Bad Romance,” “Just Dance,” or “Alejandro.”

However, “Applause” comes close. It’s made in the same vein as her previous hits. She went outside the box and combined unique beats, synths and sound effects with her impressive vocal range and scored a memorable hit.

It’s the kind of off-the-wall sound that Gaga does best. Watch the video

17. Redneck Crazy
Artist: Tyler Farr
Release date: February 25, 2013
Album: Redneck Crazy
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 29

With lyrics that threaten to shine headlights into the dark room of an ex-lover, it’s almost hard to take this song seriously, but Tyler Farr’s gritty, raw vocals showcase his hurt.

Singing this song as the man-done-wrong, Farr entertains with this fun, yet emotional country power ballad. Watch the video

16. Wrecking Ball
Artist: Miley Cyrus
Release date: September 16, 2013
Album: Bangerz
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1

Say what you want about the twerking, bear suits and suggestive music videos, one thing you have to admit is that Miley Cyrus can sing. “Wrecking Ball” was proof of that. Perhaps the most vocally impressive song this year, “Wrecking Ball” gets at your heart. It’s hard not to feel the pain and emotion that Miley evokes when she’s singing this song. Watch the video (assuming you haven't already)

15. Don’t You Worry Child
Artist: Swedish House Mafia
Release date: September 14, 2012
Album: Until Now
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 6

This song is just all kinds of awesome! Okay, so technically it was released in 2012, but it wasn't until 2013 that it hit its stride. It's a great electronic dance song with a fresh sound, despite the fact that everyone in pop music is using the Europe dance sound.

14. See You Again
Artist: Carrie Underwood
Release date: April 15, 2013
Album: Blown Away
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 34

I talked about hearing Miley Cyrus’ emotion on “Wrecking Ball,” but most emotional song of the year has to go to Carrie Underwood. “See You Again” has such a devotional, emotional, and spiritual feel to it, despite the sad topic. It’s a beautiful song that puts things into perspective, especially if you’ve lost a loved one. Watch the video

13. Thrift Shop
Artist: Macklemore
Release date: August 27, 2012
Album: The Heist
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1

How can you not like this song? It's a song about shopping at a thrift shop! They make it work too. I have to wonder what the record label thought when they saw this song down on paper. I think my favorite part is when the little girl says, "Poppin' taaaaagggs." It's a song that isn't meant to be taken seriously but does have some truth to it too.

"They be like, 'Oh, that Gucci - that's hella tight.'
I'm like, 'Yo - that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt.'
Limited edition, let's do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt - that's just some ignorant shit"

Good stuff indeed.

12. Just Give Me A Reason
Artist: Pink (featuring Nate Ruess)
Release date: February 26, 2013
Album: The Truth About Love
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1

If Pink wanted a smash hit in the form of a duet on her resume, she got one. She slowed it down on this song with very fitting piano accompaniment. Adding Nate Ruess to fill the male portion of the songs lyrics was a nice touch too.

His voice melds with Pink’s perfectly. They maintain their individual characteristics when singing together, but simultaneously work as a duo. This one is definitely 2013’s best love song.

11. Suit and Tie
Artist: Justin Timberlake (featuring Jay Z)
Release date: January 15, 2013
Album: The 20/20 Experience
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 3

I’m typically not the biggest advocate of any Justin Timberlake song, but I’ll make an exception here. "Suit and Tie" has a nice jazzy theme and suits JT well. If he made music like this more often I may become a fan.

10. Closer
Artists: Tegan and Sara
Release date: September 25, 2012
Album: Heartthrob
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 90

This song is addictive. Tegan and Sara brought a little bit of the 80s into the new millennium with “Closer.” They don’t hit Kelly Clarkson-style high notes, but there’s big energy in this one.

Fingers going against the steering wheel, toes tapping on the floor kind of energy. I’m sure I was spotted head bobbing to this song at more than a few stoplights.

9. Wake Me Up
Artist: Avicii
Release date: June 17, 2013
Album: True
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 4

Just like Swedish House Mafia, Avicii brought a new sound to mainstream music even though several artists have been going the dance/pop/club route for some time. Avicii did it the right way, making a dance track that is still unique and identifiable when it is played on the radio.

8. We Were Us
Artists: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
Release date: September 16, 2013
Album: Fuse
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 26

It’s not often that a country song can compete with a rock song in terms of energy, but this one does. Every time this song is on the radio I crank the volume.

The song starts out primarily with some nice guitar strokes, but when that main chorus (especially the last one in the song) kicks in, I’m stomping my cowboy boots. Actually I’m usually wearing sneakers or sandals, but I’m stomping nonetheless.

At 3:12, it’s short and sweet, but it’s just enough to get me energized every time I hear it.

7. That’s My Kind of Night
Artist: Luke Bryan
Release date: August 5, 2013
Album: Can't Hold Us
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 15

Luke Bryan had a great 2013. I didn't hear a single on the radio by Bryan that I didn't like. This was my favorite though. This was simply a fun country song (with a little bit of rap included). It's fun (and easy) to sing along with. It's unique genre-mixing sound is infectious. Take a the video.

6. Summertime Sadness
Artist: Lana Del Rey and Cedric
Release date: 2013
Album: Born to Die
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 6

I was not a fan of this song when I first heard it – not at all. By the 15th (or thereabouts) time I heard it, I was singing along. By the 23rd (or thereabouts) time I heard it, I was a fan. The dance remix gave Lana Del Rey her first U.S. hit. It was all over the place this summer/fall. It was on my radio whether I liked it or not.

5. Wagon Wheel
Artist: Darius Rucker
Release date: January 7, 2013
Album: True Believers
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 15

I don’t think Darius Rucker needs to make any albums ever again. Considering the amount of times I heard this song on the radio, I’m pretty sure the man can retire off of residuals.

Every time it was on I was singing it, too! I did my best to hit the combination of high notes and southern drawl that Darius Rucker does, but didn’t come close – even once. I tried though and had fun doing it.

4. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)
Artist: Fall Out Boy
Release date: February 4, 2013
Album: Save Rock and Roll
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 13

Fall Out Boy was back in a major way with fresh, new music off their album Save Rock and Roll.

They made their best effort to do just that with this rockin' song! It's a high-engery, kick-ass song that owned almost every other song on the radio this year. Energetic, infections, addictive, exciting -- any and all of those apply to this song. Watch the video

3. Can’t Hold Us
Artist: Macklemore
Release date: August 16, 2011
Album: The Heist
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 1

Macklemore could do no wrong this year. “Thrift Shop” made Macklemore a recognized name in music. “Can’t Hold Us” cemented Macklemore as one of the year’s most recognizable names in music. It's an inspiring rap with a catchy beat. One really can't go wrong with that. "Can't Hold Us" was a great addition to the radio playlist.

2. Cruise
Artist: Florida Georgia Line
Release date: August 6, 2012
Album: Here's to Good Times
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100: 16

Who knew that one of the year’s most popular songs would be a country song? Then, when it was dying down, they kick started it again with the Nelly remix. The original is much better. It's a mid-tempo, but it's incredible and lively all the same. I can't quite put my finger on why I like it so much, but I do -- along with everybody else. It's nice to get something fresh in the mix, too. Watch the video

1. Still Into You
Artist: Paramore
Release date: March 14, 2013
Album: Paramore
Peak position on Billboard’s Hot 100:

Far and away, this is my favorite song on the list. It’s a flawless blend of rock and pop. From beginning to end it provides the listener an opportunity to rock out.

I can see why Hayley Williams dances so awkwardly to it. It makes me dance awkwardly too. Maybe not Hayley awkward, but care-free for sure. It's so much fun to listen to and it never gets old. I listened to the song a bunch of times on iTunes and heard it on the radio several times a day for a while.

I was happy that Williams' voice didn’t get drowned out by the music, which seems to happen when some females try to sing more of a rock song than a pop song.

Plus, the music video is really fun. Never before have I wanted so much to go canoeing in a living room full of blue balloons.

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