Excited to be doing this again after so long. It initially started out as a Top 40, and then I decided I needed to squeeze a couple of tracks in at the end.
Distilling the pop industry's output for the year and picking out the 50 brightest gems once again, I present you the JKYH Top 50 of 2013.
Check out the playlist on Spotify here: http://t.co/anuKMvScLy.
#1 "Let's make this fleeting moment last forever..." This is one track that just refuses to let up, having been originally released last year, it got re-released earlier this year, with the strength of an army of DJs playing it in stadiums across the globe. This is what music is about, affecting people, regardless of time, regardless of background. What we want from music is to make us feel Alive and this track does just that. "I know what it feels like, c'mon make me feel Alive."
#2 I can't explain the appeal of this song. Generic female voice. Generally pleasant *tiutiutiu*. Pretty forumulaic. But nobody can help themselves from singing along, "If our love, is tragedy why are you my remedy? If our love, insanity why are you my clarity." Then there's that crazy crowd singing Ehhhhhhhhh and it just gets into dizzying highs before the beat drops and that moment you know that you've just been served perfection.
#3 For an entire generation, this must have been the first time they've heard of Daft Punk. I first heard of them 13 years ago when they stormed the UK Charts, arriving at the top with "One More Time". It's nice to see them back in such a huge way, and to hear Pharrell work his magic on this track, which is really nothing short of musical genius.
#4 No surprises here at all. Very impressive effort from Robin Thicke who managed to leverage this infectious track to invade the consciousness of the mass public. Amazing.
#5 "But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you've been here before?" It charted early on in the UK and only arrived in Singapore much later and I'm proud to say that I was one of those who recognised its magnificence. My first Instagram video was me singing a snippet of this wonderful track.
#6 I've heard the album and I'm not surprised if they end up a one-hit-wonder but Safe and Sound is an epic song that just envelopes you, completely. "Even if the sky is falling down, I know that we'll be safe and sound." I heard this played in a huge hall once and I just knew, then, I was in love with it.
#7 Cleverly editing out a very terribly written bridge, Alesso gave this track a huge kick in the ass and sent it sky-rocketing into my top 10. In fact this track feels like it was made for EDM - with its woooooooos and simple lyrics. Clearly, there are no better words to hear during a rave than "If I lose myself toniiiiiiiiiiiight."
#8 On the strength of We Can't Stop and a VMA performance that the world would not stop talking about comes Wrecking Ball, which was accompanied by a video of her swinging nude on a wrecking ball and licking a hammer. This is THE POP STAR of 2013, Katy Perry please bring your boring-ness back to California, thanks, bye.
#9 Bruno Mars has stopped doing stupid things like catching grenades and there's so much growth with this album that he was named Billboard's Artist of the Year. This is the defining track - an unforgettable midtempo stomper that showcases his charming voice.
#10 Lady Gaga will not stop until this track becomes the Born This Way from this album. Countless decent performers with R Kelly (SNL, AMA), without R Kelly (the one in Japan, the one with the xylophone, X-Factor), she's done it all in a bid to make it THE song off Artpop. Following hot on the heels of the performance with Christina Aguilera, the studio version was released this morning. There seems to be no strategy but she will flog this song even if it kills her. I sing it with finger snaps and hand claps every day on the way to work, so its brilliance is not lost on me. #10 it is.
#11 For some reason I thought One Republic's time in the spotlight was over. You can still be a good band without being relevant in pop culture, but this track exploded to public consciousness, with a tight grip on charts both in the US and especially in the UK. "Make that money, watch it burn." is my favourite line from this... brilliant song-writing indeed.
#12 One of the biggest stompers of the year, Wake Me Up! is one of those tracks you hear at a rave and everyone, everyone goes crazy. It has silly moments... in fact some bits remind me of old-school cowboy tracks but combined with some well-placed *tiutiutiu*, Avicii can do no wrong.
#13 This is how an RnB track should sound like.
#14 Okay, it's disappointing that not more of Justin's tracks from the new album(s) were as awe-inspiring as Mirrors. That being said, this is easily his best effort from the era, combining his usual tricks - a fucking 8-min masterpiece with mood changes, brilliantly atmospheric, strong lyrics and a chant to end off the song that fades into infinity, cementing it into memory. "You are, you are, the love of my life."
#15 Unexpected. Fresh. This is John Newman, begging you, "I need to know now, know now, can you love me again?"
#16 She famously said, "I wrote 4 hooks in Venus. The snippet is of the first two before the true chorus. The rise before the orgasm." Personally, the song delivers. I love it. Well done and three cheers for pop perfection.
#17 I admit I was one of the haters. What the fuck is this track? Why does it go nowhere? Why is it midtempo? What is it about? Why is Miley's voice irritating? And then of course the track blew up, and watching her documentary, it was nerve-wrecking for Miley to put everything behind the song that would announce the arrival of her new sound. She had guts, pushed for it, made it a success. We Can't Stop is an anthem. Respect.
#18 I love putting this track right smack here, because I'm sure NOBODY knows this one! The dashing Conor Maynard continues to push musical boundaries with the lead single off his upcoming album with a sound that's distinctly British. Smooth vocals, a grown-up video, a departure from his debut. I'm expecting big things from this young chap.
#19 She has no shortage of hit songs but this one stands out. We always knew Rihanna could sing, and when I heard this live, she really delivered. Dramatic, pleading, "I want you to stay."
#20 A thoroughly entertaining take on materialism. Cheeky lyrics, littered with proper vulgarities at appropriate places made it the rap song of the year.
#21 An unavoidable track that has been everywhere this year because of a sound so different and lyrics that the video generation can relate to. The message is strong in this one, and everyone sat up and listened.
#22 The lead single off Artpop was interesting and thematically relevant but not as catchy as her previous efforts. But it survived on the novelty of being her newest work for awhile, thank goodness for that.
#23 I'm surprised that I'd like a song like this, but it's so interesting in its vulnerability in the verses before breaking out into its eager chorus. Amazing effort by Imagine Dragons. "Don't get too close, it's dark inside, it's where my demons hide."
#24 His voice is just... cute, especially on this one. When he sings, "Treasure, that is what you are... I can make your wish come true, if you let me treasure you." You hear it and you believe it.
#25 You'd never have expected a song that sounds like this to come from Avicii. And that is why this is awesome.
#26 The lead single off her album failed to set the charts on fire, but there's no denying that this track did the trick to get her to the top of pop culture consciousness! You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? Party in France? You know what to do.
#27 I like this cos it's so pop and dancey, light and feathery, beautifully produced insistent bassline, persistent chants of burn, burn, burn, burn... she uses her voice as only Ellie can, to great effect.
#28 Granted the track didn't need a remix to get the attention that it justly deserves, there's nothing better than hearing a song you like tailored to the clubs. "Kiss me hard before you go..." Well, you don't have to tell me twice.
#29 A pretty memorable and delightful effort from the boys of One Direction, bringing a smile to everyone's faces as they sing along OH OH OOH, YEAH YEAH YEAH... Very cocky to call your song "Best Song Ever" especially since it really is not the best song ever but... good nonetheless.
#30 More people should know about Rudimental. They make fantastic music! Hailing from the UK, the quartet does drum-and-bass stuff. Coupled with Ella Eyre's unmistakable vocals, this was a strong, and respectable UK #1.
#31 I promise you that EDM actually brings out the power and essence of a singer's voice and Paramore's Hayley sang the hell out of this one. Love it, love it, love it. ARE YOU GONNA STAY THE NIGHT.... OHOHOHOHOHOHOH... ARE YOU GONNA STAY THE NIGHT.
#32 Standard, but well-executed EDM-fare. TAKE MY HAND AND RELOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAD
#33 Oh, I really love this one. Weird, folksy but with vocals and lyrics that literally jump out at you and grab your attention. You know it when you hear it. It puts you in a mood, and you want more.
#34 Macklemore!! Ridiculously catchy, ridiculously happy, ridiculous horns... So fun, so happening. ALL MY PEOPLE SAY NANANANANANANANA
#35 Because nobody says no to Maroon 5 and that video.
#36 I'm shocked that Katy's ballad is one up of Britney's but its shiny pop appeal, soaring chorus and strong sing-a-long factor most certainly gave her another easy hit from this era.
#37 Nobody knows why this song flopped, other than the fact that her efforts to promote it are lame. The track itself though, despite containing relatively childish lyrics, has a confident production, lush melody and Britney's rare singing voice.
#38 Not many people would be able to appreciate this but hey, he spared no effort on this track to show that nobody on earth can rap like he does. "Why be a king, when you can be a God?"
#39 An easy hit for P!nk. Brilliant, quiet, moving, meaningful... everything that's lacking on radio right now.
#40 Little Mix comprise good singers. The thing that makes me nervous is if they've got a sound to call their own. With Move, they've clearly blown all doubts out of the water and are confidently crafting their identity.
#41 If they'd tackled a different subject matter that people would be able to relate better to, the track would've done better. Eminem and Rihanna can do no wrong though so this track will continue to conquer charts in 2014.
#42 I don't know anything about this act, other than the song charted in the UK. It's one that will get you into the grove, this I promise.
#43 The track is good. It's as good as the other things that have come before. Like Fireworks. To me, it's like a rehash of old material. She deserves a spot on the chart but she most certainly could've done way better. DISAPPOINTED.
#44 A marvelous slice of UK pop from The Saturdays. I wish it was more famous and that more people heard it. The delicious sound is amped by Sean Paul, making it the perfect summer track.
#45 AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW I SURVIVE... OOOOOOHH WITHOUT YOU NOW THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. OOOOOOH OOOOOH OOOOOH OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH
#46 One Direction are in the right direction with this track - grown-up, matured, but not boring! They are in need of a single as huge as their personas. This album will probably work out their growing pains and the next one should house a real gem.
#47 A collaboration that's really very, very difficult to go wrong. Will.i.am and Justin Bieber found a sweet spot with this track, that's effortlessly catchy, dancey and inoffensive.
#48 Taking the world by storm, I Love It shocked with a sound that was wild and free, and lyrics such as "you're from the 70s but I'm a 90s bitch". I remember reading on facebook someone saying "why would anyone call themselves bitch?" Times have changed, bitch, get with the programme.
#49 A strong follow-up from Psy. Althought completely possible, it makes me wonder if this will be the last we'll see of him.
#50 A steady pop-stomper from Demi, strong, and relevant. A good effort.