Monday, December 23, 2013

50 Favorite Songs of 2013

Hello and welcome to the 2013 edition of The Tremagazine favorite songs of the year. It's been another great year for music, almost tough at times to keep up! I've spent the last month or so compiling this list, going back through notes I've made during the year and I'm excited to share it with you.

As I've done in the past, I'll list the song and the album it's from, along with some personal thoughts and/or favorite lyrics. You'll see repeat artists throughout the list as I typically have two to three favorite songs off the albums I love best from a given year. I hope you can find some new songs you'll love and revisit some favorites from earlier in 2013. I always appreciate any feedback, either here or at "". Thanks for taking the time to read and listen as this is an enjoyable process and journey for me. Without further ado, in no particular order, my fifty favorite songs of 2013.....

"Song For Zula" - Phosphorescent (from the album, "Muchacho")

One of the best songs and albums of 2013, this is one that got constant play throughout the year for me. I got to finally see them perform on Friday night in Brooklyn and lead singer Matthew Houck's voice was every bit as haunting as it comes off in this track.

See, honey, I saw love. You see, it came to me
It put its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing

"Ya Hey" - Vampire Weekend (from the album, "Modern Vampires of the City")

This was the classic case of a song coming alive after seeing it in concert. I made the trip out to Lollapalooza this past summer to visit my buddy Fitz and take in the three day festival. I had seen Vampire Weekend once previously at Coachella but didn't love the performance (which was disappointing because I loved their first album). I thought their performance at Lollapalooza was awesome. They played one of the main stages and had a huge crowd, dancing and singing along. This song was a crowd favorite and stuck out in my mind. I went right back to it when I returned home and have listened often since the summer.

In the dark of this place
There's the glow of your face
There's the dust on the screen
Of this broken machine
And I can't help but feel
That I've made some mistake
But I let it go
Ya hey, ya hey, ya hey

"I Need My Girl" - The National (from the album, "Trouble Will Find Me")

The National continue to put out solid albums, I'm a constant fan of their work. It can be difficult to pick one or two of the best songs within each release but this is one of the tracks that stood out to me.

Remember when you lost your shit and
Drove the car into the garden
And you got out and said I'm sorry
To the vines and no one saw it
I need my girl
I need my girl

"Byegone" - Volcano Choir (from the album,"Repave")

You may recognize the lead vocals as Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver). I really enjoy most of the projects that Vernon gets involved in, this album has some real gems. I love when it really kicks in at the 2:38 mark.

Hon, you plenty competent
So why aren’t you confident

"Stockholm" - Jason Isbell (from the album, "Southeastern")

I was late to the party on this album but it's easily one of my favorites from 2013. I just picked it up a couple months ago and have been listening non-stop. This is the first of three songs that will be featured throughout this list and I probably could have gone with a couple more too. Lyrically, this is one of my favorite tracks on this list.

Ships in the harbor and birds on the bluff
Don't move an inch when their anchor goes up
And the difference with me is I'm falling in love
Stockholm, let me go home

"Big House" - Deer Tick (from the album, "Negativity")

I'm a huge fan of this band, own all of their albums and have seen them perform live numerous times. This track is my favorite off their latest release, probably a bit heavier than some of their previous work but it's a track that sticks with me, especially lyrically.

you spoke into the sky and you've lied a million times
You showed me how to die, I guess I'll catch you on the other side

"Getaway" - Pearl Jam (from the album, "Lightning Bolt")

After twenty years, Pearl Jam is still going strong. I like how they picked this song as the opener, gets the album off on the right foot. I didn't get to hear it live at either of the shows I saw a few months back but hopefully will in the future.

It's ok
Sometimes you find yourself
Having to put all your faith
In no faith
Mine is mine, and yours won't take its place
Now make your getaway

"New Life" - Jim James (from the album, "Regions of Light and Sound of God")

This is an album that I haven't seen mentioned on many year-end lists, part of which I think is because it came out very early in 2013. It certainly doesn't sound like something out of the My Morning Jacket catalog but there are some excellent tracks included here by it's frontman. Love when the backing instruments come in at the 1:18 mark.

Can’t you see a perfect picture
You and me
But you know, it won’t come easy
And what’s more,
It’s worth looking for

"Bound 2" - Kanye West (from the album, "Yeezus")

It seems like people have strong feelings about Kanye, both good and bad. I'm a fan of his music, I've enjoyed his career to date and he's also a very good performer. Probably not my favorite video in the world but I do like this song.

I know I got a bad reputation
Walking-'round-always-mad reputation
Leave-a-pretty-girl-sad reputation
Start a Fight Club, Brad reputation

"Wait for Me" - Kings of Leon (from the album, "Mechanical Bull")

This is another band that I haven't seen mentioned much on many of the lists I've seen. I actually like this album a lot and think there are several good songs included. I went back and forth on which ones to include but this was one that I was sure was going to make the cut.

Wait for me, wait for me
Oh, It's all better now, It's all better now
Wait for me, wait for me

"Bowery" - Local Natives (from the album, "Hummingbird")

This was an album that came out right at the beginning of 2013. I seem higher on it than a lot of my friends, but I've kept it in rotation most of the year. These guys put on a great live show and I was able to catch them a couple times this year, think that helped enhanced some of these songs. Love their harmonies and the percussion in particular.

You can't tell if the ceiling's rising
Or if the floor is falling out

"December's Tradition" - Frightened Rabbit (from the album, "Pedestrian Verse")

This has been one of my favorite songs this year since the minute I heard it last winter. Love the driving guitar and drums, this track just keeps picking up steam. Saw the Rabbits twice this year and they were fantastic. They've really picked up the intensity in their live show and this song was a highlight.

If I had the answer, I'd write a book of what I know
What do you need, what do you need from me?

"Most People" - Dawes (from the album, "Stories Don't End")

This is the third full-length album from Dawes and even though I didn't like it quite as much as their first two (love both of those albums so hard to match), still found a few tracks that really stood out. Kind of a cool video showcasing their live show and some behind the scenes shots. Love the part that starts at the 3:00 minute mark where we get to hear brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith on alternating vocals.

And she thinks "most people don't talk enough about how lucky they are
Most people don't know what it takes for me to get through the day

"In The City" - Caveman (from the album, "Caveman")

Like this song and especially the video since most of it is recognizable to me living in NYC.

Then if you need me
Hope this was made for a good time

"Don't Save Me" - Haim (from the album, "Days Are Gone")

Incredible how these ladies have just blown up over the last year or so. I've been writing about them here for awhile now and featured them in last year's list but they've gotten pretty huge. I caught their live show at Lollapalooza, thought it was excellent.

All my life I wasn't trying to get on the highway
I was wondering which way to go
Spending all of my damn time
Leaving all the weight behind

"Ramona" - Night Beds (from the album, "Country Sleep")

What a great, great song this is. Heard this early in 2013 and have just kept it around all year, has a Ryan Adams-esque feel to it for me. Very good album all around, absolutely worth getting your hands on.

With a heart that always fails
My love's gone off all the rails
Like a ship without a sail sinking
Underneath the wave (Yeah!)

"Harper Lee" - Little Green Cars (from the album, "Absolute Zero")

One of the catchier songs of 2013, got into it way too late but glad I eventually did.

Oooh there’s a gun in the attic let me go grab it
Oooh I’d blow holes in my soul just so you can look past it

"Caroline" - Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavalle (from the album, "Perils from the Sea")

Mark Kozelek actually put out THREE albums this year, pretty incredible amount of music. There's so many ways I could have gone here but this was one of my favorites.

Circlin' the globe I ache with midnight loneliness, my heart turns black
The demons nest inside my soul when each night comes and I close the door
I feel the cold, I see the digital clocks and face the ceiling layin' on my back
Got no willpower, honestly, I crave your touch to comfort me

"Another Story" - The Head & The Heart (from the album, "Let's Be Still")

A standout track from the Head & the Heart's second album. Love the scenery in this video.

Every time I hear another story
Oh the poor boy lost his head
Everybody feels a little crazy
But we go on living with it
Yeah we go on living with it

"Strictly Reserved For You" - Charles Bradley (from the album, "Victim of Love")

One of the most intense performers out there, you need to find a way to get Charles Bradley on a best of 2013 list. This song is pure passion (as is much of his work).

I got the love
Strictly reserved for you

"Jailbirds" - Cold War Kids (from the album, "Dear Ms Lonelyhearts")

Cold War Kids is a band I've seen a couple times and like a lot, but somehow I missed this release during the year. I recently jumped on it when two of my friends mentioned it being one of their favorites this year.

My solitude, it makes me softer
My suffering is not in vain.
My depression sings, how much longer
Will I have to wait to see a world free from pain?

"Snowflakes Are Dancing" - Kurt Vile (from the album, "Walkin on a Pretty Daze")

One of the best album covers this year, and love these lyrics....

When I'm away out there, I wanna go home
When I am home, my head stays out there

"Elephant" - Jason Isbell (from the album, "Southeastern")

Another Isbell track making an appearance off this terrific album. This song is sad as hell but it's beautiful.

I've buried her a thousand times, given up my place in line
but I don't give a damn about that now
There's one thing that's real clear to me: No one dies with dignity
We just try to ignore the elephant somehow, somehow

"Arrows of Desire" - Matthew Good (from the album, "Arrows of Desire")

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, this is the title track from his latest release.

Up in thin air we lie in wait

"Young Fathers" - Typhoon (from the album, "White Lighter")

Typhoon is one of my favorite bands over the last few years. Another band that puts on a fantastic live show, I got to see them earlier this year and the new songs sounded awesome. This has been the one track that I've constantly come back to off their latest release.

When you're young you're hot
You have your whole life before you
Everyone will adore
You'll grow up, you'll be an astronaut
or anything you want.

"Penitentiary" - Houndmouth (from the album, "From the Hills Below the City")

Loved this song from the first minute I heard it. Another band I got to see at Lollapalooza, they did not disappoint!

Come on down
To the Penitentiary
Oh momma the law came crashing down on me

"Nothing To Lose But Your Head" - Augustines (from the album, "Augustines")

This track will actually be on Augustines' (formerly We Are Augustines) 2014 release but since they already put this song out, I figured I'd include it. Huge fan of these guys, loved their last album and can't wait to get my hands on their new one.

"Middle Sea" - Yuck (from the album, "Glow and Behold")

Every time I listen to this band, it reminds me of hanging out at my local record shop in the early 90s. I just feel like Yuck should have been around at that time, they fit that era perfectly. Yuck's lead singer left the band before this album came out so I wasn't sure how it would sound but this song is pretty good.

Move away across the ocean
Is the dream

"Pendulum" - Pearl Jam (from the album, "Lightning Bolt")

Another song from the latest Pearl Jam album, this is my favorite track. They opened most of their recent tour with this one and it was a phenomenal way to start the show.

Easy come, easy go
Easy left me a long time ago

"State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U)" - Jim James (from the album, "Regions of Light and Sound of God

My second favorite track from the Jim James album. This also might be the best video I saw this year.

Now I know you need the dark
Just as much as the sun

"Red Eyes" - The War On Drugs (from the album, "Lost In The Dream")

This is the first single off the upcoming War on Drugs album (due out in 2014). This track is awesome, if the rest of the album is anything like this, it'll be something great.

"Crawl" - Childish Gambino (from the album, "Because the Internet")

Here's an album that just came out a couple weeks ago. I really liked Childish Gambino's first album so I was looking forward to this one. I need to give it more time but this is the track I like best so far.

I double dare you, I'm Marc Summers

"I Should Live In Salt" - The National (from the album, "Trouble Will Find Me")

Another track off the National's latest.

You're not that much like me
You should know me better than that
We have different enemies
You should know me better than that

"Love To Get Used" - Matt Pond (from the album, "The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hand")

I've enjoyed the Matt Pond material I've listened to over the years but this song really stands out to me. I feel like this could be a big radio hit, catchy tune.

Let's hang on to abandon
Let's hope we lose control
To be out in the open, baby
And let go of the ropes
Nothing into nothing

"Settle Down" - The 1975 (from the album, The 1975)

I wrote a bit about these guys last year when I listed one of their tracks in my top 50. I got to see them open up for The Neighbourhood earlier this year and really enjoyed their live show. Here's another song I like from their debut album.

A small town
Dictating all the people we get around
What a familiar face
Do you get what I mean now?

"Nerve Endings" - Eagulls (from the self-titled album, "Eagulls")

I feel like this song could have come out and been a hit thirty years ago. I believe Eagulls full length debut will be out in 2014 but I heard this track a few months back and thought this was a pretty unique sound.

I'm still lonely, I'm still lonely in my head
I'm still feeling nervous, these feelings go worse
I stay trying

"Comrade" - Volcano Choir (from the album, "Repave")

The second song on my list from the latest Volcano Choir album, this is probably my favorite. Love these lyrics...

They say you ain't a comrade
Still, I'd know you'd come back
For a folly-ridden Romeo, you break down a fortress now
Standing out in public
Stained with your conscience

"Afterlife" - Arcade Fire (from the album, "Reflektor")

One of my favorite live bands and I absolutely love their prior work but I just couldn't really get into this album as much as I have previously. This was the standout track for me, one that I could have seen making an appearance on a previous album.

But you say
Oh, when love is gone
Where does it go?

"The Dream's In The Ditch" - Deer Tick (from the album, "Negativity")

Here's another from Deer Tick's most recent release. I particularly like this one because it features guitarist Ian O'Neil on vocals along with lead singer John McCauley.

But its not the way you cant afford your time
Or the envy of the friends you've left behind
So whenever you go they can have everything you lose
Is this it? This is it

"Comeback Story" - Kings of Leon, (from the album, "Mechanical Bull")

Another track off the latest KOL album. I only listed a few lyrics below but I just like the whole theme of the song.

You'll rue the day when you understand
I did my best to be an honest man
Race isn't over to the finish line
It's a comeback story of a lifetime

"Coming Through" - Willis Earl Beal (from the album, "Nobody Knows")

Here's an artist I listened to for the first time in 2013. Love his sound and this is just my favorite from a bunch of good tunes. Looking forward to catching Willis live in the future.

Baby, don’t worry whether you finish
For all hearts will surely diminish, yeah
And the truth will soon becoming through, oooh.
The truth will soon becoming trough.

"Holy" - Frightened Rabbit (from the album, "Pedestrian Verse")

I think the more I listened to this album throughout the year, the more I liked it. Sometimes an album comes out really early in a given year and you kind of push it to the side as the months roll on but this is one that I've just come back to over and over. Actually, I think seeing the band live twice (both later in the year) helped bring this album to the forefront for me. One of the best of 2013, here's another song that made my list.

I don't mind being lonely,
So leave me alone.
Ah you're acting all holy,
Me, I'm just full of holes.

"From A Window Seat" - Dawes (from the album, "Stories Don't End")

This was actually a tune I found awhile before the album was released. I had found a bootleg video of Dawes playing a festival where they played this song which I didn't yet know. Probably wore through that video about fifty times so needless to say this would be a favorite of mine this year.

So I reach down for my notebook to see what impressions could be spun
But it's just buildings and a million swimming pools
So I leaf back through the pages to see where I am from
Or for some crumbled map of what it's leading to

"The Quotidian Beasts" - Phosphorescent (from the album, "Muchacho")

My favorite song on this album. Almost reminds me of Chris Isaak and Big Head Todd in someway. They opened the show I saw the other night with this track and it was incredible.

I said It’s you took your claws you slipped em under my skin
There’s parts that got outside, honey I want to put em back in
We’ve been playing like children, honey, now we’ll play it like men
Those parts that got outside, I'm gonna put them back in.

"Dear Marie" - John Mayer (from the album, "Paradise Valley")

The studio version of this song almost doesn't do it justice. The part at 2:50 where the "Oh....oh,oh,ohs" picks up, love that. Even better live with a crowd singing along (which I got to witness last week).

Dear Marie, tell me what it was I used to be
And if you’re further up the road can you show me what I still can’t see.

"Hold My Liquor" - Kanye West (from the album, "Yeezus")

Another good track off the latest Kanye album, featuring some guest vocals from Chief Keef.

I'm hanging on a hangover
Five years we been over
Ask me why I came over

"Wooly Mammoth" - Local Natives (from the album, "Hummingbird")

Love the tempo of this track, another excellent live song.

In the summer, vicious summer
This is nothing
Like I thought it would look

"Cherry Blossoms" - Night Beds (from the album, "Country Sleep")

Beautiful song from Night Beds, had to make room for this one.

My own life has taken its toll
Drunk on whiskey, God don't let me go

"Pulaski At Night" - Andrew Bird (from the album, "I Want To See Pulaski At Night")

I'm a relative newcomer to the Andrew Bird catalog, only really getting into this music last year. Hard to pass up on this tune, reminds me a bit of Beirut.

I send you a postcard
It says, "Pulaski at night"
Greetings from Chicago
City of, city of light

"Different Days" - Jason Isbell (from the album, "Southeastern")

Wrapping up my list with the third song from Jason Isbell. I just can't get enough of the album, both lyrically and musically and had to include as much as I could here. I love the storytelling specifically on this album, feels like a bunch of different chapters coming together. As good as anything I listened to this year.

Ten years ago I might have seen you dancing in a different light,
and offered up my help in different ways,
but those were different days
Those were different days