Here we go….the third installment, just for you!


A bass line is the rhythmic foundation of a song (hear me out drum enthusiasts), which not only gives it a pulse, support, and movement, but can also shape a song’s whole personality.  I’m a sucker for a good bass line.  While I didn’t necessarily hear any that would give Muse’s Chris Wolstenholme a run for his money this year, there were a couple that caught my attention.  “Walking Backwards” by Nashville trio Leagues has the best bass line.  Its rhythm combined with its dirty sound provides the song with so much intensity, and brings the subject matter (which recounts one who is entangled in relationship friction and is searching for a new emotion) to life.  I selected “Walking Backwards” for this superlative, but you could probably choose any of their songs for this category….consider that a bit of foreshadowing.     

 [Honorable Mention: “Two Fingers” by Jake Bugg.  The single was released in 2012 but the album was released this April.  Its subtle but groovy bass line will tickle your ears.]


 Justin Timberlake released not one, but two full length albums this year, 21 longer-than-usual songs (one of which is 11 minutes long) collectively known as The 20/20 Experience.  Some might call this an indulgent test of the attention span, and I tend to agree.  Even so, it’s good to have JT back this year, and thus deserves his own superlative category.  The best JT song award goes to “Mirrors” from part 1 of Experience.  This song reminds me of “Cry Me A River” from his 2002 Justified album, but the subject matter is vastly different.  Justified was released after his split with Britney Spears, and “Cry Me A River” was definitely a break-up hand grenade thrown in Britney’s direction.  “Mirrors” may sound like “Cry Me  A River” but with its wonderfully romantic lyrics and declaration that he has found the love of his life, it’s clear JT is in a good place.

 [Honorable Mention: “Drink You Away.”  Check out my previous post about his performance of this song on the American Music Awards. Have mercy.]


Funk, a form of music that mixes soul, jazz, and R&B, de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground.  It also makes you want to jump up and shake what your mama gave ya.  This year’s funkiest song comes from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, a folk/alternative rock group from California by way of Virginia.  “But Susan!” you exclaim.  “You said funk, not folk.”  I know, but “City” from their We The Common LP is deliciously funky.  Go turn it up, and get down.


There are moments when you hear a song and it’s as if the clouds have parted and angels are descending from the heavens to sing it directly to you.  Rich harmony is music to my ears.  Literally.  The best harmony of 2013 comes from Lucius, an indie pop group from Brooklyn.  The song “Go Home” from their Wildewoman LP is part 1960’s girl group, part McGuire Sisters of the 1950’s, and 100% glorious.  The lyrics are clever, a metaphorical poem with the narrator implying she is “your dolly/stuffed with extra baggage/lay me down to shut my eyes/beaded gazes/lead you nowhere anyways/press on my heart, I will say/press on my heart I will say/I am lonely.”  The accompaniment is spare, the most prominent instrument (other than the voices) is a lone electric guitar that winds its way around and through the verses, complementing the poignant strength of the vocals.  Honestly though, like Leagues and the Bass Line category, any Lucius song could have won this spot.  Consider this more foreshadowing.

[Honorable Mention:  “Land Of Gathering” by band of brothers The Ceremonies, and “Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold” by The Lone Bellow.]

That’s all for this installment…stay tuned because there are four more categories to go, you won’t want to miss it!

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