All good things must come to an end….here is the final installment of the 2013 East Of 8th Super Superlative Song List. Drum roll please!
BEST GROOVE OF 2013
This year brought us some pretty groovy songs, so it was hard to settle on only one to be crowned grooviest of them all. First up, “Do I Wanna Know” by The Arctic Monkeys. I discussed this song on a previous post and selected it for the last play list I compiled. You could say I really, really, really like it. The Arctic Monkeys released their new album AM in September; frontman Alex Turner described the album to NME Magazine saying “it sounds like a Dr. Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.” I think Alex and I would get along swimmingly. “Do I Wanna Know” begins with heavy kick drum beats and what sounds like latex gloves slapping on thighs (again, another Alex Turner-ism). Sultry lyrics, ominous guitar riffs and pulsating beats combine to produce one groovy tune.
We also can’t ignore 17-year old New Zealander Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor’s explosion on the scene this year (she’s also known as Lorde). Her full length album, Pure Heroine, released in September, gave us “Royals,” a commentary on her seemingly humble roots contrasted with the excess of the pop music culture. Technically, “Royals” came out on The Love Club EP at the end of 2012, but it was included on Pure Heroine, so it made the list. With its simplicity, finger snaps, and hip hop inspired beat, it’s extremely catchy, wonderfully groovy, and if you turn it up loud enough in your car, it will make your rearview mirror vibrate. Just saying.
BEST USE OF HANDCLAPS IN 2013
There were so many types of auxiliary percussion to be heard in 2013; there were of course drums of all kinds, played by all band members (see my many previous musings on Imagine Dragons). Lord Huron used rain sticks and various brass bells and keys on rattling chains. Lorde used snapping fingers. Then there were handclaps…Nashville-based quintet Wild Cub released “Thunder Clatter” in January of this year. It’s incredibly catchy, lighthearted and happy, with consistent handclaps used throughout. You may think that seems silly, but it adds so much to the song, propelling it forward. It’s hard not to clap right along, I mean, if they are clapping, why not join them?
[Honorable Mention: “I’m Reelin’” by The Joy of Painting. In the second verse, a supportive sprinkle of hand-clapping can be heard. Nice.]
BEST MOOD MUSIC OF 2013
There are some songs that just put you in the best mood when you listen to them. I fell in love with Nashville band Moon Taxi this year; they released their album Mountains Beaches Cities in September, and it’s delicious. “Running Wild” is the first track from the album, and it’s that song. The sound is so full, rich, and optimistic. It’s digital sunshine. I was fortunate enough to see Moon Taxi live this year at small show at a local university. Frontman and guitarist Trevor Terndrup sports an infectious smile when he performs; they opened with “Running Wild,” the sound washed over and around me like a wave and carried me away, destination: good mood.
BEST OF THE BEST OF 2013
We have arrived at our final category and the end of our superlative journey. The cream of the crop, the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow, the best of the best….such a daunting task to determine just one album or band, let alone one song. There are two exceptional bands that released stellar albums this year, chock full of songs that could win this category several times over.
Nashville band Leagues released their first full length album You Belong Here in January of 2013; one track, “Walking Backwards” has already made this list for best bass line. It’s so hard to choose just one song to be the best, however, the award is going to the title track, “You Belong Here.” Lead vocalist Thad Cockrell’s surging tenor, mixed with gritty-toned guitar and pulsing bass, rounded out by gilt-edged drumming makes for one fantastic song. Seeing them live is definitely a treat; the band exudes a cool energy onstage, and you can’t keep from dancing the entire time. As I have written in a previous post, Leagues, you belong here.
Brooklyn-based group Lucius released their first album, Wildewoman. this year. The very moment I listened to this album, I knew I was in love. Lucius won the award for Best Harmony in this list, and I’ll just reiterate, this group is 100% glorious. With outstanding harmony (and oftentimes singing in unison) from singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, who even perform in matching outfits and hairstyles, backed by a band that can fill the room with a full and rich sound or just as effortlessly emit a minimalistic musicality that blends so well with the strong vocals, they have created a sparkling gem with Wildewoman. They will be in Nashville next month, and this girl has her tickets and is ready. The song that wins here is “Hey Doreen,” which sounds like a 60’s throwback. Honestly though, each song moves me in its own way; if you haven’t listened to Lucius, you need take corrective action. Stat.
Well, there you have it, 13 categories honoring the musical greatness of 2013. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Since I created it in May, East of 8th has been viewed over 1,300 times by people in 17 different countries. I am so excited and I thank you so much for your support! Here’s to a great 2014. Don’t go anywhere, more good stuff is on the way!
P.S. I made play list for you of all the songs on the list, just click here to listen!
- Velvetlemon’s Top 5 Albums of 2013 (velvetlemon.wordpress.com)
- The 2013 Super Superlative Song List (eastof8thblog.com)
- The 2013 Super Superlative Song List: the Next Installment (eastof8thblog.com)
- The 2013 Super Superlative Song List: Part Iii (eastof8thblog.com)