Is it just me or has 2013 been a test of endurance for everybody? I’m usually the kind of person who becomes wistful at the end of the year, thinking about all the good times I’ve had. But 2013? Screw that noise.
I’m actually pretty excited to turn the final page on my sexy priest calendar and look to the ripe, fresh year ahead.
Here we go, in no particular order:
Do I Wanna Know? • Arctic Monkeys
Once upon a time, I didn’t think Arctic Monkeys had much more to offer the world than “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.” Then they started collaborating with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and recording their music in Joshua Tree, and things got weird. In a good way. Their sound now is darker, more sophisticated. And while I think the band has always been interesting and clever, they now have an added layer of maturity. I feel like this is the band the Afghan Whigs should have grown up to be. (And I LOVE the Afghan Whigs, but I don’t think they ever reached their full potential.)
Pretty Green • White Denim
Few good things come out of Texas, aside from my friend Ashley, but this song is one of them. It’s bluesy and dirty and rock-n-rolly, and it makes me think of epic songs my brother used to blast on 8-track. Terrific production by Jeff Tweedy is the gravy on this chicken-fried steak.
My Number • Foals
I had a sad thing happen earlier this year, and my friend Leigh finally forced me to stop listening to my “Sad Songs To Make Me Sad” playlist on Spotify. The antidote was a Motown playlist (because Motown rules, duh) and saccharine pop songs just like this. This Foals tune is little bit disco-y with a clean, crisp refrain. What’s not to like?
A Ton of Love • Editors
I don’t enjoy this as much as earlier Editors songs. But it’s reminiscent of Echo & the Bunnymen, and that makes me happy.
Feel Real • Deptford Goth
Not goth but still moody. Good for those cloudy days when you’re tired of the Cure.
Crazy • Au Revoir Simone
To be honest, this isn’t the best song on this list. I’m not even positive it deserves a place on the list at all. I just enjoy the purity of the vocals and the mindlessness of the lyrics. Ask me again next week, though, and I might feel differently about it.
You – Ha Ha Ha • Charli XCX
When I was in my early 20s, I was angry all the time. I think it was an unfortunate side effect of all the body glitter and pleather pants. Because I spent all my time drunk and furious, I invited a lot of unhealthy, inappropriate people into my life. This song reminds me of that time period, but photoshopped to be prettier, sweeter and more fun than that time ever was.
From Nowhere • Dan Croll
I’ve listened to this song so much, it has almost become part of my heartbeat. The thing is, it’s just so reliable. Every time I hit play I know exactly what I’m getting, and I know I’m going to be satisfied. It’s basically the Chipotle of songs.
Tennis Court • Lorde
I like Lorde because she’s funny and melodramatic but also jaded and unsettling — everything a 17-year-old girl should be.
Riptide • Vance Joy
I’ve grown a little obsessed with this song. That’s what happens with charming lyrics and ukuleles.
À Tout à l’heure • Bibio
This sunshiny song takes me to a kind of love I’ve never experienced, only seen from afar — something innocent, involving meadows and wildflowers and Ben Affleck’s beard from “Argo.”
Master Hunter • Laura Marling
Imagine Ree Dolly from “Winter’s Bone” all grown up, chewing up and spitting out her Ozark suitors. This is her Saturday night song.
Roar • Katy Perry
Just a really great pop song. The only problem is that whenever I listen to it, my husband asks if I’m watching “Glee.”
Conspicuously missing from this list: The Arcade Fire. I once listed them among my favorite bands, but Reflektor and everything surrounding that album has been so pretentious and cringe-worthy, I can’t even. Oh, and that “k” in the album title — I hope they are ashamed of themselves.