It’s nearing the end of the year so you know what that means! Various lists on the best music of 2013! I’m super excited to let you all get a glimpse of my list (it’s very extensive and mathematically chosen, probably) and perhaps will inspire a few lists of your own! Here are my picks for best songs of 2013 (in no particular order) from the latest, coolest international female artists.
- “Boy” by Little Mix
- “So Far Away” by Charli XCX
- “Only 1 U” by M.I.A.
- “Attracting Flies” by AlunaGeorge
- “Eu Me Lembro feat. Silva” by Clarice Falcão
- “Habits” by Tove Lo
- “Feel It” by Shystie
- “Romanticise” by Chela
- “Green Garden” by Laura Mvula
- “Paperwerk” by Amplify Dot
1. “Boy” by Little Mix
I’ve never been more excited for a girl group than Little Mix. (Okay, well, I mean currently. TLC and Destiny’s Child will always hold a special place in my heart.) When their debut album, DNA, came out last year, I was mildly impressed but now their sophomore album, Salute, has solidified my fan(girl) status. These four young women put every other group that has ever come out of The X Factor UK (including a certain boy band) to shame. Because really, no one else can compete. Tight harmonies, fluid musical style and even some cool choreography has Little Mix right up there in the best girl groups of all time (too soon?).
Out of all the songs off Salute – and trust me, there were a lot of songs to choose from – I went with “Boy” because of its slick percussion. The minimal instrumentals let the girls’ voices shine. Their acapella intro is reminiscent of Destiny’s Child, which makes it all the more interesting. Powerful vocals and strong lyrics reminds us that, yeah, we don’t need that bad boy in our lives and we deserve better. Great hopes that this album cements Little Mix’s moment in girl group history.
2. “So Far Away” by Charli XCX
Charli XCX’x debut album True Romance made me realize my love for the dark pop music that a lot of female artists are delving into these days. “So Far Away” especially stands out because of its more R&B feel and the singer even does some light spoken word on the verses (not exactly rapping, but surprisingly soothing), which contrasts from the head voice she uses to sing the chorus, showcasing her versatility. It’s a great song to listen to for rainy days, end-of-semester blues and finding an empty fridge; basically, a classic song for sad girl moments. It’s a good thing (I think).
3. “Only 1 U” by M.I.A.
Do you need a song to go HARD to? Look no further than “Only 1 U” (and really the entirety of Matangi). The beat is rife with bass drums, bells and vocal “ahhs” that make it sound a bit more spiritual. As M.I.A. raps, “Making money is fine / But your life is one of a kind,” it feels like she’s a big sister reassuring you that you’re special, worth it and all the good things in the world. It’s the best song to start the day with, energetic and self-affirming in both rhythm and lyrics.
4. “Attracting Flies” by AlunaGeorge
There’s a lot I can say about AlunaGeorge – especially Aluna Francis’ voice – but I’ll try to keep it short. Besides being completely in love with the entirety of their debut album Body Music, “Attracting Flies” is a cleverly-written song. Essentially, it’s a song about someone who is full of sh*t – hence “attracting flies”!! get it?!?! – but it’s written in a way that’s smart and sexy. Francis’ voice is so light and smooth that it sounds like she’s singing without malice, but really her words are just dripping with sarcasm. The instrumentals make this a great dance track or the perfect track to walk away from that one person you can’t stand because, well, they’re “attracting flies.”
5. “Eu Me Lembro feat. Silva” by Clarice Falcão
This is a cute, nostalgic love song from Brazilian actress and singer, Clarice Falcão, off her debut album Monomania released last April. Featuring fellow Brazilian singer, Silva, the pair have equally soothing, gentle voices that emit rays of fondness and calmness. Although the entire song is in Portuguese , even those who won’t understand the language will understand the song just by the instrumentation and the singing. “Eu me lembro” translates to “I remember” and that’s all you need to know to understand the memory of love that Falcão and Silva sing about.
6. “Habits” by Tove Lo
Swedish pop singer, Tove Lo, pairs melancholic lyrics with melodic instrumentals and I’m here for it. With the added bonus of an encompassing, moving voice, there’s nothing this Stockholm-based musician can’t do. The lyrics for “Habits” are undeniably bleak. Lo sings about eating dinners in bathtubs, meaningless sexual encounters and numbing that emptiness with drugs and drink when nothing else works. It’s the year for sad girl music but strangely enough, it doesn’t make me sad at all. Instead, it makes me really hopeful about her impending debut album.
7. “Feel It” by Shystie
At the beginning of the song, when Shystie yells at you to get your “b*tch *ss on the dance floor,” you listen because why would you not want to get on the dance floor anyway with that grime beat and Shystie’s undeniable flow? Right. As soon as this song comes on, you feel like moving. There’s absolutely no way to sit still with the song blasting and your speakers threatening to break all the windows in your apartment (or maybe that’s just me).
8. “Romanticise” by Chela
Australian singer, Chela, blends her solid vocals with funk, electro beats. She’s quickly becoming a favorite on Australian radio station Triple J and her biggest music inspiration is Michael Jackson. “Romanticise” is a fun dance song and very catchy. It’s great for when you’re getting ready to go out on sultry, summer nights.
9. “Green Garden” by Laura Mvula
Magical, mesmerizing and memorable are three words that instantly come to mind when I hear “Green Garden.” It also has hand claps, which instantly make a song 100 times better in my book, and infectious percussion. Mvula’s voice is rhythmic and hypnotic, the most important instrument in the song. Play this song for days when you wish you weren’t stuck in the city and long for lush nature scenery and green gardens.
10. “Paperwerk” by Amplify Dot
If you don’t already know who UK rapper Amplify Dot is, what is taking you so long? Not only does she have free downloads, she’s also one of the hottest new female rappers from across the pond. “Paperwerk” is filled with sick beats and Dot’s timeless rhythm. It’s a song that really makes you wish you could make a cool dance to but what you end up doing is just jumping up and down in your underwear, flailing around in your apartment. Which is okay too.
By Teta Alim