The Top 50 Songs of 2013

We’ve already counted down our favourite albums and videos of the year. Today, we’re unveiling our top 50 tracks of 2013 – a year that has seen the return of a rap god, the transformation of a tween star and the unexpected global ascent of an asthmatic 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Melbourne.

50. Paramore – Still Into You

All Paramore prejudice aside ‘Still Into You’ is one seriously good pop song. The big, bouncy bass and vocalist Hayley Williams’ rap/singing style in the verses invokes No Doubt circa Tragic Kingdom. Gone is all that rubbish emo guitar; in its place some catchy, ‘80s-infused pop. Possibly the best thing the band has done in the past decade. – Sarah Smith

49. Eminem – Rap God

The highpoint of MMLP2, ‘Rap God’ features some of the most insane bars of Eminem’s career. It starts of strong with creeping production, putting Em’s rhymes at the fore. Shouting out Busta Rhymes before going toe to toe with his incredible syllables-per-second rapid-fire flow. “Lyrics coming at you at a supersonic speed” indeed. – Lachlan Kanoniuk

48. Jeremy Neale – In Stranger Times

Velociraptor’s Jeremy Neale wanted to write a “club banger”. Sadly, no one told him that clubs play Pitbull and Lana Del Rey EDM remixes in 2013, not throwback pop songs written for “fictitious ‘60s girl groups”. Too bad. ‘In Stranger Times’ would been a hit with the kids in a parallel Pleasantville-like universe, where clubs serve malted milkshakes and the waiters dance at your tables. He even managed to rope in a real girl group (fellow Brisbanians Go Violets) on backing vocals. – Darren Levin

47. Popstrangers – What Else Could They Do

Emerging New Zealand three-piece managed a neat trick on first album Antipodes, balancing bad-trip guitar squall with wide-eyed psych-pop sensibilities – daring critics to resist the urge to pun on their name. ‘What Else Could They Do’ is the pick of the bunch: Singer Joel Flyger is on the point of cracking as he croaks out the chorus, before being buried under a pile of feedback and snare rolls. – Edward Sharp-Paul

46. Way Of The Eagle – Rattlesnake

The collaboration between producer/composer Jan Skubiszewski (aka Way Of The Eagle) and Dan Sultan could have been one big cheesy mess, with its deep groves, horns and handclaps. But testament to Skubiszewski’s songwriting skills and Sultan’s distinctive tone, ‘Rattlensnake’ is one of the most right-on, big band dance-floor hits of 2013. – Sarah Smith

45. Neko Case – Man

Neko Case returned from a four year absence with the gender-flipping power pop song of the year. ‘Man’, in which she sternly warned “I’m a man … you’ll deal with me directly”, featured M Ward on fuzzy guitars and a sound that bridged the gap between her solo material and her work with Canadian pop collective The New Pornographers. – Darren Levin

44. The Bamboos – Avenger

After more than a decade as the hardest working soul act in Australia, The Bamboos switched up their sound a little on their sixth LP Fever In The Road. The album takes its title from a lyric on the lead single and opening cut ‘Avenger’; a slickly produced, yet faintly sinister concoction that takes full advantage of new member Ella Thompson’s sparkling vocals. – Tom Mann

43. Nine Inch Nails – Everything

The big shock on NIN’s comeback Hesitation Marks was ‘Everything’, a thrashy slice of pop triumphalism with a chorus that lifts you up instead of dashing you against the rocks of alienation and despair. In the middle of an album of minimal electronic textures it was a powerful blast of cleaning agent, wiping away the grit just like in the commercials. – Jody Macgregor

42. TV Colours – Bad Dreams

“Hey man what you been doin’?/I been hanging out and drinking I guess.” One of the year’s best opening lines sets the scene for one of the many highlights from TV Colours’ debut full-length, Purple Skies, Toxic River. A potent existential malaise underlines the powerhouse riffs and shout-along chorus. An anthem with more heart than histrionics. – Lachlan Kanoniuk

41. Fractures – Twisted

Melbourne singer/multi-instrumentalist Fractures (aka Mark Zito) seems on the cusp of great things. His Chet Faker-meets-Radiohead aesthetic may be “on trend” but focusing on that too much would unfairly sell-short Zito’s impressive skill as both producer and songwriter. ‘Twisted’ is a beautiful piece of electro-pop that builds in all the right places. But hey, Don’t just take our word for it. – Sarah Smith


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