I’m never really comfortable putting together a list of songs (or anything else) and calling it the “best” of the year— not because I don’t think it’s possible to make a reasonable stab at such a list, but because I think that in order to do so you really have to have heard a lot of new music, and have a sense of the big picture: what the major releases and trends were, who did something unexpected, etc. To do that, you probably have to be getting paid for it, because otherwise who has the time? So, I always make a list of the songs I liked the best, of what I did hear; these are the songs that stuck with me, that I tended to play over and over again and not get tired of hearing. It is inevitably selective and probably does not include a great many things that I would have liked, if I’d gotten around to hearing them. But there you go.
I also put together a Spotify Playlist which includes most of these songs, though not all were available.
In no particular order, then, my favorite songs of 2013:
“Wise Man” by Frank Ocean
“Retrograde” by James Blake
“Job Well Done” by Run the Jewels, featuring Until the Ribbon Breaks
“Pressure” by Until the Ribbon Breaks
“Emmanuel” by Basecamp
“Waiting Game” by Banks
“Water Me” by FKA Twigs
“Team” by Lorde
“Step” by Vampire Weekend
“One Half” by Julianna Barwick
“I Need My Girl” by The National