These are my top three favourite songs, with sixteen honourable mentions. The reason it’s a Top 3 is because those three songs were my clear favourites. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you probably have a general idea of what music I like and what to expect on this list. Remember that this is supposed to be my favourites not the best of 2013. I’ll also provide links to the reviews of any album I wrote about.
Here are the honourable mentions in no particular order.
Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Out of Time’ from High Rise
The first single showing off the new singer of Stone Temple Pilots is an absolute scorcher. That singer, of course, is Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and Dead by Sunrise, two of my favourite bands. The guitar work sounds killer and Chester’s vocals fit in naturally. If you don’t like Linkin Park I do suggest giving this a listen as Chester’s a very versatile rock singer and his new role makes great use of his talents. STP purists should stay clear, as those Scott Weiland goggles won’t budge.
Steel Panther ‘Party Like Tomorrow’s The End of the World’ from All You Can Eat (future release)
It’s a Steel Panther song, so it had to be on this list. It’s textbook Panther – sex, drugs and rock and roll. All of the above can be seen in the best music video of the year!
Bernard Fanning ‘Departures (Blue Toowong Skies)’ from Departures
This is a nice song. Nice piano, nice guitar nice vocals, nice meaning. I saw this live too and it was very poignant.
Alice in Chains – ‘Hollow’ from The Devil Brought Dinosaurs Here
Never really liked Alice in Chains or grunge in general all that much, but I really got into this song, as well as the rest of the album. Sludging metal riffs kick things off and we are treated to awesome harmonised vocals in the chorus, then a cool bridge and a rocking solo. Bands can often never recover from the departure or death of their lead singer, but Alice in Chains are doing well for themselves.
Queens of the Stone Age – ‘If I Had a Tail’ from …Like Clockwork
Queens of the Stone Age are out doing the good work spreading great rock music. You were probably expecting ‘My God Is The Sun’ or ‘I Appear’, but ‘If I Had a Tail’ is my favourite. Like most of QOTSA’s stuff, I find it hard to explain why I like it, because it’s just all-around awesome. Have a listen.
Daft Punk – ‘Touch’ from Random Access Memories
Yep, the only non-rock song on this list, but I’m more than happy to place it alongside the others. This song is pure brilliance, especially the second half. The best way to describe it is a beautiful love story from outer space. Random Access Memories is a very awe-inspiring album and ‘Touch’ is its centrepiece.
Deez Nuts – ‘Streets are Watching’ from ‘Bout It
Deez Nuts is essentially hardcore punk mixed with hip-hop (rapcore), and it’s freaking awesome. I love the aggression in ‘Streets Are Watching’, with the fast paced rapping over loud head aching distorted guitar. All their songs also have a hip-hop cultural vibe to them, despite the thud of the punk. This song and the album is a lot of fan and I highly recommend everyone checking them out.
Black Sabbath – ‘The End of the Beginning’ from 13
13 did exactly what a comeback album should: it sounded like a Black Sabbath album and the songs were good Black Sabbath songs. Van Halen also pulled this off two years ago with A Different Kind of Truth. It was really hard for me to choose ‘The End of the Beginning’ over ‘God Is Dead?’ and ‘Loner’, because all three songs are really good yet are extremely different in style and structure. How did I make my decision? I have no idea; it may have been different if I wrote this last week. All three songs to me represent the music of Sabbath perfectly. ‘The End of the Beginning’ starts with the most doom metal of all doom metal riffs, and then changes to one of the coolest riffs of the year and then ends with a lengthy Tomy Iommi solo. The end is nigh.
Megadeth – ‘Kingmaker’ from Super Collider
Pretty lame album, but this song is really, really good. If the whole album sounded like this I would have no complaints. It sounds like classic Megadeth, it’s fast, it’s heavy and has excellent guitar leads. Don’t bother with Super Collider, but do check out ‘Kingmaker’.
Bon Jovi – ‘What About Now’ from What About Now
Another lame album, but I do this song. It’s one of the few on the record I’m not embarrassed about having on my iPod. It has Jon’s uplifting lyrics without being too cheesy, and the chorus is pretty good. I will say that if you’re not a fan of the band, this certainly won’t change your mind.
Deep Purple – ‘Weirdestan’ from Now What?!
The new Deep Purple album is pretty damn solid and its style easily fits in with their older material. ‘Weirdestan’ is as strange as the title implies. The keyboard playing is the star of the show – dat organ riff & dat organ solo.
Andrew Stockdale – ‘Let Somebody Love You’ from Keep Moving
Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother is one of few writing rock songs centred on simple riffs. There’s a ton of great riffs on this album, but this song contains the catchiest and it repeats almost through the entire song and doesn’t get boring. I couldn’t find the original version on YouTube, but the acoustic version is still quite good!
Airbourne – ‘Live It Up’ from Black Dog Barking
Yes, I know these guys might as well perform under the name ‘AC/DC’ as the similarities are so obvious, but at least they write great AC/DC rip-offs! With Acca Dacca on borderline retirement, what’s wrong with a younger band receiving the torch? Live It Up is loud, catchy, simple, has an awesome guitar solo and it makes you feel powerful – what more could you want?!
Karnivool – ‘We Are’ from Asymmetry
Atmospheric and epic, just like many of the ‘Vool’s greats. I love how it sounds both unsettling and calming. It’s great to just sit back and hear the tune progress. Killer live band by the way!
Deap Vally – ‘Walk of Shame’ from Sistrionix
I caught this song on video when the Deap Vally gals came to Australia. The music video kind of sucks, but the tune is bloody awesome, especially when performed live. I love the rawness of it, and the lyrics are pretty funny. It’s great to have female representation in rock and roll. Check Deap Vally out, they’re not just hype, they’re rock goddesses.
Dream Theater – ‘Along For the Ride’ from Dream Theater
This was another one I had trouble picking from the other highlights of the album, so I made my decision from iTunes number of plays. It starts off with a soft rock verse and chorus, and then we step it up a notch to progressive rock. Lucky us, we get two solos – on guitar and then the keys. The lyrics about our inability to really do anything about what occurs on this planet are quite moving.
And now, for my Top 3!
Baby Animals – ‘Under Your Skin’ from This Is Not The End
I already loved the single ‘Email’, but the song ‘Under Your Skin’ was the moment I actually gave a crap about the band. I interviewed guitarist Dave Leslie, which you can read here, but one thing that’s not included in that feature is his insight into this song, which is actually the opener for the ‘Feed the Birds’ tour. He described the entire song as a guitar solo, with the “water” guitar opening it to the “Hey hey hey oh” vocals by Suze Demarchi that launches the song into gear. I loved this, it’s my third favourite song released this year.
Paramore – ‘Ain’t It Fun’ from Paramore
There are many great songs on Paramore’s latest album, but this is something special. One word describes this song: catchy. Hayley William’s scat vocals are catchy, the guitar parts are catchy, the gospel choir beginning at the song’s bridge is catchy. The entire running time is catchy. This was easily my number two favourite song of the year. Dave Leslie who I just mentioned told me he couldn’t stop listening to this song when I asked about any new stuff he likes, so there’s a professional opinion for you!
The Dead Daisies – ‘Lock N Load’ from The Dead Daisies
This is typical me, my favourite song of 2013 is an old school rock and roll track. The one and only Slash co-wrote this song with The Dead Daisies and his recognisable guitar playing here is better than any track recorded on his solo album that came out last year. The main riff is amazing, the solos are beautiful and Jon Steven’s singing is outstanding. I never listened to Steven’s former band Noiseworks growing up, but I liken him to Axl Rose’s singing style with the charisma of the late Michael Hutchence. My number of iTunes plays of this song is more than enough to convince me it’s an awesome tune. Congratulations guys, I hope you somehow break the mold of this modern pop music wasteland.
I didn’t get round to listening to every new release I wanted to hear, but part of that is because I spent the last few months listening to Midnight Oil over and over again (my new favourite old band). Seriously, you’ve got to listen to Midnight Oil.
I only did a review of music in 2013 because I only reviewed about three 2013 video games. My year in gaming was spent playing older titles. As for my film knowledge… well it leaves a lot to be desired.
What were your favourite songs or albums released this year? Feel free to leave a comment below! Thank you all very much for reading my blogs this year. I look forward to more writing in 2014; hopefully my future posts will be shorter and more concise! Have a good new year!