10) Gabrielle Aplin – ‘Panic Cord’
This song is music for a rainy day, so it won’t be to everyone’s taste. I like the fact that unlike a lot of break-up songs, it doesn’t completely demonise the ex. In fact, the line it emphasises the most is “maybe I’m the one to blame”. Sometimes relationships just fade away, and it’s sad and that’s how it is. The video is extremely pretty, including Gabrielle herself and Sid Ellisdon, the model who plays the boyfriend
9) Lorde – ‘Royals’
‘Royals’ was one of the biggest hits of the year, but it took a while for it to grow on me. It’s very catchy, even though it’s fairly unusual for a pop song. The sparse, icy production is perfectly suited to Lorde’s vocals. It’s refreshing both in its sound and its lyrics, talking about how the luxury world of pop stars is completely at odds with the reality of many of their fans.
8) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz – ‘Thrift Shop’
‘Thrift Shop’ was, like ‘Royals’, another anti-materialism Translantic chart topper, although the style and delivery were very different. I used to work in a charity shop, so that was one reason I connected with this song, but I’ve never been a fan of buying overpriced clothes just to look “cool”, and certainly never been a fan of flaunting it, so I liked that this song noted that there’s something to be said for individuality and that you don’t need to spend too much money. Macklemore was not just unafraid of looking goofy and wearing second hand clothes, he was downright proud of it. It helps that there is a lot of humour to this track and the performers themselves.
7) AlunaGeorge – ‘Attracting Flies’
AlunaGeorge are a fantastic duo, whose talents complement each other. The silky vocals and charisma of Aluna Francis and George Reid’s creative production make for some great tracks. ‘Attracting Flies’ was my favourite of the bunch. The music video is directed by Emil Nava who also directed the video for Ed Sheerean’s ‘Give Me Love’. ‘Attracting Flies’ shows “urban decay” versions of well known fairytales.
6) Fenech-Soler – ‘Magnetic’
Fenech-Soler’s ‘Magnetic’ is a very pleasant track to listen to, even though it sounds quite eerie. It goes very well with the video, which has something of an Alice In Wonderland vibe. There’s a sinister rabbit a bit like the one in Donnie Darko, clocks moving backwards, and it becomes very dream-like, flashing from different locations, such as going in a washing machine and coming out in a desert.
5) Mutya Keisha Siobhan – ‘Flatline’
Oh dear, it all seemed exciting at first when the original Sugababes announced they were going to reunite and record some new material. But there were various delays before anything was released, and when ‘Flatline’ eventually came out it didn’t get much radio play or chart success. Which is a shame, as it’s a fine pop track, and a great “end of the summer” anthem. This song really deserved better. Let’s hope that final shot in the video of Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan driving off into the sunset isn’t their farewell to the pop world.
4) Marina and the Diamonds – ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’
Part of her Electra Heart concept album, ‘How To Be A Heartbreaker’ was kind of what it said on the tin, a tongue-in-cheek lesson on how to break hearts. It’s a fun song, and there is a subversive nature to it. The lyrics are generally playing with stereotypes about gender roles, and there is a bit of a gay subtext, with the homoerotic scenes of hunky men in a shower and a glamorous woman with a heart-shaped beauty mark being fabulous.
3) Paramore – ‘Still Into You’
On my birthday playlist, this song would be 2013’s entry. It was my favourite song on my birthday this year. Well, the video has a lot of cakes and fireworks. ‘Still Into You’ is definitely one of the poppier songs Paramore have done, it sounds a bit like something Kelly Clarkson might do. That said, a lot of Kelly Clarkson’s songs are about a bitter break-up, this song is quite the opposite, a celebration of a long-term relationship and about continuing to be in love.
2) Don Broco – ‘You Wanna Know’
Rock band Don Broco had their first entry in the UK top 40 with the ‘You Wanna Know’ E.P, which also includes a brilliant cover of AlunaGeorge’s ‘You Know You Like It’. The title track of the E.P ‘You Wanna Know’ was one of the best songs of 2013, with the stormy guitars and the strong vocals, shared by frontman Rob Damiani and drummer Matt Donnely.
1) Ellie Goulding – ‘Burn’
Ellie Goulding has been becoming an increasingly big star throughout 2013, and got her first UK number one single with ‘Burn’. It’s weird to think the song was almost on Leona Lewis’ Glassheart album, though even Leona Lewis herself doesn’t think she’d have had as big a hit with it. Ellie Goulding co-wrote the song with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, and it suits her vocals beautifully. Her voice makes it sound all the more celestial, while the electronic production has a very sparkly, almost outer space feel to it. While it’s still early days, I think this track will be seen as one of the best chart toppers of the decade.