Top 50 Songs of 2013 :: [50-41]

Welcome to our annual countdown of the 50 best songs of the calendar year. Songs must be from an EP, LP or demo released during 2013 and no band may appear twice. Today, we count down 50 to 41.

50. Youth Lagoon - "Mute"

Youth Lagoon took his listeners out of the bedroom in 2013, and it wasn't a universally pleasant experience. Seemingly more determined to freak everyone out, a drunk carousel creeps its way in at the edges of mounting of psych-out, "Mute". Still, the sea-sick quality of sophomore LP, Wondrous Bughouse managed to stick, like the final movement of "Mute", a weird and lost battle cry in an age of distortion.

49. Highasakite - "Son of a Bitch"

"Oh grand gesture, enter the room" opens the lens on Highasakite's "Son of a Bitch", before lead singer Ingrid Havik sings, "hold my hair while I vomit". This is the type of reversal that "Son of a Bitch" traffics in without regard for the listener's potential whiplash. This isn't about making you feel good, even if the tumbling chorus spills out of Havik like the puke of the opening line. No one, least of all the band, can hold back here.

48. Field Mouse - "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"

For everyone who prayed for the salvaging of the Silversun Pickups shipwreck, New York's Field Mouse brought "Tomorrow Is Yesterday". A fecund and funny lead singer mixed with the echoing shoegaze jam, a sort of anti-anthem for the death-spiral gentrification of the Williamsburg waterfront, an era and a band both in and out of time.

47. Waylayers - "The Hook"

Waylayers got more out of four notes than most other bands in 2013. A wind-swept synthesizer creation, "The Hook" was full of its namesake, lines like, "I'd rather live my life inside my dreams." From an LP entitled, Fault Lines, "The Hook" debated the silent perils beneath our feet, all the invisible deaths we can bear to consider, a final movement and duet that just vaguely resisted the fatalism suggested in the opening movement.

46. Amity Beach - "Sunday Nights to Infinity"

If youth is soft oft wasted on the young, Amity Beach used it well. "Sunday Nights to Infinity" trades in adolescence as currency: the explosive nights by the lake that feel like they happened to you, whether they ever did or not. The guitars exploded from every direction, a seeming desire to say yes to every impulse at once, the absurd House of Yes that is being young.

45. Night Flowers - "Night"

No one did 1990s guitars like Night Flowers in 2013. "Night" opens like a lost Sundays or Cranberries track, a winsome and lonely guitar line that eventually opens to Hester Ullyart's undeniable vocal. It was something that belonged on the Reality Bites soundtrack, a smoldering kiss between Ethan Hawke and and a stunningly adorned Winona Ryder.

44. Flyte - "Over and Out"

Once you got passed the "Right Back Where We Started From" paralells and the wanton flight metaphors from a band called, Flyte, "Over and Out" held a breezy progression and a number of sticky hooks. Some mixture of the Cars, the Police, and the Talking Heads, Flyte could well dominate 2014, even in the face of their eponymous lyrical symbolism.

43. Polly Hi - "Carousel"

Polly Hi was as close to the old Shins as anyone got in 2013, and "Carousel" held one of those cloud-clearing choruses that Mercer used to write three of before getting out of bed in the morning. Not complex but immensely satisfying, the refrain held everything together. Music wasn't ripe for changing anyone's life this year, but Polly Hi's "Carousel" reminded you of what that must have felt like.

42. ON AN ON - "Ghosts"

Slow was the new fast from ON AN ON's "Ghosts" this year. Like a lost analog to "Where Is Mind?", the power was in the downstroke guitars and the wilting little hooks that grew up and died in the same moments. The final movement seemed to go one forever, a receding vanishing point for a song that never concerned itself with anything but the past.

41. Alice Boman - "Waiting"

It was nothing less than heartbreak on Alice Boman's "Waiting". Pathos dialed to 11 on lyrics like, "I want you more than I need you / I need you so bad", as Boman's little alto steamrolled the listener. There would be no absolution here, nothing but pain in the middle of a long afternoon.

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