2013 has been a pretty solid year on the music front – not so much on the political front, but that’s a different discussion and a different channel.
We’ve all had heated debates over massive yet polarizing hits like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” or Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” and we’ve all fantasized about the naughty things we could do when Ciara’s “Body Party” blares through the club speakers.
We also can’t forget about the very popular Seattle rapper Macklemore and his partner in crime Ryan Lewis, who virtually took over the music charts with their smash hits “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and the socially conscious fave “Same Love.”
There were hundreds of great singles this year, but unfortunately, we had to narrow down the year’s best to a mere 13. It was hard, but somebody had to do it.
Check out the 13 best singles of 2013 below.
13. A$AP Ferg – “Shabba” Featuring A$AP Rocky
We all have idols growing up, Harlem rapper A$AP Ferg’s idol just so happens to wear eight gold rings and four gold chains. Ferg dropped “Work,” his hard-hitting street anthem, back in 2012, but followed up with an equally infectious song that catapulted him into a summer festival favorite. Inspired by legendary reggae/dancehall artist Shabba Ranks, Ferg’s musical interpretation of his career via the song “Shabba” is nothing short of street perfection.
12. J. Cole – “Power Trip” Featuring Miguel
Just when people didn’t believe J. Cole could top the charts, he released one of the biggest Top 40 hits of the year with “Power Trip.” Receiving hook assistance from singer Miguel, “Power Trip” had us up all night drowning out to love songs.
11. Rihanna – “Stay” Featuring Mikky Ekko
Rihanna’s not typically known for heartfelt ballads, but with the help of up and coming singer/songwriter Mikky Ekko, Rihanna made one of the best ballads of her career. “Stay” is soft and vulnerable, which is far cry from RiRi’s typical “bad gal” image. Not to mention, “Stay” was one of the most covered songs in 2013.
10. Ciara – “Body Party
Many people wrote off Ciara’s career as another casualty of war, but the Atlanta songstress released “Body Party” and those sentiments quickly changed. The Ghost Town DJ-sampled track was sensual, savory, and deliciously seductive. Add in the narrative of Ciara’s bubbling romance with rapper Future, and you have a smash hit.
9. Ariana Grande – ”The Way”
Mini Mimi. Most known for her role in the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious, Ariana Grande has always been a star, but her status as a music idol was still up for debate – that is until she released her Mac Miller-assisted single “The Way.” Thanks to her vocal strength and similarities to a young Mariah Carey, the Yours Truly track peaked at number nine on Billboard’s Hot 100.
8. Lorde – “Royals
Teen sensation Lorde reached superstardom virtually overnight. Her breakout single “Royals” was THE anti-pop anthem to chant and became one of the most remixed songs of the year. “Royals” prevented huge artists like Eminem and One Direction from the top spot on Billboard for a whopping six weeks. Add in the 171 million radio impressions, and the 17-year-old Kiwi has herself a hit.
7. Macklemore – “Thrift Shop”
The phenomenon known as Macklemore took over 2013. After independently releasing his album The Heist in 2012, Macklemore’s tracks “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” became monster smashes. Over the past year, “Thrift Shop” spent 16 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 and sold over 7 million copies. If you didn’t think secondhand clothes were cool before Macklemore, the ginger rapper definitely convinced you to head to your local Good Will to find an old dusty fur coat to rock at his next show.
6. Kanye West – “New Slaves”
Are we the new slaves? According to Kanye West, we’re all slaves, and guess what? He may be right. Ye kicked off his first Yeezus single with a mind-blowing guerrilla marketing campaign in 66 cities across the world. With his face plastered on the side of landmarks and city buildings, Kanye West’s revolutionary Oz-like presentation sparked great debates about delivering music to fans. “New Slaves” is provocative, controversial, and candid, which makes it one of the best singles of 2013.
5. Katy Perry – “Roar”
Katy Perry has mastered the formula of creating a smash pop record. Her Prism single “Roar” is inspirational, catchy, and downright dazzling. Basically, “Roar” is too damn good. “Roar” has sold over 4 million digital copies on iTunes, making Katy Perry one of the highest selling pop artists of the millennial generation.
4. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”
Drake sparked a movement at the top of 2013 when he released the catchiest hip-hop track of the year, “Started From The Bottom.” Chronicling the journey of millions of millennial-aged Americans, “Started From The Bottom” became an instant internet obsession. If there’s ever a time when you make it to that large corner office, “Started From The Bottom” will serve as a reminder for you to wear every single chain…even when you’re in the house.
3. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
Mike WiLL made Miley Cyrus a smash hit. No one knew the direction Miley Cyrus was attempting to tackle musically when she announced she was working closely with famed hip-hop producer Mike WiLL Made-It, but when she released her lead single “We Can’t Stop,” we knew EXACTLY what Miley was attempting to tackle – the world. “We Can’t Stop” broke all types of records. VEVO records, iTunes records, YouTube records, you name it, Miley broke it. The 21-year-old wild child became the first pop star to break VEVO’s view records, receiving over 100 million views in just 37 days. Miley can’t stop singing, and we don’t want her to.
2. Daft Punk – ” Get Lucky”
Pharrell Williams played an integral part in creating the two hottest songs of summer, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Shortly after its release, the feel-good song helmed by the French DJs shot to the top of the charts and became one of the most spun songs on the radio. When you’re up all night, you’re only up for one reason – to get lucky. Remember that.
1. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines”
Name one bar in America that didn’t play this song. Are you still thinking? Yeah, that’s because Robin Thicke’s Pharrell-produced single “Blurred Lines” was a smash hit. Despite its pending legal battle with Marvin Gaye’s estate, “Blurred Lines” is the best-selling song of the year, going 40x platinum worldwide. Without a doubt, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is the best single of 2013.