It’s the most wonderful time of the year – top and bottom lists of all things that were produced in the year 2013. Personally, I’m always on the edge of my seat waiting for some of my favorite websites to let me know if I was justified in loving the new Daft Punk album (I was) or  the highly anticipated Miley album (I wasn’t). But what some of our more critical writers enjoy even more is taking those lists and picking them apart.

Myself and three of our music writers, Matt Brier, Kali Sluyter, and Phil Chester, decided to take on one of the most popular lists, the Rolling Stones Top 100 songs of 2013, and give our opinion on the top 10% (spoiler alert: we didn’t agree with most of it). To do this, we created a Spotify playlist, listened to the songs roughly 620 times, and scored them individually. Afterward, we went through and averaged out those scores for a collaborative DTC Score. You can find our reordered top ten at the very bottom.

But mostly, we want to know what YOU think. Let us know if you agree, disagree, or have entirely different opinions!

10. Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

Andrea Francois (AF): I’m honestly not usually an Arctic Monkeys fan (gasp, I know), but this track really hits the spot for me and reminds me a lot of The Black Keys. It’s stripped down and dirty enough to keep me interested. Compared to some other songs on this list, I think it should be a few ticks higher.

Kali Sluyter (KS): I love Arctic Monkeys, and AM is a great album, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t too impressed with this as a lead-off single. It definitely grew on me, though, and I appreciate that it’s a little slinky and sinister.

Phil Chester (PC): This song is cool… has a cool riff, and has that dirty feel like Andrea said. But is it top 10 material? Not really. For me, it didn’t have that “come listen to me some more” feeling a top 10 song should have. I went back and listened two or three times and realized it just doesn’t get off the ground floor of sounding cool. I long for a time when guitars and drumming and grit and rock can be counted in a popular top 10 list but this song just falls flat. No intensity.

Matt Brier (MB): This song is good and I might even agree with Rolling Stone’s inclusion into the top 10, if I hadn’t heard better versions of this style. Raccoon Fighter, for example, did more interesting things with fuzzed out rock. I would probably have put this one in a top 25.

AF: I’m going to give this one 8/10.

PC: 7/10

KS: 8/10

MB: 7/10

DTC’s Score: 7.5

 

9. Drake – Started from the Bottom

KS: I think this song is kind of funny because we sing it a lot at work (don’t ask…) but come on, Drake. You did not start from the bottom. You were on Degrassi. Which is a cultural bottom, I guess, but still way better than most other people.

AF: Kali, you can’t say that about Degrassi. That show was magical and one of the most influential tween series ever. But this is a music list, and not a television list, so I digress. I’m not really sure how to comment on this song because I generally don’t like Drake. I will say that it feels like he’s channeling 50 Cent with the amount of mumbles in this song.

PC: What the hell is Degrassi? As far as this genre goes there isn’t anything special with this song. Every rapper seems to have a song about starting from nothing in their catalog. It’s not bringing anything new to the table. Come on Rolling Stone… a whole year’s worth of music and Drake is number 9? This song shoulda started closer to the bottom. OOOOH burn.

MB: Meh. To be fair I’m not a huge fan of rap, but I can’t help but think there was more of either an anthemic or artistic choice that could have been put in the top 10. I’ll fully admit I maybe too far out of touch to comment on this one.

AF: Degrassi is a Canadian teen drama series, similar to Boy Meets World, but with more of a Glee feel. He played JIMMY BROOKS, who was an aspiring musician. Who I can only assume started from the bottom. I think we can all agree that we don’t really care about Drake and this song is boring.

KS: I do suppose that, while on Degrassi, his character was shot. So technically he had the most cred of all the Degrassi kids and thus has found a perfect career as the Most Sensitive Rapper Alive. Also, his name is Aubrey, so let’s acknowledge that.

PC: Now I know more about Drake than I ever wanted. His other big song this year was “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and that is even more boring than this one.

MB: So yay for trivial knowledge, but not so much for this song?

AF: I think we’re all on the same page with this. Drake get’s a 4/10 from me.

PC: 4/10

KS: 3/10

MB: 4/10

DTC’s Score: 3.75

 

8. James Blake – Retrograde

AF: I really, really want to like this song. James Blake is a wonderful musician and knows what he’s doing when it comes to electronic tunes. But this track was just SO boring – in general, and also in comparison to the rest of his work and other songs on this list.

KS: I’m going to second Andrea’s charge of this song being boring. Not the best James Blake song for this list, and definitely not showcasing what he’s capable of as a musician.

PC: Never heard this before and I can’t even finish this track.

MB: Hadn’t heard this songs before, but I found it mildly interesting. Not top ten worthy by any means, but still interesting. Does anyone else think this would be good music for the final credits of a movie?

AF: I could see hear it playing while rolling some credits. It would have to be an indie-romcom probably featuring a soul searching white guy who lost the love of his life. I like this track a lot more listening to it for the 1000th time, but I think it could have ended around two and a half minutes and everyone would be a lot happier. Still not worthy of a top ten, I think.

PC: Since I don’t want to talk about this song at all, I want to mention that Rolling Stone named Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” as worst song of the year. I have to admit I jammed to this song most of the year and would have it in my top 10. It’s a fun song. None of these top 10 songs are very fun to me.

MB: I think they’re striving for, an failing almost half the time, songs that are innovative or artistically balanced or some other ethereal criteria. Though the Robin Thicke song, which I’m not necessarily a fan of either, would’ve been better than the Drake song.

AF: Repetitive? Yes. Bad? No way. James Blake gets a 5/10.

PC: 3/10

KS: 4/10

MB: 5/10

DTC’s Score: 4.25

 

7. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors

AF: “Mirrors” is my theme song. JT shed his boyband persona long ago and The 20/20 Experience was a great step into a more Prince/Michael Jackson inspired era. This tune always has me singing with passion, and is an entirely different track than what the radio plays (8 minute tune compared to 3). Ugh. I just can’t even.

KS: I can’t hear this song without associating it with Andrea, so I assure you all her claims about it being her theme and singing passionately are 100 percent correct. I dig the song, too.

PC: Justin Timberlake. I used to despise this guy and his boy band, but we’ve all come a long way from those dark days. He belongs in the top 10, but I think I liked “Suit & Tie” more than “Mirrors.”

MB: Not a fan of Justin Timberlake, probably because of the automatic association with boy bands in my brain. This was a surprisingly good song though. I don’t feel the sudden urge to go out and buy the album, but I can see why this was a top ten pick.

AF: Even though I’m guilty of being into boy bands when I was the appropriate age, I have never associated JT with his choreographed group dancing days. However, I’ll admit that I was definitely more into Hanson than NSync. After “Mirrors” came out, I did kind of forget about “Suit & Tie,” but now that you bring it up, I can see how someone might like it more than this one.

PC: I secretly want to go on tour and play sax in JT’s backing band. Don’t tell anyone.

MB: Oddly enough I’m wasn’t a big fan of Hanson either and would have written them off completely until I read or heard that they weren’t just another product of the pop machine. Still not a big fan, though I did like the Tinted Windows album that featured one of the brothers, but respect them for being actual musicians first. I have the same level of respect for JT in that he’s more than the pop machine that generated him.

AF: Obviously I’m a little bias. 9/10.

PC: 8/10

KS: 8/10 but only because it reminds me of Andrea every time I hear it and then I laugh a lot.

MB: 7/10

DTC’s Score: 8

 

6. Parquet Courts – Stoned and Starving

AF: There’s always a Little Indie Song That Could on this list. Never heard of Parquet Courts before this, so I went into it as a fresh listener. Results? Bored out of my mind. Maybe I’m just not hip enough, but there were too many elements and influences going on for me to really focus on the song as a whole. I don’t think this tune belongs on this list, let alone in the top 10.

KS: Total agreement with Andrea on this. First I was like, “Oh hey, this sounds like The Replacements,” and then it was The Clash… and then The Hold Steady… and then I just didn’t know what to think. It’s a little muddled. I always confuse Parquet Courts with the superior Palma Violets, and really feel this song should have been replaced by PV’s “Best of Friends.” Props to them for talking about Swedish Fish, though.

PC: The guitar riff started and I got excited. Then those weak ass drums kicked in and I deflated. The vocals are just ugh. And don’t get me started on the lame guitar solos. Where’s the heart? This sounds like what I would assume “going through the motions” sounds like, or possibly it’s “We’re too cool to care what it sounds like.” Even the entire minute of feedback over the impassioned fade-out ending was lackluster.

MB: I’m not sure how this song made the top ten. The guitar riff is okay, the vocals are iffy, and overall this is a very forgettable song.

AF: I’m with Phil. That opening guitar riff got me all pumped for something awesome, and then those vocals happened. I’m hoping that maybe there are better songs in the Parquet Courts catalogue, and that the sluggishness of the song is related to the title. #sodeep

AF: 4/10.

PC: 2/10

KS: 3/10 because WHY?

MB: 3/10 Have to agree, WHY?!?

DTC’s Score: 3

 

5. Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn

KS: First I was like, “Yeah I can groove to this!” and then I ended up being so annoyed by the refrain that I turned it off about two minutes in.

AF: If I wanted repetitive grooves and an obscure refrain, I’ll bust out some Fatboy Slim. It’s a little too “one-trick-pony” for me and I can think of some other tracks that would do better on this list.

PC: No amount of glow sticks could make this song good to me. It almost had potential as it started but that hope quickly faded.

MB: It started off with promise. It quickly fell into a repetitive mess of a song though. I like the beat and the rhythm and could see it working in a club setting, maybe.

AF: I really did get excited about a great electronic track when I first started listening to this tune. And then all of a sudden I got bored and unimpressed. I think Rolling Stone did a really nice job of keeping this list diverse, but flopped the hip hop and electronic areas. I could see some Anamanaguchi on here instead of this or the James Blake track.

PC: I’m biased here. Electronic music like this isn’t even in my top ten genres. So I’ll see myself out.

MB: This could have been a great song had they added some diverse elements. The first bit reminded me of some remixes/mash-ups which got my attention. It just doesn’t go anywhere after that.

AF: Not burning for me. 5/10.

PC: 4/10

KS: 5/10

MB: 4/10

DTC’s Score: 4.5

 

4. Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt

KS: This is definitely a Vampire Weekend song. But real talk, Modern Vampires of the City is the first VW album I’ve really enjoyed all the way through, and I think this song has a really great build near the end. I also really love the “Though we live on the US dollar/you and me, we got our own sense of time” line for some reason. So yeah, I like this.

AS: I had been putting off listening to this song for a very long time, because Vampire Weekend. I finally accidentally listened to it while browsing the Internet and about half way through looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat, I was like “wtf is this?” The “build” that Kali mentions is, in my opinion, more of a slope than anything. Which when done right can be incredibly effective, but Vampire Weekend just isn’t doing it for me.

PC: I like it. Smooth and mellow and mysterious. The instrumentation and synth choices are interesting and compliment the song rather than distract. I think it is sad that this is the only song in the top ten that actually builds up and goes somewhere. This song flows and moves towards that peak and it refreshing to hear among these misplaced songs. I wish this song was longer.

MB: I’m kind of torn. I like this song, but it isn’t as insanely an earworm as “Diane Young.” Admittedly the latter took awhile to grow on me, but this song is a slower moment on the album. Still it does work as a representation of the album which is one of my favorites this year and definitely deserved representation in the top ten.

AF: I’m really trying to like this song. Maybe I just can’t separate it from my animosity toward Vampire Weekend. After having some time away, I think if anything, I do really love the lyrics in this tune. But I’m still rather bored by everything else.

PC: I was surprised I liked it. I kinda assumed it would suck because of the Twilight-y-ness of their name. We as a people need to back off on the vampire fixation for a while. Especially “sexy” ones. Just, no.

KS: I’ve had this song on my constant work rotation playlist for a week now and I still love it soooooo…

MB: I’ll admit a bias here as I am a fan of the band, I think they bring a uniqueness to the indie/alternative scene.

AF: I’m going to take the hate and give VW a 7/10.

PC: 8/10

KS: 9/10, haters gonna hate.

MB: 8/10

DTC’s Score: 8

 

3. Kanye West – Black Skinhead

KS: I groove so hard to this song. I can’t even lie. Lyrically it’s not even that good, but that production and beat are second to none. Get it, Yeezus.

AF: I will agree that it’s not Ye’s best work as far as lyrics, but I wouldn’t say they’re not good. I don’t think the point of this track, or why Rolling Stone placed here, was to give nod to the production value or groove-ability. The lyrics are what make the track so moving and influential for 2013. Remember when he released that video of just his face singing along? It was that bare minimum visual that helped make the song what is known for now.

PC: I have to disagree with Andrea, I think this song is more known for selling smart phones. However, I bet a lot of people don’t realize this is the song in the advertisement. Maybe this is my 90’s inner child coming back out, but when an artist tries to make a relevant statement out of a song, you don’t muddle the message by putting in commercials. All that aside, I thought it was a cool tune from Kanye. I like the beat, but I don’t think it paired quite right with his rapping… some contrast there, but maybe that was the point.

MB: Again I’m not a big fan of rap, but I can understand the inclusion of the song in this list. Artistically, lyrically, and musically I find it to be more interesting than Drake’s song.

AF: I had no idea what Phil was talking about until later that day when I saw the commercial. I have never really cared that much when artists sell their music for profits, because it’s their job and it’s how they make money – especially in today’s age when record sales are pathetic. If an artist can release a song that’s truly meaningful and make a few bucks off of it through whatever brand, than good on them. It takes talent to make music that is impactful and crunchy.

PC: The game has changed. I remember getting pissed off at a band because they “sold out” or something, but yeah, it’s different now. If my band was asked if a song we wrote could be in a commercial I think we would all get a pen ready to sign the dotted line. But getting back to Kanye (I refuse to call him Yeesus), the clip of the song that is heard in the commercial omits his rapping, so his message is lost and really anything linking the song to him unless you already knew it was him. Which was not the case with me, so I immediately said “Oh, its the dumb cell phone song from the dumb commercial.”

AF: Yeezus, you’re getting an 8/10 from me on this one.

PC: 6/10

KS: I’mma back up the 8/10 ruling, only subtracting for lyrical meh-ness.

MB: 7/10

DTC’s Score: 7.25

 

2. Lorde – Royals

AF: I’m not even sure how I can express my love for this song. Sure, Lorde has been criticized for her youth and attempt at depth, but who wasn’t trying to be deep at 16? Girl deserves credit where credit is due. She’s in control of her voice as demonstrated on some live recordings, and unlike some female musicians her age, has a genuine appreciation for music as an artform. I can’t wait to see what she creates in her later years.

KS: I loved “Royals” when I first heard it. And then I heard it again… and again… and again. Is it the second best song of the year? Maybe. It definitely deserves to be up here in the top 10, but please, for the love of Carl Sagan, can we just stop playing “Royals” and dig deeper into the Lorde catalog?

PC: I remember the first time I heard this song. My wife and I were driving somewhere and it started and we just stopped our conversation and just listened. The song has a unique presence that draws you in, and it really caught on. Really, really. More than I thought it would and I think most can agree it has reached full saturation.

MB: Fortunately I haven’t been overly exposed to this song because I think it is pretty amazing. I didn’t realize how much criticism the artist was receiving until I read the Youtube comments for the video. Set aside the fact that she is trying to be deep, the vocals are superb, the lyrics are catchy, and the arrangement make for a fun song.

AF: Even after the overexposure, the New Zeeland bird deserves her 9/10.

PC: 10/10

KS: 7/10 because I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

MB: 9/10

DTC’s Score: 8.75

 

1. Daft Punk ft. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky

KS: I can’t argue with this. Bow to “Get Lucky,” 2013.

AF: Who’s going to argue with this? I want someone to try and fight this one.

PC: Honestly, how many damn times can you repeat the same line over and over again? The song has a good groove and I like the throwback funk riff. I am even a fan of Pharell, but this song comes off cold and heartless like machines made it. [Insert lame Daft Punk/Robot joke here]

MB: I can argue with this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song and Daft Punk deserves high praise for the album, but I agree this cut is overly repetitive. I still think they should have led with “Lose Yourself To Dance” and I would have been perfectly happy for it to take the top spot.

KS: Y’all are just jelly.

PC: Honestly, I hated it on the first listen. It has grown on me since then, but I’m just saying it’s not #1 material. I probably would have put Lorde in this spot.

AF: While I love Random Access Memories in it’s entirely, “Get Lucky” is the only track that could be taken out of context and universally enjoyed. “Lose Yourself to Dance” I think is more repetitive and robotic than this. It’s #1 spot was earned mostly due to Daft Punk’s mysterious absence. The Tron soundtrack was not the comeback that fans expected. It was very commercialized and didn’t feel genuine (probably because it was a soundtrack, not a Daft Punk album), while “Get Lucky” was what, I think, fans wanted in terms of new Daft Punk music and growth.

PC: Daft Punk has the repetitive and robotic market cornered. Good for them it’s popular right now, I guess.

MB: I think they deserve the top spot based on how big of a hit the album and single were. Personally I just think “Lose Yourself to Dance” was a more interesting song.

AF: 10/10. Good job, Daft Punk and crew. Good job, Rolling Stone.

PC: 7/10

KS: 10/10, A+, will groove to this into the new year.

MB: 8/10

DTC’s Score: 8.5

 

With all of that said, here’s DTC’s Reordered Top 10:

10. Parquest Courts – “Stoned and Starving”

9. Drake – Started from the Bottom

8. James Blake – Retrograde

7.  Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn”

6. Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”

5. Arctive Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

4. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”

3. Vampire Weekend – “Hannah Hunt”

2. Daft Punk ft. Pharrell and Niles Rodgers – “Get Lucky”

1. Lorde – “Royals”

Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts! What did you thnk of Rolling Stone’s picks? Do you agree with our thoughts? What’s missing from this list?

About The Author

Andrea is currently the Site Administrator and Music Editor at DestroyTheCyborg!, and in real life works as a corporate drone for a mid-west retailer. Like most people, she did not go to school for any of those things. In her spare time, she plays her musical things, video games, and occasionally goes outdoors. She loves beer and wine, and avoids dirtying dishes at all costs.
Andrea is the wife of video game and comic reviewer, Jon Francois, and together with their cats, have a life goal of ruling the world (or just sort of hanging out, whichever proves to be easier).

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