2013 wasn’t my most adventurous year in music. That being said, Tegan and Sara and Patty Griffin both released new albums, so it was a great year for discovering new favorites from my old favorites. As always, the list is open to any song that I encountered for the first time in 2013. (You probably don’t want me to talk about listening to the Fleetwood Mac Rumours album for the millionth time.) Enjoy numbers 10 through 6.
10. Elliott Smith, “Easy Way Out”
This fall included a very successful trip to Cheapo for used CDs. I figured it was time to own some Elliott Smith beyond the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. “Easy Way Out” is a perfect example of the sharp-edged melancholy that I love in him. This song should be a requirement on any breakup playlist, real or imagined.
9. Frou Frou, “Must Be Dreaming”
Frou Frou was a musical duo including Imogen Heap before she moved on to solo awesomeness. I picked up their album on another Cheapo trip last year, but I basically ignored it until sometime this summer. Three songs were already familiar to me from Garden State soundtrack days, and there’s much more Frou Frou goodness where that came from. “Must Be Dreaming” is pure joy.
8. Fiona Apple, “Hot Knife”
My significant other can attest that I made him listen to this song on multiple occasions. The playful back-and-forth of the lyrics are absolutely hypnotic. “Hot Knife” is somewhere between a song and a chant, with the parts blending together to create a frantic love anthem. But I think it’s the simple imagery of “If I’m butter then he’s a hot knife” that really gets me.
7. Patty Griffin, “Go Wherever You Wanna Go”
Patty Griffin has an uncanny ability to make sad topics seem joyful. I extolled the virtues of her new album American Kid in an earlier post, and this song is the perfect kickoff to that album. Addressed to her father after his passing, it expresses the rambling freedom that she wishes for him. Guaranteed to make you smile or cry (or both!).
6. Tegan and Sara, “How Come You Don’t Want Me”
Speaking of putting an upbeat face on depressing subjects, Tegan and Sara’s electropop album is brimming with peppy tunes about heartbreak. “How Come You Don’t Want Me” is my favorite example. I get excited when I hear those opening beats, and seeing Sara sing it live only cemented my love. I don’t care which genre their band wants to work in as long as the songs are still addictively gut-wrenching.
Come back tomorrow for the top 5!