2013 In Pop

Last year-end I ranked all the movies and shows I'd watched in 2012. I hadn't paid enough attention to music of the year to say anything worthwhile about it, though.

This year, on the other hand, I made a point to keep up on what the kids are listening to for my new gig as Young Life music guy, so I'm hip to the current music scene and here to share this wealth of information and critique with YOU! WITH YOU!

Disclaimer: Songs qualify by enjoying peak chart performance during 2013, even if they came out earlier.
Disclaimer 2: I don't know anything about anything.
Disclaimer 3: I don't really listen to rap or country.
Disclaimer 4: When it comes to pop, I don't really listen to whole albums, just singles.

The Best (Songs I Liked This Year):

[Key] Song - Artist: Totally BS Arbitrary Grade


I Knew You Were Trouble -Taylor Swift: A-
Ho Hey - The Lumineers: B+
Beauty and a Beat - Justin Bieber: B+
Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: A
Don’t You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia: A-
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark - Fall Out Boy: A-
Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch: A+
Just Give Me a Reason - P!nk ft. Nate Ruess (fun.): A-
Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men: A


Radioactive - Imagine Dragons: A
Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson: B+
Stay - Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko: A-
Next to Me: Emeli Sande: B+
Can’t Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: B+
Heart Attack - Demi Lovato: B
Mirrors - Justin Timberlake: B+
Brave - Sara Bareilles: B
I Need Your Love - Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding: B+


Get Lucky - Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams: A
Treasure - Bruno Mars: A-
Holy Grail - Jay Z ft. Justin Timberlake: B+
Best Song Ever - One Direction: B+
Clarity - Zedd ft. Foxes: A
Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert: A+
Still Into You - Paramore: A


Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey (Cedric Gervais Remix): A
Demons - Imagine Dragons: A-
Roar - Katy Perry: B+
Applause - Lady Gaga: B+
Wake Me Up! - Avicii: A
Berzerk - Eminem: B+
Royals - Lorde: A
Hold On, We’re Going Home - Drake: A
Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus: A-
What Does the Fox Say? - Ylvis: A
Dark Horse: Katy Perry ft. Juicy J: B
Counting Stars - One Republic: B+


The Monster - Eminem ft. Rihanna: A-
Story of My Life - One Direction: B+
Stay the Night - Zedd ft. Hayley Williams: A-
Unconditionally - Katy Perry: A-
Do What U Want - Lady Gaga ft. R. Kelly: B+
Pompeii - Bastille: A+
Burn - Ellie Goulding: A
Perfume: Britney Spears: A-
Team - Lorde: B+
Old School Love - Lupe Fiasco ft. Ed Sheeran: A-

The Rest (Other Popular Songs):

Scream & Shout - will.i.am ft. Britney Spears: B-
Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips: B-
Suit & Tie - Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z: B
When I Was Your Man - Bruno Mars: B+
Cups - Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect Soundtrack): B
Daylight - Maroon 5: B
The Other Side - Jason Derulo: B+
Harlem Shake - Baauer: C+
Feel This Moment - Pitbull ft. Christina Aguilera: B
We Can’t Stop - Miley Cyrus: B-
Here's to Never Growing Up - Avril Lavigne: B-
22 - Taylor Swift: B
I Love It - Icona Pop: C+
Come & Get It - Selena Gomez: B-
Love Somebody - Maroon 5: B
Safe & Sound - Capital Cities: B
White Walls - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. ScHoolboy Q and Hollis: B-
Timber - Pitbull ft. Ke$ha: B
Marry Me - Jason Derulo: B-
Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood: B
Let Her Go - Passenger: B
Work B**** - Britney Spears: B-

The Worst (Popular Songs I Hated):

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell Williams: C-
Locked Out of Heaven - Bruno Mars: C+
Gorilla - Bruno Mars: C
The Way - Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller: C
Cruise - Florida Georgia Line: F
Bound 2 - Kanye West ft. Charlie Wilson: D+
Swimming Pools - Kendrick Lamar: D
#Beautiful - Mariah Carey ft. Miguel: F

Hidden Gems (Good Songs that Never Really Took Off):

Lego House - Ed Sheeran: A-
Rough Water - Travie McCoy ft. Jason Mraz: B+
My Kind of Love - Emeli Sande: A+
Venus - Lady Gaga: A-
American Girl - Bonnie McKee: B
What About Love - Austin Mahone: B+
Closer - Tegan and Sara: B+
Chloe (You're the One I Want) - Emblem3: B
Take Back the Night - Justin Timberlake: A-
TKO - Justin Timberlake: B+
Harlem - New Politics: B+
Hopeless Wanderer - Mumford & Sons: A
The Wire - Haim: A+

Songs of the Year (Popularity, Influence and Quality):

1. Royals
2. Radioactive
3. Thrift Shop
4. Roar
5. The Monster
6. Get Lucky
7. Clarity
8. Hold On, We’re Going Home
9. Just Give Me a Reason
10. Mirrors
(Blurred Lines Intentionally Omitted)

Pure Gold (Just Quality):

1. The Wire
2. Pompeii
3. Sweet Nothing
4. Same Love
5. My Kind of Love
(Bonus: Get Lucky)

My 10 Favorites:

1. Sweet Nothing
2. The Wire
3. Burn
4. Summertime Sadness
5. Stay the Night
6. Pompeii
7. Royals
8. Same Love
9. Still Into You
10. What Does the Fox Say?
(Bonus: My Kind of Love)

Best Male Vocal Performance:

1. Aloe Blacc - Wake Me Up!
2. Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man
3. Ed Sheeran - Lego House
4. Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail
5. Nate Ruess - Just Give Me a Reason
(Bonus: Mikky Ekko - Stay)

Best Female Vocal Performance:

1. Hayley Williams - Still Into You
2. Emeli Sande - Next to Me
3. P!nk - Just Give Me a Reason
4. Lorde - Royals
5. Katy Perry - Unconditionally
(Bonus: Florence Welch - Sweet Nothing)

Best Dance Tracks:

1. Get Lucky
2. Wake Me Up!
3. Summertime Sadness
4. Stay the Night
5. Don’t You Worry Child
(Bonus: Sweet Nothing)

Best Slow Jams:

1. Same Love
2. Unconditionally
3. Perfume
4. Just Give Me a Reason
5. Wrecking Ball
(Bonus: Mirrors)
(Bonus Bonus: Let Her Go)

Best Indie/Folk Crossovers:

1. The Wire
2. Royals
3. Pompeii
4. Hopeless Wanderer
5. Little Talks
(Bonus: Sweater Weather)
(Bonus Bonus: Harlem)
(Bonus Bonus Bonus: Let Her Go)

Best Bad Songs:

1. Chloe
2. Do What U Want
3. Venus
4. American Girls
5. 22
(Bonus: Heart Attack)


1. White Rappers (Eminem and Macklemore [I'm starting to think I'm racist])
2. New Disco (Get Lucky, Treasure, Take Back the Night)
3. Imagine Dragons (Came from nowhere and were suddenly everywhere)
4. Comebacks (Paramore, Eminem, Fall Out Boy, Justin Timberlake)
5. EDM music (Zedd, Avicii, Calvin Harris)
(Bonus: Foxes, literal or pretty and British)


1. Robin Thicke (Misogynistic, predatory lyrics and a big Miley scandal)
2. Lady Gaga (Artpop was her first big album release not to take the music world by storm)
3. Ke$ha (Her one hit this year is ok, but it’s no “Die Young” or “Blow,” and it's Pitbull's song)
4. Miley Cyrus (Either the biggest winner or the biggest loser this year. I chose loser by a hair)
5. Country Music (Just to prove I’m not totally white-washed, I reject the whitest genre)
(Bonus: Bonnie McKee)


  1. As a fellow music critic who doesn't know anything about anything, I thoroughly enjoyed this list and agree with most of it. My only big arguments are that "Thrift Shop" should have a plus sign to go with its A grade, because it is perfect in every way (perfect parody, perfect video, even the exceedingly rare perfect use of the MF bomb), and I just don't get "Holy Grail," but I might be in the minority on that one so whatevs. And thank you for also hating "Gorilla." What is this confusing, alarming, and just plain dumb...love song, I guess?...doing on my radio.



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Top Movies of 2017

Jordan's Top 20 Films of 2016

Good Friday and Goodbye Grandpa