2013: Tunes That Schmeck’d

Orpheus and Lyre

2013 was the year the monoculture came roaring back to prevail. After years of splintering returns, the Internets clustered around hyper-events like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” and Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love.” Everyone was dancing to the same tunes, even if they weren’t. Indeed, it’s never too difficult to lure online aficionados with the bait of a big-splash item. And as legendary con artist “Canada Bill” Jones said, “It’s immoral to let a sucker keep his money.”

So, because albums can’t fit into tweetable bites and songs are cheaper, this year I’ve stuck to my favourite tunes:

1) Song of the Year: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Higgs Boson Blues.” Mr. Birthday Boy makes it all alright, raising the spirit of Lou Reed and slaying Miley Cyrus along the way.


2)  Sky Ferreira – “Omanko.” That’s right: Japanese for “Pussy”!


3) Rhye – “The Fall.” Music hasn’t sounded this seductive and sensual since Antony and the Johnsons’ collaborations with Boy George and Rufus Wainwright.


4) Blood Orange – “Chosen.” Last year it was Bon Iver’s “Beth/Rest,” this year it’s Dev Hynes. I love these 80s pastiches.


5) Danny Brown – “Dope Song.” In a year when Eminem sought refuge in Slim-Shady-nostalgia, Danny Brown kissed-off the past with the best “good-bye to all that” of the year.


6) Kurt Vile – “Wakin’ On A Pretty Day.” A benevolent stoner, exquisitely recorded.


7) Grant Hart – “So Far from Heaven.” Love the whistle and the Milton references. It’s always a good year when the Replacements reunite and a Hüsker releases a solo album.


8) Laura Marling – “Master Hunter.” Saw her at Coachella in 2012 and knew she had this in her. Channeling Anne Briggs and Karen Dalton here.


9) The Pixies – “Indie Cindy.” Hot slice from “the burgermeister of purgatory.”


10) Kanye West – “New Slaves.” Nice to see Ye outclassing Jay-Z and calling him out for such piss-poor $$ moves as his deal with Barneys and his for-profit Occupy Wall Street tees.


11) Wampire – “The Hearse.” In grand fashion, these freaks let their flags fly high in 2013.


12) Omar Souleyman – “Wenu Wenu.” In yet another year that finds Syria dissolving, Omar asks the only question that matters: “Where is she? The one I loved, where is she?”


13) The Dirtbombs – “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” Like biting into a doughnut with a creamy, cherry filling.


14) Nick Lowe – “Christmas At The Airport.” Classic holiday-in-transit cheer…

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