Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #30 - 21

Our Australian idols: Texas Tea, Asta, Ella Hooper and MTNS!

#30. Lost Track of Time

When all is said and done and there's nothing I can do,
Can't take back what I gave you. 

MTNS. If there's one thing I hope to remember about 2013, it's stumbling across the amazing little band that MTNS are. I don't care whether I heard them first, or saw them first, or jumped on a bandwagon before it was a bandwagon, what I mean is this: there's a goosebump feeling I've mentioned so many times on this blog, it's a feeling only certain music can create, it's a special something at the back of your neck that runs down your spine and it's a comfortable feeling that sits on your shoulders, it's a feeling that can't be recreated with anything else but the songs you adore. 'Lost Track Of Time'; in all its beats, in all its lyrics, in all its simplicity is a song that makes me feel everything...and nothing. It fills my heart but leaves me empty, in the most calm and serene way and there's only special songs that can do that. I adore this song and I think I might adore MTNS too. (Jo Michelmore)

I’ll disclose first up that I was a little sceptical of this song after a not so great live experience with MTNS at BIGSOUND. In hindsight, my experience wasn’t ruined by any doing of the band, but rather the 500 (or what felt like 500) photographers that were blocking my view. I understand now why they were there – MTNS are good. I’m glad that I’ve had an opportunity to revisit ‘Lost Track of time’. It’s a really smooth, chilled out track. Looking forward to catching MTNS again live sometime in the near future! (Katie Langley)

Cool, breezy, confident and bubbling with a quiet sense of optimism, 'Lost Track Of Time' feels like a reflective stroll down a long winding road at sunset. A lush atmospheric soundscape creates a daydream feel that seems to be a running theme in a lot of indie music this year, surely taking cues from the likes of Bon Iver and Sigur Ros. The simplicity of the track gives it both serenity and an undertow of sadness helped along by Tom Eggert’s surprisingly angelic voice, which feels endearing and warm but at the same time melancholy, meshes beautifully with sparse beautiful instrumentation. (Nayt Housman)

MTNS have enjoyed a deserving rise in popularity with this track and have been getting equally deserving positive reviews. I hope to see them expand and achieve success in 2014. I adore this dream pop track from Brisbane band MTNS. It somehow got stuck in the back of my head a while ago and I couldn’t figure out what the song was or where I heard it. Kind of like a dream that you almost remember. 'Lost Track of Time' haunted my subconscious. One mad evening I went searching through all my playlists from the year trying to find the song that needed to be heard. I couldn’t remember the name of the track, the band or the lyrics. Just a high falsetto voice (was it male? Was it female?) singing something like “I …. track….of..” and a cool rolling electronic drum. I ended up walking away resigned to not knowing the song and made dinner instead. Suddenly it hit me. “MTNS!!!!” I yelled out. I abandoned my cooking plans and yes, found this track. As it turns out, I should have asked my housemate Mish. Turns out she is friends with the band as well as the person behind the dreamy clip shot in New Zealand. (Lou Endicott) 

#29. Haxan
by Ella Hooper

Too hot to handle,
Too cold to taste... 

2013 may have come and gone without the release of Ella Hooper's first solo album, In Tongues, but she kept her fans temporarily sated with 'Haxan' the follow up to last year's 'Low High'. This new track continued the possessive theme of the body being taken over by external forces introduced on the latter song and it is a monumental achievement from Hooper. 'Haxan' has all the qualities present in the great, timeless rock songs. A hint of mystery, attitude and sex appeal in both the music and vocals, stellar lyrics with lines that ooze a 'cooler than cool' feel and, to provide that modern touch, a perfectly crafted music video to accompany it. There's several sides of Hooper that emerge throughout 'Haxan', with my favourite still the lower registered "and of all your blessings" incarnations. Hers is a fiery, almost vengeful, performance. Ella Hooper continues to be one of Australia's greatest rock artists, even as she explores different facets of the genre. Everyone will say I'm biased because I've been a Killing Heidi fan, Verses fan and now solo Ella fan (and there was that time I asked her to marry me and she pretty much said yes... don't be jealous), but even with artists I've followed and enjoyed throughout long term careers, I'm not one to excuse musical missteps when they happen. Ella Hooper's yet to make one and from what we've heard of In Tongues, I'd say that's not changing anytime soon. Hopefully we'll get to hear it early in the new year. (Matt Bond)   

FINALLY we got to experience Ella tackling a solo project this year and 'Haxan' was the second single from her still yet to be released debut album, In Tongues. Released earlier this year, I wasn’t sure what to expect from 'Haxan', but it proved to be powerful, dark and beautiful. Facing darker themes with a darker sound, Ella seems more at home than ever. Electric organ, tinkering drums and dirty electric guitar introduce Ella’s mournful crooning, casting her spell and luring us in with her dark torch song. “I slip under the spell, the further I fell, deep, deeper down” is chanted throughout the chorus, while in the video Hooper dances like Stevie Nicks in a dark grass covered opening amongst the trees. Gyrating, twirling and ‘feeling’ the love of nature, while the mist surrounds her, I can feel her curse affecting change within me, I’m reminded of how I felt listening to Max Sharam’s ’95 album A Million Year Girl. It’s that same sultry, sinister but oh so good vibe. It’s good to have you back and better than ever Ella Hooper and if you ever marry our editor, Matt, then I gladly accept you into our IMKOS family, sister. (Nayt Housman)

Ella Hooper is one talented lady, with that talent absolutely oozing in ‘Haxan’. There’s a slow, moody seductiveness to this track, and Ella lures me in like a temptress. It’s simple, but hypnotic. As I watch the film clip, with Ella unleashing her flower power in a field, it’s clear that I’m in a complete trance. Awesome! (Katie Langley)

Western guitar twangs with hot swirly keys, synthy builds and Ella Hooper’s husky voice? Yes please. This song is sultry through and through. The clip is a simple but effective one. It features Ella dancing at night in a field in a floaty floral dress amidst bursts from a smoke machine. It’s dreamy, well put together and a gem of 2013. (Lou Endicott)

I’m going to use this review as a chance to admit something and apologise about something. When Matt was super excited about hearing a new track from one of his favourites, Ella Hooper, I knew it would be a good song, because sometimes (often) Matt and I have similar taste, but I thought he was probably exaggerating how good it was, after all, he’s a long term, big big fan of Ella's, so what would he really know? I’m so sorry editor, I should have taken you more seriously, because ‘Haxan’ is more than I could ever have imagined. A tale of spells and spooky things, the song is fabulous and the clip is divine, so very beautifully shot. It’s all very dark and moody and brooding and it’s somehow simultaneously uplifting at exactly the same time. Kind of like Matt. Maybe? Anyway, as Nayt mentioned, if all of Matt’s dreams ever come true, I’m totally bridesmaid. Or best woman. Either/or. (Jo Michelmore) 

Things that I am not... moody, brooding and uplifting. So that just makes me dark. (Matt Bond)

Admittedly, everyone was pretty excited when Matt got to pose some questions to Ella Hooper, one of his favourite artists ever, midway through the year. She told him about both her solo releases...

Ella: They both had the slightly darker, noir-ish feel I wanted to lead with. Though the album has more shades to it than that, i wanted to begin quite starkly, I guess to highlight the contrast between this project and what I've done before, which has often been quite lush and/or busy. This bunch of songs are a lot more streamlined. Plus, I think Low High is pretty catchy and I do love a good pop hook after all.

And she didn't actually say no when he asked her to marry him (so there's still hope, maybe)...

Ella: Well, I am recently single!! (haha)

#28. Autopsy
by Astrid and The Asteroids

Five knocks on the doctor's door,
Don't know what I am asking for,
But I don't feel fine. 

I really love this band. Apart from the tongue in cheek song ‘West End’ and the heart wrenching ‘House of Cards’ this track ‘Autopsy’ illustrates just how clever the band are at crafting beautiful pop tunes. This song really gets my head nodding with its catchy upbeat chorus. And I am sucked in by that music box intro. Astrid Jorgensen’s voice is a versatile instrument that I love listening to. She sings with heart and conveys lyrics with a sensitivity and power that can’t help me think that with a front woman such as her this band has an amazing future ahead. (Lou Endicott) 

‘Autopsy’ covers some fairly sinister material, but is delivered in a dramatic up-beat way. There’s almost a kind of circus feel to the track and at points it feels fitting for a creepy clown. It’s a really unique song and allows Astrid to showcase her vocal range. (Katie Langley)

Astrid And The Asteroids certainly haven't allowed themselves to be pigeonholed in 2013. One minute they're taking the piss out of a well-loved Brisbane suburb, the next they're breaking my heart in ballad and then? Then they manage to somehow make a song that simultaneously makes me want to dance and think. The quick beat and catchy keyboards draw you in to a world of movement, but it's the lyrics that catch your heart; "cut me open when I'm gone, tell my mother I am sorry I could never be a better son....in another life I might have won"...it's actually a lot darker than one would ever expect from a pop song, but then that's exactly what makes it amazing. Astrid And The Asteroids are full of surprises and with every single surprise I've come to like them more and more. (Jo Michelmore)

'Autopsy' wins simply by using medical gore and a semi naked man, let alone the fact that it’s an intensely catchy, witty and FREAKIN AWESOME pop song. (Nayt Housman)

'Autopsy' opens and closes with the same lyrics that bookend the tragic story of a defeated man presented in one of the finest pop songs of 2013. Pop music that's emerging on the fringes and particularly from independent Australian artists is getting incredibly 'smart' and 'Autopsy' would have to be the best example. Behind the music that makes you want to jump up, jump down and dance it all around is a story inspired by a mass murderer from Texas. In the case of clock tower shooter, Charles Whitman, his autopsy revealed a tumor on the brain that could have prevented a massacre. At the time, there was no medical capability to know what was going on in Whitman's head. Disenfranchised with the lack of help he was receiving, did he consciously choose to climb the stairs of that clock tower and shoot as many people as he could? Or did he genuinely have no control over his actions? Pop music that makes me examine a story like this and think about it is pop music I want to be listening to. And even if you don't - the music is incredibly catchy, you can sing and dance along and Astrid Jorgensen's voice is the best. The song builds up, knocks you around a bit and then arrives where it began. "Five knocks on the doctor's door, don't know what I am asking for, but I don't feel fine." Smart is sexy and I want to hear more music like 'Autopsy' from this very talented band. (Matt Bond) 

#27. Tennis Court
by Lorde

Baby be the class clown,
I'll be the beauty queen in tears... 

What is it about Lorde? She has that voice, yes, that voice that sounds like 2013, she has a way with her vocal chords that make you think it's effortless to sound like she's singing with all she's got. She has that look, the natural style that seems so much less artificial than so many of her contemporaries. She has that innocence which is charming, the slight sense of unsure on stage and in the media's spotlight. Maybe it's all of these things, or maybe it's because even at such a young age, she seems so much wiser, because through her songs, she has a way of reminding us that somewhere deep inside we're all just teenagers trying to find our way "down to the tennis court so we can talk it up like yeah." (Jo Michelmore)  

Oh my Lorde, ‘Tennis Court’ is the ultimate ear worm. I haven’t quite mastered all of the lyrics yet, so often find myself mumbling, throwing in a burpy sounding “yeah” now and again for good measure. I have discovered that the song is not actually about tennis, but seems to tackle her impending rise to fame. There’s simplicity to the music, but her vocals are delivered with power and a bit of a sting. And look, I’m always supportive of my fellow curly haired gals. Those bad boys can be hard to tame! After seeing Lorde perform earlier this year it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing more of this talented songstress in years to come. (Katie Langley)

"I'll fall apart, with all my heart... you can watch from your window." The idea of 'fame' and 'celebrity' is very appealing to so many people. But the idea is very different from the reality and Lorde tackles her new-found fame and what that will mean for her life in a very impressive fashion on 'Tennis Court'. More than that, there's a lot she has to say about teen apathy and the roles people are expected to play throughout their lives. Lorde and her collaborator Joel Little had so much to say on the track that it makes the still and distant video all that more likeable. At least that's how I've looked at it. Do that thing you should never do and look at the YouTube comments. So many eye rolls to be had. For me, 'Tennis Court' is about the performance sold through Lorde's voice, the light electronic touches and some of my favourite lyrics of the year. "Baby be the class clown, I'll be the beauty queen in tears, it's a new art form showing people how little we care." Brilliant. (Matt Bond)  

Lorde is truly one of the breakthrough artists of 2013. At last look, this clip had over 18 MILLION hits. Yes. Eighteen. Million. Which is no easy feat for the 16 year old singer from New Zealand. At such a young age Lorde has been thrust into the spotlight. ‘Tennis Court’ is a somber, dark and a very moody vocal/electronic mix. Although this song didn’t grab me like some of her other songs, it’s still well produced and delivers a punch with that spooky “Yeah” slowed down voice sample. (Lou Endicott)

#26. Hey Now
by London Grammar

Imagination calling mirrors for you,
Hey now, hey now. 

It’s the voice of Hannah Reid that gets me in this song - particularly when she soars up high like some ethereal bird. There is a definite weight behind her voice that sits in the heart. It’s such a powerful contrast against the chilled beats and echo of guitar in the song. I also love the keys. The first time I heard the song I thought for a second (with the opening keys) that I was listening to a cover of Madonna’s 'Borderline'. Ah no Lou. This is NEW music. And it’s done well. I’ve always enjoyed a spot of trip hop and 'Hey Now' sits firmly in this genre. (Lou Endicott) 

Well I feel relaxed. I don't think I really need to sell to you the beauty of a track like 'Hey Now', so I'll just take the opportunity and time I have hear to admit that the real reason I love this song is because of the way Hannah Reid, in that voice that is so good it's like a punch to the soul, sings, "fuck you." I don't care if you disagree with me and think she sings, "for you." What I hear is, "leave it to the wayside like you do, fuck you." That's something I've loved in 2013. Beautiful voices dropping these unexpected swears that you notice and just look around and think you're crazy and then you listen to it again and you go... heck yes that just happened! And then you embrace it and you love it. London Grammar are the bomb and if you don't like it, Hannah Reid's got two words for you. (Matt Bond)

I have a list of female vocalists who I love, that sing with smouldering deep tones in their voice. They get right to the bone and rattle me until watery deposits in my eyes overflow. Hannah Reid possesses such a voice. For some reason I’m reminded of the likes of Tom Flemming (Wild Beasts) and Leslie Feist if they morphed together with James Blake or Jeff Buckley, all occupying that blissful down tempo space in the music world and commanding their audiences with some of the most powerful voices in contemporary music.

When I often talk about music that might be “chilled out” and “beautiful” or “cruisy”, often I can hear the songs a few times, enjoy them and forget them a week later but there’s something that London Grammar embody in their very low key, minimalist world that is so achingly arresting. In ‘Hey Now’ there are no tricks employed in their delivery, no big beats needed, no flash and dazzle (I still love all of the aforementioned) only simple melodies, sparse keys and guitar and a possibly the most emotionally commanding female voice of 2013.

It may be weird but there’s no music I love more than something guaranteed to turn me into a blubbering, choked up mess. Crying to music is the most blissful therapy and the five or so times I’ve listened to ‘Hey Now’ while writing this review, I’ve choked up each time. I love it. I ache for it. It’s humanising, grounding and simply spectacular. (Nayt Housman)

There’s a new, dream like quality to ‘Hey Now’ which makes me visualise things like sunrise, big fluffy clouds, and rain drops. If you think that sounds ridiculous then I urge you to listen to the song and not think of those things. See, told you so. It’s got that whole ethereal, brooding thing going for it - the perfect song for a cup of tea and gentle reflection. (Katie Langley)

#25. Bridge of Bones
by Crystal Fighters

So I write you with love,
From the wide ocean. 

If you'd never heard any of the Crystal Fighters and were to google their name, you'd come across all sorts of reviews and a Wikipedia entry that describes them as 'alternative dance'. I guess you could call them that, but what that description doesn't include is this song. 'Bridge Of Bones', from their second album Cave Rave isn't what I would call 'alternative' and it's certainly not what I would call 'dance', but what it is a track that shows a band with some awesome song writing talent, not every band in the world can get away with the epic, the song that takes you on an epic roadtrip of harmonies and keys, which then brings you back home safely five minutes later. It's a roadtrip of utter happiness and one I'm only too happy to take. (Jo Michelmore)

When I listen to 'Bridge of Bones', I feel like I'm standing on the beach at sunset, staring into the waves rolling in and trying to forget about that's troubling my mind. By the time this nearly six minute journey has ended, I know nothing could be troubling my mind. I'm happy, completely at ease and so very amazed by the effect the music of the Crystal Fighters can have on me. They're known for their more boppy, upbeat folktronica tracks like 'At Home', 'I Love London' or even 'Wave' and 'Separator' from the new album Cave Rave. But 'Bridge of Bones' slowed it all down momentarily and let Crystal Fighters allow a track to naturally build up AND THEN explode. With some gospel choir touches of course. Because everything is better with a gospel choir. Crystal Fighters continue to grow and are well on their way to being regarded as one of the best band's in the world. Maybe they could even be 'the' best. (Matt Bond)

#24. The Alphabet Song
by Texas Tea

F, F you see it's not about the ability, to swear at you just because I'm mad,
G, gee I really thought that we could work this out,
But now that you are gone, I'm kinda glad. 

Texas Tea are no strangers to these lists of ours, having taken out the #1 spot last year with 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)'. They continued to be awesome in 2013 as 'The Alphabet Song' from Sad Summer Hits was released with a quirky and cute video to match the, uh, educational (?) nature of the song. Sesame Street uses the alphabet and puppets to educate tiny, tiny children and stoners. Texas Tea uses the alphabet and puppets for educational purposes too, but in this instance, Texas Kate teaches herself and the listener that there's nothing that will change the 'D' in her life and maybe it's not so bad that 'D' walked out the door after all. 'The Alphabet Song' made sure we stayed Texas Tea's biggest Tea Bags (can someone make the fan page, please?) in 2013. Now, I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need... and that's for Texas Kate and Texas Ben to give us an indication we could be hearing a new album sometime in 2014. (Matt Bond)

This is a much more exciting way to learn the alphabet! When Kate sings “D is for the dick I thought you were” in that oh-so-sweet voice, I’m having visions of Lily Allen and only hoping that “F” is what I think it will be. She toys with the idea, and then changes her mind. That’s what I love about this song – it’s a break up song with a difference. Throughout the sarcastic journey of the song there’s a realisation that spitting venom won’t change anything. ‘The Alphabet Song’ is cute, quirky, and full of dry wit. It could only be improved with Glen Russell’s moustache. (Katie Langley)

It is absolutely no secret how much I love Texas Tea. It is absolutely no secret how much Matt loves Texas Tea. It is absolutely no secret how much Katie loves the moustache of Glen Russell of Texas Tea. It is absolutely no secret how much we here at It's My Kind Of Scene love Texas Tea, after all, they did 'win' our Best Group Scene Award last year (sorry we haven't got that trophy to you yet guys, might still be in the mail). Why do we like them so much? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but this here song probably sums up a huge amount of why I personally love them so much. There's the cute little swinging ukulele which sucks you in, but that's not the bit I like the most. You see, the thing is, I sit down every week and write lots and lots of words about all sorts of things, I'm a fan of words and I especially love playing with words, spinning them around inside and out and seeing what I can come up with. 'The Alphabet Song' has such a clever way with words, there's no way I couldn't love it. It's the B and the C, the D and the E, and G I really love the way Kate Jacobsen plays with the J, K, L, M and makes all the innocent little letters just a teeny bit vicious every time I press play. Here's some letters they didn't put together in that song - I. L.O.V.E. (Jo Michelmore)

There’s something so endearing about a ukulele and a miniature xylophone especially when hand puppets are involved and the song is basically an adult interpretation of a children’s song. When I listen to ‘The Alphabet Song’ I immediately think of all my favourite childhood tunes from the likes of Peter Combe and Rolf Harris, then like to imagine how I’d reinterpret them to suit who I am now. Strangely enough they probably wouldn’t change that much…

As our top 113 suggests sometimes the most simplistic songs can be some of the best, and the knack of Kate and Ben to craft such delights is brought to the fore with ‘The Alphabet Song’. A few strums of the ukulele and a ding or two on a xylophone sweetly underpins the not so sweet, actually, rather bitter, cutting lyrics of what would be a breakup song. “H I guess there’s no debate, that this one really should be hate, but that really is such a strong word, but I am strong and so are you, so hate it is and hate will do, for that J K L M-T heart you wear around.” Hahahaha such cute and spiteful words, but so relatable. The thing I love most is that in the video Kate is smiling with glee while every vicious word spills from her mouth. It’s delightful and heart-warming really. (Nayt Housman)

#23. I Need Answers
by Asta

The moon is full, I can feel your pull,
  I'm coming to you and I'll be there soon.

“I see you there, you’re the brightest star…” ‘I Need Answers’ is my OTHER favourite track of the year. Earlier in the countdown I mentioned that ‘Boardwalks’ by Little May took the big spot in my heart for my years favourite. But this song…. Oh this song… Asta just played right into my heart with her glorious voice, mix of electronic and traditional instrumentation and the must-hear-again-and-again melody. I was happier than a pig in mud seeing this track played live in Melbourne a couple of months back. And the film clip is one that I adore too. It’s surreal theatrics and celestial imagery is one that tickles my fancy. I can’t wait to hear an album from Asta hopefully in the near future. (Lou Endicott)

First things first, the video. I like umbrellas. I have about eight and only two of them are of the useful kind. SHE’S DANCING WITH AN UMBRELLA! I LOVE THIS! It’s actually really cheesy the video what with the moon and spacey sky and contemporary dancing in a vast body of water. But if you know me well enough, you’ll know that I love cheese. However I do have to close my eyes and simply listen to the music. Yes let’s ignore the cheese and talk about the music.

I like to compare new artist to artists I already love so I can find a place to fit them within my music sphere. For Asta I feel hints of PJ Harvey and large amounts of Imogen Heap with a helping of Florence Welch. Now these are all quite distinctly different influences I’m connecting here but somehow it all fits together so well. I really love how the acoustic guitar keeps things grounded and give the dancey beat a canvas to paint while the vocals fill in the details. It has a late 90s/early 00s kinda vibe which, was for me, my fave period for music. It feels nostalgic yet fresh, so in terms of cheese, maybe a mild cheddar. Safe but dependable. (Nayt Housman)

I actually find the clip to be a bit more 'glam' as opposed to cheese filled than 'ole cheddar pants above, but to each their own. What Nayt and I can agree on is that the music is amazing and Asta delivered in a huge way with 'I Need Answers'. This talented, young performer could very well be the future of Australian pop music and I for one wouldn't be complaining. She knows her way around a memorable hook, can write some mighty fine words that paint romantic imagery that spans the universe and has a voice so smooth, you just might melt. Oh what a world. A world that's so much better with Asta around. (Matt Bond)

Matt had the opportunity to ask Asta some little questions at the start of the year, so he asked her all about 'I Need Answers' and what kind of things we can expect from an album...

Asta: The track is about needing answers from men and pretty much life is general and funnily enough I got the answers in the end. Wanting things black and white. I like to experiment with all sorts of sounds, but you will always here a shimmery guitar and some pop beats in the background. I like to think that my voice will stitch most songs together in the album but I'm not jumping into one particular sound at the moment. Still very fresh in this industry so lots to play with.

#22. Bring The Noize
by M.I.A

Come let me go, do you like my perfume?
Made it at home with some gasoline and shrooms. 

I’m going to sound like a real wanker for a moment while I remind you all that I liked M.I.A. before she was cool. When I first bought her CD and played it for my sister she screwed her face up and asked “what the hell is this jungle shit?”. Over the years her sound has transitioned, which is what I love most about her – just when you think you’ve figured out what M.I.A. is all about she mixes it up on us. ‘Bring The Noize’ is a Hindi, dance, rap mega mash. I’m not quite sure how one is supposed to dance to it, but I’ll give it a red hot go. (Katie Langley)

I have to quietly challenge Katie's belief that she liked M.I.A before she was cool. It's widely rumoured that young Maya Arulpragasam was born cool and worshiped as some sort of deity of 'coolness'. And even if she wasn't, I liked her first and I'm probably related to her so there. M.I.A's sound has been a lot of things, but in 2013 with the album Matangi (combined with the party starting 2012 track 'Bad Girls'), M.I.A sounded... dangerous. 'Bring The Noize' moreso than 'Bad Girls' highlighted this new 'tude because she was laying out rhymes thick and fast. Sure, there were plenty of ridiculous lines... and I do mean plenty... but the beats said one thing and one thing only. M.I.A won't be backing down anymore. She's been on the receiving end of some verbal beatings from critics, peers, music listeners, whoever runs the Superbowl, crazy PTC bitches, politicians... every man and his freaking dog. But she's going to keep doing what she does and she'll do it well. M.I.A will bring the noise and she will deliver. (Matt Bond)

Look up the word chaotic in a dictionary. Ok, you probably don't own a dictionary, so googling it will do. When you do, what do you find? It says something about a state of confusion and disorder. Look up disorder. It says something about a state of confusion. Look up confusion. It says something about uncertainty and state of being bewildered and mystified. Look up mystified. It says something about being confused. Look up confuse. It says to be unable to think with clarity. These would normally be bad things, right? Except when an artist like M.I.A makes a song that manages to combine incredible rap with bhangra sounds, killer synths with vicious lyrics and angry with a must dance beat, all of the previous words are involved, but only in the best way possible. (Jo Michelmore)

#21. Mirrors
by Justin Timberlake

'Cause I don't want to lose you now,
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me... 

When the song is called 'Mirrors', it begs the question; what does Justin Timberlake see when he looks in the mirror? Does he see a mega famous pop star? Does he see the babe that a lot of people think he is? Does he see the boy from The Mickey Mouse Club or the boy from N'Sync, who wasn't to know what was to come? Does he see a Billboard, Emmy and Brit Award winner? Does he see an amazing entertainer who plays arenas and stadiums to hundreds of thousands of fans? Does he see the singer who managed to come back from a seven year hiatus with an album that was not only interesting, but awesome? Does he actually see how talented he is? Or, amongst all of that, does he see a guy who can write and perform an incredibly catchy, cute and brilliant little pop song about the 'love of his life'? Whatever he sees, it's probably none of these things, but I hope he keeps seeing it, because if that guy staring back at him keeps making music like this, fans of pop like me will be happy for a long, long time. (Jo Michelmore)

I’m only fairly new to the JT appreciation society. Shocking I know. How I didn’t fall in love with those curls in the N*Sync days is beyond me. I guess I thought he was a bit safe, a bit too predictable. But I’m happy to admit that he proved me wrong with ‘Suit and Tie’. It’s like my eyes were opened and I began to appreciate the real talent he possess. In my opinion I don’t think ‘Mirrors’ is as amazing as ‘Suit and Tie’, but it’s still bloody cool. It’s an epic love ballad that will no doubt feature in many weddings for years to come. (Katie Langley)

A most welcome return from one of the last, great male pop superstars happened in 2013. Yep, JT was classing it up all over the place with his new iteration as the 'gentleman' of pop and showing the kids how it's done. When I see him in a movie I'd rather throw myself in front of a bus, but when he's singing and dancing it's a completely different story. 'Mirrors' is some classy pop and the video is fantastic too. Stick around the music for a bit longer before you run back and do No Strings Attached 2: Now With Even More Strings Not Attached. Or was he in Just Friends? Urgh, who cares... it was the same movie, right? (Matt Bond)

See you tomorrow as we introduce the first half of our Top 20 songs of 2013!

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