Friday, 6 December 2013

Top 113 Songs of 2013, #70 - 61

Give it up for the ladies: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Go Violets!

#70. Pool
by Cub Scouts Sport

Do you think it's time we jump,
Jump off the roof into the public pool.

This song had me reflecting (in the dead of a Melbourne winter) about sunny summer days. In particular days spent at the local pool. As a kid splashing about in the local pool was up there with Christmas. Growing up in Brisbane (hometown of Cub Sport) meant that winter was a “less hot” season in comparison to the “bloody melting, kill-me-now” feeling that summer brings. And so swimming or immersing oneself in clear chlorinated water with other people too poor to consider having their own pool was high up on the list of desirable things to do when the sun was out. This song is fun with its theming of mucking about and delivered beautifully with the gorgeous piano/keys, layered vocals and bouncy rhythm. (Lou Endicott)

Have you ever imagined a bunch of guinea pigs dressed in swimmers playing miniature instruments inside a glitter filled beach ball? Sounds like so much cuteness that your head would probably explode because your smile was so wide right? Well for some reason this is the effect Cub Sport have on me. 'Pool!' is the most ridiculously cute summer song that if it were a person and pricked with a needle it would bleed happiness, sunshine and joy. 

As I dance around to the jumpy keyboards and twitchy thumping drums I imagine myself when I was a kid, sitting on the trampoline with my friends and the hose, making it into a pool and then jumping as hard as we could to make all the water splash around everywhere. Any band that has the ability to remind me of fun childhood memories is a winner in my eyes and it doesn’t hurt that they’re all so freakin cute (I’m sure they’re sick of being called “cute”). JUST LIKE GUINEA PIGS! Plus Andy is one of my regular customers at my retail job and he’s super duper lovely! (Nayt Housman)

Summery pop from the sporty former scouts with one of the cutest (again with the cute thing) slash most ridiculous videos of the year. So many smiles, so much synchronisation. Tim Nelson’s dreamier than dreamy vocals are matched by bassist Zoe Davis, who doesn’t waste her chance to shine. ‘Pool!’ is the Australian by way of the Caribbean jam we never knew we wanted, but now can’t live without. It’ll be getting a lot of play throughout the summer. (Matt Bond)

#69. Dark Horse
by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J

Are you ready for, ready for,
A perfect storm, perfect storm... 

Here’s the thing – I’m not normally a Katy Perry lover. But I do like cheesy r’n’b and gangsta beats. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really don’t mind this song. Katy’s voice seems much better suited to this kind of music and she didn’t once sound like a dying cat. (Katie Langley)

Apparently Katy Perry really is capable of anything and everything as she puts a healthy heaping of swag into her step on the trap-tacular ‘Dark Horse.’ Prism saw Perry pushing herself into unfamiliar territory that she must have surprised many of us with by pulling off so well. While she was more popular while meekly roaring at us this year, her turn as a dark witch that vexes her conquests is what I’ll be remembering. I guess I want to play with magic and know what I’m fighting for. Or something. (Matt Bond)

You’re lucky, because this is one of those great pop tracks where, if you’re not sure who is singing, someone actually tells you at the start. “Y’all know what it is? Katy Perry. Juicy J. A-ha. Let’s rage”. This gets rid of the need to Shazam, which is fantastic, I already spend too much time on my phone. However, while I don’t necessarily think this song involves much raging, I do appreciate its pop sensibilities. This is what pop music should sound like and whoever is looking after Katy Perry’s career is doing a fabulous job at it. You got yourself Katy’s sweet voice, you got some terrible clich├ęs in the lyrics and you got one of the worst slash best rap lines of the year (not counting some of Kanye’s) “I call her Karma, she eats your heart out, like Jeffrey Dahmer”. Even though it’s pretending to be a little dark, it’s a bunch of fun and that’s what pop music should be…and Katy Perry’s really good at pop music, isn’t she? (Jo Michelmore)

#68. Dollar
by Thelma Plum

Everybody's asking, who's into you?
I don't give a fuck because you're only asking 'cause they're asking too... 

Thelma, Thelma, Thelma. Her story so far has been incredible pop song after incredible pop song and I doubt that’s likely to change anytime soon. Plum spent the year working hard and winning over heaps of new fans with indie sing-alongs like ‘Dollar’ that get your hands clapping and toes tapping. A bit of an Aussie twang never goes astray and goes so nicely with Thelma’s unique voice. It really is one of my favourites, probably of ever. And she makes swearing seem so lovely. (Matt Bond)

This song is incredibly catchy! I find myself humming and bopping along, and then start honing in on some of the lyrics. Much like Lilly Allen, you shouldn’t let Thelma’s sweet voice deceive you – she ain’t no push over. (Katie Langley)

This lil lady is one sassy, gorgeous butterfly. *CLAP CLAP CLAP* *CLAP CLAP CLAP* 'Dollar' is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, not in an “I’m too sexy” kinda way but in an “I’m daydreaming at work and this is the best kind of distraction” kind of way. It’s the claps, the repeating guitar riff, the brief “tings” and “taps” of the drums and the chanted “say e’s gotta dolla but a dolla won make er stay” and well, it’s her dimples. I gotta dolla and a big heart for you Thelma ;) (Nayt Housman)

I saw Thelma Plum play live at Woodford Folk Festival last year. Her performance was so grounded and unaffected that not a single person in the packed out tent spoke during her set. I love that she doesn’t prescribe to any idea of what a singer songwriter should create. This song is a great example of her fresh take on pop/roots music. The glockenspiel in this track immediately won me over. Perhaps it was the last few years of working as a performing arts teacher in a primary school and trying to teach 6 year olds the glockenspiel that made me smile listening to this. The explicit lyrics contrast with this innocent sound really well. This is a fun, fresh and sweet track of 2013. (Lou Endicott)

#67. Wanted
by Go Violets

And I fell for you and I shouldn't have,
I wanted to be your better half. 

When you look at the JJJ Unearthed page of Go Violets, they say two of their influences are the Spice Girls and Bikini Kill. This makes me very happy. I’m not going to explain why, but anyone who knows both of those groups of musicians should understand why that’s a good thing. When you look at their Facebook page, it has a quote “Very Good EP - Our Mums”. This makes me very happy. I’ll explain why; because everyone who writes on this blog knows our best readers are our Mums (hi Bond/Michelmore/Langley/Housman/Endicott Mums!) At this point please appreciate the extensive research I did on Go Violets before writing these words. A group of four girls, writing super cute pop songs with such singable choruses like this one makes me very happy and if you’ve heard it, I shouldn’t have to explain why. (Jo Michelmore)

The Facebook page for Go Violets has a quote on their cover picture. It says “Very Good!” The quote credit is listed as “our Mums”. Any band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously to make little jokes like this generally has my attention. As does this song. It's dreamy rock pop sound is one that I have loved listening to this year. I love the little guitar break in the middle that has a garage band ready to bust out feel to it. This music although raw in its rock sensibilities is full of heart. Something about it reminds me of the Split Enz song 'Six Months in a Leaky Boat' with it’s vocal delivery and my want to listen to it again. (Lou Endicott)

I love me an all-girl group! ‘Wanted’ is sweet, beautiful and has a really romantic sound. It feels like the perfect song for a summer day. (Katie Langley)

Poor Jeremy Neale. He tries his best, but that Phoebe ain’t got time for that. She must be too busy working with the other Go Violets gals to create infectious surf-pop jams that everyone will love. Like this one, ‘Wanted’. It’s a sweet 60s throwback that, like the best songs from that era, seems like an upbeat, boppy number, but is actually kinda sad. It’s a break-up song, relatively free from the ‘Tears on My Pillow’ angst you might expect. It wants to hear more from Go Violets. It wants to hear more now! (Matt Bond)

#66. Shame
by All The Colours

You've lost again...

Go on then. Tell me. What is there not to love about this song? We have an awesome bass line to start, we have a bluesy guitar riff that sits in perfectly over the top, we have a bunch of “ooooohs” like the best sixties harmonies you can imagine, then, when you think it can’t get better they introduce a “ah ah ah a woah oh oh”, THEN when you think you know it all, holy moly, what is this? A key change? I thought I couldn’t like this song more after I heard that, but THEN, wait for it, I haven’t even mentioned the clip. You know that thing I said in my last All The Colours review about how they smell? I can’t guarantee they smelt good after this clip. Looks good though. Another awesome song from one awesome band. 2013 has been just grand, hasn’t it? (Jo Michelmore)

Well this is just the bees freaking knees, isn’t it now? A bit of bluesy guitar driven indie from All The Colours that’ll make your day. What wouldn’t make your day is being hung upside down, tarred and then feathered. To that, I say no. But to these great tunes from All The Colours, it’s a resounding yes. (Matt Bond)

People look weird upside down especially when tar and feathered. But it’s all made better when they’re playin some rippin retro rock inspired tunes and everyone loves a “na na na/oh oh oh/ do do do” kinda song. (Nayt Housman)

#65. The Monster
by Eminem ft. Rihanna

I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed,
Get along with the voices inside of my head... 

No one’s saying it’s as good as ‘Love The Way You Lie’ (are they?), but come on… these two go together like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, like Lindsay Lohan and Betty Ford, like Britney and cheesecake. Eminem and Rihanna are just really great when they’re together. You get an immovable pop hook that wedges itself into your memory, some excellent rap work… it’s all good. Superstar collaborations aren’t always what they used to be, but you can rely on these two to make it work. (Matt Bond)

That saying about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Eminem believes in that saying and I’m glad he does, ‘cause while ‘The Monster’ wasn’t anything new for Eminem, it was good. Like, really good. Like, Eminem type good. Which is better than anything you or I could write or rap, probably. Which is silly, because it’s quite simple, really. Get yourself a girl with a voice, let her sing the catchy chorus, you do some rapping around it and BAM! You got yourself an Eminem song. Simple. Except you and I aren’t Eminem. Unless you are Eminem and you’re reading this, which is highly unlikely, but stranger things have happened, so if you are; hi there! I really, really like your song! (Jo Michelmore)

#64. Black Skinhead
by Kanye West

They say I'm possessed, it's an omen,
I keep it 300, like the Romans.

At this point, there’s a part of me that feels like I have to justify my like of Kanye West in some way, because I seem to get attacked every time I admit I like the ‘artist’ that Kanye West is. Yes, I put inverted commas around the word artist. Deal with it. Anyway, as this is a countdown about songs, I’m not going to justify that and I’m not going to comment on the politics of calling a song ‘Black Skinhead’ and I’m not going to comment on the controversy that Kanye likes to create for himself (that I kinda love following). What I am going to say is this; there’s a sample of Marilyn Manson’s ‘Beautiful People’ in this song. I like Marliyn Manson and all his ‘controversial’ ways (note inverted commas) and I’m don’t have to justify that either. This song was co-written by Daft Punk and I love Daft Punk and I don’t have to justify that either. I like how Kanye yells a lot in this song and I don’t have to justify that either. I just like Kanye! Alright? Deal with it. (Jo Michelmore)  

Initially this sounds like a weird Marilyn Manson 'Beautiful People' and The Neptunes mega mash, and I liked it. But then you know what happened? I heard Kanye’s voice. (Katie Langley)

Punk rap? Rap punk? Pap. Runk. Kanye’s bound 2 be a bit of a wanker every now and then (aka all the time), but when the music’s this good does anyone really care? Maybe Katie. Definitely Katie. And no, he didn't intentionally relate 300 to the Romans. He stuffed up, get over it. (Matt Bond)

#63. Disintegration
by Monarchy ft. Dita Von Teese

You and me,
Hold our breath and count to three. 

:O :/ :D O.o ^_^ !!! I feel all these emoticons when listening to Dita sing, watch her be sexy, and watch that mosquito suck blood. Oh and there’s fire, lots of nakedness, vintage scenes (of course) and this track is EXTREMELY AMAZING! Think of Ladytron and Kylie Minogue if they were joined and plugged into many power points at once and had light bulbs in every orifice and speakers connected their nipples and lots of fans blowing so their hair was swishing all over the place. Gosh I’m exhausted from all this sexiness. (Nayt Housman)

Monarchy are geniuses. When they’re just hanging out by themselves, they can make all kinds of electro madness happen. But when they do something bold like bring in renowned super hottie, Dita Von Teese, you can’t help but love the duo just that little bit more. ‘Disintegration’ is one of the best dance tracks of this year or any year. A little bit dark and a whole lot sexy. My only question is, why was there no follow up? With the track released very early in the year, I thought 2013 was going to be the year we all bowed down to Monarchy. Maybe 2014 then? (Matt Bond)

Electronica fabulousness with Dita Von Teese to boot. What’s not to love? (Katie Langley)

I’ve never been a big fan of Dita Von Teese. Then she appeared in this song and I really, really like this song. That’s kind of annoying. I’m still not a big fan of hers. Just saying. (Jo Michelmore)

#62. Do What U Want
by Lady Gaga ft. R Kelly

I feel good, I walk alone,
But then I trip over myself and I fall... 

Easily the best thing about ARTPOP was this smashing collaboration between Lady Gaga and R Kelly. And really, going into 2013 did anyone think R Kelly would factor into these sorts of lists? He started the year as the butt of a Macklemore joke that had a little something to do with what his sheets smell like (pissssss) and finishes it with a reminder that the old fella still packs a powerful vocal punch. The fact that the song is about knocking down the haters in the crowd makes it even better. Gaga, for her part, proves that she still knows how to create some pop magic when she wants to, with ‘Do What U Want’ embracing what made her hits from The Fame and The Fame Monster so good. She can do what she wants with my body anytime. R Kelly? He might be still able to sing, but I think I’ll pass. (Matt Bond)

Whenever I hear “R Kelly” I think about golden showers and midgets (do yourself a favour, check out “Trapped in the Closet”). Throwing him in the mix with Gaga, a woman famous for wearing a meat dress, I was intrigued about what could possibly result. I was actually pleasantly surprised! When it comes down to it, despite both of their antics, they have incredible voices. (Katie Langley)

I’m just going to say that no matter how many times I hear this song, I do find it weird that Lady Gaga did a song with R.Kelly. Who is R Kelly these days? No one without Lady G, it seems. Besides that, ‘Do What You Want’ is pop genius. That sentence “Do what you want, what you want with my body” is not something I’d personally say to R Kelly, but you know, each to their own. The early 90s are alive and well in Lady G’s world and she does them so much justice with this one. There’s a whole bunch of things one could say about Lady Gaga and her career and her popularity and where it’s been and where it’s going but you know what? She’s a pop star. And she does pop star really well. And this song is proof of that. (Jo Michelmore)

#61. The Worst Part
by Phebe Starr

You get the better, better of me.

It’s pretty, it’s lovely, it’s angelic, it’s raw, it’s like the ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ of its generation. Oh wait… No, no I’m right. This is definitely correct compared to that singer that made this statement this year coz this is actually an amazingly beautiful and emotionally connected song. The softness and the music box keys that tingle along in the background draw us into the sparse atmosphere and then capture with the building intensity. Kudos, Phebe Starr. (Nayt Housman)

It’s almost heartbreaking listening to a song like this, because it’s hard to know why someone like Phebe Starr isn’t more widely known or recognised in this country…in fact, anywhere. It’s just so delightfully simple, a perfect little song, a perfect little clip, a perfect little lyric and a perfectly fabulous singer. Like she sings “life is full of wonderful catastrophes” and maybe the fact that Phebe Starr is a secret to so many is one of those wonderful catastrophes, but it’s a little secret that Phebe Starr is not going to be a little secret for very long if she keeps writing perfect little pop songs like this one. (Jo Michelmore)

‘The Worst Part’ is a deeply moving ballad from Ms Starr, epic in all the right ways. When you’re listening to the track, you can pinpoint the exact moment your heart breaks. It’s when she sings, “dance with me, lay with me, mirror my pain.” Well, that’s just me, but I’m sure you’ll experience your own little moment of heartbreak throughout the song. The simple black and white clip sure is a stunner too and is perfectly complimentary to the track itself. (Matt Bond)

See you tomorrow for ten more amazing tracks from 2013!


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