#10. “Gimme All Your Love” – Alabama Shakes
While some of the wild energy that propelled their debut album was missing on Alabama Shakes’ sophomore release Sound & Color, there are still some glowing examples of what this band is capable of. “Gimme All Your Love” oscillates between minimalist southern soul and blues riffs before the breakdown crashes into a thunderous final movement.
#9. “Run Away With Me” – Carly Rae Jepsen
This year, Carly Rae Jepsen released her third album EMOTION and though it failed to reach the commercial success of her previous album, it earned her some serious critical cred. Even though she’s rallied a cult following among pop and indie-heads, Carly Rae Jepsen’s articulate execution of pop music deserves a larger audience. The album opening “Run Away With Me” is soaring, irresistible track that proves there is more to Carly Rae Jepsen than just her globe conquering 2012 hit “Call Me Maybe”.
#8. “Hotline Bling” – Drake
I sort of hate Drake the Rapper but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Drake the R&B singer. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was one of my favorite songs of 2013 and while “Hotling Bling” isn’t quite as charming, it’s satisfying in its own right. Despite all of my attempts to resist it, “Hotline Bling” found its way into my regular rotation and ended up as one of my favorite songs of the year. You win this round, Drake.
#7. “King Kunta” – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is an Album. Complex, sprawling and provocative, it aspires to be experienced all together and contains only a few songs that stand up well outside the context of the larger design. “King Kunta” is one of those songs. With simple percussion, a killer baseline and a spooky, almost Radiohead-esque guitar melody, Kendrick Lamar’s vision for the future of rap is crystal clear on “King Kunta”.
#6. “Pedestrian at Best” – Courtney Barnett
Quirky and irreverent, Courtney Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best” is the perfect gritty indie rock song. Though only two songs from Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit made the Top 40, I easily could have included several other songs from her phenomenal debut album. Ultimately, “Pedestrian at Best” is more than just the defining song of the album, it’s a mission statement for indie rock’s most promising new talent.