Tag Archives: AlunaGeorge

Top Songs of 2013: Best Indie Pop Top Ten

At last, here it is: The best pop songs of 2013 that you haven’t heard on the radio. The key word today boys and girls is SYNTH. The more the better. Get it in heaping doses below.

1. Flight Facilities – Crave

I don’t know why I obsessed over this song all year long. Maybe it’s because it’s so rare to hear a woman in a song who is shamelessly confident without being crass. Or maybe it’s because the lyrics are so evocative. Nah, it’s probably just that piano riff. In any case, it’s one of my absolute favorite songs of 2013.

2. Lily Allen – Hard Out Here

It speaks volumes about how much I love that Flight Facilities track that this tune from Lily Allen only landed the #2 spot on my list. “Hard Out Here” makes a statement about the state of women in pop music with wit and spunk. It was only released as a single in 2013, but oh, what a track. Without a doubt the best song she has ever done, and that’s saying something. Puts Miley Cyrus to shame.

Definitely check out the video, which is chock full of funny pop references, including a knock at the “Blurred Lines” silver balloons that declare “Robin Thicke has a big cock.”

3. Boy – Little Numbers

Another cute little love song featuring a woman and a piano. This track is more upbeat than “Crave” offering handclaps and a piano melody that works as a secondary bass line. And don’t you love the idea of a song about a girl eager to learn your phone number?

4. NONONO – Pumpin Blood

THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD IS WHISTLING because of this track. Hear it, and you will be too.

5. AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love

There were a hundred and one remixes “Your Drums Your Love” in 2013 but all of them lacked my favorite part: that little robotic backup vocal.

6. Janelle Monae – QUEEN

I absolutely adore Janelle Monae. I got to see her in concert in 2013, and let me tell you she is flawless. I mean from her outfits to her dancing to her voice, she is a 10/10. All her songs center around an android, loosely based on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Some suggest that the lyrics of this song are a veiled reference to lesbianism, and I can only hope so, as I want to be the first to volunteer to have her babies. Once science figures all that out.

Anyway, about the song. It’s funky. You can dance to it, but it’s a slow jam. The first verse is vaguely socially relevant, but not preachy. There are horns and violins. The high hat is a finger snap. And it features the backing vocal “the booty don’t lie” in a way that feels truly empowering (not, like, Niki Menage empowering).

Oh, yeah and Eryka Badu sings on this track too. What more do you want, blood?

7. Vicehorn and French Rebellion – Friday Nights

You know how in the eighties they had that really fantastic synth, that was even better because it was super fake? Where all the instruments are just fake synth? If you liked that, you’ll like this because Friday Nights has three of them. It’s just synth from dusk til dawn, and a guy who can’t get his sweet lady to call him back. She’s probably too bush shaking her tush to this song.

8. Sir Sly – Gold

This list is full of great songs to sing in the shower. “Gold” is the song for hate-crooning, as you soap the back your money-grubbing ex no longer gets to touch. Somehow “Gold” is both dark and light at the same time. The throbbing synth overlaps with a light and tingly piano. He always ends on “I hope you find your dreams” but the part you’ll want to sing the loudest is “I don’t owe you a goddamn thing!” If you like this, you’ll probably like everything else by Sir Sly, who is still waiting their own pocketful of gold for writing gem after underplayed gem.

9. Silver Medallion – Lost Ones

I haven’t totally wrapped my head around Silver Medallion yet. Is he a rapper? An electro artist? Wait, he’s trained as a classical violinist? There’s zero violin in this song. All I know is I think he’s found the theme for the lost generation, the sad moniker for these young folks who are coming into adulthood during the Great Recession (that’s a proper noun now, right?). Enough with the questions. I’m certain of a few things: the girls in this song probably are figments of his imagination, but they feel real to me. A bit like the lost kids of Bowie’s classic All the Young Dudes…but much easier to dance to.

10. The Knocks – Modern Hearts ft. St. Lucia

Nothing here but synth and a kickass beat. There’s a sample that sounds like a synth imitating a bagpipe, and another fast, high synth that swears it just arrived from a John Hughes movie circa 1987. A fun song that didn’t crawl higher on the list only because the other songs ahve stronger lyrics. But if you need something to pogo to at the gym, this will get your juices flowing.

Top Indie Songs of 2012: Pop and Electro (11-20)

What is this nonsense, you ask, posting yet another 11-20 list? How can I withold the Top Ten Indie Rock songs from you still? Relax, my pretties. You will find these indie pop gems just as satisfying as the coveted forthcoming indie rock songs. This year’s list has more pop and less electro. If that means anything to you, don’t worry, there’s plenty of electro too.

Sporegod by Zhectoid
Sporegod by Zhectoid


The Best Indie Pop of 2012

  1. Van She – Idea of Happiness
    From “Idea of Happiness” July, 2012

    Hey, were you a fan of Duran Duran at one point? How about New Order? “Idea of Happiness” is an example of the way new wave has been invented as electro. Much of it isn’t the hard-edged new wave of Blondie or the quirky new wave of the Talking Heads. Some of it was addictive pop rock that sounded a lot like Van She.

    Which is not to say that Van She is derivative. This electro album has a tropical theme, and not just because the album has songs called “Jamaica” and “Calypso.” Van She kept it electro, but seems to have found his sounds from the tropical instruments on his midi player.

    Jamaica” is another great song on this album, arguably better even than “Idea of Happiness”. But since I burned up “Jamaica” when it was a single in 2011, “Idea of Happiness” is what makes it on the 2012 list.

    Get Idea of Happiness.

  2. Die Antwoord – Baby’s On Fire
    From the album Ten$ion, January 2012

    This South African rap-rave group is way over the top and that’s part of their charm. They bring big beats and big bling with a wink and a nod. Are they being artful? Ironic? Sincere? Who gives flying ninja? Just dance. If you like this, check out “I Fink U Freeky” on the Top Ten Dance Songs of 2012 playlist.

    Get Ten$ion.

  3. Sam Sparro – The Shallow End
    From the album Return to Paradise out Dec, 2012. 

    Frankly, most of Sam Sparro’s stuff is too diva house for my taste. It doesn’t bother me that the songs are gayer than a pink petticoat at the Pride parade (Mika, anyone?), it’s just a little too clean and pretty for my tastes. But “The Shallow End” has won me over.

    This one is catchy enough to cross over to my Top Dance Songs of 2012 list, but I think when it is competing against a bunch of bangers it doesn’t get a chance to shine as much as it does here.

    Have you ever been a part of a scene? A place where, if only there were clothes on the floor, you’d feel for certain you were tearing it up like you do in your room when no one’s watching? This infectious groove is a tribute to beautiful scenesters dressing up and looking pretty at the club. It has horns. It has woo-hoos. Not just team whoops but singular shouts and rising “Aaaahhhhs!” “The Shallow End” is a reminder of why disco is making a come-back.

    Get Return to Paradise.

  4. Future Screens – Don’t Stop

    Alas, I don’t have this track to give you, but you can stream all four songs off their 2012 self-titled release, and pay any damn price you please. Three cheers for Bandcamp!

    Get Future Screens.

  5. AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Drums, Your Love
    Single released December, 2012

    I like AlunaGeorge, but I love this song. Due to a remix competition there were tons of remixes of this in 2012, but none of them have the odd little pitch-shifted robotic sample, so I’m sticking with the original.

    Lyrically, I also like the idea of the song. “You say that I’m going nowhere” she sings, and then “I’ve been trying to reach you for so long,” conflating the idea of moving towards your dreams with the idea of moving closer in a relationship. And so many can relate to the idea that it’s hard to move forward when the people you care about don’t believe in you. It’s a simple, poetic expression of a familiar feeling.

    Get the remixes of “Your Drums, Your Drums, Your Love.”

  6. Bago – Forget You
    From Sunday’s Best mixtape, August 2012

    Fans of Portishead, Hooverphonic, CocoRosie, and Lana Del Rey take note. I got your dark and sexy middle-of-the-night kiss off song right here. It’s good for fucking, and it’s good for “fuck you.”

    Bajo doesn’t have a major label release; you can get more of her songs on her Soundcloud.

  7. Noisettes – That Girl
    From Contact, September 2012

    If you find The Noisettes are only 17th on this list, it’s because I was disappointed that every song on their 2012 album Contact wasn’t an absolute classic, because that’s what I’ve come to expect after the release of Wild Young Hearts. Unfair, I know. Lots of keeper tracks here, but “That Girl” was the instant addiction.

    Get Contact.

  8. Shindu – Just Go
    From the May 2012 EP, Just Go

    Shindu doesn’t have an album with a major label, but check out the remixes and mixtapes on her Soundcloud.

  9. Alex Winston – Fire Ant
    From King Con, April 2012

    Almost as good as “Sister Wife,” Alex Winston’s single about the trials of being a Mormon wife. The single for that came out in 2012, but both are on her 2013 album King Con.

    Get King Con.

  10. Purity Ring – Fineshrine
    From the July 2012 album, Shrines

    Listening to this album reminds me of the crisp futuristic vibe from the first Ladytron album. Not that they sound similar, more that hearing it, I thought, these ladies know what the future sounds like. If you like this song, you will like the whole album. M83 fans, or anyone who likes slow electro with complex layers, will like this.

    Get Shrines.

There’s still the Top Ten Best Indie Pop Songs of 2012 to come, as well as The Top Ten Indie Rock Songs of 2012 and there’s hip-hop coming too. For the harder dance sounds, check out the Top 20 Dance Songs of 2012 Part I and Part II. And the Top 20 Indie Rock list has been kicked off for those who like it a little more crunchy. Plenty of downloads for everyone!