By Andy Lynch
This year I’ve probably listened to less music than I have over the past five to six. Without doubt, I’ve been to fewer gigs than ever before though thankfully there have been lifelines (in particular the likes of Will Evans and the Facebook feed of the irrepressible reviewer and best internet users I know, Jake Cleland).
I’ve set this up based on the limited situations in which I do actually listen closely or repetitively to songs. Most of them are in my car.
Some preliminary notes: on reflection this list is primarily by white guys singing in English so hopefully I can mix that up a little more for next year.
Songs for Late Night Study (2-4am)
This is probably even less relevant lyrically than ‘Why Write a letter…’ but when I’m tired and Cave gets to the part about “the missionary with his smallpox and flu/saving them savages” and the circle of the song is complete (and its 3am) I lose my mind.
24) ‘Breathe In’ – Japanese Wallpaper (Feat. Wafia)
Local artist, still in high school making beautiful music like this – I give up.
23) ‘Minotaur’ – Thee Oh Sees
This song will always sound like:
- still 35 degrees;
- at a house under the Westgate Bridge;
- still doing homework;
- sweating in my underwear; and the dog where I’m house-sitting just ate the couch.
22) ‘Cirrus’ – Bonobo
This makes me feel a lot more productive than I probably am.
21) ‘Only Tomorrow’ – My Bloody Valentine
Works best with head smushed into the speaker.
Songs for Late Night Driving (10pm-1am)
20) ‘Embracism’ – Kirin J Callinan
Title track off one of the most challenging, innovative albums of the year. Takes on the confusing, visceral hypocritical world of masculinity and leaves you feeling woozy.
19) ‘Black Skinhead’ – Kanye West
When listened to directly after Kirin J it really leaves you feeling confused about life as a little boy.
18) ‘Freak, Go Home’ – Darkside
Listening to this makes me feel like I’m a lot cooler than I am.
17) ‘Reflektor’ – Arcade Fire
“Surreptitious Stardust sings in shiny forest of horns.” That would be my cryptic crossword clue for the best part of this song.
16) ‘Why Write a Letter that You’ll Never Send’ – The Drones
Though parts of this are now a little outdated (see Pope lines) but I think the Drones are fucking ballsy for keeping politics on the agenda in rock ‘n’roll (cf Jezebel and River of Tears).
Songs for Weekend Driving (Sunny Weather)
15) ‘On Blue Mountain’ – Foxygen
Yes its derivative (Phil Spektor backing vocals/ R.Stones everything) but this song just makes me feel great.
14) ‘Avant Gardener’ – Courtney Barnett
“Paramedic thinks I’m clever because I play guitar / I think she’s clever because she stops people dying” – Favourite line of the year.
13) ‘Was All Talk’ – Kurt Vile
This song could go for 100 minutes and I wouldn’t care.
12) ‘Small Plane’ – Bill Callahan
When I grow up I want to sound as satisfied as Bill. Beautiful song off my favourite album of the year.
11) ‘Stoned and Starving’ – Parquet Courts
Neither beautiful nor all that satisfying and probably a little too long. Still great though.
Songs for Weekend Driving when its Raining (Especially in Winter)
10) ‘Spring’ – Bill Callahan
I’ve already filled out most of the paperwork (again!) – I guess they got lost in the post last time. Anyway can’t wait for that signature.
Yours truly, (soon to be son J) Andy
9) ‘Jubilee Street’ – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave would be better as an uncle.
Not quite 2013 but this is a magic piece of history. In the small period where he wasn’t smoking, his voice was clear and he sounds vulnerable, even a little corny. I yell this really loudly when I’m in the car alone.
7) ‘Retrograde’ – James Blake
How did he do that? Again?
6) ‘Split’ – Ocean Party
I’m not sure whether I believe/like a lot of the laconic, self-deprecating slacker Australiana that’s running around at the moment but these guys get it just right.
Songs for dancing while getting changed (Nobody should ever see this)
5) ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ – Janelle Monae (Feat. Erykah Badu)
Monae freaking kills it. This album and this song are just so goddam funky.
4) ‘Takin Over’ – Sex on Toast
That film clip. If you’re in a band making laconic self-depricating Australiana and not very good at it you should try and make something like this instead. Everybody dance!
3) ‘Say That’ – Toro Y Moi
A little disconcerting at first. Especially the clip.
2) ‘Touch’ – Daft Punk ft. Paul Williams
Heaps of fun. Walking on Planet C.
1) ‘Shut Me Out’ – Wolf and Cub
Two drummers never sounded so contained – simple, tense, controlled stoner rock – Queens of the Stone Age should have put out this song.
Editor’s Note: We asked Andy to compile a list, in descending order, of his top 25 songs of the 2013. What he came up with was neither in order, limited to 25, nor limited to 2013; but alas here it (mostly) is.