Don’t End 2013 Without Falling In Love With These 5 Pop Songs

The year seems to be winding down faster than usual, and it feels like every time I get a minute to surf the net I stumble across a new ‘best of’ lists that commands me to give a portion of precious free time to an album someone I more often than not have never met believes has the power to change lives. They may be right, but if I’m being perfectly honest there is rarely a day when I have the time to add an entire new release to my listening routine. Some days I don’t listen to any album in its entirety, let alone one from some unknown who may or may not have a career in 2014.

If you read the above paragraph and found yourself relating to my frustrations, this post is likely for you. We have spent a lot of time and dedicated a vast amount of digital space to highlighting rising pop talent through ‘Crush’ columns and other related features. After much discussion and debate we settled on five ‘shoulda been’ chart-toppers from young talent that you need to hear before 2013 ends. Some songs came out in the spring, others far more recently, but each possesses that ‘it’ factor that makes pop music infectious in the best way possible.

Forget about changing your life for a few minutes and focus on making the most of the hours ahead. The songs in this list aren’t going to answer those oh-so-difficult life decisions you’ve been struggling with, but they most definitely will improve your mood if you’re open to be being moved by sound. We know you may have heard one or two of the following selections before, but keep digging – you never know which artist will be the next to make your day.

1. Betty Who – “Somebody Loves You”

From the first time I heard this song in the spring of 2013 I knew Betty Who was going to see her career skyrocket in the months to follow. “Somebody Loves You” grabs you from the synth-heavy opening notes and refuses to let go until you and everyone within hearing range has broken out into an 80s-inspired dance routine. It’s music so packed with feel-good vibes it cannot be considered a ‘guilty pleasure’ because hiding the joy it brings into your life is impossible.

2. Tove Lo – “Habits”

Some of the best songs ever written originated from the feeling of loneliness most encounter after a relationship comes to an end. Tove Lo uses “Habits” to harness her sadness into a thumping indie banger about self-medicating to escape the memories of someone you love and miss dearly. From talk of feeling bored in sex clubs, to celebrating constant intoxication, there is something here for every person who binges on bad habits when feeling depressed that connects with and strives to lift teary-eyed souls. You may not feel 100% better when it comes to an end, but at least you’ll know you’re not alone in your misery.

3. Christina Grimmie – “Tell My Mama”

Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake may be topping the chart, but they are not the only pop artists currently promoting a sound reminiscent of Motown’s golden age. Built on sugarcoated lyricism and a structure that would probably make The Supremes smile, “Tell My Mama” introduced Christina Grimmie to the pop world in a big way. It’s catchy, addictive, and unlike the singles of many aspiring pop stars it actually leaves room for Grimmie to show off her vocal talents. Forget about the way EDM controlled radio this year and allow this single to show you what could be topping the charts with enough promotion from fans. If you hate it, fine, but I find it hard to believe anyone could hear a song like this and walk away unimpressed.

4. Rixton – “Make Out”

2013 may have been the year female pop stars took the spotlight back from the recent boy band craze, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room on our list for a few handsome lads with hooks and looks to spare. Rixton, hailing from the UK, skyrocketed to international acclaim this fall with the release of their latest album. The lead single, “Make Out,” makes it easy to understand why. They have the sound of One Direction, but instead of hiding behind a wall of sound created by others they actually play their own instruments. If this is the future of ‘boy bands’ I’ll gladly sign up to extend their reign over pop music for another year.

5. Femme – “Heartbeat”

Probably the most DIY of all the artists on this list, Femme delivered a number of brilliant singles and videos to her fast-growing fan base throughout 2013. Her latest, “Heartbeat,” has all ingredients needed for crossover indie pop success: hypnotic lyrics about indecision and love, thumping drums that make you want to dance even though it’s not the ‘hip’ thing to do, and just enough experimental influence to seem delightfully obscure while still playing to a large demographic. Her two double a-side releases are some of the best you’ll hear all year, but this song in particular strikes a special chord within our team.

Written by: James Shotwell (follow him on Twitter)

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One Response to “Don’t End 2013 Without Falling In Love With These 5 Pop Songs”

  1. XBlueCollarHardcoreX says:

    The Christina Gimme song was intelligent and had a hilarious video. There’s hope for pop music in 2014.