Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best 25 Songs of 2013: #12 & #11



I would imagine everyone needs a big ol' drink after the Boxing Day chaos, so let's kick back with a full glass and two hip-hop/R&B jams that made quite the splash in 2013. Whether it was released late enough to throw a wrench in everyone's end of year listography, or continued to define our new golden age of young gun hip-hop, both of these songs deserve to be right on the cusp of the top ten.


#12. Favorite Song (feat. Childish Gambino) - Chance the Rapper:
On yet another release that proved hip-hop has officially entered a new era, this 19 year-old's jazzy samples and distinctive croak work hand-in-hand to reassure the next generation of MCs have no problem dabbling in successful recipes of decades past, without sacrificing an ounce of their own originality. On "Favorite Song," the bouncy melody is the perfect undertone for both Chance and (the equally talented) Gambino's witty spits, and similar to the playful blend De La Soul and Naughty By Nature pioneered, this mindful hip-hop feels so good for the soul.


#11. XO - Beyoncé:
You know, I've had a lot of people ask me my opinion on Beyoncé's self-titled visual album - thinking that, as a music writer, it's my obligation to shit on anything mainstream. Well, I'm not sure where anyone got that idea, and, if you visit any of the critics' "best of" lists this year - you'll find a plethora of feel-good, boundary-pushing pop mentions. And, that was exactly the feedback I had to give about Beyoncé announcing and releasing 14 new songs with accompanying music videos - exactly what everyone else (critic or not) was already thinking. It's inventive. It has depth. And, with songs like this expansive pop anthem, it feels pretty damn good. They don't call her the Queen for nothing, and if you're discouraged by what might appear to be her least accessible, hook-filled album yet, you haven't yet let this love song's unequivocally moving melody, and Queen Bey's growly declarations, soar at full volume. PS. I consider myself lucky I had the chance to include part of this album on this list - considering her late December release threw off everyone else's countdown.




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