July kicks off next week and that means 2013 is half over, y’all! A lot of music has been been released this year, and whether it’s via a returning veteran or a fresh up-and-comer, we now present you with VH1 staff picks for the best songs of the year (so far…)
Emily’s Pick: “Michael” by The-Dream
Terius Nash has a way of making the dirtiest of couplets sound like lines from a Nicholas Sparks novel. Add some allusions to the King of Pop, and I’m helplessly hooked (just don’t tell my mom).
Rahsheeda’s Pick: “Green Garden” by Laura Mvula
The British soul singer’s silky vocals bring a hint of gravity to a beautiful airy, carefree track.
Meghan’s Pick: “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who
Remember when pop music was about catchy melodies, glorious hooks and an overall sense of hope set to a killer dance beat? Newcomer Betty Who does and “Somebody Loves You” is the most uplifting, enchanting and underplayed jam of the year so far.
Tia’s Pick: “Power Trip” by J. Cole (feat. Miguel)
J. Cole is the future of hip hop. And Miguel could make us melt belting out a cereal commercial jingle.
Sabrina’s Pick: “Closer” by Tegan and Sara
On the first listen, you’re just bouncing up and down to its sugary popness. But then you listen to it again and it begins to get under your skin, filling you with memories of crushes, or that first time you hooked up with your one true love – all that excitement and longing are somehow wrapped in such a happy package!
Orlando’s Pick: “Started From The Bottom” by Drake
Just ’cause you started at the bottom and you’re still at the bottom doesn’t mean you should be mad at Drake. This is the biggest banger of the year. If you can’t rock to this, it’s time to donate your legs to science.
Stacy’s Pick: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk
It’s so hard to deny the infectious natural of this song. Not only is it Daft Punk’s return single but we also got Pharrell Williams in N.E.R.D. form and Nile Rodgers(!) on guitar. This is the “Crazy” (Gnarls Barkley) of 2013.
Mark’s Pick: “Sacrilege” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
If you were to go into a laboratory and attempt to fuse the essence of the YYYs with “Like A Prayer”-era Madonna, the result would sound a lot like this, the first single from the band’s latest LP, Mosquito. The track starts off in classic slow-burn fashion with lead singer Karen O breathily proclaiming against the backdrop of a very subtle bassline that an angel (or is it Jesus himself?) has fallen from the sky. As she begins to enter a sexual relationship with this divine figure, the track relentlessly builds over the next four minutes into an ecstatic, religious (or is it sacrilegious?) climax featuring a chorus of gospel voices, clanging drums, and a piercing wail from Karen O.
RUNNER-UP: “Inhaler” by Foals
In May we were pumped to hear that Daft Punk would be gracing our earbuds with a brand new album, Random Access Memories. We gave it a listen, and to be totally honest, our first impression of the cut “Doing It Right” was not great. Then we saw this clip of ’Mad Men”s Ken Cosgrove dancing to it and everything changed. Doing it right, internet. Doing it so right.
Caity’s Pick: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (featuring Pharrell and T.I.)
It’s undeniable that this song is catchy as hell! I can definitely see people shakin’ it to this song for the rest of the summer… and likely for the rest of the year!
Ben’s Pick: “Loud, Dumb & Mean” by The Night Marchers
Punk’s dead and so are Rocket From The Crypt. Former RFTC swami John Reis’ new band The Night Marchers is punk rock as played by men, but not made for adults. As best heard on this song from their 2013 album Allez Allez.
Crystal’s Pick: “Operate” by ASTR
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon “Operate” by ASTR and I’ve basically been listening to the song on repeat since then. It’s the perfect summer jam.
Lacey’s Pick: “Numbers On The Boards” by Pusha T
Terrence Thornton gets the Don Cannon production alley-oop on this track, and with a Jigga sample in the mix, I’m sold. My Name Is My Name can’t come soon enough.