HEY HEY HEY… HEY HEY HEY… Alright, alright so we all love “Blurred Lines” and by now we’re all pretty sure that the ceiling “Can’t Hold Us”, but who knew “getting lucky” could get so, well, repetitive. The songs that defined the summer of 2013 are pretty awesome, but I think we all have to admit that if we take one more sip from the “Holy Grail” we may just puke… (That’s the last corny reference, I swear.)
With that being said, the massive popularity of these mega-hits somewhat overshadowed a plethora of more under the radar tunes that also dropped this summer. In order to shed light on a couple of these hidden gems I’ve decided to compile a list of the 12 best songs from the summer of 2013 that you probably haven’t heard yet.
Whether you were too busy watching Miley Cyrus ferociously twerk away her innocence in the “We Can’t Stop” video or found yourself tirelessly trying to perfect your instrumental cup tricks Anna Kendrick-style, we’ve got you covered…
12. “Hold On, We’re Going Home”- Drake
I think it’s safe to say we’d all be lying if we didn’t admit to ignorantly blaring “Started from the Bottom” in our car at least 100 times this winter. However, Drake’s latest single is of the much more elegant variety. Many of you may have seen the Toronto superstar perform this song during last week’s VMA’s, regardless, the song still only sits at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. With its 1980’s MJ-esque production and Drake’s exquisite singing the song deserves to be a huge hit.
11. “Right Now”- PARTYNEXTDOOR
Speaking of Drizzy, let’s check out a song from his most recent label signee PARTYNEXTDOOR. Back in July the mysterious 19-year-old R&B singer/producer quietly dropped at 10-song mixtape under Drake’s OVO Sound label. “Right Now”, a vicious and infectious ballad, is the centerpiece of that project. Fans of The Weeknd and even Frank Ocean will love PARTYNEXTDOOR.
10. “Weight”- Mikal Cronin
There are some songs that just feel familiar right from the jump. Mikal Cronin’s terrific garage-rock gem, “Weight”, is one of those songs. It’s just one of those tunes that summarizes all of our problems and then heals them all in the same breath. Its nostalgic sound and sing along chorus should be enough to hook you. Check out Mikal Cronin’s new album MCII if you enjoy “Weight”.
9. “Dirty Laundry”- Kelly Rowland
Have you ever wondered what happened to the other two-thirds of Destiny’s Child? Yeah, neither did I until Kelly Rowland forced me to take notice with her hauntingly beautiful single “Dirty Laundry”. Rowland gets painfully personal on the track detailing her initial jealously towards Beyonce and even her horrible experience with domestic abuse. Mrs. Rowland’s story may not be as publicized as Beyoncé’s but it is certainly just as compelling.
8. “She Knows”- J. Cole
North Carolina rapper J. Cole has had quite a summer. His Miguel-assisted single “Power Trip” tore up the charts and went platinum, while his album Born Sinner went head to head with Kanye West’s Yeezus and ultimately trumped it in sales. Here is one of the more overlooked records from that album. “She Knows” is built around a spooky Cult’s sample and its rolling drums are tailor made for the dance floor.
7. “Diane Young”- Vampire Weekend
Now if you’re like me you were first introduced to Vampire Weekend through their fast-paced tune “A-punk”, one of the ultimate summer songs. However, the band just recently released their most critically acclaimed record to date, Modern Vampires of the City, lead by the single “Diane Young”. The song features swampy guitars, speedy percussion, and fun but also meaningful lyrics. This is dance-in-the-living-room-when-no-one-else-is-around type music.
6. “Matches”- Mac Miller (feat. Ab-Soul)
If you’ve followed the career of 21-year-old rapper Mac Miller, by now you must have realized that it’s been quite a ride. From dropping fun-filled anthems like “Knock, Knock” that defined many of our senior year’s of high-school, to putting out a somewhat disappointing debut album, Mac has been kind of all over the place. However, with his sophomore album Watching Movies With the Sound Off he finally won over both critics and fans. “Matches” best illustrates the young rapper’s playful side and musical maturity all at once.
5. “Open”- Rhye
Slowing down the pace a bit, here is Los Angeles based indie group Rhye’s “Open”. Lead singer Mike Milosh’s falsetto is absolutely breathtaking as most listeners actually mistake his voice for a woman’s. The song is reminiscent of classic slow burning R&B joints such as Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo” and “Smooth Operator”. The fact that the romantically poetic subject matter and delicate lyrics are being delivered by a man make the tune that much more enticing.
4. “When a Fire Starts to Burn”- Disclosure
This one’s for you ravers out there. English electronic outfit Disclosure released their debut studio album Settle this June. “When a Fire Starts to Burn” is one of the many exciting tracks from that LP. This jam utilizes a thumping bass loop and a chant style sample to build a thrilling tension that exists throughout the entire tune.
3. “Cocoa Butter Kisses”- Chance the Rapper (feat. Vic Mensa & Twista)
20-year-old Chicago wordsmith Chance the Rapper had quite a 2013. From dropping his critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, to seemingly blowing up overnight and touring with such mainstream staples like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. “Cocoa Butter Kisses” is probably the young artist’s most accessible track. The song features fellow Chicago rapper Vic Mensa and everyone’s favorite quick tongued MC, Twista. The track will remind listeners of College Dropout era Kanye West with its sing along style chorus and head nodding beat.
2. “Counting”- Autre Ne Veut
I dare you to try and pronounce that name correctly. Autre Ne Veut, government name: Arthur Ashin, burst onto the indie music scene in 2013 with his album Anxiety. Boasting a frantic horn-based beat and Ashin’s ultra-original singing style “Counting” is just as bewildering as it is beautiful. Autre Ne Veut is Michael Jackson on acid, and yea that’s a good thing.
1. “Shabba”- A$AP Ferg
Hip-hop fans may already be familiar with Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky from his hit single “F**kin Problems”. However, it was actually fellow A$AP Mob member A$AP Ferg that dominated my summer playlist. His debut work Trap Lord took many listeners by surprise with its tough beats and cohesive overall sound. “Shabba”, the lead single to that record, is the perfect intro to A$AP Ferg as an artist. Its funny, its hard, and infectious as hell all at the same time. SHABBA!
-Ron Miller, Music for your soul inspiration for your life