The best pop singles of 2013

It is time for the last list of 2013. It was a good year of music. Here are my favourite pop singles of the year.

25. Karise Eden – Threads Of Silence
Karise Eden won The Voice Australia last year and launched her first self-written single ‘Threads Of Silence’ a while later. The song is a heartfelt piano ballad where she shows the strength of her vocals in the big chorus. It kind of reminds a bit of Adele’s more stripped down tracks, which is obviously a compliment. Impressive debut!

24. Tom Odell – Another Love
Tom Odell launched his career successfully with the beautiful and heartbreaking single ‘Another Love’. The lyrics are touching and definitely relatable and Odell’s delivery is heartfelt. The moment where the second verse kicks in, always gives me goose bumps. Those lyrics are so honest and powerful. What a song people, what a song!

23. Laleh – Colors
Laleh had to follow up the huge success of ‘Some Die Young’ and the album Sjung. She came back with a single and album called Colors. The single is not miles away from the sound ‘Some Die Young’ has, but it is even more catchy and a little bit more uplifting. Her style of both her voice and her writing are distinctive and ‘Colors’ is a typical Laleh track in that sense. Absolutely nothing wrong with that!

22. Céline Dion – Loved Me Back To Life

I have never been a big fan of Céline Dion, but in collaboration with Sia, she managed to create on of the best singles of the year. ‘Loved Me Back To Life’ is a ballad with a modern sound and of course Céline’s voice sounds strong and emotional. For Sia, it was one of the many successful jobs as a writer for other artists. They should work together more often, because Celine’s voice fits this type of songs perfectly.

21. Lorde – Tennis Court
Lorde, the young singer from New Zealand, was one of the biggest discoveries of the year. While her song ‘Royals’ turned out to be a worldwide hit, I still think ‘Tennis Court’ is her best track. Everything is so on point here: her distinctive vocals, the fresh production, the honest lyrics and that undeniably catchy melody. Such a smash!

20. Tove Lo – Habits
This Swedish young woman came seemingly out of nowhere with one of the best pop tracks of the year. ‘Habits’ was her first single, but the heartbreaking character of the lyrics in combination with that immensely strong chorus is such an event to listen to. She showed she has more up her sleeve with single ‘Out Of Mind’ that almost made this list as well. Welcome Tove, you are one of my favourite pop stars from now on.

19. Cassadee Pope – Wasting All These Tears
Cassadee Pope won The Voice USA last year and followed her mentor Blake Shelton’s path and started to make country music. Her first single ‘Wasting All These Tears’ is a big pop/country belter, that you could expect from the likes of Carrie Underwood as well. It is a brilliant song with a huge chorus and strong lyrics. Cassadee has such a beautiful tone to her voice which makes this song all the more special.

18. Marco Mengoni – L’Essenziale
Famous Italian pop star Marco Mengoni won the San Remo Festival and represented Italy in Eurovision with the beautiful ballad ‘L’Essenziale’. The lyrics are touching, the melody is beautiful and Mengoni has got a distinctive and incredible sound of voice. Who does not melt when he sings in Italian about how he would create new places for you when your world falls apart? Lovely!

17. Birdy – Wings
Birdy came back swinging this year. She left behind the piano covers and presented a different sound with the single ‘Wings’. It is such a good song with a melancholic atmosphere, beautiful lyrics and one hell of a strong chorus. Birdy’s soaring vocals top it all off. This single definitely shows her potential as an interesting pop star.

16. Agnetha Fältskog – When You Really Loved Someone
ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog made a comeback with new original material. She released the beautiful song ‘When You Really Loved Someone’ as the first single. It is a traditional pop ballad with a quite modern production. The lyrics about losing the love of your life are simple, but really effective and Agnetha gives them more meaning with her fragile delivery. She shows that she has still got it vocally as well.

15. Lady Gaga – Applause
All eyes were on Lady Gaga to make a big comeback. The opinions differed a lot when she first premiered lead single ‘Applause’, but the strong pop song turned out to be a success in the charts and on the radio. It is not the best thing she has done so far, but the chorus is great and the lyrics are sharp as ever. Gaga one again showed she is still relevant in the pop world.

14. Florence + The Machine – Over The Love
Florence + The Machine took a break from recording, but still found time to create a song for the soundtrack of the fantastic movie, The Great Gatsby. It is a beautiful song with touching lyrics and of course Florence makes it even better with her impressive powerhouse vocals. The build-up towards the last chorus is very well executed. One more The Great Gatsby track to come in this list!

13. Icona Pop – I Love It (feat. Charli XCX)
This was one of the biggest hits of the year and probably one of the catchiest hooks that I’ve heard in quite a while. This pop banger works very well on the dance floor and it is hard to resist screaming along to the chorus. It’s is a great track to let off some steam and frustration. Such a deserved worldwide hit for these girls.

12. AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love
AlunaGeorge’s first official single is still their best song to date. ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ is a song that is built completely around an immense chorus that gets to you every time you hear it. Aluna’s soft vocals work brilliantly in combination with George’s productions. This song shows off their lovely style best.

11. Charli XCX – You (Ha Ha Ha)
Pumping beats, screaming synths, smooth vocals and feisty lyrics. These are the four elements that make Charli XCX’s ‘You (Ha Ha Ha)’ into a geat track. The production sounds great and it is so hard to resist singing along to that ‘in your face’ chorus. It still sounds fresh every time I hear it.

10. Amanda Fondell – Dumb
It is a shame Amanda Fondell did not get far in Melodifestivalen, because ‘Dumb’ is such a great pop song. The verses are even better than the chorus, but the repetition of ‘done/gone’ etcetera, works haunting as well. The middle-eight that almost feels like an emotional breakdown is stunning and her delivery is convincing. I don’t care what the Swedish people voted, this remains a fantastic pop song.

09. Veronica Maggio – Sergels Torg
Swedish singer Veronica Maggio made a big comeback with her single ‘Sergels Torg’. The lyrics are sad and heartbreaking, but the melody is quite catchy and uplifting at the same time. You do not have to understand a word of what she sings in order to feel the emotion in the last part where she almost screams her frustration and desperation away. Such a heartfelt track, I love it.

08. Anouk – Birds
Anouk gave The Netherlands a spot in the final, and even a top 10 position, for the first time in years at the Eurovision Song Contest. She performed her heartbreaking, cinematic, melancholic and above all gorgeous ballad ‘Birds’. The orchestral sound works well with her voice and the track is grand, moving and captivating.

07. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
2013 was a huge year for Miley Cyrus, who transformed into the most talked about pop star with her controversial performances and outfits. However, miss Cyrus has the material to back it up, because ‘We Can’t Stop’ is a brilliant party track. It is insanely catchy and the production is great. Wouldn’t we all like to twerk a bit to this track? I thought so!

06. Haim – Forever
The girls of Haim broke through in 2013 and their first single ‘Forever’ is definitely one of the best things this year in pop had to offer. The production is perfect, their voices sound wonderful together and that chorus is just undeniable. The track swings and it immediately showed the sisters already found their own style and sound with their first single. Impressive, indeed!

05. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
With ‘We Can’t Stop’, Miley Cyrus showed she knows how to party, but she also showed her even better emotional side on ‘Wrecking Ball’. This is one of the best pop ballads released in recent years. Miley’s delivery is heartbreaking, especially in the bridge where she sounds fragile and completely honest. The chorus literally hits like a wrecking ball and this all results in one huge pop ballad.

04. Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops
Emmelie De Forest managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 with her song ‘Only Teardrops’. Although the song sounds tailor made for Eurovision, it has something fresh and contemporary at the same time. Above all, the melody is just irresistibly catchy. The flute, her voice and the drums all complement the strong melody and it made ‘Only Teardrops’ a deserving winner in Eurovision and one of the best tracks of the year.

03. Laura Jansen – Queen Of Elba
Laura Jansen surprised me with her fantastic single ‘Queen Of Elba’. From the moment I heard this song for the first time, I knew there was something special about it. The lyrics about crowning herself the queen of Elba and coming to terms with a life on her own are brilliant. The melody is lush and her voice is enchanting as always. More of this please!

02. Lana Del Rey – Young & Beautiful
‘Young & Beautiful’ was the only new single by Lana this year, but it is once again an incredible song. The melancholy in the lyrics fit the sound of the song very well and the movie The Great Gatsby could not have wished for a better soundtrack than this. Lana sounds beautiful and her delivery of the lines “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” sounds honest and fragile. What an utterly gorgeous song!

01. Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love
The best song of the year for me is ‘I Feed You My Love’, the song that represented Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest. From the first seconds on I am captivated by it. It sounds dark and fresh at the same time and the heavy beats and production are definitely ‘in your face’. The lyrics of the song (‘You put a knife against my back and you dare me to face the attack’) fit the dark atmosphere very well and it just sounds so effortlessly cool. Margaret’s voice is perfect on ‘I Feed You My Love’ and I really need her to release a new album soon.

Single Review: Margaret Berger – Human Race


Margaret Berger plans to leave earth on new single

Some of you might already know Margaret Berger, as she participated in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. She reached the fourth place for Norway with the outstanding song ‘I Feed You My Love’. This piece of dark electro pop with heavy beats and an atmospheric sound, is absolutely one of my favourite songs of the year so far. It is always hard to follow up such a good release, but Margaret manages to bring us another banger, called ‘Human Race’.

Where ‘I Feed You My Love’ sounded somewhat darker and had some rock influences, ‘Human Race’ brings us full on electro pop with an up-tempo dance sound. The production is great and the electronic bleeps fit in very well with the melody and instrumentation of the track. Margaret’s light, soft and charming voice matches perfectly with the sonic experience the song creates. The chorus and the build up to it, are very solid and make the song stick around in your head. The sound might remind a bit of Swedish act Robyn, which is meant as a compliment as she is at the top of the electro pop game. Still, the combination of Margaret’s characteristic vocals and the sound of ‘Human Race’, makes it definitely recognizable as a ‘Berger-track’.

Lyrically, the song is about Margaret being disappointed in the greediness of mankind and she therefore dreams about leaving this planet, in a mission to outer space. The brilliant thing about this track is, that not only the lyrics talk about a trip to space, but the song actually sounds like it would perfectly fit as a soundtrack to a science fiction film, that futures a scene where a rocket is sent into space. The lyrics and sonic elements seem to strengthen each other, into an ‘out of this world’ atmosphere in the track.

Here is some bad news for Margaret. There is no way she will leave this planet before she delivers us a new album. Both ‘I Feed You My Love’ and ‘Human Race’ deserve to be surrounded by other great tracks on a record full of outstanding electro pop. Please Margaret, we need you here on earth and we need that new album!


Margaret Berger verlaat de aarde op nieuwe single ‘Human Race’

Sommigen van jullie zullen Margaret Berger al kennen van haar deelname aan het Eurovisie Songfestival dit jaar. De zangeres kwam uit voor Noorwegen met de fantastische track ‘I Feed You My Love’ en behaalde er een vierde plaats mee. De donkere electropop song met zware beats is absoluut een van mijn favoriete liedjes van dit jaar tot nu toe. Het is natuurlijk altijd moeilijk om zo’n sterke release op te volgen, maar Margaret krijgt het voor elkaar ons een volgende knaller te serveren, in de vorm van ‘Human Race’.

Waar ‘I Feed You My Love’ wat donkerder klonk, mede dankzij wat invloeden uit rockmuziek, brengt ‘Human Race’ een iets lichtere electropop sound met een uptempo dancebeat. De productie is sterk en de elektronische piepjes komen goed tot hun recht in de melodie en instrumentatie. Margaret’s lichte, zachte en charmante stemgeluid past perfect bij de sfeer en sound die het lied creëert. Het refrein en de opbouw daarnaar, staan als een huis en zorgen dat het lied door je hoofd blijft spoken. Het geluid van ‘Human Race’ doet bij vlagen wat denken aan de Zweedse Robyn, maar dit is een compliment sinds zij nog steeds aan de top staat als het om electropop muziek gaat. Daarnaast weet Margaret met haar karakteristieke stemgeluid en de herkenbare productie, het lied toch te laten klinken als een echte ‘Berger-track’.

De song gaat over Margaret’s teleurstelling in de hebberigheid van de mensheid. Ze droomt daarom van het verlaten van de aarde om op een missie te gaan in de ruimte. Het briljante van deze track is dat niet alleen de tekst over een buitenaardse trip gaat, maar de sound van het lied klinkt ook alsof het perfect onder een scène met een vertrekkende raket uit een sciencefiction film zou passen. De songtekst en het geluid van de track vullen elkaar perfect aan in het creëren van een buitenaardse sfeer.

Er is echter slecht nieuws voor Margaret. We kunnen de zangeres namelijk niet zomaar de aarde laten verlaten, voordat ze een nieuw album heeft afgeleverd. Zowel ‘I Feed You My Love’ als ‘Human Race’ verdienen het om een plekje te krijgen tussen andere sterke tracks, op een album vol kwalitatieve electropop. Alsjeblieft Margaret, we hebben je hier op aarde nodig en we kunnen ook wel een nieuw album van je gebruiken!