30. Cody Simpson "Pretty Brown Eyes"
I couldn't move, felt like I was stuck/And then baby girl looked up
In an all-too-common trend this year, the former "Aussie Bieber" ditched the teen pop sound of his earlier music for an acoustic guitar. Not surprisingly, most of it was shit. But, as with all of Cody's work, there is a diamond buried in the mounds of unlistenable garbage, and the sweet, simple "Pretty Brown Eyes" was just that song.
29. Avicii "Wake Me Up"
Life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes/Well, that's fine by me
One of the weirdest songs on the list: an electropop/country hybrid that summed up the angst and longing of the millenial generation in four short minutes. In an age when a new EDM DJ pops up every five minutes, Avicii continues to prove why he is at the top of the pack.
28. Little Mix featuring Missy Elliott "How Ya Doin'?"
So why don't you leave your name and number/And we'll get back to you
I'd still argue that Little Mix are a tad overrated by a generation of girl band lovers looking for the next Girls Aloud. But when everyone under the sun was doing 90s throwbacks in 2013, this song is a fun throwback while remaining fresh and modern sounding.
27. Ed Drewett "Undefeated" (Cahill Club Mix)
Now I know the world is on my side
Listen, I've been banging the Drewett Bell for years now, so you can hardly expect me to remain unbiased. The single version of "Undefeated" is great, but the Cahill remix raises it to another level. A far better inspirational anthem than "Roar" could ever dream of being.
26. Katy Perry featuring Juicy J "Dark Horse"
There's no going back
Prism never quite lived up its hype: the melancholic edges never quite spilling out in the Rated R-style it could have gone, the singles generic as hell or plain boring. Perhaps the album's only true triumph is this song which pushes the boundaries of Katy's sparkly persona into unrecognizable territory. The result is the most exciting song Katy has released since "E.T."
25. Union J "Carry You"
Nothing's too heavy/Just hold on, I'll carry you
The X-Factor's latest attempt to find the new One Direction came the closest anyone will probably come to matching them. Not in terms of sales, mind you, as this single flopped like it was a Justin Timberlake single from Part 2 of The 20/20 Experience. But this song is a return to the simplicity and catchiness of the One Direction of yore (2010 to be precise). With a little more personality, the Union J boys could be on to something.
24. Mutya Keisha Siobhan "Flatline"
I can feel a flatline that ought to be a wave
All hail the return of the Origibabes! Please save the pop world in 2014. We need you.
23. Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller "The Way"
You got my heart, don't know how you did it
Who knew 2013 needed a return to mid-90's Mariah Carey realness? And from a former Nickelodeon (!!!) starlet at that?
22. Kanye West "Black Skinhead"
They see a black man with a white woman at the top floor they gon' come to kill King Kong
A late entry on the list, mainly because I stupidly ignored Yeezus until December. Kanye pairing up with Daft Punk is one of the smartest, most fruitful collaborations in years as DP's ominous, intense percussion adds the perfect emphasis to Kanye's insatiable ranting. This song will no doubt be heard on the soundtrack to many angry, badass action scenes for years to come.
21. Natalia Kills "Saturday Night"
The boys I kiss don't know my name
Is this achingly sad, incredibly lived-in song ripped from Natalia's childhood or is she just that good?
20. Lily Allen "Hard Out Here"
Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits
A bit of a fourth quarter Hail Mary from the best anti-popstar around. With her tits-to-the-wall take down of the misogynistic undercurrent that ran through most of 2013 (i.e. the "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus controversies), most people failed to notice that "Hard Out Here" was also Lily's sly commentary on the state of pop music in 2013. "But there's so much autotune in it. She's clearly selling out," people complained. Uh, no. As she sings in one of the verses, "If you can't detect the sarcasm, you've misunderstood."
19. AlunaGeorge "You Know You Like It"
Life can be cruel/If you're a dreamer
Someone (probably Evan) gave me this song towards the end of 2012. I probably listened to it once before getting overwhelmed with other new music and tossed it aside. Luckily, I came back to it some time later and completely fell head over heels in love with it. Such are the happy miracles of pop music.
18. One Direction "Best Song Ever"
Said her name Georgia Rose/And her daddy was a dentist
Listen, I've complained ad nauseum on Twitter about the "mature" One Direction sound. Let me just reiterate that One Direction doesn't need to do Mumford & Sons-lite shit because they actually have personality. If they had pushed the snot-nosed, smart-ass punk-popiness of "Best Song Ever" a little harder, they could have matured their sound without having to make an album of "real" music.
17. Bastille "Pompeii"
Oh, where do we begin?/The rubble or our sin?
The best use of the Pompeii volcanic disaster as a metaphor for a dying relationship since the excavation scene in Rossellini's Journey to Italy.
16. Austin Mahone "What About Love"
You cut my wings/Now I am falling
Do I expect Austin Mahone to be the heir apparent to the Biebz's teen heartthrob throne now that he's retiring (LOL)? No, not at all. But I have to give him mad respect for this early 2000s throwback and, in particular, the lyric that references *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye."