15. Ke$ha "C'Mon"
We've been keepin' it kosher/But I wanna get it on, for sure
Compared to the high school snottiness of her breakthrough "TiK ToK," Ke$ha's "C'Mon" is the older, (somewhat) wiser answer to that song. I wouldn't exactly call it mature, but it's certainly smarter, more clever and proof of a bright future for our Glitter Trash Pop Queen.
14. Miley Cyrus "We Can't Stop"
It's my mouth/I can say what I want to
As Vampire Weekend lead singer Ezra Koening pointed out, there's an undercurrent of melancholy throughout this song. It's nothing something I was ever able to put my finger on before I read that, but it's the "Eureka!" moment that made me realize what a special and unique song "We Can't Stop" truly is.
13. Rebecca & Fiona featuring Style of Eye "Taken Over"
Nothing's gonna change how I feel for you
*Sobs in the fetal position for an hour*
12. Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj "I'm Out"
Pop her like a molly 'til these bitches recognize
Ciara's return to her 2004 glory was the most unexpected--but also most welcome--comeback of 2013. Not only does "I'm Out" find a rejuvenated Ciara at her most electric in years, but it's also the most inspired Nicki Minaj guest verse since, I don't know, "Monster." Whatever these two did to make this magic happen, I need them to recreate it once a year until the end of the time.
11. Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin "Don't You Worry Child"
I was a king, I had a golden throne
A mournfully nostalgic song about the end of childhood and innocence lost that is impossible not to dance to at the club? Sure, I'll go with it.
10. CHVRCHES "Recover"
But you know you don't need me
The most exciting new electropop group around with one of the most infectiously downbeat tracks of the year. Excuse me while I take some time to "recover" from this corker of a track (Thank you, thank you. I'm here all week).
09. The Saturdays "Gentleman"
Somebody I can take to mama/I need to find my Obama
The Saturdays get back to basics, loosen up a bit and return with their freshest-sounding single in ages. I love the flashes of humor that appear throughout the song, most notably in the "rap" section which lists of various gentlemen the girls would like to date (which include both Larry King and Lil' Wayne).
08. Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais "Summertime Sadness" (Cedric Gervais Remix)
Telephone wires, above/Are sizzling like a snare
As if the original mix of "Summertime Sadness" wasn't depressing enough, somehow Cedric Gervais' masterful remix manages to bring out even more gut-wrenching emotion. It's the perfect song to cry to on the dance floor, lost in a sea of people caught up in the song's rhythm.
07. Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"
All I wanted was to break your walls
Right power ballad, right time. This will forever be the moment Miley cemented her status as a premiere pop star.
06. Zedd featuring Foxes "Clarity"
Why are you my clarity?
You may have noticed a pattern emerging, particularly in this installment of the countdown, of electropop/dance songs about heartbreak, sadness, depression and unrequited love--all the biggies. The apex of this trend in 2013 was this song by German DJ/producer Zedd and indie pop singer Foxes, sort of the indie version of Calvin Harris & Florence Welch. The brilliance of "Clarity" is that the most intensely sad moment of the song is also the loudest; the instrumental that plays over Foxes crying, "Why are you my clarity?" towards the ends manages to flood us in sadness far better than any ballad. It's as if you know you should be dancing to the song, but the words are so heartbreaking you can't, and that's even more distressing.
05. Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj "Livin' It Up"
I don't believe in much/But I believe in you
The heart and soul CiCi bares on this perfect pop gem only makes me sad that she was so underutilized for so long. Never again, CiCi. Never again.
04. Pet Shop Boys "Love is a Bourgeois Construct"
So I've given up on the bourgeoisie/Like all their aspirations, it's a fantasy
I must admit, I didn't have high hopes for a song with the title "Love is a Bourgeois Construct," assuming it would be some bullshit exercise in mental masturbation. Then I heard the song and I couldn't believe that the Pet Shop Boys were able to make a dance song which uses Communist themes and ideology to tell the story of a man getting over a heartbreak. A smart triumph which tries harder than 95% of all songs that are released yet manages to look as simple and straight forward as an Austin Mahone song.
03. Justin Timberlake "Mirrors"
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out/You were right here all along
At first, I wanted nothing more than the return of Justin Timberlake to the music world. But then I heard "Suit & Tie" and was kind of over it before it even began. But then I heard "Mirrors" and remembered why we should never let JT go.
02. Demi Lovato "Heart Attack"
And every time I try to be myself/It comes out wrong like a cry for help
She had the number one song last year, almost repeated that feat this year. Either I'm stanning for her ridiculously hard or she is truly the future queen of pop. It's probably a mix of both, let's be honest, but that does nothing to diminish her triumph this year. "Heart Attack" is a song that only Demi could have performed, her own history adding way more depth to a song that was already precisely written. It's a showcase for Demi and I'll be damned if she didn't run away with it.
01. Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX "I Love It"
I DON'T CARE/I LOVE IT
What else can I say about "I Love It" that countless blogs haven't already said? It's two minutes and thirty-seven seconds of the purest form of exaltation pop music has ever produced.