There have been several hundred releases this year that have raised eyebrows or popped corks - including David Bowie's startling return to form, Daft Punk's reinvention of Disco, Johnny Fucking Marr's album, Iggy and the Stooges (who almost made this list) the new MBV, the Queens of the Stone Age, and a bunch of NME indie bands whose hype lasted one second, or the near-dead experience of Sabbath's 13. I do not follow critical or proper trends when it comes to playlists for the summer - what matters is what actually gets the toes tapping, the blood boiling, the groin itching, the heart racing, the skin prickling, the soul lifting. One knows a great pop or rock song when one hears it, and such choices are entirely and rightly up to each pair of ears. So, here are 13 Eyewear picks for best songs of the year so far, and for the summer...
CHARLIE XCX - NUCLEAR SEASONS - The most haunting and effective pop song so far in 2013, this recalls the nous of a Madonna at her height, with a darkness that tingles with Depeche Mode modernity.
CHAPEL CLUB - GOOD TOGETHER - 12 Inchers used to be de rigeur in the 80s discoworld, and I haven't heard a long-playing dance song this good since New Order's heyday.
JAWs - STAY IN - This is an exquisite pop song, melancholy, sexy and instantly grabby.
KURT VILE - NEVER RUN AWAY - Imagine if Tom Petty and The Replacements had a love child - it would be Kurt Vile, whose lovely, sad and intelligent guitar rock is never more subdued or lyrical than on this track. A great song. "There are others who would rather run away" - fine alliteration.
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF - MOUNTAINS CRAVE - Magisterial, Gothic, and played on an organ, this is a song that falls into the what would a German Kate Bush sound like category. Beautiful, and uplifting.
LANA DEL REY - YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL - the best montage sequence in The Great Gatsby of this year was the one that featured this song. Del Rey has a problem singing "diamonds" without sounding like a Shakespearean actor saying "time" - with about ten syllables - but there isn't a more sensuous, decadent, sexy song at the moment.
LLOYD COLE - PERIOD PIECE - I am just so glad he's back. Sounding a bit Bob Dylan, but so what, he was great thirty years ago, so let's celebrate like it's 1983.
MILES KANE - BETTER THAN THAT - want a sneering snot-nosed garage song that rivals the Kinks? Call in Kane. This is a great song, really thrilling.
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD - SWEATHER WEATHER - homeroticism reaches a new height with this song's official video, which features beautiful young men in Los Angeles on the prowl, in lovely clothes and cars. I find this song unbearably sly and erotic, in the way of the best Herrick-like "let's do it" songs.
NOAH AND THE WHALE - HEART OF NOWWHERE - I don't know why they wear weird white boiler suits like Devo dummies on their album sleeve, but here is the best proto-80s, proto-Fire Arcade pop song of the last 6 months. It really uses the strings and female backing vocals to proper effect.
PHOENIX - TRYING TO BE COOL - A lot of bands came out with albums celebrating a sort of 70s disco-inflected, Chic style in the last few months, but Phoenix are the masters. This one is so sly, so bubblegum smart and bright.
STILL CORNERS - ALL I KNOW - the best dream pop of the year? "Fire in the summer... it's desire". A real guitar-twanging slow-burning gem.
TEGAN AND SARA - SHOCK TO YOUR SYSTEM - not a cover of a Billy Idol song, but a stately, commanding pop masterclass, that ends one of the major pop statements of the year, from Canada's best group at the moment.
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