Entertainment’s songs of the decade: 2013

Kendrick Lamar, Ariane Grande and Lorde headline this year’s playlist.


(Shane Guilfoyle / Amherst Wire)

For the next few weeks, Amherst Wire entertainment is bringing the best of the decade right to you. We’ve taken the best and most memorable songs of the decade to give you the ultimate nostalgia trip. Check out the third installment of our decades playlist below to take a trip back to the start of the decade.

“Control” – Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica

Jonathan Kermah, editor in chief 

“Control” is more of a hip-hop historical landmark than a song with true replay value, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and enjoy it too. This is the moment that sparked a Cold War between Kendrick Lamar and Drake, and a much less interesting “feud” between Lamar and Big Sean. This is also the moment where, for me at least, it was determined Kendrick Lamar was the best rapper alive based on his unmatched will.

For nearly three minutes straight, Kendrick Lamar puts on a rap clinic, and essentially dares anyone in hip-hop to challenge him. In these three minutes, the Compton native claims to be the son of Tupac, king of both New York and the West Coast, then takes the time to call out his peers by name, starting with J.Cole and ending with Mac Miller.

“Control” can’t be mentioned without the backlash that followed; anyone who was anyone in hip-hop at the time had something to say about Kendrick on the record, on the beat and subliminally.

It should be noted that Big Sean and Jay Electronica  have strong verses on “Control” too, but you don’t draw headlines for leaving with the silver or bronze medal.

Other picks: “Cocoa Butter Kisses” – Chance the Rapper ft. Vic Mensa and Twista, “Hold My Liquor” – Kanye West ft. Chief Keef and Justin Vernon

“The Way” – Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller

Nasya Blackshear, writer 

After singing on “Victorious” and showing her chops, Grande dropped “The Way,” which really proved her status as an artist. I will never forget hearing Grande sing and wondering why Victoria Justice was still the lead star.  I remember when “The Way” came out and being absolutely obsessed, knowing all the words the Mac Miller’s part and pretending that I even had a shot at hitting Grande’s high notes. Even though Grande has come so far, “The Way” was really her jumping-off point showing she was no longer just some Nickelodeon star. Even today, “The Way” is one of my favorite throwback bops to listen to on road trips or when I’m singing in the shower. 

Other picks: “We Can’t Stop” – Miley Cyrus, “Chocolate” – The 1975

“Royals” – Lorde

Brianna Silva, writer

Featuring an extensive range of beats, melodies and angelic vocals, “Royals” is an unforgettable piece of music. Lorde, the 19-year-old Australian singer, stunned American listeners with the 2013 hit. Not only is the song is an instant mood booster, but it’s the perfect karaoke option. “Royals” is artistic and expressive, yet also fun and mellow.

Other picks: “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers, “Thrift Shop” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz

“Cigarette Daydreams” – Cage The Elephant

Astghik Dion, editor

Arguably one of the most heartbreaking songs of the decade, “Cigarette Daydreams” by the Kentucky rock band, Cage the Elephant, is the final track off of their third studio album, “Melophobia.” More tender than most of their other records, the song pulls the listener into a world of peculiar nostalgia, and coming of age lessons about love lost and identity. No matter how hard you are, no matter how much Montana of 300 you listen to, it is almost universal how this song tears into everyone’s soul. Too many nights spent in beat up, parked cars at a CVS outside of a high school football game, contemplating the future and everything left behind as lead singer Matt Shultz echoed, “You can drive all night / Looking for the answers in the pouring rain / You wanna find peace of mind / Looking for the answer.” The song was a token of the band’s versatility, as well as what made them climb to the top of Billboard for the fifth time.

Other picks: “Answer” – Tyler, The Creator, “I. Flight of the Navigator” – Childish Gambino

“Hive” – Earl Sweatshirt ft. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies

Trevor Wilson, editor

As one of hip-hop’s most eclectic icons, Earl Sweatshirt burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old prodigy. In his first major-label release, Earl guides listeners through a dark, ominous journey on “Doris.” The album itself is overflowing with lyrical deftness, untouchable delivery and outstanding production. Earl established himself as an elite lyricist early in his career, and “Hive” is no different.

He spits “They tentatively tend to turn and go when I am finished / Stone cold, hardly f****** with these n***** – n****, listen / The description doesn’t fit, if not a synonym of menace / Then forget it – in turn, these critics and interns / Admittin’ the shit spitted, just burn like six furnaces / Writ, it affixed, learnin’ them digits and simultaneously /Dispellin’ one-trick-pony myths, isn’t he,” in a flow so sick that it begs you to make your stank face. Coupled with solid guest appearances from Vince Staples and Casey Veggies, Hive is a must-listen for any hip-hop fan.

Other picks: “Worst Behavior” – Drake, “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell Williams & T.I.

“Do I Wanna Know?” – Arctic Monkeys

Adam Buckley, writer

It’s hard to deny the near-ubiquitous success of the Arctic Monkeys’ single Do I Wanna Know? Incorporating a variety of influences into their sexiest record to date, fuzzy distorted guitar riffs scream over a boom-bap beat that goes hard enough to make Dr. Dre jealous. Alex Turner croons over the most iconic guitar riff since Seven Nation Army, sounding his most confident since his frenetic days as a long-haired Strokes devotee. Long gone are the allusions to insecurity and anxious high school energy; leather jacket-clad, doused in pomade, and ready for one hell of a night out. 

Other picks: “Still into You” – Paramore, “A World Alone” – Lorde

“Wake Me Up” – Avicii

Chloe Lindahl, writer 

Avicii was arguably the best DJ of our generation and his talent was endless. In 2013 he released his hit song “Wake Me Up” with R&B singer Aloe Blacc whose soulful vocals created one of the best tracks of the summer. The song hit number one on the charts in the UK and several other countries that summer. Although Avicii went on the release several iconic hits including “SOS” also featuring Aloe Blacc and “Hey Brother” featuring Tim Bergling before his tragic death in 2018, “Wake Me Up” defined his talent and his career with its innovation and heartfelt lyrics.

They tell me I’m too young to understand/They say I’m caught up in a dream/Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes/Well that’s fine by me”

No song has been better able to encapsulate the feelings of our generation. Avicii left behind a legacy of amazing music that resonates with fans to this day.

Other picks: “Ribs” – Lorde, “I Love It” – Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX

“Tuscan Leather” – Drake

Shane Guilfoyle, writer   

2013 was a momentous year for Drake. In February, he received the award for best rap album at the 55th Annual Grammys for his sophomore release, “Take Care.” Following the function, praise subsequently shifted to anticipation when Drizzy announced: “Nothing Was The Same.”

“Nothing Was the Same” dropped under Cash Money Records on Sept. 24, 2013 and signed Drake’s third studio release. The album gave listeners a feel for the 6 God’s masterful calibration of melody and lyrical proficiency across its 15 tracks. At the front of this ambitious project stands “Tuscan Leather,” which helps as an engaging gem of an intro.

The track is titled after the designer cologne made by Tom Ford, which retails notably for $615. Produced by OVO 40, “Tuscan Leather” has a listen time of 6:06 that encompasses three verses, zero hooks and an outro. Composition for the track centers around a distorted sample of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” which delivers ambiance and traces of R&B sound. Through dense lyricism and a flow that alternates between sing and rap, Drake addresses fallout with Nicki Minaj, his impression left on hip-hop and the collective success of OVO. 

With “Tuscan Leather,” Drake introduced audiences to a reinventive contemporary approach to genres of R&B and rap. “Nothing Was The Same” was critically regarded as a success for Drake and succeeded commercially as well, debuting at number one on the U.S. Billboard top 200, selling 658,000 copies in its first week.

Other picks: “I. Crawl” – Childish Gambino, “Easy Easy” – King Krule

“Story of My Life” – One Direction

Kacey Connolly, editor 

One Direction was a staple in pop in this past decade. From their 2010 X-Factor origin, to their 2016 hiatus, these boys had girls running wild with each album, tour and single. While their first few hits like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Kiss You” branded their British boyband image, “Story of My Life” changed that path for them. Released the same year as their documentary “This Is Us,” this hit single accumulated a ring of respect from an audience outside of teen girls. With a less snappy, pop beat and a more acoustic, soft rock beat, 1D proved their legitimacy and difference from the traditional, matching outfit boybands of the past. Beautiful lyrics coupled with a touching video, these boys really impressed with this song back in 2013, grabbing likes from not only myself, but my brother and dad as well.

Other picks: “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus, “Just Give Me a Reason” – P!NK ft. Nate Reuss

“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” – David Bowie

Julia Donohue, editor

David Bowie put out a millennia of challenging and compelling music in his lifetime. Often when confronted with this sort of notoriety, one is asked to question fame. What does it mean to have these strangers salivate on your every word? After “HunkY Dory” and “Ziggy Stardust,” Bowie found himself catapulted to the height of mainstream success. In 1975, He co-wrote “Fame” with John Lennon placing a mirror in front of his success to confront the insanity of idolatry. Almost 40 years later, Bowie continued to struggle with people looking into his life and finding perfection. With less lyrics and a beautiful music video, Bowie shows he is no spectacle. He is able to reflect while subverting. YouTuber Polyphonic explains this album and Bowie’s place in 2010s very well

Other picks: “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons, “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake

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