Tree’s Top 13 Rock Songs of 2013
Initially, I thought I couldn't come up with enough songs I loved in 2013 to even make a list, but when I looked back through all this year's releases I realized I had forgot just how much good stuff came out. So here are the best rock songs of 2013... according to me.
It should be noted that I only used one song per artist, otherwise this list would have only featured songs from Queens of the Stone Age and Pearl Jam.
The only reason this one is so far down the list is because it actually came out in 2012. However, I didn't become aware of it until Rock on the Range 2013. We were waiting to score free smokes at the Marlboro trailer and ITM was rocking the nearby stage, we initially had no plans on catching their set. They absolutely ripped the place apart with 'Whore.' I hadn't heard the song before, but I immediately knew that it was going to be a hit. Even though her voice kind of drives me nuts in the verse parts, it's worth enduring to get to the chorus.
I'm not a die hard NIN guy. I really liked 'Downward Spiral' back in the day, I enjoyed 'With Teeth' quite a bit, but the more industrial, spaced-out side of their work is lost on me. I like the guitar-driven NIN stuff. This track has a good blend of everything the band does, which is really when they do their best work.
I've always enjoyed some Megadeth. It seems like they've been releasing an album every year for the past decade and, prior to 'Super Collider,' I was starting to think their sound was getting stale. They took some really cool creative turns on their latest album -- there's even a song with a banjo on it! One song in particular really caught my ear -- despite its not so subtle political agenda -- that being 'Dance in the Rain.' The song just sounds great. All of the dynamics from subtle changes in the way the guitar riff is played throughout to the way Dave sings all of the parts gel perfectly and remind me of all the old Megadeth stuff I love... that's during the first 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The phoned-in (and completely unnecessary) Sammy Hagar-ish ending part almost ruins it for me. Had it stopped at the 3:30 mark, this one would be much higher on my list.
Say what you will about Rob Zombie, his music, his movies... but you can't deny that the dude can write one hell of a catchy tune. From the minute I heard this one, the hook was etched into my brain. The fact that it has a pretty solid groove doesn't hurt either.
To be honest, I only knew of this band through word of mouth until earlier this year when LaBrie handed me their new album 'Opposites' and said "you want to check this out?" These dudes are pretty badass. Plus, their singer's super-thick Scottish accent bleeds through and makes me chuckle on occasion. They definitely have more of an alt-rock feel than anything we play on Banana. There were several songs I dug on this release ('Opposite,' 'Biblical'), but 'Black Chandelier' is definitely the standout.
Had I not been introduced to this song at Dirt Fest 2013, it probably wouldn't be on this list. The song is good on 'Black Out the Sun,' but it is goddamn electric when they perform it live! It was definitely the highlight of the festival and one of the best performed tracks I witnessed personally this year.
I was a bit disappointed with the new Alice in Chians record. After their incredible comeback album, 'Black Gives Way to Blue,' I expected to be more impressed with their new collection of songs. It was really a toss-up between 'Hollow,' 'Lab Monkey' and the title track for which song was my fave... I went with the latter because the guitar has that old school AIC vibe and it's a funny premise for a serious song. The video is badass too. Actually, the lack of a true standout track was really what underwhelmed me on this release... Hell, the band is only playing about 3 of these songs during their live sets. I really expected (and hoped) to hear more William DuVall this time around. He's a phenomenal talent and has been underutilized on their records thus far. Maybe next time.
I had never heard of this band before they opened for Primus in Detroit a few years ago. They absolutely stole the show and I've been a fan ever since. If you can't take dudes with high falsetto voices (think Coheed and Mars Volta), then this band probably isn't for you. If you can, you should check out their new album 'Evil Friends' (unfortunately, you'll recognize the title track from that new Taco Bell commercial) and definitely listen to their 2009 effort 'The Satanic Satanist' -- It's a really good record!
There's nothing worse than when one of your favorite bands releases a greatest hits album. That usually means that they're done for and are trying to complete their contractual obligations with their label... either that or they're not planning any new music anytime soon. Luckily, APC does have plans for new music, they're just a few years off. At least their "Best of..." came with their first new song in several years -- 'By and Down.'
After several years of not being impressed by a ton of the band's material, their double album really caught my ear. 'The House of Gold and Bones Pt. 2' had some great songs -- 'Black John,' '82,' 'Do Me a Favor' -- but 'Peckinpah' was my favorite by far.
Had Scott Weiland's awful performance at The Machine Shop not severely lowered my opinion of his abilities as a professional singer and as a human being in general, I might not have given CheSTP a chance... actually, I know I wouldn't have. The new 'High Rise' EP is awesome! I enjoy those 5 songs more than I do their entire last album with Scott on vocals. Chester Bennington's lyrics may not be as out there as Weiland's, but the dude sings his ass off... on both the new and old material. It was a toss-up as to which one I wanted to pick for this list, as 'Black Heart' and 'Same on the Inside' are in a dead heat for my favorite... I just can't get 'Cry Cry' out of my head lately.
Pearl Jam really came back the way I needed them to with 'Lightning Bolt.' After 'Backspacer,' their sole career misstep in my eyes, I was worried that we had heard their last good album with their 2006 self-titled joint. Not only did 'Lightning Bolt' renew my faith in the band's future, it featured the most dynamic song they've recorded in many, many years -- 'Sirens.' I wanted to put a rocker on the list so I went with the kick-ass opening track. The album is a little slower than is needed towards the end, but all in all is still one of the year's best. Welcome back, PJ.
QOTSA doesn't have much of a home on active rock radio, which is a goddamn shame because they are the most interesting band out there today. They've always done their own thing, which is why so many critics and bands are big fans of what they do. Their new album '...Like Clockwork' is not only the best rock album of the year, it might be the best of the past decade. 'I Appear Missing' is the true centerpiece of the record and is one of their most epic songs ever recorded.