Yes, it’s that time of year again when we look back at the best singles and albums to have been released over the past twelve months. Featuring everything from Ayia Napa throwbacks to ‘Tumblr-pop’ anthems to moody torch songs, here’s the first of our four-part countdown of 2013’s best dance/electronic tracks.
40) Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith – “La La La”
British producer Naughty Boy may have fallen short of the top prize money on Deal Or No Deal back in 2006 but he hit the jackpot this year with a UK number one which added a melancholic edge to the garage revival thanks to its tale of a faltering relationship, Sam Smith’s emotive tones and a charming Wizard Of Oz-inspired video.
39) Rudimental – “Waiting All Night”
Another British chart-topper which suggested the tide was slowly turning away from the usual trash-pop fare served by Guetta et al, East London quartet Rudimental added Ella Eyre’s impassioned vocals to their signature blend of drum ‘n’ bass beats and bursts of brass to provide the highlight from their Mercury Prize-nominated debut Home.
38) Polica – “Chain My Name”
Their sophomore, Shulamith, may have failed to progress their woozy sound much further, but this lead single was a delight as the Minneapolis quintet moved tentatively onto the dancefloor by combining the AutoTune-drenched musings of Channy Leaneagh with a wave of springy synths, hypnotic bass-lines and typically towering percussion.
37) Charli XCX – “You (Ha Ha Ha)”
Charli XCX may have been partly responsible for one of this summer’s biggest hedonistic anthems – Icona Pop’s “I Love It” – but it was this inspired take on Gold Panda’s “You” that best showcased her distinctive self-described Tumblr-pop sound.
36) All About She – “Higher”
Harking back to the soulful sound of two-step classics like Amira’s “My Desire” and Shola Ama’s “Imagine,” the latest signing to Tinie Tempah’s Disturbing London label evoked the late 90s/early 00s heyday of the Ayia Napa scene with this instantly addictive debut single.
35) Klangkarussell – “Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine)”
A hit all across Europe last year in its original instrumental form, Austrian duo Klangkarussell then gave their lounge pop-style blend of jazzy saxophones, xylophones and sun-kissed beats a new lease on life by hooking up with emerging singer-songwriter Will Heard to produce a bona-fide chill-out classic.
34) AlunaGeorge – “Attracting Flies”
Justifying their runner-up position on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, the London duo delivered one of this year’s coolest smackdowns with this slinky blend of classic house stabs, whistling synths and Aluna Francis’ effortlessly sassy tones.
33) Banks – “Waiting Game”
A viable contender to become next year’s big breakthrough act, enigmatic chanteuse Banks showed what all the fuss is about with a stunning reverb-laden electro-ballad which fused her haunting choral melodies with a darkly hypnotic wave of synth drones and mournful piano chords.
32) Oliver – “Mechanical”
The standout from their four-track EP of the same name, Los Angeles duo Oliver got 2013 off to a flying start with a space-age slice of slow-motion electro-funk which sounded like Duran Duran covering early Daft Punk.
31) Jess Mills – “Sweet Love”
Still best-known for her work with dubstep maestros Breakage and Jack Beats, the highly under-rated Jess Mills delivered one of this year’s classiest cover versions with a lush ethereal reworking of Anita Baker’s Quiet Storm standard.
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