Mayan prophecies aside, 2012 came and went without a hitch. Now, with 2013 in full swing, here’s a playlist to start your new year out right.
By Aaron Williams–
Song: “A New Life”
Artist: Jim James
Label: ATO Records
Louisville native and My Morning Jacket front man Jim James’ new track, entitled “A New Life,” is the lead single off his forthcoming album “Regions of Light and Sound of God” which is due out on Feb. 5, 2013.
Song: “White Walls”
Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Schoolboy Q
Label: Macklemore LLC
While everyone may still be abuzz about Seattle rapper Macklemore’s hit single “Thrift Shop” off he and producer Ryan Lewis’ collaborative album “The Heist” from this past October, “White Walls” also deserves credit as one of the album’s highlights. The track features an infectious pop hook from Hollis and a guest verse from Black Hippy rapper Schoolboy Q.
Song: “Some Nights”
Label: Fueled by Ramen LLC
The lead single from the NYC band known stylistically as simply “fun.,” has been a bit overplayed. However, the ability to relate to the hit’s central message is what will keep listeners coming back to it even into 2013, although the hipsters will invariably thumb their nose at this pick.
Song: “Wild for the Night”
Artist: A$AP Rocky, featuring Skrillex
Label: RCA Records
The hazy, drug-influenced flows of Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky unite with the dubstep beats of electronic producer Skrillex to deliver what is sure to be one of America’s favorite party jams of 2013.
Song: “The Morning”
Artist: The Weeknd
Toronto R&B singer The Weeknd released his debut album “Trilogy,” a compilation of three mixtapes he had previously released, this past November. “The Morning” captures the feeling of a late weekend night effortlessly and shows off The Weeknd’s vocal ability while providing a little 808 bump for the bass heads.
Song: “It’s Time”
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Label: Interscope Records
Vegas indie rockers Imagine Dragons capture the urgency of seizing the day- or night -with their single “It’s Time” off their debut album “Night Visions.” The track blends the sound of modern pop with flavors of 80’s techno pop in what has translated to be a mainstream and critical success.
Artist: Frank Ocean
Label: The Island Def Jam Music Group
The clandestine, futuristic track known as “Pyramids” off of southern California R&B singer Frank Ocean’s debut album “Channel Orange” is laced with imagery of rich luxury and vividly painted hedonism. That is, if you have almost ten minutes to devote to a single song.
Song: “In the A”
Artist: Big Boi, featuring T.I. & Ludacris
Label: The Island Def Jam Music Group
A-Town’s rapping trifecta of Big Boi, T.I. and Ludacris drop a southern rap banger on Big Boi’s newest album “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.” Big Boi’s latest project signifies the former OutKast member’s triumphant return to the rap scene and features a verse from a hungry sounding T.I. who has also recently released a new album.
Song: “Diamonds Remix”
Artist: Rihanna, featuring Kanye West
Label: Def Jam Recordings
The infamous Kanye West lends a verse to open Rihanna’s smash single from her 2012 project, “Unapologetic.” West demonstrates that he can still craft killer rhymes, Kim Kardashian pregnancy notwithstanding, and reminds us why diamonds are forever.
Song: “F***in’ Problems”
Artist: A$AP Rocky, featuring 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar
Label: RCA Recordings
Yes, this is the second Rocky track to make the playlist and yes, like Fun’s “Some Nights” it has been with us since last fall. However, a track featuring two of the hottest emcees in the game right now is not so easily ignored. The notorious 2 Chainz once again successfully lays down a stupidly catchy hook that probably took him less than five minutes to write in the studio. Drake blesses the hook with some additional vocals and one of the better verses he has spit since “Take Care” and the lyrical mastermind Kendrick Lamar finishes the track with his signature style and sound. Like it or not, “Problems” will be with us for a while.