Spice’s Top 10 Tracks of 2013

Posted by on December 22, 2013

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2013 was a year of many momentous things. Including the insanely awesome above shot, which was taken by yours truly with a cracked iPhone (and it’s frankly still a mystery as to how I managed to pull it off. I mean, look at that thing. That thing is next level. Eat your heart out, Rukes). In keeping with all the seasonal nostalgia, here are my picks for the best tracks of the year.

10) Mat Zo – Lucid Dream

Starting us off is the one and only Mat Zo, whose debut album showcased his versatility and was nothing short of an innovative delight. “Lucid Dream” was released as the first single on Damage Control and is perhaps the most representative track of the bunch. Lush, kaleidoscopic synths and Mat’s trademark funky vibe make this one an absolute keeper.

9) Destructo – Higher

“Get higher, baby.” Funked out, techy bass, minimal rhythmic kicks, and plenty of repetition of that provocative little phrase are all you need to get turnt PLURnt — as Destructo and Team OWSLA handily proved this year.

8) Boys Noize – Starwin

Acid house and disco? Who could have known that that unlikely combination would wind up being a recipe for success? Well, apparently Boys Noize did; one of the most widely played tracks at Electric Zoo and a surefire hit on the dance floor, the frothy “Starwin” snags the 8 seed.

7) ilan Bluestone – Sinai

And now we shift gears into the trance/progressive house/”trouse” arena. From a purist’s perspective, this wasn’t a particularly great year for trance, but that doesn’t mean that the twin powerhouses of Armada and Anjunabeats didn’t have their moments (“This Is What It Feels Like” notwithstanding). “Sinai” is easily my favorite of the lot, and if you give it a listen you’ll quickly see why. The chord progression is magnificent, the vaguely tribal vocal soars over the builds, and the end result is utterly stirring.

6) Gesaffelstein – Pursuit

In my mind, any year end list immediately loses all credibility if it doesn’t pay respect to Bromance Records. Gesaffelstein delivered a dark, gritty, and completely explosive debut with Aleph, and “Pursuit” — in all its twisted, industrial glory — blew the lid off of techno as we know it.

5) Underworld – Rez (Bassnectar Remix)

Bassnectar premiered this surprise remix at midnight on January 1st, 2013 and the crowd’s reaction was predictably wild. His treatment of the classic “Rez” (which you may recognize from Vanilla Sky) brings together many of the things I love about him as an artist — thrilling drums, hits of growly sub bass, and heavy, otherworldly soundscapes that transport you to new dimensions of your mind.

4) Pryda – Lycka

This would have been a strong contender for the number one spot, but since it was only released last month there hasn’t been sufficient opportunity to witness it in action. Eric Prdyz’s extraordinary production chops are on full display in “Lycka” — quite frankly, the man is a wizard. He throws four notes at you and suddenly you’re on a magic carpet ride through a land of flying unicorns and fluffy pink clouds. Classic Prydz. Each new layer that unfolds in “Lycka” is deft, thrilling, and precisely timed to hit the right emotional chord. Those rippling guitar plucks? Christ. My heart. When this one dropped, so did my jaw; I spent an entire hour listening to it on repeat.

3) Mark Knight – Your Love

“Your Love” has managed to overcome its unfortunate association with Pacha, my least favorite club in America (and where I saw Mark Knight this year), to swoop in to the top three. Pacha hate aside, “Your Love” is an absolute monster. When those four notes kick in (if you’ve listened to the song, you know the ones I mean), the entire vibe in a room can turn on a dime. This is the kind of song that makes you lose all sense of time.

2) Breach – Jack

This might actually be my favorite song of 2013 when all is said and done. Dat bassline. Doze synths. “Jack” literally destroys dance floors in spite of how understated it may seem upon first listen. Simple, spaced out, and truly effective, it is without a doubt one of the defining songs of the year.

1) Disclosure – Latch

And in a twist that should surprise absolutely no one, the top honor goes to Disclosure, the golden boys of 2013. This was actually an extraordinarily hard process because every song on the landmark album that is Settle is amazing in its own right and could conceivably take the prize. I can make equally strong cases for “When a Fire Starts to Burn,” “White Noise,” “F For You,” “Help Me Lose My Mind,” “Stimulation”…the list goes on. I actually got into a heated argument about this last night in the back of a cab (“You & Me” is the best song of the year, are you fucking kidding me?”) — when you start trying to rank Disclosure tacks, everyone suddenly has an opinion.

Here’s how I rationalize this particular choice: all of those tracks are fantastic, but when push comes to shove, “Latch” is the encore song. It’s the one you end on. It’s the one that cuts you down to your emotional core and then jacks you right back up at the chorus. It changes the tone in the room and compels you to engage in wild gesticulations with your best friend (who also knows all the words and is also screaming along. Duh.)

(Or should I say, “dah dah-ahhhhhh”.)

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