Best of 2013: Music

2013 was another busy year for Tobias Isaksson. Apart from releasing his second studio album under the moniker of  Azure BlueBeyond The Dreams There’s Infinite Doubt, he’s also been releasing and booking bands for Stockholm label Hybris. We could think of no one better to list the best songs of 2013. 

The year 2013 was another busy year for me, but I recorded more music and toured less than in the crazy 2012 when I toured all of Europe, Tobias says. I probably recorded 25 solid tracks this year, and only 10 of them were released as Azure Blue tracks. So more will follow soon…

– Apart from my own musical projects I’m working with record label Hybris, releasing and booking bands, so I decided to leave our artists out. This list has all the parts I love from 2013 in it.

Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (Ryan Hemsworth remix)
Trap hi-hats ticking away at top speed in both hiphop beats and experimental dance music. Ryan Hemsworth made the remix of a lifetime here. From the first time I heard Video Games, Lana Del Rey has taken me on a roller coaster of emotions. Didn’t know what to think of her production or image until I saw her live and heard her great voice IRL. But she’s great.

Drake – Hold On We’re Going Home
Signature melody of every possible situation in 2013. In the tour van, in stores, in parties. It’s already an evergreen. I love The-Dream and dig a lot of The Weeknd, but this year I’ll let Drake represent the suave vocals.

Chief Keef – Kobe
From what I’ve read, I believe Chief Keef is pretty crazy, but I can’t stop listening to his latest album. 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Danny Brown, Jay-Z, and Swedish Yung Lean were among other hiphop favourites.

HNNY – Boy
My friend HNNY took it to the next level this year with some amazing sample rework, like this one, made out of Brandy’s The Boy Is Mine. His follow up Exactly was almost as good. Kudos to Swedish dance labels Local Talk, Studio Barnhus, and Aniara for great music in 2013.

Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
Miley’s provocative maximalism was typical 2013, but Wrecking Ball and We Can’t Stop are both among the top tracks of the year. Right now I choose the latter. Just like the best film of the year – Spring Breakers – Miley took it to the edge of bad taste and beyond, but she’s still very personal, colourful, and out there.

Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
I’ve been listening curiously to Devonte Hynes’s productions since his DJ Exotica Sage Presents home recordings. I loved those cheesy guitars. Dev Hynes has grown via hitmaking for Solange and Sky Ferreira, and now his great new album is out and those keen guitar licks are back in a more slick suite.

SZA – Julia
I went mad for this woman when I found her. The next Solange or even Sade! Wonderful voice and great, smooth moods, and super modern production.

Lindstrøm & Todd Terje – Lanzarote
I love fjord disco. These guys have found their sound and perfected it. Even though this was a slow year compared to 2012, they still belong in the top 10. If you love them, Prins Thomas and Diskjokke, and want more Norwegian dance, I suggest you check out Skatebård.

ceo – Whorehouse
Just when you believed the leader of Sincerely Yours had left for good, he rose with a brand new toy-store-and-child-choir-sound and TTA-legacy-melody in the most refreshing pop suite of 2013.

London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (Kids Of The Apocalypse remix)
Another larger than life remix that surpassed the original. Watch out for Sweden’s mysterious KOTA in 2014.

 Photograph above by Mathilda Österlund.