The 25 Best Singles of 2013


Daft Punk, “Doin’ It Right”

“Get Lucky” may have burnt up dance floors from Anchorage to Zagreb, but the hedonistic charms of Daft Punk’s galactically famous ode to good times (and “Good Times”) were eclipsed by the more soulful “Doin’ It Right” The track finds erstwhile Animal Collective noise-maker Panda Bear enlisted to sing lead on a luscious late-night jam, which, in a just world, would be the last dance at every prom until the end of time. Conjuring up the perfect feeling of out-of-body euphoria that great parties can create at their peak, “Doin’ It Right” is the true heir to the French duo’s “One More Time,” evoking the simultaneous feelings of ecstasy and melancholy that Daft Punk’s greatest moment encapsulated so perfectly. Mark Collett


Kendrick Lamar, “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”

Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City may have been released late last year, but 2013 was the year of his ascendancy, flitting from one impressive guest verse to another, peaking with his ridiculous, uncontested takeover of Big Sean’s “Control” Yet, for the purest example of Lamar’s artistry, it’s best to consider the last single to trickle out from his own album, a seemingly shallow party track that ends up pushing much deeper than expected. Playing off the brusque insolence of the title, “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” ends up displaying the rapper’s characteristic thoughtful ambivalence while incorporating repeated tempo shifts, dizzyingly lush production, and dense wordplay, another bit of vivid, resonant music from perhaps the most talented young rapper working today. Cataldo


Pet Shop Boys, “Love Is a Bourgeois Construct”

Produced by Stuart Price, the third single from the Pet Shop Boys’ latest disco opus, Electric, is like the little sister to Madonna’s “Hung Up,” complete with rumbling bassline, galloping backbeat, and the melody from Michael Nyman’s “Chasing Sheep Is Best Left to Shepherds” by way of Daft Punk’s “Veridis Quo” standing in for the ABBA sample. But while the liberal use of the word “bourgeoisie” begs comparison to yet another Madonna classic (“Music”), Neil Tennant does the queen one better by seamlessly and convincingly employing the term “schadenfreude” into his rejection of the capitalist notion of love. Cinquemani


The Juan Maclean, “You Are My Destiny”

Discerning between posturing and sincerity in modern dance music is a loser’s game. None of you have seen me dance, but trust me when I say I’m that loser. And my hips, which stayed firmly in place whenever the sterling but somewhat hypothetical piano-pounding loops of the Juan Maclean’s rubber-stamped indie-dance smash “Happy House” seized control of all corners of four-on-the-floor in the late aughts, happily lose their wits whenever LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang metallically belts out the titular refrain of Maclean’s “You Are My Destiny” against those clattering, reverberating, hot-magenta synth throbs. (Which is often.) As with baking, great house music is built on the exactness of its ingredients, and this time around, Maclean got the recipe oh so real. Henderson


Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”

The calypso-funk beat and entwining French lyrics sung by Haitian-born Régine Chassagne give Win Butler’s technologically induced paranoia a post-colonial edge, a chance to break the national and personal solipsism that haunts Butler’s lyrics. Butler might lament social fragmentation and sing that he’s “alone on a stage, in the reflective age,” but plenty of people are dancing along. James Murphy makes a sleek disco-ball out of Arcade Fire’s bulky, Springsteen-esque indie rock, keeping the anthemic drive, but cranking up the reverb and electronic clatter for a nearly eight-minute dance-floor deconstruction. It’s arty, cerebral, and immanently listenable. Caldwell