So, here we are, June 2013. Halfway through the year. What a six months it’s been – the all conquering success of Daft Punk, David Bowie taking the world by surprise with a new album and blockbuster returns from the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend and Foals. It’s a tough choice, but here, Team NME select their top tracks of the year, so far:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege
It’s not quite an army but it takes an entire gospel choir to bring Karen O down on ‘Sacrilege’, the lead single from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest belter ‘Mosquito!’ Check out the performance of the track on The Late Show with David Letterman for further proof. It’s got everything; Karen O dressed like a thrift store matador, Nick Zinner nonchalantly playing his guitar like a boss and the Broadway Inspirational Voices led by the most energetic and charismatic conductors around. Move over Sister Act, this track is the only way to take it to church.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Daft Punk – Giorgio By Moroder
The first time I heard it I thought Daft Punk had lost the plot. Giorgio Moroder is a cool guy, but where were they going with this idea of letting him bang on about his life story over their tune? They knew exactly where. As the music cascades around him, the track becomes a life-affirming salute to the power of creativity. The moment he says: “My name is Giovanni Giorgio… but everybody calls me Giorgio” before the music kicks off is the aural equivalent of the hero in an action movie walking away from an explosion without looking back.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor NME.com
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – We No Who U R
Nick Cave is the greatest lyricist of his generation. Fact. Just look at ‘We No Who U R’, the opening track from ‘Push The Sky Away’. “The trees will burn with blackened hands/We return with the light of the evening,” is one helluva description of the cycle of life, particularly when delivered by Cave’s loaded cantations. Quasi-meditative lyrics – “Breathe, it in, there is no need to forgive” – combined with choir and a plaintive flute result in a redemptive hymn. It’s basically a spiritual experience for 99p.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor NME.com
Future Bible Heroes – ‘All I Care About Is You’
Since everybody’s so keen on updating pre-Beatles pop and rock right now, here’s Stephin Merritt (of The Magnetic Fields) under his electro-pop guise Future Bible Heroes doing a soppy 50s crooner tune to the sound of Daleks marchingthrough a bubblewrap factory. Which slightly pips the munchkins of Vampire Weekend’s ‘Ya-Hey’ to the title of kitsch classic of the year.
Mark Beaumont, NME writer
Childhood – Solemn Skies
I could have picked ‘Anxiety’s Door’ by Merchandise, or ‘She Will’ by Savages, or ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ by Palma’s, or ‘Other Voices’ by The Orwells. But none of them come close to this masterpiece. It’s got about four different choruses in it (always a good thing) and it sounds the best out of all of them. The best production? Yup. The most urgent, must-shine performance by any new band in 2013? Yup. The funniest lyric, sung in the coolest way (“Does it reach your heart when I touch you that way?”)? Mm-hmm. Everybody else should just give up really.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
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Daft Punk – Get Lucky
This year I have one question nobody’s answered yet: how many times do I listen to ‘Get Lucky’ before I get sick of it? Right now I’m not sure any of us will be alive long enough to find out. Daft Punk’s irresistible groove is inescapable, it’s hard to imagine that there once was a time when we didn’t have the tune of ‘we’re up all night to get luck-y’ etched on our brains and in our feet. Why? Because ‘Get Lucky’ does the rare job of only the greatest songs: it makes people come together. It’s a track so aspirational we all want to live INSIDE it. And for a few minutes every time it comes on, we all exist within its discotopia as one.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Savages – She Will
At the start of the year I thought no way would anything on Savages debut album ‘Silence Yourself’ beat the raw power of ‘Husbands’. Hands up, I was wrong. There’s a riff you can move your hips to. There are drums to shake your head to, like you’re trying to get rid of any bad vibes you may have suffered in2013. There’s that cathartic chorus to simply howl along to. I’m shouting it now, “She will! She will! She will!” and will no doubt still be doing so in another six months.
Sian Rowe, Assistant Reviews Editor
Foals – Milk & Black Spiders
Now we know Foals were just playing with us by putting out ‘Inhaler’ and ‘My Number’ before ‘Holy Fire’. They’re on there, and they’re incredible, but the album’s glittering centrepiece, sat squarely in the middle, is ‘Milk & Black Spiders’. Yannis spends the first half pouring his heart out before the strings and the steel pans (?) break out and the whole song spills over like an impatient volcano. Now summer is here it’ll turn Glastonbury, Latitude and Reading & Leeds into a teary mess.
Greg Cochrane, Editor NME.com
A$AP Rocky featuring Skrillex – Wild For The Night
Never liked EDM before. Never been tempted to get myself a lopsided haircut. Never wanted to stretch an ear lobe. So why does Skrillex guesting on a single from A$AP Rocky’s major label debut thrill my soul? Many reasons. It’s A$AP’s finest vocal performance on the album, as he bounces in-and-out of the bass squawks like a wasp avoiding a giant’s footsteps trying to crush it. It’s a collaboration that gives Skrillex some hip-hop cool points and A$AP a ride into American bosh-pop culture. But most importantly: it’s an immense party tune. Big and dumb with a gigantic drop, it’s gonna destroy Reading & Leeds when the two play one after the other on the NME stage.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Mount Kimbie – Made To Stray
Mount Kimbie’s new album ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ is the sound of a band who didn’t want to use their second album to remind everyone how great their debut was. They’ve moved on from the “post-dubstep” they helped pioneer, experimenting with live instrumentation, heavier vocals and collaboratorating with King Krule. ‘Made To Stray’, the first track from the album shows these often unsung electronic prodigies at their very best. Meticulously cut-up beats and smashing industrial clatter builds into a heaving bass-fuelled vocal crescendo that’ll be filling out every dance tent from now until September.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor