From the VMAs’ Twerkgate to pregnancy rumors to the WTF-ness of the “We Can’t Stop” video, The Miley Cyrus Promo crusade was in full trainwreck force over the summer. Then something crazy happened: Miley released one of the best singles of the year, and a ballad even the haters couldn’t hate. Yeah the video was ridiculous, inspiring everything from Sinead O’Connor’s written wrath to this year’s hottest Christmas tree ornament, but the song is purely unfuckwithable. Never mind the billion covers it spawned, the real deal should define Cyrus more than the gossip pages.
Eleven years since Suede’s last record and 14 since their last tolerable one, Britpop’s kickstarters unleashed a monster return to form that most fans gave up wishing for long ago. They may not have earned any new admirers here, but by crafting a whip-sharp record that falls somewhere between ’90s classics Dog Man Star and Coming Up, Suede reaffirmed their place as one of the most vital British rock bands of all time. The singles are fun ear candy for those high on diesel and gasoline, but it’s album cut “Snowblind,” like a bastard child b-side off Stay Together, that rips along the current and tumbles and tears like the savage Suede of old. True fact: the first time I heard this song, it brought me to tears. The most important band in my life was back from the dead.
Another year, another batch of Swedish bands dominating electronic pop music. Stockholm’s NONONO might have the most mainstream appeal, and the affable, whistle-mad “Pumpin Blood” is as much at home on the indie dance floor as it is in US car commercials. Best whistle song since Peter Bjorn & John, and one with a lot more spark.
2. “Safe With You,” Alex Metric & Jacques Lu Cont, feat. Malin
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With Niki & the Dove, vocalist Malin barely scratched the surface of glossy electro-pop, opting for more organic, out-of-the-forest sounds. But aligned with producers Alex Metric and Jacques Lu Cont, Malin’s usually shy vocals sizzle under the strobe. Few songs in 2013 matched this kind of production, and as EDM swallows itself whole, some bangers are able to retain their pride.