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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

On-Screen Advent Adventure: Day Seventeen

Recollecting and ranking the greatest musical offerings of a single year of entertainment is never a simple proposition, but someone's got to do it. As our 'Best of 2013' awards season continues, today and later this month, On-Screen are revealing their personal picks of the twenty tracks which defined 2013.

Each of the two feature articles will house ten YouTube videos so as for readers to experience the tracks and thus engage with and respond to the final shortlist further than a superficial isolated textual response. Here, then, are our picks for #20-#11 in On-Screen's 'Top 20 Best Songs of 2013'...

20. ATLAS (COLDPLAY)- Adorning the soundtrack to this year's brilliant action blockbuster film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Coldplay's latest tune is a haunting, melanchonic accompaniment to the sequel. Though not on a par with Fix You or The Scientist, Atlas is the band's finest production for years.
19. JUST GIVE ME A REASON (PINK & NATE RUSS)- What begins as a typically passionate and pseudo-explicit outburst from Pink becomes a far more powerful track when Fun's Nate Russ enters the fray in its second verse. Just Give Me A Reason remains a shining example of how an unprecedented collaboration can transform an artist's traditional stylistic tone in an instant.
18. OF THE NIGHT (BASTILLE)- Modern covers of pop or rock classics often sink faster than the Titanic (just ask One Direction how their rendition of One Way or Another went down at Comic Relief), yet Bastille's take on Rhythm of the Night is such a spectacularly subversive listen that it's impossible not to admire their courageous reinterpretation. Sure to be a club hit, Of The Night nevertheless excels regardless of the technological medium through which it is experienced.
17. GO GENTLE (ROBBIE WILLIAMS)- This writer will openly admit his apathy towards Robbie Williams' recent work, and I would wager that I'm hardly alone in such a perspective. All the same, his latest contribution to the industry, Go Gentle, is a joyously infectious melody that stays in the mind (if only because it's so damn catchy) long after the track's conclusion- in other words, it's Williams at his charming best.
16. YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL (LANA DEL REY)- One of two pieces from The Great Gatsby's soundtrack on our Top 20, Lana Del Rey's contribution raises the ante at a gradual pace. Young and Beautiful builds to a dramatic crescendo, suiting the tone of the film itself perfectly and showcasing Lana's envy-inducing talents more than any of her work before it.
15. SALVATION (GABRIELLE APLIN)- Ever since John Lewis picked up her cover of The Power of Love last Christmas, Gabrielle Aplin has gone from strength to strength, her debut album English Rain amongst the finest compilations we've seen produced this year. Salvation is its undisputed piece de resistance, an uplifting summary of the artist's raw emotive power which this writer was thrilled to experience live last month.
14. WAKE ME UP (AVICII)- Few electro-dance tracks establish themselves as instant club classics, nor do they handle this establishment in such a manner that does not simultaneously alienate the club-shy listener. Wake Me Up accomplishes both feats jsut moments after its commencement, Avicii's unique vocal work and the ever-shifting melodic focus of the track rapidly distingushing it from the genre's vast array of tiresome soundalikes.
13. HOW LONG WILL I LOVE YOU (ELLIE GOULDING)- Any respectable follower of Ellie Goulding's work should have known of her potency as an artist long before her Children in Need 2013 soundtrack launched (check out Wonderman and Fire if you don't fall into that category as of yet). With How Long Will I Love You, then, Goulding 'simply' fulfils the potential which her previous works inferred, the unrestrained gravitas her voice lends to the lyrics a much-necessitated diversion from the industry's tendency to dress up an artist's voice, to nullify their individuality in favour of a universal generic appeal to the mainstream.
12. I HOPE (REBECCA FERGUSON)- Believe it or not, on occasion The X Factor will bring the industry a truly talented artist. In this respect, we need gaze no further than Rebecca Ferguson, whose latest single is a superb addition to the soul genre. If we as listeners are too quick to categorise the iTV behemoth's victors as offering up uninspired pop trash, then I Hope is undoubtedly the bold reclamation of credibility which the show's reputation sorely desires.
11. SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW (LILY ALLEN)- Lily Allen's accompaniment to the annual John Lewis festive ad is a lavish cover of Keane's finest hour. Somewhere Only We Know lives on here as an understated gem- as return acts go, Allen's attempted re-entry into the industry should go down as amongst the most memorable and successful endeavours yet.

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