With established entertainers like Beyoncé and Eminem cutting tracks left and right and greener artists like Robin Thicke and Lorde busting onto the scene, 2013 has spelled an eventful year in music and performance.
Hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis set the bar high as promising new artists, making a splash with their single, “Thrift Shop,” which held No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. They maintained champion status, releasing hits like “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ray Dalton, which threw them back to No. 1 for five more weeks, and “Same Love,” proving innovation in a rap culture that has been accused of homophobia. Combine this with a world tour and seven Grammy nominations, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have definitely made their mark in 2013.
Robin Thicke scored his first No. 1 with his single “Blurred Lines” featuring T.I. and Pharrell. The song quickly climbed the charts with catchy hooks and smooth vocals, but not without controversy. Thicke received backlash for his misogynistic lyrics and racy music video even before his scandalous VMA performance with hip-gyrating, tongue-waving Miley Cyrus.
Already familiar with the music scene, Cyrus crashed into the public eye with a biting new image. “We Can’t Stop,” an anthem about being young and partying, abolished her Hannah Montana persona and created an edge that Cyrus fans were previously unacquainted with. Cyrus’ and Thicke’s VMA performance in August was the most tweeted about event in history. The production sparked negative comments about its cultural appropriateness, sexism and general obscenity. Cyrus was successful in gaining notoriety, as her next single, “Wrecking Ball” charted at No. 1.
New Zealand native Lorde captured ears with her addictive tune, “Royals.” Topping the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks, the song established the singer-songwriter as a contemporary young artist, worthy of her sudden popularity. Lorde has released a full album, “Pure Heroine.”
Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” topped Billboard in February, creating a video dance phenomenon. Also trending YouTube, Ylvis’ “What Does the Fox Say?” has been parodied by countless videographers, although ironically, the original video was created as a joke.
Eminem released an album titled “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” on Nov. 5. “The Monster” featuring Rihanna has been the most successful single off the LP thus far, reaching No. 1. Rihanna also published music this year, including her single “Stay” featuring Mikey Ekko and the more recent “What Now.”
Parisian techno duo Daft Punk introduced a funky release, “Random Access Memories,” in May. The only single off the album, “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams, radiated as a summertime hit. The duo has been successful for several years and been sampled by artists like Kanye West.
Beyoncé released a surprise self-titled album recently, which climbed charts despite a complete absence of promotion. Her extensive discography and Super Bowl halftime show in February nominate her as one of the most prolific performers of the last decade.
In Western New York, summer concerts at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Artpark and Thursdays at Canalside proved popular with young people. Indoor venues bring regional and national musicians in the cold weather. Most recently on Sunday, Drake performed in front of a massive crowd at First Niagara Center.
Ten years ago in 2003, the most popular song of the year was “In da Club” by 50 Cent. Will the music of 2013 leave a significant impact in years to come or remain a fossil record of pop culture? Will 2014 bring more from 2013’s fresh artists, or the more seasoned performers who have continued to release music? Buffalo will be listening.
2013 party playlist:
Miley Cyrus: “We Can’t Stop”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ray Dalton
Daft Punk: “Get Lucky”
Arctic Monkeys: “Do I Wanna Know?”
Katy Perry: “Roar”
The 1975: “Chocolate”
Atlas Genius: “Trojans”
Icona Pop: “I Love It”
Jay Z: “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake
Drake: “Started From the Bottom”
Taylor Swift: “22”
Vampire Weekend: “Step”
Selena Gomez: “Come & Get It”
Bonnie McKee: “American Girl”
Eminem: “Rap God”
Paramore: “Still Into You”
Cage the Elephant: “Come a Little Closer”
Pitbull: “Timber” featuring Ke$ha
Erin Sydney Welsh is a senior at Clarence High School.