2013: A memorable year for popular music of all kinds. Artists returning to former glory, catchy throwbacks to the grooves of past decades, new methods of crossing over genres, this year really had it all. Now that Billboard has released its final Hot 100 chart of the year, it’s time to look back at the hits that defined 2013.
To rank 2013’s most popular songs objectively without any genre bias or favoritism towards the earlier months of the year, I devised a point system which grades and orders songs as fairly as possible. Here’s the rundown for how it works:
- Every week, Billboard releases the Hot 100, cataloging the most popular songs based on airplay, digital sales, YouTube presence, and online streaming.
- When the new chart comes out every week, I analyze the chart and update my running totals for each song that has charted in 2013.
- A week at #1 on the chart gains a song 100 points, a week at #2 gets 99 points, and so on down to 1 point for a week at #100.
With Week 52 in the books, I can officially release to you the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013 according to my points-based calculations. Today I will reveal songs 101-91, with another 10 songs being unveiled each day. Let’s begin the countdown with #101!
#101: Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift f/Ed Sheeran
Peak: #32 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 948
Starting off the countdown, we have a duet between country/pop songstress Taylor Swift and the British newcomer Ed Sheeran of “The A Team” fame. Off Swift’s highly successful (and Grammy-nominated) 4th studio album Red, here’s a song that (surprise!) isn’t explicitly about a breakup, but rather the hopeful promise of a new love. The music video features young actors who bear a striking resemblance to the two singers, further driving home the “cute factor” this song utilized in late summer. After spending one week on the chart in October 2012 accompanying the release of Red, it reappeared in July where it began the remainder of its modestly successful run.
#100: Mine Would Be You by Blake Shelton
Peak: #28 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 964
Much like Adam Levine’s Maroon 5, country mainstay Blake Shelton has seen a great uptick in his popularity due to his coaching position on NBC’s hit singing competition The Voice. This ballad actually is Shelton’s worst-performing single of 2013, yet here it is still in the year’s top 100. It is also became his incredible 10th consecutive #1 single on the country charts, and served as the third single off of his newest album Based On A True Story. Undoubtedly most of the love songs off this album are related in some part to Shelton’s recent marriage to fellow country superstar Miranda Lambert. Shelton’s other successful singles will be seen later on in the countdown, but you can listen to this song here.
#99: Night Train by Jason Aldean
Peak: #26 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 975
Ever since striking crossover gold with 2011’s “Dirt Road Anthem,” Jason Aldean has become one of the most bankable country stars, perhaps behind only Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan. Last fall, Aldean put out his fifth studio album Night Train, which spawned the massively successful “Take A Little Ride.” The title track was released as the fourth single, and is a mid-tempo ballad more in the vein of his earlier hits like “Amarillo Sky.” Much like “Everything Has Changed,” it logged one week on the chart upon the release of the album in 2012, followed by a more comprehensive run in 2013.
#98: Some Nights by fun.
Peak: #13 (#3 in 2012) 2013 Weeks on Chart: 13 Points: 979
Even after a 2012 chart run which gave it the #5 spot on my 2012 rankings, this second single from fun.’s breakout album of the same name still managed to garner a good deal of points as it finished off its run early this year. In fact, the 979 points it earned in 2013 would have made it #2 for 2012 behind only “Somebody That I Used To Know” if all its points had been earned last year. By spending 56 total weeks on the Hot 100, it joined elite company as one of only 35 songs in history to spend over 52 weeks (a calendar year) on the chart. Surprisingly, six other songs accomplished that feat in 2013, including the previously mentioned Gotye smash, “Lights” by Ellie Goulding, and four other songs which will be visited later in the countdown.
#97: Slow Down by Selena Gomez
Peak: #27 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 986
Consider this song Part 2 of the Selena Gomez 2.0 career development. Her new album Stars Dance is a more adult-sounding, yet still pop-friendly version of the dance music Gomez has been bringing to the pop scene (pun intended) since her days on the Disney Channel. Following the widespread success of the album’s first single “Come & Get It,” which you will see later on, “Slow Down” is an uptempo club-friendly dance hit, featuring production from The Cataracs.
#96: Best Song Ever by One Direction
Peak: #2 2013 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 989
Despite its lofty title, “Best Song Ever” will unfortunately not be remembered as such, much less as the best song of 2013. However, it still had a very successful chart run in late summer, and marks the British quintet’s highest-charting effort, besting the #3 peak of “Live While We’re Young,” and the #4 highpoint for “What Makes You Beautiful.” Released as the first single from both their 3rd album Midnight Memories and their Morgan Spurlock-directed concert film This Is Us, “Best Song Ever” sounds perhaps just a bit too much like The Who’s 1971 classic “Baba O’Riley.” You be the judge on that, but it is worth noting that guitarist Pete Townshend has expressed his liking of both the group and this song. The lengthy music video features all five of the members in bizarrely costumed alter-egos, even making reference to Tom Cruise’s Tropic Thunder character.
#95: Rich As F*** by Lil Wayne f/2 Chainz
Peak: #38 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 999
Not too much to say about this one, I think the title says it all. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz are to 2013 what Ludacris and Lil Jon were to 2003; those two guys who just seem to find their way on to every popular hip-hop song. This particular one is the fourth and final single off Wayne’s I Am Not A Human Being II, yet another sequel album. Very much reflecting the artists’ role in the popular music scene, this track never rose higher than #38 on the Hot 100, but stayed in that region of the chart for months, ensuring that it found its way onto this countdown. Also, the first video on this countdown with a YouTube age advisory, so proceed with caution I guess.
#94: Get Your Shine On by Florida Georgia Line
Peak: #27 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1000
Country music’s “act du jour” right now is without a doubt the duo Florida Georgia Line. The song “Cruise” was a massive enough hit in 2012 BEFORE Nelly showed up and decided to help them make their record-breaking remix. It went without saying that their stock would hold very steady for their next few songs, and “Get Your Shine On” was an unsurprising second #1 single for the group as the next single from their debut Here’s To The Good Times. While it failed to match the lofty success of “Cruise,” it nonetheless gave country listeners another Florida Georgia Line anthem to carry them through the summer.
#93: Downtown by Lady Antebellum
Peak: #29 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1008
For the past five years, Lady Antebellum has been known as the country trio who turns ballads into massive crossover success. Between “I Run To You,” “Need You Now,” and “Just A Kiss,” the group has seen the counter-programming benefits of a slow song amidst the heavy beats prevalent in pop music today. However, with their newest album Golden, the group has experimented with more upbeat and uptempo tracks and taking a step out of their wheelhouse. This move has so far been met with commercial acceptance, as the album went to #1 on the Billboard Albums chart. As the first single, “Downtown” reached #2 on the Country chart and became their first song to crack the Hot 100’s Top 30 since the previously mentioned three ballads. Keep an eye out for “Compass,” their newest single which is starting to climb the charts.
#92: Bugatti by Ace Hood f/Rick Ross & Future
Peak: #33 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1011
“Bugatti” serves as yet another entry in two of rap music’s longest-lasting traditions. First, the “bigger is better” method of selecting featuring credits, this time utilizing the services of Rick Ross and Future, or as I like to call him, “T-Pain’s protegé.” Second, the “materialistic boast” thematic structure of lyrics, with this song being about the unexpected feeling of passing out and waking up in one of the most expensive cars out there. Britney Spears also mentions the pros of having a Bugatti in her new single “Work B***h,” so I’m smelling a theme here. Also, if you’ve noticed that almost all of these songs spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100 chart, it’s no coincidence. In 1991, Billboard instituted a rule that any song that dips below #50 after spending 20 weeks on the chart will be removed to ensure better turnover. Thus, you will see that the songs ranked higher on the countdown managed to remain on the chart for longer by hovering above #50.
#91: Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr
Peak: #29 2013 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1015
If you’re noticing another trend here, namely the high frequency of country songs, do not be discouraged. Given their inherent nature of not lending themselves ideally to pop radio, a hit country song often struggles to peak higher than #25 on the Hot 100. Thus, these songs are simply unable to accrue enough points to reach the higher ranks on the countdown. A word to the wise looking to place their songs on these rankings in the future: the best way to peak higher on the chart and remain there longer is to branch out to other radio formats to ensure continued airplay. With all that being said, let’s still give some credit to Tyler Farr, a newcomer who sees his very first single sell almost a million copies, peak at #2 on the Country charts, AND spawn a music video featuring Duck Dynasty‘s Willie Robertson. Not bad business for a ballad predictably about a woman who has run off with another man.
That’s all for today! The perk of presenting a countdown this way is that each day, the songs will become more and more noticeable and popular. A big thanks to everyone for joining me for songs 101-91 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2013, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for songs 90-81!