Now Hear This: The 25 Best Singles of 2013 (10-8)

Funky and cool, smooth and sexy, and delightfully artful.
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Chez Pazienza
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Funky and cool, smooth and sexy, and delightfully artful.
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Previously: (25-23)(22-20)(19-17)(16-14)(13-11)

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10. Elvis Costello & The Roots -- Walk Us Uptown

Take a musical icon and add one of the coolest bands on earth -- what you get is not only a perfect fit but one of the most deliriously entertaining musical concoctions of 2013. Walk Us Uptown, which saw Elvis Costello teaming up with the Roots as part of a full-album of material called Wise Up Ghost, combined Costello's neo-reggae strut with the Roots' smooth New York City swagger. The song had the feel of some of Elvis's best old material while being undeniably infected with everything that makes the Roots such a powerful and respected force in music these days. It was funky, soulful, and all-around bad-ass.

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9. Mayer Hawthorne -- Her Favorite Song

It truly was a terrific year for blue-eyed soul and nobody struck out farther than the guy who's been doing it slightly under the public radar for some time now. The first single from Mayer Hawthorne's 2013 album Where Does This Door Go was possibly his best offering yet. The Pharrell-produced Her Favorite Song brought copious amounts of bass-and-beat-driven funk, but then fell into a positively intoxicating chill of a chorus, complemented by Jessie Ware's light, sensuous backup vocals. The whole thing was so damn sexy. Personally, probably my favorite song of 2013.

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8. Vampire Weekend -- Step

Give Vampire Weekend credit: they were hailed as the next big thing in 2008 and since then they've only gotten bigger and better. While there's no doubt that they're the kings of the New York City hipster bands, defining every detail of the ethos like nobody else can, it's precisely this reason that they're so accessible. They wear their pop proclivities on their Columbia-educated (by way of downtown and Brooklyn) sleeves. Step, from their excellent 2013 album Modern Vampires of the City, was the perfect encapsulation of everything that makes Vampire so vital as a band: it was a stunningly gorgeous and artful nod to the subtle grandeurs of the past, the delightful off-hand eccentricities of city life, and the melancholy of having to leave youth behind. All in all, very likely the best song Vampire Weekend has ever done. (I won't ruin it for you and point out how much it sounds like this, though.)

Tomorrow: 7-5