Each year there are a handful of perfect pop songs that just didn't get enough attention. For every "Get Lucky"—a killer single that got its due—there were a dozen catchy, expertly-crafted tracks from remarkable artists like Janelle Monae and Kid Cudi that didn't find the audience they probably should have.
So for your consideration, here are 14 songs we think should have been hits this year (they're definitely among the Best of 2013). Some are stalled singles from big name artists, others are jams from fresh faces, but they're all worth repeated listens. This is Fuse's 2013 Hit Wish List.
More Best of 2013:
Capital Cities' "Safe and Sound" was an unexpected Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for the L.A. indie duo, but we still think "Farrah Fawcett Hair" is the better tune. Not only is it sheer synth-pop joy, but it features Andre 3000 and "the voice of NPR" Frank Tavares. And just like the chorus of this tune states, "It's good sh-t."
A$AP Ferg's "Work" was huge underground for a minute, but the follow-up single "Shabba"—featuring A$AP Rocky, no less—didn't own the hip hop charts in the way it should have (in fact, its highest ranking was No. 40 on the R&B charts). More people should have been savvy to this one: One listen to "Shabba" and the chorus will be forever embedded in your brain.
John Legend's "All of Me" is the biggest hit from his fourth album so far, but "Who Do We Think We Are" is an equally inviting slice of warm, feel-good R&B. FYI, it's produced by Kanye West, which explains why the combination of beats, slick strings and soulful vocals make this song resemble a College Dropout outtake.
With a vocal style that's simultaneously heart-on-sleeve and too-cool-for-school, LIZ sounds like a lost R&B treasure from the mid nineties. She has yet to drop an album (although she's on Diplo's Mad Decent label), so don't be surprised if this under-the-radar 2013 gem becomes a 2014 breakthrough hit.
Although this RedOne-produced, Pitbull-featuring track from Indian singer-actress Priyanka Chopra was a Top 20 dance chart hit, it made noooo impression outside the club scene. Bummer: The catchy Hindi chorus and radio-friendly production on this banger should have helped Chopra break through to mainstream pop fans.
Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers broke into the mainstream in 2012, but few artists replicated that success in 2013 (with the arguable exception of One Direction, who jumped on the folk-rock bandwagon with their new album).
Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy made waves in his homeland with "Riptide," and we think this song is just one TV commercial away from owning the U.S., too. It should have been 2013's go-to folk tune for those tired of replaying "I Will Wait" over and over.
Despite hitting No. 1 with fun. on their ubiquitous chart-topper "We Are Young," Janelle Monae hasn't (yet) managed to scored a smash hit from her second album, The Electric Lady. It's the public's loss. "Dance Apocalyptic" is a sprightly, upbeat soul sing-along that should have been all over the radio. Sure, it's relentlessly catchy, but is that a bad thing?
The creatively restless rapper released Indicud in early 2013, an album he said was his "version of The Chronic 2001." In other words, he didn't dominate every song on the album. Take the beautiful ballad "Red Eye" with HAIM for example. He produces, co-writes and sings backup, but he lets the indie sister trio take precedence. Sure, a track this atmospheric was never going to be a chart-topper, but it should have been an indie hit in the tradition of crossover songs from Feist and Regina Spektor.
Full disclosure: Fantasia's all-star collaboration is doing well on the R&B charts, so we're not saying it isn't a hit. But it stalled at No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is a travesty. This trap-inflected bedroom ballad is 2013 R&B at its best. And seriously, how good is it to hear Missy on ANY track these days?
Xtina's contribution to the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack admittedly sounds more like a song written for a '90s cartoon epic than a 2013 blockbuster about institutionalized murder, but it's an uplifting anthem the charts could use more of this year.
Bon Bon has written huge hits for other divas and "American Girl" was probably the sweetest pop song out there this year, yet it didn't smash like it should have. But it's so friggin catchy, we think it deserves a second chance.
Although it was crafted by beloved producer-songwriter Dev Hynes for the British girl group Mutya Keisha Siobhan, it didn't get the same acclaim or attention in the U.S. that his Solange and Sky Ferreira collabos did. It's a shame: The gooey harmonies on "Flatline" should have proven impossible to resist.
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