2013 Matters of the Heart | Janet Noe Rhoads

bestof musicOne afternoon last summer in the courtyard, I watched a young lady, tears streaming down her face, break a fellow’s heart.


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In the poem “Admonitions to a Special Person,” Anne Sexton wrote:

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

I love sitting in coffee shops and watching people, especially the couples. Three tables away from me at The Mud House, two young ladies are sitting across from one another with their fingers entwined. One leans forward, the other is relaxed back into her chair, and both have eyes for no one else in the room. Two days ago, at the table next to where they sit now, I watched an exhausted young couple with a toddler, barely speaking to one another or even making eye contact, but pouring their love into the creature they made together. I have watched flirtations, friendships that I predict will blossom into romances, and elderly couples who look at each other like hormonal teenagers. One afternoon last summer in the courtyard, I watched a young lady, tears streaming down her face, break a fellow’s heart. All lovers take the risk Sexton wrote about in the poem above. There is no way to be truly prepared when Cupid’s arrow hits you. However, we all keep the knowledge in the back of our minds that prayers go unanswered and that the sand can bury you just as easily as the wave can carry you. The saving grace is that very rarely is it un-worth the risk. Even when things don’t go your way, loving someone is always a chance worth taking.

If you read last year’s version of this list, you know that I find love, in all its forms, endlessly fascinating. So when it comes to the other monumental interest in my life, music, I am always drawn to the songs that deal with all of the facets of love. Like watching strangers in a coffee shop, a great song gives you a glimpse into another person’s life and heart. Often, they give you perspective into your own.

Make no mistake: I do not posit this as the end-all-be-all definitive best that the year had to offer. This list is highly personal and in no way an objective critical analysis of all the songs dealing with love that were offered up to us this year. These are just the songs that grabbed my heart and would not let go. There are songs that pushed others off the list. There are bands that got on the list more than once simply because I couldn’t bear to choose. There will be songs I come across in the next few weeks that will leave me flustered that I forgot to put them on this list. My top 100 are below, but I will most likely keep adding to the playlist in the future, so if you are on Spotify, please subscribe.

1. The Airborne Toxic Event | “Timeless”

2. Alela Diane | “The Way We Fall”

3. Ane Brun | “Oh Love”

4. Ane Brun (covering Bob Dylan) | “She Belongs to Me”

5. Arcade Fire | “Porno”

6. The Avett Brothers | “Bring Your Love to Me”

7. Basia Bulat | “Promise Not”

8. Basia Bulat | “Wires”

9. Beth Bombara | “What This Could Be”

10. Beth Hart | “Bang Bang Boom Boom”

11. Big Harp | “Bar All the Doors”

12. BOY | “Little Numbers”

13. BOY | “Waltz For Pony”

14. Brett Dennen | “Only Want You”

15. Cass McCombs | “There Can Be Only One”

16. City and Colour | “The Way It Used to Be”

17. The Civil Wars | “The One That Got Away”

18. Cloud Cult | “Meet Me Where You’re Going”

19. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. | “Hiding”

20. Daughter | “Still”

21. The Defeated County | “Darkest Eyes”

22. Dessa | “I’m Going Down”

23. Donora | “Hold My Hand”

24. Elin Ruth | “Wait for Me”

25. Elin Ruth feat. Ane Brun | “F Off”

26. Escondido | “Special Enough”

27. Fort Frances | “I Had Love”

28. Frightened Rabbit | “The Woodpile”

29. Gin Wigmore | “Dirty Love”

30. Grace Basement | “Warmest Winter Clothes”

31. Guards | “Your Man”

32. Ha Ha Tonka | “Rewrite Our Lives”

33. Haim | “Let Me Go”

34. Half Moon Run | “She Wants to Know”

35. Hayden | “Blurry Nights”

36. The Head & the Heart | “Shake”

37. Hey Marseilles | “Heart Beats”

38. Houndmouth | “Long as You’re at Home”

39. Ingrid Michaelson | “How We Love”

40. Ivan & Alyosha | “Be Your Man”

41. Jake Bugg | “Broken”

42. James Bay | “Move Together”

43. Jason Isbell | “Cover Me Up”

44. Jenny O. | “Good Love”

45. John Smith | “She Is My Escape”

46. Josh Ritter | “New Lover”

47. Joshua Radin | “Cross that Line”

48. Keaton Henson | “10am Gare du Nord”

49. Kishi Bashi (covering the Talking Heads) | “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”

50. Kodaline | “Talk”

51. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper | “Crane Your Neck”

52. Laura Marling | “Breathe”

53. Laura Marling | “Saved These Words”

54. Lily & Madeline | “Come to Me”

55. Lily & Madeline | “Back to the River”

56. Little Green Cars | “The Consequences of Not Sleeping”

57. Local Natives | “You & I”

58. The Lone Bellow | “The One You Should’ve Let Go”

59. Lorde | “400 Lux”

60. Lucius | “Go Home”

61. Lucius | “How Loud Your Heart Gets”

62. Luscious Jackson | “So Rock On”

63. Matrimony | “Mecklenburg Co. Jail”

64. Matt Costa | “Eyes for You”

65. Matt Costa | “Silver Seas”

66. Matt Pond | “Starlet”

67. Matt Pond | “The Lives Inside the Lives in Your Hand”

68. Middle Class Fashion | “Golden Rose”

69. Middle Class Fashion | “Junk”

70. Mikky Ekko | “Pull Me Down”

71. Mount Moriah | “I Built a Town”

72. Nathaniel Rateliff | “Falling Faster than You Can Run”

73. The National | “Fireproof”

74. The National | “Slipped”

75. Neko Case | “Night Still Comes”

76. Noah and the Whale | “There Will Come a Time”

77. The Paper Kites | “I Done So Wrong”

78. Paul Cook & the Chronicles | “Ships Pass”

79. Phosphorescent | “Song for Zula”

80. Pokey LaFarge | “Let’s Get Lost”

81. Pure Bathing Culture | “Only Lonely Lovers”

82. Radical Face | “Chains”

83. Reignwolf | “In the Dark”

84. Sam Phillips | “You Know I Won’t”

85. San Fermin | “Oh, Darling”

86. Small Houses | “The Last Night of Summer”

87. The Spinto Band | “What I Love”

88. The Staves | “Snow”

89. Sumie | “Speed Into”

90. Tegan & Sara | “Drove Me Wild”

91. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down | “Every Body”

92. Typhoon | “Prosthetic Love”

93. Water Liars | “Linens”

94. Water Liars | “Fire”

95. The Weather Station feat. Daniel Romano | “Can You See Her in My Eyes?”

96. Whitehorse (covering Gordon Lightfoot) | “If You Could Read My Mind”

97. Wild Belle | “Shine”

98. Willie Nelson | “You’ll Never Know”

99. Wilsen | “December”

100. Woodkid | “Boat Song”

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