20 Best Songs of 2013: Critics' Picks

Check out the songs that Billboard's staff was blasting all year, from Lorde to Yeezus.

The Billboard.com Critics' Picks songs list is always difficult to cobble together -- with thousands of great songs released this year to consider, how can a group responsibly highlight the best of the best with one 20-song list? Although there were dozens more we would have liked to include, the following 20 songs are the tracks that had us head-banging, contemplating, tearing up and twerking. Behold: the 20 indispensable songs of 2013.

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20

Bruno Mars, "Treasure"

Bruno Mars' throwback single, about the love he's got for a girl that isn't beaming like she should be (yet), made more than a few fans smile this year.

 

19

Paramore, "Still Into You"

This joyous corkscrew of a love song crystallizes Paramore's unexpected, deeply enjoyable 2013 comeback -- "Let 'em wonder how we got this far," Hayley Williams sings, "'Cause I don't really need to wonder at all."

 

18

MIGOS feat. Drake, "Versace (Remix)"

Named after the fashion house, MIGOS' single had the South rumbling for a bit, but it wasn't until rap stud Drake hopped on it for arguably the best guest verse of 2013 that it quaked throughout the country.

 

17

Luke Bryan, "That's My Kind of Night"

Country music's biggest new star had humble plans for his kind of night -- driving a truck, having his gal by his side, and a catfish dinner, perhaps -- but "That's My Kind of Night" was anything but straightforward, especially given its nod toward hip-hop with the "Uh! Uh!" opening and the T-Pain name-check.

 

16

Pusha T, "Numbers on the Boards"

After his debut album faced countless delays, Pusha T silenced those who doubted him off the strength of the first "My Name is My Name" single. Over distorted buzzing courtesy of Don Cannon and Kanye West, "Numbers on the Board" featured a sly Pusha T boastfully spitting uncut rhymes of dealing.

 

15

P!nk & Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me a Reason"

Both P!nk and fun.'s Nate Ruess possess the ability to deliver booming choruses, but for their sparkling duet, the pair (mostly) dials down the vocal power to showcase the minute cracks in a crumbled romance.

 

14

Avicii, "Wake Me Up!"

Admit it: the first time you heard the opening acoustic strums of "Wake Me Up!," you crinkled your nose and asked, "Is this REALLY Avicii?" But the EDM maestro's massive beats would be dropping soon enough, this time around the soulful requests of Aloe Blacc.

 

13

Miley Cyrus, "Wrecking Ball"

Swinging nude atop a wrecking ball tends to leave one pretty exposed, but "Wrecking Ball" is even more naked than its music video -- Cyrus sounds on the verge of tears as the song swivels away from its chorus, but then the hook crashes back in with the power of a… well, you know.

 

12

Vampire Weekend, "Diane Young"

"Modern Vampires of the City" shoved Vampire Weekend's African influences into daring new corners, with no songs more evident of the band's playfulness than the euphoric sock hop of "Diane Young."

 

11

Ciara, "Body Party"

Ciara delivered her best steamy slow jam since 2009's "Promise," all while revitalizing Ghost Town DJ's R&B classic "My Boo." "Body Party," which was the foundation of the singer's self-titled album, featured a counted-out singer exuding new confidence above sleek production from Mike WiLL Made-It.

 

Next: The Top 10 of 2013

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