2013 in review: The top 10 music moments
The soundtrack to 2013 went a little like this: we danced to the return of our favourite electronic music duo, bopped around to a catchy song until we stopped to listen to the lyrics, watched with open mouths as a former Disney starlet took off all her clothes and rode a wrecking ball, and related to a tune penned by a 17-year-old New Zealand school girl.
Here we have compiled the 10 biggest music news stories that captured our attention this year.
The rise of Lorde
In the space of a few months, Ella Yellich-O'Connor went from unknown 17-year-old school girl from New Zealand to one of the most-played artists of the year with four fresh Grammy nominations. Her single Royals dominated the charts and airwaves, and her debut studio album Pure Heroine was well received. Part of her appeal? Aside from her mega talent, the singer has said she writes about things that normal teenagers can relate to, which is exactly what Royals is about.
Miley Cyrus' transformation
In 2013 we saw more of Miley Cyrus than we ever thought we would, especially in the music video for her song Wrecking Ball, which was released in September. Directed by controversial photographer Terry Richardson, the clip featured a crying, naked Cyrus getting emotional while riding atop a wrecking ball, and lots of people obviously rushed to see it because it holds the record for the fastest video to reach 100 million views on VEVO.
Wrecking Ball was the second single released from Cyrus' fourth studio album Bangerz, following her party anthem We Can't Stop. And it appears as though Cyrus can't stop pushing boundaries with her new music direction.
Bound 2 and the Bound 3 parody
When Kanye West debuted the music video for his single Bound 2 in November, featuring his fiancée Kim Kardashian, he couldn't have anticipated that funny buddies James Franco and Seth Rogen would recreate the clip shot-for-shot. West's original video garnered attention for Kardashian's physique and interesting (and uncomfortable) poses on a motorcycle, and Franco and Rogen took it to the next level. Nothing beats watching the videos side-by-side.
Avicii the hitmaker
With multiple hit songs and a strong (and famous) fan following, you will have heard the name Avicii being thrown about, especially this year. One of the most popular songs of 2013 was Wake Me Up! which signalled a new music direction for the 23-year-old Swede, whose real name is Tim Bergling. Wake Me Up! hit number one in 15 countries and was 2013's fastest-selling record in the UK. He followed it up with Hey Brother, which is making waves on radio right now.
Blurred Lines controversy
The music video. The lyrics. The catchy melody. For many people, their introduction to Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines (featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams) came from a viewing of the adult music video, which featured topless models parading around a room as the men sang. Once people got the beat stuck in their heads, an analysis of the song's lyrics suggested that it was about date rape, and Thicke had to defend it by saying it was about his relationship with his wife of 20 years, Paula Patton. Interestingly, Patton thought the music video was "cute" and didn't know what all the fuss was about.
Pharrell was everywhere
Get Lucky and Blurred Lines were two of the biggest hits of the year (at one point they were holding the no. 1 and no. 2 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart), and one guy who was involved with both, but didn't take too much of the spotlight, was the brilliant Pharrell Williams. The musician gave his vocals to both tracks and contributed to other people's music releases (like Jay Z), and then his own single Happy, which was written for the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, got lots of hype because he produced a 24-hour music video to go with it. And the message of the song is something to love, too. Williams told the LA Times, "I wanted to send a reminder: There are lots of reasons to smile."
The Harlem Shake Goes Viral
Last year may have been all about Gangnam Style, but this year one of the biggest viral crazes to hit the Internet was the Harlem Shake. It involved a 30-32 second video featuring part of Baauer's Harlem Shake song, starring a group of people and lots of crazy dancing. Even we at Stuff did our own version.
The year of NSFW music videos
Between Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines music video, Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball, Justin Timberlake's Tunnel Vision and Rihanna's Pour It Up, there were plenty of exposed breasts and lots of skin. It's probably why you couldn't watch music videos at work.
The Return of Daft Punk
French electronic music duo Daft Punk made their much-anticipated return to the music scene this year with the release of their album Random Access Memories in May, their first record since 2005's Human After All. The first single off the album, Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams, was an instant hit, while their collaboration with Nile Rodgers, Lose Yourself to Dance (starring Williams' vocals once again) is also a crowd pleaser. Random Access Memories also scored three Grammy nominations, while Get Lucky received another two.
Harley Streten aka Flume made Aria Awards history in December this year when he was the first non-singing musician to win the best male artist award, a fact he raised during his acceptance speech. The Arias topped off a big 12 months for the 22-year-old from Sydney's northern beaches (he won a total of four awards), which included multiple songs making the Triple J Hottest 100 list and his first national tour. Not bad for a kid who says he started making music as a side project.