Song Writing

Top Songfacts of 2013

by Ed Pearce

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Our computers have added them up: the 10 most viewed songs of 2013 on Songfacts during the year. While popularity is a major factor (8 of the 10 were Hot 100 hits), there is also a measure of song interest - the ones that you wanted to find out more about.

Bubbling under - close but no cigar - were:
"Wagon Wheel" by Darius Rucker
"Stay" by Rihanna
"Best Song Ever" by One Direction
"One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" by One Direction
"Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan.
10) "Highway Don't Care" - Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw first entered the country charts back in 1992 with the aptly titled "Welcome To The Club," a year when some of you reading this list had yet to walk this earth. "Highway Don't Care," featuring performances from Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, proved to be one of McGraw's career peaks; it was the sixth most popular song of the year on Billboard's country chart and won Musical Event at the 2013 CMA Awards.

The music clip, which doubled as a public service announcement about the dangers of texting while driving, was also highly acclaimed. You wanted to know what the song is about, and we explained that it's a take on freedom tinged with regret.

9) "Wake Me Up" - Avicii

It wasn't quite Dylan plugging in at the Newport Folk Festival, but when Avicii first introduced "Wake Me Up" at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, a section of the electronic dance community was left confused and angry by its combination of vintage roots music and energetic house beats. Listeners outside of EDM circles were far more accepting, making it one of the biggest hits of 2013 - it made #1 on Billboard's Dance, Mainstream, and Adult Top 40 charts.

The music video also generated a lot of interest, and many of you wanted to know who played the two lead parts. The younger sister is played by child model Laneya Grace and the older one is portrayed by Russian teenager Kristina Romanova.

8) "Just Give Me A Reason" - Pink

There were plenty of reasons for Alicia Moore, aka Pink, (or if you insist P!nk) to celebrate in 2013 and this duet with fun.'s Nate Ruess was top of the pile, reaching #1 on charts all around the world. The piano ballad was Pink's fourth chart-topper on the Hot 100 but surely the first to be inspired by a hypothetical argument over butter.

We broke down the compositional quirks of "Reason" (check out that piano melody reprise) and also listed some other successful duets that sound like they could take place at a marriage counsellor.

7) "22" - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is a regular on our Top 10 most searched songs list and indeed she was the most searched for artist of 2013 on Songfacts (followed closely by One Direction). Red saw America's country-pop princess tipping her toe into other music genres, and "22" was one of several collaborations with Swedish pop hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback.

Many of you clicked onto "22" after finding it on our list of Taylor Swift's songs and finding it alphabetically at the top. This left another 65 tunes of Nashville's hottest singer-songwriter that are in our database to peruse.

6) "La La La" - Naughty Boy

Naughty Boy - or Shahid Khan as he is known to his mother - first made his name as Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé's principal producer on her debut album. Signed by Virgin EMI, he released "La La La" as the second single from his first solo album, Hotel Cabana. The soulful track took off, becoming a Top 10 pop hit around the world.

The accompanying music clip, which was shot in Bolivia, went viral, coming ninth in VEVO's list of the most watched videos of the year. Little known in the States in 2013 (Khan's label will be pushing him hard in 2014), 50% of the visitors looking up the song came from Khan's native UK, with the remainder coming mainly from Australia, Europe, Singapore and the Philippines. (Only 7% of the total visitors to Songfacts come from the United Kingdom, whilst people from the United States make up 49%.)

5) "If You Could See Me Now" - The Script

The Irish band did not follow the, er, script with this tune, which was only a moderate chart hit (#20 in the UK, #34 in Australia, nowhere in the US), but it did chalk up a lot of interest on Songfacts.

You wanted to know about the story behind the song and we explained it addresses the death of pianist Danny O'Donoghue's father and both of guitarist Mark Sheehan's parents. The Script had featured in our Top Songfacts of the year before - back in 2011 their power ballad "For The First Time" was #9 in our list.

4) "Daylight" - Maroon 5

2013 was a good year for Maroon 5: they clocked up two Top 10s in the US with "Daylight" and "Love Somebody," and Adam Levine was chosen by People magazine as its "sexiest man alive" for 2013.

"Daylight" was the song that especially interested our readers - you wanted know its meaning (a "bittersweet tale of a lover creeping away in the morning") and who wrote it (Levine and Swedish hitmaker Max Martin).

3) "I Drive Your Truck" - Lee Brice

"I Drive Your Truck" travelled to the top of the Country charts, won Song of the Year at the 2013 Country Music Association Awards and earned Lee Brice two Grammy nods. It also arrived at #3 on our list of Most Viewed songs of 2013.

"Truck's" journey to third place on our tally can be explained by your interest in the story behind the song. It was inspired by how the father of Jared Monti, who was killed in battle in Afghanistan in 2006, kept the memory of his departed son fresh by driving his truck.

2) "Royals" - Lorde

The unlikely breakout star of 2013 was a gothy teenager from a New Zealand suburb. We know her as wunderkid Lorde – her parents know her as a bookish young girl with the name of Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor.

It was Lorde's finger-snapping sing-along anti-consumerist jam, "Royals," which brought her to our attention. Many took the Kiwi teen to their hearts, as she appeared to be the anti-Miley: a young girl speaking out against the trappings of fame and fortune with a blissful innocence.

This takedown of the luxurious lifestyle topped the charts around the world and many of you came to Songfacts wanting to know if Lorde herself wrote the song. She did indeed (with help from her producer Joel Little) becoming the youngest solo artist to write and perform a Hot 100 #1 single. (Lorde was 16 years and 11 months when "Royals" ascended to the top position).

1) "Radioactive" - Imagine Dragons

"Radioactive" was the most-streamed song of the year in the USA on Spotify and spent a record 24 weeks on top of Billboard's Rock Airplay chart. It was also the most viewed song on Songfacts with many of you wanting to know the meaning of its cryptic lyrics – it's about coming out of a depression and having a new vigor for life.

In an era where rock songs topping the popular charts are as rare as Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving, we also explained how "Radioactive's" appeal was enhanced by its fusion of multiple sub-genres, such as Rock, Pop and Dubstep, and a simple and repetitious melody.
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Comments: 5

  • Ed from St. PaulThis list is just further confirmation of the continual deterioration of American pop music and the culture as a whole. Most people don't bother to take the time to seek out quality music and settle for watered-down drivel. Armageddon cannot come soon enough.
  • Brian from Concord, NhI think Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker should have made the top 5 on the list.
  • Camile from Toronto, Oh"Wagon Wheel" by Darius Rucker and "Stay" by Rihanna are two wonderful songs that will always remind me of 2013 and are much more memorable than some on this top 10 list. "Wagon Wheel" is simply sublime.
  • Ogabe PaulohLove your updates and make me fit in this global world right here in uganda
  • ShawnaInteresting how only a few short years ago country music on this site was almost unheard of, and now 3 of the Top !0 Most-Viewed Songfacts are country songs, and indeed 3 out of the 5 almost-rans are country music songs. WTG!
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