10. Step Rockets - Kisser
9. A Plastic Rose - This Side of Winter
Very few songs get a double digit amount of spins of Radio 1 solely on the love of individual DJs without ever making the playlist, but that is exactly what happened with "This Side of Winter" by Northern Irish group A Plastic Rose.
And it's not hard to hear why it received so much love, as "This Side of Winter" is, their poppiest, most accessible, and best single to date. The loud guitars and angsty vocals of APR of old are still intact, but on this occasion it has been utilized in an incredibly radio-friendly manner. There are lovely Britpop vibes coming from the song, which is particularly welcome from someone who has long worshiped at the feet of that movement, and is also reminiscent of a heavier version of the similarly influenced Tribes.
8. Kodaline - High Hopes
Yes, the promo clip for "High Hopes" might be the most gratuitous example of emotional manipulation I've ever come across in a music video, but there is no denying that the song by Dublin band Kodaline is one of the finest of the year. It's a soft-rock masterpiece, using familiar yet effective chord structures to create a song to pull at the heartstrings. It gave the band their biggest hit to date, making the top 20 in the UK and topping the charts in Ireland.
7. Vampire Weekend - Diane Young
Vampire Weekend are by far the finest band to have emerged in the past five years, taking indie guitar music and twisting it in ways that are both unique and enjoyable. "Diane Young" sees the band do their own take on familiar rock & roll chord progressions - with intelligent lyrics, unusual rhythms and THAT pitch-shifted vocal making this their best song of the year, and their 2nd best song ever.
6. London Grammar - Strong
Sparse emotional indie meets trip-hop on “Strong”, the fantastic single from one of the most critically celebrated breakthrough artists of 2013, London Grammar. The song is carried by the fantastic, almost operatic vocals of Hannah Reid, whose voice belies her young years. If you listen to this song without a tear running down your face, then you’re a stronger person than I am.