Pop Music's Winners and Losers of 2013

You win some, you lose some, and this year in music saw it all.

There were some unexpected hits and some downright drown-outs. Some old favorites came back around, some tried and true experts continued their reign of glory, and some classic moves fell off the face of the planet.

Surely, your mind is already racing with favorite memories and walking implosions. But how does your list match up against ours?

The Winners

Kendrick Lamar

The Compton rapper's breakthrough album good kid, m.A.A.d. city came out in 2012, but it was still one of the most talked-about records in 2013. That kind of lasting relevancy already makes one a winner, but coupled with his killer verse on Big Sean's "Control," his opening slot for Kanye West, the announcement that he'll be opening for Eminem's tour, and his recent sweep of the Grammy nominations all add up to one serious takeover. If he doesn't win Album of the Year, we may never watch the Grammys again.


Even a scary lawsuit with the Gaye estate can't ruin Pharrell's year-long winning streak. Though it's true the producer is tied up in litigation for his role in Robin Thicke's super rapey anthem "Blurred Lines," which sounds a lot like Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up," The fact stands that the song was a mega-smash of the summer. And before that, Pharrell made musical history as the singer on two of the grooviest songs from the highly-anticipated and critically-acclaimed new Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories. Remember that time he sang "Get Lucky" for like ten minutes? That was awkward, but we can't blame him. His unique YouTube channel I am OTHER continues to kill it, and he's officially the best-looking 40 year old in the world.

The Harlem Shake

The Harlem Shake is not a new dance by any means, but thanks to Philadelphia-based producer, it was the sleeper-hit of the year. The song, already popular with trap-house enthusiasts, transformed into a mainstream meme overnight as a series of 30-second dance videos flooded YouTube. The silly dance routines gave the song extra wind, and it ended up topping the Billboard charts. It even made it to Kidz Bop 24. The only rub? Most people still don't even know the real dance. Use your shoulders, people!

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rap had a great year in 2012, and this Seattle-based hip-hop duo couldn't have asked for a better twelve months. Macklemore and his production partner Ryan Lewis had been working on their album The Hiest for years, using nothing but their own money to record, release and promote with self-made music videos. As it turns out, the truly independent artists didn't need anyone's help, and their simple yet eye-catching clip for "Thrift Shop" was just the right amount of humorous and universal to go viral. Armed with the radio-ready anthem "Can't Hold Us" and the socially-relevant "Same Love," the album became an instant-classic. They'll be another tough contender this Grammy season.

Miley Cyrus

Without a doubt, no one had a better year in music than Miley Cyrus. Let's be real, she was practically a nobody when 2013 started. Sure, she was big with the kids a few years prior, but her attempt to break into mainstream, post-Disney popularity was a rocky road - and then she discovered twerking. With the perfect combinations of easy sex, drugs, and production from Atlanta's trap-star Mike Will Made It, Miley changed her stars. Now, we just have to wait and see how long into 2014 the whole infatuation lasts.

The Losers

Lil Wayne

Um, where was he this year? All we remember about Lil Wayne was some lackluster album everyone made fun of opening week. Oh, and there was the time he pissed off the entire city of Miami by talking a lot of smack about our back-to-back champion basketball team. Lol, he was all "I fucked Chris Bosh's wife." Shut up Wayne, no one likes you, even though we were genuinely so excited to see you come out during Drake's performance at American Airlines. Maybe next year will be better.


Is this even a genre anymore? It used to be what America was all about. Kids used to grow up wanting to learn to play guitar solos, but now, that would probably be super geeky. It's not just that we don't want to hear guitar music, but all the guitar music is kind of lame. Unless there's some kind of electronic element, you're not likely to have gotten much attention in 2013. Sure, Mumford & Sons were hot for a second, but they quit before the year was even out. And you know why? Because even Mumford & Sons is sick of hearing Mumford & Sons. Rock sucked big butt in 2013.

Lady Gaga

Did she finally put out her new album, Art Pop? We have to ask, because we're pretty sure no one is talking about it - at all. Not even a joyous romp with the Muppets on Thanksgiving gave this flop any life. Turns out, you can't break your hip and leave the spotlight for a year and expect anyone to care, especially not when there's some new 21-year-old shaking her turkey butt on MTV and taking pictures humping Arizona Ice Teas. We'll hand it to Gaga that she's done her best. She did top the charts for a minute, but then Eminem's Marshall Mathers II ruined that, and then Beyonce really out-did her with that surprise visual album. Sorry Gaga, you just got buried by the competition.


Could we please stop talking about this bitch already? Have you stepped outside at all recently? We're pretty sure everyone has found her. This is why we can't have nice things. You realize you're not even doing molly anymore, right? There is honestly no MDMA in this entire city. Local dealers have even admitted that on the record. Not to mention, you are really killing the vibe of every dance floor in town. It doesn't matter if it's your fault, or the dealer's fault, or the drug's fault - it's too much. Electric Zoo cancelled their whole third day because the world needs a molly wake-up call. Admit it, you have a problem. Now, go back to being a good, old-fashioned alcoholic, and get those effing gloves out of my face. K thx.


If the Harlem Shake was the dance of the year, twerking was the evil twin. It kind of seems the molly and the twerking go together. Blame Miley Cyrus, blame Diplo, blame New Orleans Bounce - we don't care. In 2014, the twerk is dead. You're not even doing it right, white girls. Although, it was totally awesome when jimmy Kimmel tricked the whole world with that "twerk fail" video. Best troll ever. Now, we can move on.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

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