Future – “Honest”
Although both halves of R&B power couple Future and Ciara released incredible records this year, a listen and watch of “Honest” will make you feel like all your sins have been erased. Every line of sincerity from Future’s auto-tuned confessions deserve a head nod – from “I’m a rockstar for life” to “these niggas getting shot for being honest”. This is the year’s most emotional track and I’m just being honest.
Inc. – “Desert Rose (War Prayer)”
California’s smooth atmospheric R&B brothers Inc. created a record that 4AD rightfully picked up and released earlier this year. Their album No World seduces all of your intimate feelings of love, and “Desert Rose (War Prayer)” gets really bare-boned – a vulnerable track seeking guidance in “tell me what it takes to be a man, teach me what it means to be a man”.
Djemba Djemba – ”Stahp”
“Stahp” is the 12th track on The Melt Compilation Vol.1 from LA based producer, Djemba Djemba. Melodic echos and woos start the track, layered on top a playful beat as it spirals in and out of clarity. “Stahp” is a personal soundtrack of my entire 2013 because when moments of frustration hit, this song will weave you right out of there.
Tink – “Can I” (Feat. How To Dress Well)
How To Dress Well's take on Chi-town rapper/singer Tink's ballad "Can I" is beyond a dream. Tink delivers a mesmerizing vocal, while How To Dress Well becomes her partner and shares the enchanting chorus. Let this song soundtrack those warm and much-needed cuddle sessions.
Jamaican Queens – ”Water”
Formerly in a band called Prussia, Adam Pressley and Ryan Spencer are now in an indie 'trap pop' trio called Jamaican Queens. Their album Wormfood was out in March and “Water” has one of the most genuine verses on falling in and out of love while under some influence – “You stole my heart and I just sat there drinking water/ I don’t wanna do things for her, I don’t wanna go down on her”.
Palmistry – “Catch”
London beatmaker Palmistry traces a love story here through flirty dancehall production, with soft comforting vocals ("I'll catch you when you fall") and a video featuring girls swaying gracefully in athletic wear. It's a formula we wouldn't mind seeing more of in 2014 from Palmistry, the artist from the Mixpak family. For now, he made a precious ballad that restores hope and faith in romance.
Cassie – “Sound Of Love” (Feat. Jeremih)
Cassie made it back into our hearts this year with RockaByeBaby (our mixtape of 2013) in the same way she did with her debut album in 2006. For the syrup-soft “Sound Of Love”, Cassie teamed up with R&B god Jeremih, where they covered every facet of a relationship from all those exciting feelings in the beginning to eventually ending it in the last ten seconds of insecurities. Ow.
Lapalux – “Guuurl”
Everyone wants to feel desired, don't they? Brainfeeder’s Lapalux produced this song that gives you just that. “Guuurl” starts off in a nostalgic bounce down memory lane and, as the texturised percussion comes in, there's a voice resonating longing and lust in various pitches – if you’re in a club, this may be considered thirst.
Ian Isiah – "M1NDFVCK”
Before Ian Isiah put out his mixtape The Love Champion last month, he gave the internet a piece of bejewelled intimacy in “M1NDFVCK”. The song is stripped down and sends shivers from the breathtaking visuals of him and Boychild, gently orchestrated piano to Isiah’s soft repetitive words of “mind fuck” in four minutes.
Drake – “Worst Behaviour”
This Nothing Was The Same cut (number seven in our albums of 2013) contains a intro with the max quota of emotions in just one word – “WORST”. Along with Drizzy, our middle fingers are up waving at everyone that’s ever made fun of us for having feelings.
Follow Briana Cheng on Twitter here @banacrisp