2/7 Andrew Cothern

jon brown

Sometimes being a music writer has its downfalls. Throughout the year, you’re expected to know everything about what’s going on in popular culture – even if it holds no meaning to your interests. Sure, I knew Miley was twerking and Kanye was doing something “Yeezus-y,” but what I enjoy is discovering the lesser-known and completely underrated songs that make the year what it is.

As I sit here reflecting on 2013 in music, I look back on the breakout sensation of a 16-year-old from New Zealand singing about Royals, Justin Timberlake making music again (20/20 Experience was a huge disappointment) and Queen Bey dropping a new album without telling anyone and people going nuts (by the way, Beyoncé apparently “changed music” by doing this, according to entertainment writers).

But while this was going on, Frank Turner exposed his “Tape Deck Heart” to the masses, while The National continued its fascination with reworking funny songs from “Bob’s Burgers.” Singer-songwriter Eric Himan channeled his inner Adam Levine on his new album “Gracefully,” while DC songwriter Tom Goss talked about how much he loved “Bears.” I was introduced to Joseph Arthur and why he needed a “Saint of Impossible Causes” while artists like Bastille, Blondfire, Surfer Blood, San Fermin and Phosphorescent quickly filled my iTunes playlists.

Back home in RVA, names like Sundials, Clair Morgan, Vexine, Goldrush and Positive No kept making themselves known. No BS Brass Band took the world by storm and would not be silenced. “Fire & Ice” started as a joke and turned into a legitimate pop song (Whether Stephen Frost and Jessi Coble liked it or not), Those Manic Seas quickly stole my heart and pop punkers Fun Size returned after calling it quits 15 years ago. The first ever Fall Line Fest introduced me to at least 30 new bands before sufficiently kicking my ass for two days. And a suburban soccer mom wanted a Girls Night Out and what she got was a video going viral (which also gave RVA Playlist the highest web traffic ever in its existence).

So yeah, my own personal 2013 in music was a pretty kick ass year on all fronts. While I didn’t follow every major music event, I made my own events – and those are what matter. Here’s to 2014.

Andrew Cothern » Richmond, VA » Music Writer