Pop in 2013 was dominated by the aesthetics of the 80s and early 90s. Key artists breaking through this year – from Californian sister act Haim and Canadian duo Tegan & Sara (see SXSW Music: Ones To Watch for more on them), to US singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira and the year’s key producer, UK musician Dev Hynes – all homaged the synth-pop and soft-rock sounds of 25 years ago.
In terms of style, pop fashion drew from the same source, with Ferreira deliberately referencing Madonna and Blondie in her videos, while Haim looked back to 80s pop icons such as US singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks (one of the main speakers at SXSW Music).
Dance music made a comeback, with guitar bands relegated to the sidelines for the entire year. Stylus favourites included UK electronica artist James Blake’s Overgrown, British duo Disclosure’s Settle, and Australian producer Flume’s Lockjaw EP (read more about him in our SXSW Preview report).
Global streaming music service Spotify gave us an insight into overall music trends in 2013. French electronica duo Daft Punk scored the most plays in one day on the platform, with their track Get Lucky streamed 1.5 million times on the day of release. New Zealand singer/producer Lorde (one of our Icons of New Feminism) was the most viral new artist, while Thrift Shop by US hip-hop star Macklemore became the most streamed track of the past five years, with 150 million plays in total.
Listen to our Stylus Best Of 2013 playlist on Spotify.