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The Rock Nation Expert Panel - The Songs of 2013

by Lunchbox

We've put together 20 Rock Radio experts from across the country to form our Rock Nation Expert Panel. These select few will be tasked with putting together their rankings for various polls and concepts, all for your entertainment.  

Here comes their list of the top 10 songs of 2013:

Tops songs of 2013:

10 - Korn “Never Never”

What shock it was when we heard that Head was coming back to Korn. The first song we heard featuring the reunion Head and Korn since 2004 was “Never Never”...and maybe you were hoping for more. If you were expecting the old school “Blind”, “Freak On A Leash”, or “Make Me Bad” Korn, you may have been disappointed. But this was a new direction for Korn, not just musically, but personally as a band. Jonathan Davis discussed his personal movement away from antidepressant medication, and the maturing of all the members. This isn’t the same frustrated, angry Korn from the 1990s, this is a new Korn, which is good news for fans looking for that new sound...but for old school Korn fans, this wasn’t what they were hoping for.

9 - In This Moment “Whore”

Last year, In This Moment forced themselves into the mainstream world of rock music with the album (and single of the same name) Blood. In 2013 they continued to assert themselves with the song “Whore”. Now when you have one of the hottest woman in rock as your lead singer, and she oozes sexuality on stage, and you’re going to create a song called “Whore”...yeah, you’re going to have some success. That’s not to say the only reason anyone cared about the song is because it was over-sexed...the song is GOOD too. It became a female-rock anthem in 2013. This isn’t the last time we’re going to hear from ITM, they’re set to take it up a notch or two in 2014.

8 - Queens of the Stone Age “My God Is The Sun”

Queens of the Stone Age just knocked down a Grammy nomination for “My God Is The Sun”, but after all of the crap the Grammy Awards just served us, that’s not saying a whole lot, but it’s one of the rock nominations they got right. “My God Is The Sun” was the perfect track for QOTSA to bring us against the backdrop of everything else going on in rock in 2013. Bands from the 90s coming back, alternative rock losing its moral compass, metal having a love/hate with its biggest artists...having that cornerstone of QOTSA coming in and doing what they do, and doing it well, is exactly what rock needed. So thank you, thank you Queens of the Stone Age.

7 - Stone Temple Pilots “Out Of Time”

Ladies and Gentlemen, we just lost cabin pressure. Half of the people reading this just scoffed audibly at this. The other half said “They came in at 7? That’s not bad.” Stone Temple Pilots blew everyone away at the beginning of the summer when they showed up, unannounced, to intro their new lead singer...Chester Bennington. Now it could have gone REAL bad for them right then and there. But when people heard the song they released (right at the moment that they showed up on stage, they posted the song for free download online) they realized it was good. It was REALLY good. There were still the purists who fought against it, and refused to admit the song was good, based only on the fact Scott Weiland isn’t the singer anymore. But you know what, it’s a good song, and its a monumental moment in rock history. We should all take a moment to appreciate what’s in front of us while its here.

6 - Five Finger Death Punch “Lift Me Up”

Take one of the biggest bands in rock, add in the godfather of modern metal Rob Halford, and you have a gigantic hit song. The band, and Halford, premiered the song at the Golden God Awards in May, and the fire started on that stage. The song burned through the summer, and pushed the sales of their album The Wrong Side of Heaven and Righteous Side of Hell Part 1 to massive sales figures. Though not everyone was excited about it; the 5FDP fans who love “War Is The Answer” and the 5FDP “haters” found common ground over this song. The detractors pointed out quickly that it sounds exactly like their previous effort “Under and Over It” and the old school Knuckleheads wanted a more “violent” sound. Love them or hate them, Five Finger Death Punch continued their capitalistic ways by selling a massive volume of music and concert tickets in 2013, and also scored the 6th spot on this countdown.

5 - Alice In Chains “Stone”

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here from Alice in Chains will go down as one of the top albums of 2013. Just as 2013 arrived, so did a new single from AIC (“Hollow”) with the confirmation from Jerry Cantrell that a new studio album was on the way for 2013. They kept a lot of the details secret, not releasing artwork or an album title for months. But once it was unleashed, it changed the history of rock. Literally. That’s not just hype...Layne Staley, AIC’s original lead singer, performed with the band between 1990 and 1996. He did not perform with the band after that, and passed away in 2002. The 2013 release of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here marks the 7th year that new vocalist William Duvall has been with the group, he joined in 2007. William Duvall has been the lead singer with AIC as long as Layne Staley was. Think about that.

4 - Pearl Jam “Mind Your Manners”

Speaking of 90s grunge bands throwing down new music, Pearl Jam went evil cartoon villain on us by using big countdown clocks to make a couple of announcements this year. On July 1st they put up a countdown clock on their website. When that clock ran out they announced their 2013 tour schedule...which got people excited...but then they reset the clock, and that started the speculation. Once the second clock ran out BOOM, here comes a new Pearl Jam album and here’s our new song “Mind Your Manners”. Which took EVERYONE by surprise in one way or another. You were either surprised that Pearl Jam was finally giving us their 10th studio album, or you were surprised by the “punk-infused” sound of “Mind Your Manners”, because it doesn't sound like Pearl Jam. But it was GOOD...really good. Even for people who don’t generally like Pearl Jam, they found themselves enjoying this song. Knowing that a band can find a new sound and crush it after 10 studio albums has to give you hope that other bands can still evolve moving forward!

3 - Alice In Chains “Hollow”

Yup, they got two songs on this countdown. Alice In Chains owned 2013. When we look back on this year in 2023, what will we remember most? The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and the singles from it “Stone”, “Voices”, and most importantly “Hollow” will go down as the musical masterpiece of this year. The first time you heard the heaviness and crunch that AIC brought to the party with “Hollow”, you knew this was different. It was different than Black Gives Way To Blue, it was different than 90s Alice In Chains...this was special. They figured it out. “Hollow” was the band’s 4th #1 single...EVER. This is the definitive new sound of AIC, and the hope is that it influences a new generation of Jerry Cantrell’s out there.

1 (tie) - Avenged Sevenfold “Hail To The King”

This will be a fight. Yes, we have a straight TIE at the top of the chart. We had 50-60 songs that our panel reviewed, and we had some STRONG opinions from our experts on songs like Five Finger Death Punch “Lift Me Up”, Volbeat “The Hangman’s Body Count”, and this song “Hail To The King”. Some voters only wanted to vote for Volbeat, others only wanted to vote for A7X...but “Hail To The King” ended up with 9.3% of the total vote, putting it in a tie for the #1 spot.

Now think back. Remember what it was like in July when we first got this clip:

People went ape...this sounded fantastic. Then after the full song was released, you had some people immediately saying “that sounds like a cover of AC/DC ‘Thunderstruck”. But the A7X faithfull didn’t care. They did however care when Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn publically referred to the new A7X album as a “covers album”. They cared by sparking internet-caps-lock-fights with anyone who sided with Machine Head. After the dust settled on that issue, Avenged Sevenfold still made a killing this year. “Hail To The King” was one of the biggest songs, the album of the same name was one of the highest selling albums of the year, and their tour was full of sell outs. I think A7X is just fine with the critiques from others, as long as the fans keep coming out.

1 (tie) - Pop Evil “Trenches”


Yup, with the same volume of votes as “Hail To The King”, Pop Evil’s “Trenches” tops our list. Think about how this year started for both bands, and to have them both end up at the top, is kinda weird. Avenged Sevenfold is a summer festival headliner, with a pile of hits songs on their resume...Pop Evil is an up-and-coming band that used this song to score their FIRST #1 hit this year. When A7X announces a new album, some “critics” already pencil it in for “Album of the year” before they even hear it, when Pop Evil puts out a new album with a #1 song (potentially two as “Deal With The Devil” is on the verge of going #1 as it sits at #2 while this is being written) and catches the attention of the rock world though the sound of their music and not their name, you don’t see it pop up on many end-of-the-year lists. These two bands are at opposite ends of the spectrum right now. But that may not last long. If Pop Evil continues to produce songs at the quality level of “Trenches”, this won’t be the last time you see them top a “best song” list.