Is this 1983? Suburbs top song-of-the-year list; Replacements voted best live act

Also: The critics throw out ideas for the No. 1 sign the music scene was alive and well in 2013


All over but the shouting: Paul Westerberg seem to have as much fun as the fans at the Replacements' second of three RiotFest gigs in Chicago on Sept. 15, 2013.

Photo: Leslie Plesser,

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Just hearing a new Suburbs song on the radio circa 2013 was a treat, but lo and behold “Turn the Radio On” had a timeless bop-bopping charm and a sad undercurrent that endeared it all the more to critics this year. Har Mar’s lyrical and sonic nod to Sam Cooke, on the other hand, sounded like it was straight out of 1965 but packed a modern punch. The poppier tracks off both Smith’s and Poliça’s records proved irresistible, too.

1. The Suburbs, “Turn the Radio On” (38 voter points)

2. Har Mar Superstar, “Lady, You Shot Me” (32)

3. Caroline Smith, “Magazine” (26)

4. Poliça, “Chain My Name” (17)

5. Fury Things, “Harsh” (16)

6. (tie) Dan Wilson, “Disappearing” The Replacements, “Busted Up” (Slim Dunlap cover) (15)

8. (tie) Four Fists, “MMMM­HMMMM” Low, “Plastic Cup” (14)

10. (tie) Dessa, “Call Off Your Ghost” Lizzo, “Batches & Cookies” (13)

Honorable mentions: Low, “Stay” (Rihanna cover; 12); the Ericksons, “Gone Blind”; Gloss, “Front Porch”; Chris Koza, “Last Tuesday”; Mason Jennings, “Wilderness”; Poliça, “Tiff” (all 10). 



Considering that their nearest gig was in Chicago and less than half of our voting critics actually got to see them, this is quite a resounding thumbs up on the No. 1 entrant’s return to the stage. No. 2 still has one of the wildest live shows around, and No. 3 and No. 4 might be why our ears are still ringing at year’s end. 

1. The Replacements (38)

2. Marijuana Deathsquads (33)

3. The Cloak Ox (20)

4. The Blind Shake (19)

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