'Let It Go', 'Roar', 'Wrecking Ball': 10 songs turning 10 in 2023


2013 saw brilliant music coming from Disney's 'Frozen', Katy Perry and Psy (left to right). Photos: Handout

IT was a great year for pop music in 2013.

Not only did we see big stars like OneRepublic, Katy Perry and Psy making a glorious comeback, but we also received brilliant music from the likes of One Direction, Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus.

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since then.

As we move into a new year, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the amazing bops of the past.

Here are 10 songs that turn 10 years old this year.

Roar by Katy Perry

Track release date: Aug 10, 2013

Roar was the empowerment anthem we all needed in 2013.

Centred around standing up for oneself, this song spent 35 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No.1 for two consecutive weeks.

For the music video, Perry wanted its concept to be fun and carefree.

“Sometimes if you have a really serious video and a serious song, it can be a little bit tough, so we like to have a lighthearted visual that goes along with it,” she said in a behind-the-scenes video.

Shot in three days at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, Roar was filmed using real animals like monkeys, birds, an elephant and a tiger.

Perry also did her own stunts, which included swinging from a vine and standing atop a 12m-high waterfall.

“I definitely feel like the ‘Queen of the jungle’ now. I can do anything. Just drop me in the wilderness with a bag of peanuts and I will survive,” she joked.

Roar joined the elite “3 billion views club” on YouTube in February 2020, making Perry the first female artiste to achieve this milestone.

Clocking 3.7 billion views and counting, Roar is the most viewed music video by a female artiste.

Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Track release date: June 14, 2013

OneRepublic certainly reached the stars in 2013 with this smash hit.

According to the band’s frontman, Ryan Tedder, the idea for Counting Stars came about in 2012 after he discovered a folk song while working with Beyonce.

Inspired by the melody, Tedder penned his own version of the tune. For him, it was important that this song had an uplifting message.

“I felt a responsibility to actually write and sing about things that have a level of human gravity to them.

“If everybody else sings about sex, lust and money, then somebody’s got to sing about life, faith, hope and things of that nature.

“I’d rather have a song that peaks at No.15 that’s meaningful than a No.1 song that explodes for five seconds, becomes the dance hit of the summer, then goes away,” he told Billboard.

Although OneRepublic never intended for Counting Stars to go viral, the track became a massive hit.

Following its release, the song spent 68 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and 25 consecutive weeks in the top 10.

Recording 1.7 billion streams on Spotify, Counting Stars is one of the 50 most streamed songs of all time.

Rude by Magic

Track release date: Oct 11, 2013

Now this is a song that was played to death on the radio many years ago.

Despite being released in 2013, it wasn’t until 2014 this reggae track found commercial success.

While many recognise Rude as a song about a man desperately trying (and failing) to get the approval of his girlfriend’s father, the inspiration for it comes from someplace totally different.

“I was in a fight with my ex-girlfriend and I was like, ‘Why you gotta be so rude?’,” Magic’s frontman, Nasri Atweh, told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show.

“She was mean. I was mean. It was a mean time in our lives.”

Little did Nasri know this experience would give the quartet its biggest hit yet.

The single sold 8.6 million units worldwide and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks.

Sadly, it is pretty much a one-hit wonder for Magic. Even after releasing two albums, Primary Colours in 2016 and Expectations in 2018, Rude is still the top song on Magic’s Spotify profile, with over 1.1 billion streams.

Happy by Pharrell Williams

Track release date: Nov 21, 2013

If you know who the Minions are, then you may be familiar with the animated movie, Despicable Me 2 – which introduced many to the neo-soul song, Happy.

Despite its title, Williams told the New York Times that Happy was the result of pressure. In fact, it was the 10th song he wrote after the previous nine were rejected.

“I was just coming from a really pure place of not having any more ideas for it,” he said. “I was backed in the corner. I had nothing left.”

Williams’ hard work paid off. Following its release, Happy peaked at No.1 in over 20 countries.

It received a nod from the Academy Awards and even bagged a Grammy.

But did you know Happy was originally recorded by another American artiste?

“Cee Lo Green wanted to do it, and he did do it. But the ‘powers that be’ then did not see it fit for him,” Williams said in a radio interview.

Gentleman by Psy

Track release date: April 12, 2013

After dominating 2012 pop culture with the gigantic hit Gangnam Style, South Korean artiste Psy made an impactful comeback the following year with another equally-hilarious song.

The music video for Gentleman won the hearts of many with its amusing plotline and antics. However, it did give the 45-year-old a reputation of being a comedian rather than a singer.

“Many people tell me I’m successful because I’m funny. Some worry about me because they believe my five minutes of fame will end.

“People can label me whatever they want. If they think I am a comedian, it is something to be grateful for. I don’t care what I am labelled as,” Psy told kpopstarz.

Gentleman debuted at No.1 on the Gaon Singles Chart. But did you know that the music video was banned by KBS?

At the beginning of the video, Psy can be seen kicking a No Parking sign which, according to the Korean broadcasting network, depicted the abuse of public property.

Nevertheless, the axe hasn’t stopped Gentleman from breaking records.

Amassing 38.4 million views on YouTube on its first day, Gentleman earned a Guinness World Record for the most-viewed video in 24 hours on the platform – a record only bested four years later by Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do.

All Of Me by John Legend

Track release date: Aug 12, 2013

Written for his then-fiancee Chrissy Teigen, this timeless love ballad by John Legend still occasionally plays on the radio – and in weddings – today. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Legend recalled how he first fell in love with Teigen.

“We were texting a lot, and I started to see her sense of humour. We would talk on the phone, and I started to fall in love with how engaging and witty and funny she is.

“I fell in love with her over the phone because she is good with those 140 characters,” he explained.

All Of Me was filmed on Lake Como in Italy, the same place where Legend married Teigen.

The song topped charts in eight countries including the United States, Canada and Australia.

Recording over 1.9 billion streams on Spotify, All Of Me is the only song from 2013 listed in the top 30 most streamed songs on the platform.

Let It Go by Idina Menzel

Track release date: Nov 25, 2013

If there’s one Disney song that we just can’t let go of, it would be Let It Go.

Penned by husband-and-wife songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, this Oscar-winning track tells the story of one breaking free from the pressures to be perfect.

Its message was so powerful, it pushed directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck to rethink Frozen’s entire plot.

“Elsa was originally meant to be a villain. The minute Buck and I heard the song, I knew I had to rewrite the whole movie,” Lee told the New York Times.

Despite being written for a kids’ movie, Let It Go resonated with a diverse audience, including marginalised groups like the LGBT community and disabled people.

In this regard, Kristen told Broadcast Music Inc: “What we tried to put in the song is the complicated relationship we have with being ourselves.

"We spend so much of our lives meeting people’s expectations, and it can be freeing to just forget about things once in a while.”

Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus

Track release date: Aug 25, 2013

One of the biggest pop culture moments of 2013 is Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz era – which sent the whole world into a “twerking” frenzy.

Of course, we can’t talk about Bangerz without mentioning the album’s smash hit Wrecking Ball which topped charts in the United States, Britain, Canada, Hungary and Spain.

Known for her Disney-girl image in Hannah Montana, the singer shocked many after going nude for this particular music video.

Addressing the controversy, the then 20-year-old artiste told a radio station: “My nakedness is a metaphor for how vulnerable I’m feeling inside.

“If people get past the point that I’m naked and actually look at me, you can tell I look more broken than even the song sounds.”

Cyrus added that she is proud to embrace her sexuality, and that the only regret she had is the fact she will “always be known for licking a sledgehammer”.

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake

Track release date: Feb 11, 2013

Timberlake’s Mirrors is indeed unfaltering in its declaration of love.

Following its release, the track peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topped the US Mainstream Top 40 chart for three consecutive weeks.

In his book Hindsight: And All The Things I Can’t See In Front of Me, the 41-year-old artiste recalled writing Mirrors for his wife Jessica Biel.

“We were living together at the time. We weren’t engaged yet. In fact, it was years before I proposed,” he wrote.

“She’s a huge influence in my life, and I have such admiration for her. She changed me. She changed my life. All of that is in Mirrors.”

As for the music video, Timberlake decided to dedicate it to his maternal grandparents, William and Sadie, who have been married for 65 years.

“I learned about long-lasting love from them. I know that’s what I have with my wife,” he said.

Best Song Ever by One Direction

Track release date: July 22, 2013

British boy band One Direction was a force to be reckoned with in the early to mid 2010s.

In 2013, the quintet earned its highest-charting single in the United States to date after Best Song Ever debuted at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Its music video was shot in Miami Beach, Florida, and shows the boys role-playing as different characters.

"We were in the makeup room for four-and-a-half hours. It was a really long day. I believe we finished it (the music video) in over two days,” Niall Horan told Hollywood Access.

“It was a funny shooting schedule because none of it was in chronological order. We were shooting completely different bits so that everything would work out for each character,” Harry Styles chimed in.

Fun fact: One Direction’s faces were actually photoshopped onto K-pop boy band BAP’s promotional photo at one point in the music video.

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