Top 10 Songs of 2013: #1 Typhoon - Young Fathers 

Typhoon - “Young Fathers”

If you’ve been paying attention at all this year, you probably already figured this out. White Lighter was my favorite album of the year from the moment it came out, and nothing was able to top it. “Young Fathers” was my favorite song from the moment I heard it, and nothing topped it.

Other songs came close—many of them other songs off of White Lighter, which is why I have my “one song per album” rule— but none surpassed “Young Fathers”. I’ve been trying to think about why this album, and this song, have been so resonant with me. I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of things:

In my mind, “Young Fathers” captures what is so great about this album. Here’s a song about growing up, dealing with becoming an adult, and getting to the age that your parents were when they became parents. Should you have kids? What type of world are you bringing them into? Everything about that feels like it should be a dirge, a slow mournful song. [1]

But just listen to it. From the opening “oohs” and the staccato guitar chords dropping as if a record was scratching, this isn’t a sad song. When Kyle Morton’s vocals come in, they’re melancholy, but echoed by shouts, and some harmonies. This isn’t a sad song. About midway through the song, that becomes even more clear. The beat picks up, with the drums pushing the pace along. It all builds until there’s about one minute left.

And then you get it. The horns and strings come in, the drums echo, the chorale comes in.

This isn’t a sad song. It’s catharsis. It’s redemption.

I’ve probably listened to this song 25 or 30 times (at least). I’ve never not smiled by the end.

That’s why it’s number one.

  1. In a nutshell, that’s White Lighter. Every song feels like it should be much sadder than the song actually is. And every song has some remarkable lyrics. There were days where I could have put five or six songs from the album on my top 10 list. You owe it to yourself to check it out. And listen to it when you can focus on it. If “Morton’s Fork” doesn’t get to you, or “Hunger and Thirst”, I seriously wonder if you have a pulse.