Top ten underrated soca songs of 2013

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Top Ten Underrated Songs of 2013

Contributed by Jodi Ann 

The 2013 season here in Jamaica officially came to a close back in April, but let’s just talk about the music for a moment. I loved what the artistes put out this year. Different styles and fusions were tried, there were tons of collaborations and the exposure soca music has had in Jamaica has progressed a bit further. Regardless, there will always be certain artistes that get more air play and songs that you hear until you‘ve unknowingly memorised all the words. On the flip side there are many songs this season that you may have never heard at any party or on the road. Perhaps you only heard it once or in a mix. Here are my top ten (in no particular order) underrated songs of 2013.

Come Down – Erphaan Alves

This song’s lack of play (I only know this song at all because of an early Dj Private Ryan mix) actually surprised me. I expected Erphaan to get more exposure this year coming off his success of In Your Eyes in 2012. I absolutely adore this song. Come Down is on the Sneaky Guy Riddim which is different but catchy. When that drum beat drops, it makes me want to just tic and toc back on a man. This tune is just sexy. I was extremely disappointed to not have heard it anywhere. Definitely one of my favourites this year. Fingers crossed, I’ll hear it at least once at some off season soca party.

Wonders of this World – Neval Chatelal & Machel / Love Army – Machel & Friends

These two I group together because I can’t decide which I love more and they have the same vibe. They both make me feel full of emotion and pride (I am Trini in my heart!). Wonders of this World has a great techno-infused rhythm and when Neval sings out the chorus I just want to close my eyes, raise my hands and belt it out right along with him. Love Army is the 50 years independence song for Trinidad last year and it has such a great message about unity. Maybe it was because both songs are both so Trinidad-focused, but I heard neither play here.

Carnival Day (You Not Easy) – Shal Marshall

I have to say how much I loved Shal Marshall this year. He was really on a roll. With a wining tune like Wickdest Wine, the fun We Liming and Play De Mas for on the road, I was really feeling him this season. I may be biased because he is so good at making ladies wanna move their waistlines (among other things) and Carnival Day delivers on that. It is a song for female feters to just have a good time and wine. The rhythm is fun and has a nice in between tempo that allows for both a fast wuk up and a nice, groovy wine. I doubt I heard this song at all, much to my dismay. It would’ve been fun to get on to this.

Live Yuh Life (Like Yuh Playing Mas) – Kes ft. David Rudder

This song is beautiful. The rhythm, the message of unity, the coming together of a new school and an old school artistes; everything about it just makes this song great. I heard this song once. Seriously. Just the one time at the very start of road march. Maybe it’s that the depth of meaning is lost on us. Carnival here isn’t so much an island-wide coming together of everyone as it is a coming together of a small sub-set of people who love soca, but I really wish our deejays had given it some more love.

Trinidadian – Kes the Band

This song actually did play a fair amount but I still feel it was underrated, especially compared to the band’s other songs this year. And let’s get this clear: this song isn’t about being Trinidadian. It’s about getting on like one and no matter what anyone wants to say, when it comes to carnival, Trinidadians really knows how to do it. When I’d hear this song, I would want to jump and wave and wine until I couldn’t jump and wave and wine anymore. It is just so FUN. It’s a pity it played as little as it did.

Spread A Little More – Patrice Roberts

This was one of Patrice’s less popular tunes this year and I’m not sure why. I know many women, me included, can relate to the words of this song. Sometimes you just wanted to tell a man “give me room for me to wine, I don’t need your help”. It’s fine and dandy choosing not to wine with someone regularly, but it’s a bit easier to turn down a wine when the song is instructing you to do so. You can just sing the words at an unwanted dance partner! The riddim is named Wonda Woman which is quite appropriate if you ask me. This is a song for the ladies to get on solo and you men can just stand back, watch and enjoy. The song played only on occasion all season long. I wish there had been more of it.

Handle the Ride – Destra

If there’s one thing Destra does amazingly, apart from moving that bumper, it is putting out tunes for others ladies to move theirs. Handle the Ride, on the fairly popular Full Throttle Riddim, is so upbeat and high energy and the instructional lyrics leave no doubts in your mind on what you’re to be doing when this song plays. Wuk. Jook. Wine. Just make sure whatever you do, you get on bad. When this song ends, everyone is supposed to have worked up a helluva sweat. From the first time I heard it, I envisioned a party full of feters just getting on. I’m honestly surprised this song wasn’t more popular. It would have been great to see my vision come to life.

Disgustin – Kes & Kerwin Du Bois

The words of this song were kind of an unofficial anthem for me and my crew this year and we still regularly quote it even now. “What is a behaviour? I don’t know.” There is no time like carnival time to get on disgusting like you have no behaviour and this song is all about that. Kes and Kerwin just want you to know you could call them disgusting all you want, a real feter doesn’t even care. When this song plays I want to climb on things, part crowds, jump on the stage… Everything! Just as long as I was waving and wining and having a good time. For a song so fundamentally carnival, I heard it far less than I expected.

Formula – Fay-Ann Lyons

Personally, I’ve fallen in love with both Fay-Ann and Bunji in recent times and it seems Jamaica has too. Bunji Garlin’s better half had other songs this year that got so much air play, but I wanted to hear this one just as much. It’s one of those old school “I say do this, you follow” kind of soca songs, but with a modern vibe. The beat is fun and energetic and you’ll find yourself wanting to do exactly as she says. I think this song is a great way to get a party started. Revellers will definitely be all warmed up by the time the next song starts. I’m not even sure if I heard this song at all, but if I did, it was very few times.

Bam Bam – Olatunji Yearwood

For any woman that knows how to get on bad on the dancefloor/stage/road/anywhere she feels like, this song would have been perfect to hear. The Soca Salsa Riddim has a great vibe and boy oh boy, when that beat drops do you want to show a man just how bad you are. The catchiest line in this tune is “badder than the Taliban” and while I may not be quite that bad, this song makes me want to get a bit wild. I’ll confess, I don’t know any other song by Olatunji apart from Wah Do on the Soca Future Riddim. If that and Bam Bam are anything to go by though, I will definitely be listening out for more from him in years to come.

BONUS: Eruption – Erphaan Alves

Another song from Erphaan Alves, this is plain and simple a great example of the “feel good” nature of soca music. It’s not particularly hype, nor is it a tune to wuk up to, but whenever I hear this song I just imagine being on the road Carnival Sunday. I want to jump and wave and just let the rhythm take me over. As said before, I expected Erphaan’s popularity to grow because of last year, but it seems it wasn’t enough to have what would have been a great musical addition to any fete to play more throughout the season.


So these ten (ish) are just my personal favourites this season. Some were never played at all, others I simply wanted to hear more of. I’m hoping that the off season parties, as few as they may be between now and the end of the year, will allow for these songs to become a little less underrated before the year is over. Feel free to leave comments. Tell me which artistes do you feel deserved more air play? What songs do you feel didn’t get enough love this season?

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