When it comes to nabbing a top alternative track in the United States, the trick, apparently, is patience. A great number of the summer's biggest alternative and rock hits were released years before they made any dents on the charts. Timing is
everything — but sometimes, this means a long wait.1. "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
The most popular alternative song of 2013 was actually released in April 2012, but made steady gains on the charts for months, eventually peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and selling over 4.5 million copies in the United States. Maybe it had something to do with the puppets in the music video. America loves puppets.2. "Royals," Lorde
Lorde, aka New Zealand native Ella Yelich-O'Connor, is not a household name in this hemisphere quite yet... but she will be. In August, she became the first female to top the Alternative Songs chart since 1996 with her elegant debut single "Royals," which also edged into Top 40 territory. Did we mention she's only 16?3. "Sail," AWOLNATION
You know a song is sticky beyond belief when it's still making chart advances two and a half years after its release. "Sail" has seen plenty of play since it dropped in January 2011, including in episodes of The Good Wife
, as well as advertisements for Nokia and PT. 4. "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark," Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy roared out of a three-year hiatus with this song and a brilliant music video featuring 2 Chainz and a flamethrower. It's nice to have them back.5. "Diane Young," Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City
is the band's most brilliant album to date, and also its most mournful. The most playful track, "Diane Young," explores recklessness and death to a giddy danceable beat. 6. "Pompeii," Bastille
New Order fans will likely either be charmed or enraged by UK quartet Bastille's breakout single, which poses questions about maintaining optimism in the face of certain death with a very familiar synth line. 7. "Safe and Sound," Capital Cities
Apparently the trick to scoring an unstoppable alternative radio hit is to release it about two years ahead of when you hope to see it on the charts. "Safe and Sound," a synthy '80s flavored tune, was originally released in February 2011 but hit its chart peak in August 2013, boosted by the band's first North American tour.8. "Still Into You," Paramore
This year, Paramore delivered the punky pop tune we've been missing from No Doubt for way too long. Frontwoman Hayley Williams is at her most confident on this track, a love song that manages to be swoony but not saccharine.9. "Miss Jackson," Panic! at the Disco feat. Lolo
On July 15, Panic! at the Disco announced an exclamatory new album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!
, and dropped the lead single, "Miss Jackson." The song and its accompanying music video are, fortunately, as intense as the band's name (!).10. "Elephant," Tame Impala
Tame Impala's sophomore release Lonerism
was one of the most critically lauded albums of 2012, but it took a while for any of the Australian band's singles to find traction on the charts Stateside. "Elephant," the best psych-rock song ever written about a pompous jerk, is just now having its moment in this hemisphere.