I love music too. I love film and TV more, but I love music too. I listened to a ton of albums this year. They ranged from pop to country to hip hop to rock to whatever hell Robin Thicke’s album was. Some were amazing, while some turned out to be a colossal disappointment, here’s looking at you Paramore and Fall Out Boy. Nonetheless, a lot of great albums were released this year, so many that I considered expanding my list but then it became too much work and because of how busy my life is (YES, EXTREMELY BUSY) I had to settle for 10 and a small list of honourable mentions.
PS: I debated about not ranking them but then I decided to do it but to rank it in descending order. Why? Because I wanted to feel special and different. Some of you might call me a hipster because of it but hipsters are assholes and that is so not me.
PS: I love the following albums in their entirety but I did a list of my favourite songs for each album, incase you need a starting point. Although, my recommendation is to listen to these albums in their entirety, even the honourable mentioned.
PS: Ok, ok, here’s my list.
1. Yeezus – Kanye West
Kanye West made an album more punk than Green Day’s last three albums. His album wasn’t just punk, it’s electronic, it’s metal, it’s reggae, fuck man, it’s masterful. It’s Kanye at his most crazy and at his most refined. You don’t just get a peak into Kanye’s mind here, it’s a tour. He talks about race, politics, and being a god. He even gets personal on the epic, “Blood on the Leaves.” He even gets soulful, “Bound 2.” Seriously, if Kanye keeps making albums like this, he can call himself the next Nelson Mandela or God, hell, he can name his children after any kind of direction he wants, as long as his albums are this good, I’ll keep screaming, “All Hail Yeezus!”
Perfect For: Driving after doing a lot of coke (This blog and its writer does not condone this kind of behaviour. Please do coke, responsibly).
Favourite Tracks: Black Skinhead, Hold My Liquor, Blood on the Leaves, Bound 2.
2. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend
This was my summer album. The album I begged my friends to hear because I was in love with it. Vampire Weekend’s music always felt like an experiment but on their third album they gained direction. Modern Vampires of the City is the album about finding yourself, in a time and world where finding yourself has become one of the hardest things to do. It infuses cute lyricism with complex poetry. The songs feel orchestral, hymn-like and infectious.
Perfect For: 21 year olds who want to feel young again.
Favourite Tracks: Unbelievers, Diane Young, Worship You, Ya Hey
3. Pure Heroine – Lorde
The moment I got my hands on this album, I couldn’t stop listening to it. From the minimalistic sound to it’s minimalistic album art, Pure Heroine is flawless. With lyrics about the rejection of the consumerism, the glamour and the excess that encompasses current pop music, Lorde is vastly different from any pop singer on the charts today. There is depth to this album, a depth that is shocking since it is possessed by someone who is only 17. Pure Heroine is by an artist who has already developed their sound. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a debut album this much.
Perfect For: Scrolling through your tumblr, pretending to be royalty.
Favourite Tracks: Tennis Court, Royals, Buzzcut Season, Team, A world Alone
4. Reflektor – Arcade Fire
I remember sitting in a tutorial once and Arcade Fire came up in discussion and a majority of the class was not a fan. Either they had heard of the band and didn’t like them or they never even heard of Arcade Fire. I was probably the only one in that class who was an Arcade Fire fan, so no surprise that their album made it to my list. Reflektor is Arcade Fire at their more polished. There are dance songs, atmospheric songs and songs with a longer play time. This is Arcade Fire letting loose but staying true to the sound that their fans love. Arcade Fire has never been mainstream but they have always made good music, this album is no different.
Perfect For: Pretending to be a hipster, while working on your art.
Favourite Tracks: Reflektor, Here Comes the Night, You Already Know, Joan of Arc, Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
5. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
Even if you don’t like electronic music, chances are you like Daft Punk. Especially when you consider this album because everyone and I mean everyone has been crazy about it. As far as I’m concerned “Get Lucky” was the song of the summer, not Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” as some people keep telling me. Random Access Memories plays as a tribute to the disco era. The beats and synths are more mellow, every track has a Saturday Night Fever vibe to it. Even the Giorgio Moroder tribute track, plays the same way before getting a futuristic kick to it, using a technique developed by Moroder himself.
Perfect For: Re-creating your own modern version of Saturday Night Fever with spaceships.
Favourite Tracks: Giorgio by Moroder, Instant Crush, Lose Yourself to Dance, Get Lucky, Fragments of Time
6. AM – Arctic Monkeys
I forgot these guys still existed! Seriously, the Arctic Monkey’s have always made good or okay albums but nothing this good. Songs such as “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” and “Do I Wanna Know” play out with such heartbreak. Not just those two songs but the entire album has a similar mood to it. That’s the one reason I’m so in love with this album. It’s consistent both in tone and quality. Lead singer Alex Turner pours his heart into this album, you can feel the emotion on every track, unlike past albums that had songs that were more boyish fun than heartfelt.
Perfect For: Those who like to get over past relationships without crying.
Favourite Tracks: Do I Wanna Know, Arabella, Mad Sounds, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High, Snap Out It
7. Hesitation Marks – Nine Inch Nails
This album turned out to be a huge surprise for me. Not because of how much I loved it but that Trent Reznor and NIN can still rock. Rolling Stone cited Hesitation Marks as being, “a dance party at the edge of oblivion,” and I whole heartedly agree with them. Imagine if the world was ending, this would be the soundtrack to it. Hesitation Marks plays out as someone’s journey to recovery. There is variety in every track and every track has something to say. It’s an incredibly personal album by Reznor.
Perfect For: Celebrating the end of the world
Favourite Tracks: Copy of A, Came Back Haunted, All Time Low, Everything
8. Days Are Gone – Haim
Haim’s debut album initially got ignored by me. It was released on the same day as Lorde’s Pure Heroine, which I became obsessed with. Haim came to my attention after their performance on SNL. I fell in love with these three sisters and their music, so I downloaded the album and spent the remainder of the month listening to it and nothing else. It’s pop-rock done right; pop-rock done well. If you think that the pop sound dominates their music than you’re wrong. The band Capital Cities sound more pop than they do. The album includes their huge hit “The Wire” as well as my personal favourite song off the album “My Song 5.”
Perfect For: Reliving the eighties, even though you weren’t born then.
Favourite Tracks: Falling, The Wire, Don’t Save Me, My Song 5, and Let Me Go.
9. Evil Friends – Portugal the Man
Never heard of them until this year, when a friend of mine brought this band to my attention. It’s one of those albums that grew on me. The hazy sound and rebellious lyrics tug right into our teen angst, without getting to heavy in both sound and message. Tracks breeze by with light guitar strums and a mild base that never overpowers the lead guitar. Portugal the Man sound like a crossover between Paul Simon lyricism and David Bowie production values, if you need a comparison.
Perfect For: Tripping out on LSD.
Favourite Tracks: Creep in a T-Shirt, Evil Friends, Modern Jesus, Holly Roller (Hallelujah)
10. ARTPOP – Lady Gaga
I don’t understand the negative reviews this album received and from the same people who loved Born This Way. I thought ARTPOP was much stronger than Born This Way, but to each their own. This album reminded me of the reason I feel in love with Lady Gaga in the first place. Her music is fun, bold and crazy. Born This Way was Gaga talking about identity and acceptance, ARTPOP is a sexual exploration of an artist and her identity. The songs are incredibly varied. There are hip-hop tracks, dance tracks, ballads, club tracks and rock tracks. It’s a pop album that aims to do everything and does it well.
Perfect For: Unleashing your inner drag queen.
Favourite Tracks: Venus, G.U.Y, Do What You Want, Artpop, Gypsy, Applause
So there you have it, my top 10 albums of 2013. If you don’t agree, simple, make your own damn list. To those who enjoyed the list, thank you for reading. There honestly was a lot of great music this year. Like SO MUCH. If I had more time I would have made a much more expansive list but instead here is a short list of some honourable mentions instead:
…Like Clockwork – Queens of the Stone Age
Heartthrob – Tegan & Sara
Bankrupt! – Phoenix
Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem
Electric Lady – Janelle Monae
Night Time, My Time – Sky Ferreira
The Bones of What You Believe – Chvrches
The Next Day – David Bowie
Acid Rap – Chance the Rapper
Bangerz -Miley Cyrus