Top 10 Albums of 2013

This is a repost from my previous blog.

Another year, another set of best-of-the-year lists. Wanna start by saying that 2013 was an alright year in music, but not as great as 2012 which brought us good stuff like Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, The xx’s Coexist, Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream, Chromatics’ Kill for Love and many more and brilliant new artists like Jessie Ware, Alabama Shakes, Michael Kiwanuka, Kindness and Alt-J. This year was not as rich in good music and I tried to listen to as much good stuff as possible. I am grateful for the return of Goldfrapp, Janelle Monae, Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine,  Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire and especially Daft Punk, and for new artists like Rhye, Lorde, Haim, London Grammar and Disclosure, but it was not as great as the previous one. I will start by listing out what I considered to be the worst this year and then I will present you my 10 favorites.

Top 5 Worst Albums of 2013

Dishonorable Mention: Delta Machine by Depeche Mode

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I’m a fan of Depeche Mode, not a huge one, and I’ve still got a lot of their material to listen to, however this album was boring without any interesting songs, nothing catchy or anthemic or decent enough. I didn’t have anything to latch onto. A huge disappointment.

5. Britney Jean by Britney Spears

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Zzzzzzz…Apart from a few instrumental parts that were slightly interesting, this album is so boring, you keep waiting for something interesting, but it won’t show up. It’s weird to say this because I hate it but the first single is the most decent thing on the album. It’s a shame when something called Work Bitch is the best thing on your album.

4. Love Me Back To Life by Celine Dion

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Generic boring pop shit that was a thing in 2007. It was still shit then as much as it is now, but come on woman, evolve like everyone else.

3. Exile by Hurts

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I enjoyed to a certain extent their previous album, Happiness, where they had songs like Better Than Love, Sunday, Devotion and Wonderful Life, but their sophomore work is mediocre, generic and boring music, dead from start to finish.

2. Magna Carta Holy Grail by Jay-Z

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Entertainers sometimes reach a point of artistic saturation when they do not have anything substantial to say so they start talking about how good and comfortable their life is. This is the case of Jay-Z and his latest pompously-titled album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, where it shows that the famous rapper doesn’t have anything interesting to add to music. There is nothing at least partly exciting about this album. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy and happy and I certainly don’t have anything against Jay-Z for being in this position, but this album is a total failure. He could have played with form, make some great beats or just make some good ol’ big beat party song, but instead he chose to be boring.

1. #willpower by Will.i.am

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A disgrace of an album, I am not sorry for the people who were involved in it, they did it themselves, a huge pile of crap, music that makes even the stupidest beings feel insulted. Please stay away from this album and anything this man touches. It’s tainted.

 

I feel good after letting out all the feelings that these train wrecks generated. Let’s bring in the good stuff.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

I. Days Are Gone by Haim

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A gem full of pop hooks and riffs and drums that will stay in your head a long time. and you will enjoy it. A fun series of pop/rock songs that will stay in your head for a long time.

Favorite Tracks: Don’t Save Me, The Wire, Falling, Forever, If I Could Change Your Mind, Days Are Gone

II. Seasons Of Your Day by Mazzy Star

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A beautiful surprise, a delicate album, very autumnal, destined for long drives on Sunday afternoons, featuring the unique voice of Hope Sandoval, a pleasure from start to finish.

Favorite Tracks: California, Common Burn, Spoon, Seasons Of Your Day, In The Kingdom

III. The Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You by Neko Case

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A collection of songs with some harsh lyrics wrapped around beautiful production full of angry drums, delicate guitar melodies.

Favorite Tracks: Wild Creatures, Night Still Comes, Man, Calling Cards, Local Girl, Ragtime

10.  Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend

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A catchy collection. Wasn’t very much impressed but it but after another listen I realized how great this album is. I liked their previous work, especially Contra, and this one is probably their best one. The songs are stronger and I feel like they got a better sense of what kind of band they are, whatever that means.

Favorite Tracks: Step, Hannah Hunt, Diane Young, Ya Hey

9. Yeezus by Kanye West

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One of the most interesting artists in the hip hop genre, and in general, West always surprises with his music. His songs are always so different and groundbreaking. On Yeezus he takes a more electronic-influenced approach after working with Daft Punk which works very good. A powerful set of songs, I like that he always said what’s on his mind without caring about everyone’s opinion, and he certainly keeps doing that on Yeezus.

Favorite Tracks: On Sight, Black Skinhead, New Slaves, Blood On The Leaves, Bound 2

8. Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara

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A change in style for the twin group. A change for the better than they pulled off very good. Going mainstream looks in most cases like a cheap sellout of a project but here is nothing like that. It’s a catchy collection of tunes about heartbreak, regret, and all types of love.

Favorite Tracks: Closer, Goodbye, Goodbye, I Was a Fool, I Couldn’t Be Your Friend, Guilty As Charged

7. Apocalypse by Thundercat

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Not a sophomore slump at all, this album is a triumph. I love the both futuristic and retro sound they get here, it’s vibrant, interesting and daring work, an evolution from their debut album. It captures a lot of feelings and I love how they translate all of them in this modern collection of R&B, Soul and Funk infused with creative electronics.

Favorite Tracks: Oh Sheit It’s X, Evangelion, Message for Austin/Praise The Lord/Enter The Void

6. Settle by Disclosure

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A fantastic debut. A group that has their own identifiable sound. It’s an wholly accomplished sound full of synths, buzzes and beats and featuring some of the hottest artists working now like London Grammar, Jessie Ware and AlunaGeorge. Together with Daft Punk’s album, the most important electronic/house album of the year.

5. Tales of Us by Goldfrapp
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A return to the origins, a welcomed one after the mess that was 2010’s synthpop-driven Head First, Tales of Us is a set of haunting songs featuring Alison Goldfrapp’s magical voice. I think this is the genre it suits them best, if the songs are great they could surely make a masterpiece. Tales of Us couldn’t be called a masterpiece, however they did come close with their debut from 2000, Felt Mountain, but it’s a pretty good album. It has a beautiful concept, very much inspired by film noir and Ingmar Bergman’s films, very dark and ethereal. I love the main idea, I like that they evolved to film and created an even better way to share with us their stories.
Favorite Tracks: Jo, Annabel, Drew, Alvar, Stranger, Clay, Lee
4. Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
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A hotly anticipated album that delivered grandly, the biggest return in a year of comebacks. A timeless album, one that will stand the test of time and will be remembered as their best work, at least, so far. An album that resuscitated music as a whole and gave life…back to music.
3. AM by Arctic Monkeys
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I love this album, the songs are well written as usual,  Turner’s voice is great, and the sound is harder than ever, the songs feel so complete. NME gave it a 10 and they don’t like nothing.
2. The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae
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After the groundbreaking debut The Archandroid, that didn’t make the big splash that it should have, Monae returns with another set of songs ranging different music genres and continuing her epic Metropolis inspired saga about Cindy Mayweather, the android and her love affair with a human man. This one is apparently a prequel, so there’s not much about the Romeo and Juliet love, it has more different themes, but the songs are as great as usual. Featuring some of the best artists working today, one of them being the legendary Prince, (I was so excited when I saw the tracklist) The Electric Lady continues the set of fantastic music from this fully realized artist.
1. Woman by Rhye
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Kind of disappointing that this was the first album I listened to this year, didn’t get much better than that.

A lovely debut from a group that creates their own sound, a beautiful collection of songs, I love them all, which happens rarely, an ode to women, a fantastic debut. I can’t wait to see how this band evolves.

Favorite Tracks: Open, The Fall, Last Dance, Shed Some Blood, 3 Days, Major Minor Love, Woman

 

What was your favorite music of 2013?

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