Hey guys! Seeing as I compiled my 100 best tracks of 2013 yesterday, as well as highlighted the top 10 of the year, I'm doing the same with the top 10 albums of the past 12 months (in my humble opinion, anyways). 2013 was a HUGE year for the album. Coming back in ways I've never dreamed, I must have heard hundreds this year and nearly fell in love with most of them. Some fell flat, as the trend of having one massive single and then ten filler tracks is still fairly common in music, but the albums that I played on repeat in 2013 definitely made up for the so-so releases.
Counting 'em down from 10 to 1, follow along with me & stream them off Spotify:
10. You Were Right, Brendan Benson
One issue I've had with Brendan Benson is that once he got back to releasing solo albums past his Raconteurs era, they've fallen flat for me. However, this album, legit released a little over a week ago, has rejuvinated my adoration for the singer/songwriter. Going back to his roots as a Southern-influenced rocker on "Diamond", and sticking with his tried-and-true folk-songwriter vibe on tracks like "As of Tonight", I'm happy to include this release in my top 10 albums of the year list.
9. Trouble Will Find Me, The National
It's safe to say that whenever The National comes out with new music, I will eagerly gobble it up, as well as their many die-hard fans. Their music isn't for everybody, due to lead singer and songwriter Matt Berninger's signature deep vocals, but the lyrics are some of the most forlorn, melancholic, yet beautiful words in music today. Songs like "Don't Swallow The Cap" and "Demons" prove just that.
8. ARTPOP, Lady Gaga
Upon first listen, I wasn't really jiving with Lady Gaga's latest release. "Applause" was an OK single, at least to me, and I was hoping for something a little more exciting from the enigmatic pop star. After a few listens to ARTPOP, I got what I wanted. Every song off this record has an epic chorus that can only be delivered by the pop queen, such as "I think that I could be fine / If I could be Mary Jane Holland tonight" or "Take me to your planet, take me to your leader". Atta girl, Gaga!
7. The Golden Age, Woodkid
Music video director turned recording artist Woodkid delivered one of the biggest surprises of 2013, with a gorgeous neo-folk album that must be heard to be believed. Writing some painstakingly beautiful songs that clearly came from personal experience, it's not commonly acceptable when people suddenly become singers out of nowhere, but we can let Woodkid slide with The Golden Age. It's a lovely record.
6. Overgrown, James Blake
As the winner of the Mercury Music Prize in Britain for the best album of 2013 by a UK artist, they awarded the right person, because producer James Blake's Overgrown is definitely one of the year's best. The single "Retrograde" is enough of a reason to give all the awards to Blake: his use of looping his own smooth and soulful vocals over his synth stabs made for a near-perfect track. The guy's got major talent that was finally globally recognized in 2013.
5. The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake
If anybody knows how to make an "album" -- 10 songs from front to back that blend seamlessly into one another -- it's Justin Timberlake and producer Timbaland. Every song off JT's comeback record is a piece of work that clocks in at at LEAST 5 minutes, making him the king of progressive pop. *bows*
4. ...Like Clockwork, Queens Of The Stone Age
Inspired by lead singer Josh Homme's near-death experience in 2010, this is the most vulnerable album Queens Of The Stone Age has ever released, which makes it all the more tangible. Usually known for making jangly, sexy party rock, this album is more mature in a sense, but it makes it that much more impressive. And hey -- it's still pretty jangled up and sexy in certain parts ("If I Had A Tail", anyone?).
3. The Next Day, David Bowie
With probably one of the best records of his 50+ career in music, 66-year-old rock LEGEND David Bowie released one of 2013's most prestigious albums. Take a look at every major publication's top albums list of the year, and you'll find The Next Day on there. The concept is almost a throwback to his 70's rock roots, with smooth modern production, and the album cover ever depicts that. I'm still obsessed with this record, months upon months after its release.
2. Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Another MAJOR surprise for 2013 was electronic duo Daft Punk's RAM, coming totally out of left field and responsible for one of the year's biggest hits, "Get Lucky". Daft Punk just KNOW how to make accessible singles that are also critically-acclaimed: not ONE person can deny that they love the music from the French pair. The 70s/80s prog-rock / disco groove, mixed with their traditional robotic vocals is a deadly combo that I could not get enough of. This is destined to be a classic record.
1. Psychic, Darkside
Hands-down, my number one pick for Album Of 2013 goes to Darkside. The duo, comprised of electronic producer Nicolas Jaar and guitarist Dave Harrington, has put together an immaculate record reminiscent of Pink Floyd or even The Doors if those bands were making music in this decade. The breathtaking combination of electro and guitar licks, plus Jaar's haunting deep manipulated vocals, totally won me over. I still play it every day without fail.