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My Top Albums of 2013: Part One of Two

Posted on the 20 December 2013 by Kdcoduto @katydee

Everyone does a year-end list of albums of the year now. And while they claim to be carefully picked and thought about, only a few truly are – because at the end of the day, we’re all just fangirling over artists who are doing the things we wish we could do (and will never have the musical chops to accomplish). So, instead of trying to be a “critic” and analyze the artistic merits of each album on my own personal list, I’m just going to explain why I loved the albums I loved this year and how they fall into place. This does include how they affect my own critical senses, but mostly how they ended up fitting into my life.

Because that’s what is most important to me, at the end of the day. How did these works fit into the fabric of my day-to-day existence? If I couldn’t play these albums in my car, there’s a good chance I didn’t play them at all.

First, there are plenty of honorable mentions that I enjoyed but that don’t quite fit into that top 25. Electro-pop by White Lies (BIG TV) and Cut Copy (Free Your Mind) was enjoyable, but it didn’t shatter my world – at least not yet. Cut Copy especially has some time to still grow on me. Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP has some incredible songs on it (my personal favorite: “G.U.Y.”), but it doesn’t compare to some of this year’s other releases. I also loved Volcano Choir’s Repave more and more with every listen, and both Jon Hopkins’s Immunity and Washed Out’s Paracosm had similar effects. Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris was part of the soundtrack to my trip to Prague, meaning it narrowly missed the top 25. And of course, B.O.A.T.S. II: ME TIME also just falls short of the list. 2 Chainz has some heavy-hitting tracks, but his peers just did slightly better (and he has plenty of featured verses on about half of the top 25).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

My other quick mentions go to the EPs released this year. It’s interesting to see the EP fade in and out of relevance, with some artists not touching the format and others really embracing it. Phantogram’s self-titled EP is going to serve as a perfect teaser to their upcoming 2014 release, while FKA twigs blew me away with EP2 (which includes one of my absolute favorite songs of 2013 in “Papi Pacify”). Banks’ LONDON EP is also astonishingly powerful, and all three EPs promise bigger and better works in the next twelve months.

Now, on to the beginning of the top 25. While I know this will change over time, these are my feelings as of December 2013. Repeated listens in my car will likely change this, but for now, this is where we stand. 25 through 16 are below; 15 through number one will arrive soon enough.

25. Jagwar Ma, Howlin

Howlin
I loved Jagwar Ma’s sunny Howlin from the first time I heard “Come Save Me” on. The pop sensibilities of the Australian group can’t be denied, and every song finds a way to hook you in. No album makes me want to bask in the sunshine quite like this one.

 24. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Modern Vampires
Is there any album as grossly overrated this year as MVOTC? Doubtful. But Modern Vampires has its moments, especially with speaking-to-God track “Ya Hey” and the soft-spoken “Step.” One of my highlights of 2013? Finding Modern Vampires in white vinyl while in a London record store. Success.

23. Polica, Shulamith

POLICA
Polica first came into my life at Governors Ball, just as the rain was beginning to fall and the winds picked up. While their set was decent, it was enough to bring me to Shulamith, an album that has massive potential to grow on me even more – especially with resounding opening track “Chain My Name.”

 22. Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap

Chance the Rapper
At first, I was convinced this was another Modern Vampires case – highly overrated. But repeated listens grew on me, especially into autumn and as I started playing Acid Rap in my car. My personal standout track features Ab-Soul: “Smoke Again” has a throbbing bass that rattles my windows and I love it.

21. Classixx, Hanging Gardens

Hanging Gardens
Few people crafted a synth-driven euphoria in 2013 like Classixx did with Hanging Gardens. Equal parts dance and relax, Hanging Gardens shimmers and delivers in all of the right places. Classixx woke up with me on many mornings, and there are definitely worse ways to start a day.

 20. Arctic Monkeys, AM

Arctic Monkeys, AM
Produced with help from Josh Homme, written with a hip-hop influence, featuring some of the band’s best lyrics? Few albums were more perfect for the beginning of the school year than Alex Turner and Co.’s AM and its barrage of edgy songs.

19. CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe

The Bones of What You Believe
The Scottish band’s full debut is full of perfectly crafted pop songs that stick with you for hours after listening. The dosage of girl power delivered by this album is what just about any girl in her 20s needs, and what more can you ask for? “We Sink” is my standout track.

 18. Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time

Sky Ferreira
Speaking of females dealing in excellent pop music… Sky Ferreira finally released a full album with a honed sound and sonics that complement her pinpointed personality. “You’re Not the One” is an excellent singalong, as is “Heavy Metal Heart.” In fact, most of this album  – whether kiss offs or love songs – makes for an excellent you-go-girl singalong.

 17. Flume, Deluxe Edition

Deluxe Edition
Flume’s Deluxe Edition is good because it has all of the original songs from Flume, plus a mixtape and mounds of remixes to sift through. For me, the main appeal is in the mixtape, which features guest verses from the likes of Killer Mike, Autre Ne Veut, Twin Shadow and How to Dress Well – just to name a few.

 16. Deerhunter, Monomania

Monomania
I finally saw Deerhunter live, again at Governors Ball. While I’m still addicted to Halcyon Digest, I love the differences in Monomania and the way Lockett and Bradford still play off of each other. Plus, this album was made even more special when a friend from NYC emailed me the actual disc.

Disagree? Think I’m a genius? Either way, just wait until you see this top 15… coming soon.


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