Top 10 Albums of 2013

Remember my entry in June describing my “favorite albums of 2013… so far”?  Well, it’s time to make it official and give you the FINAL top ten.  Many of the LPs are the same, but the order has been shuffled and a few new comers deserve a nice shout out.  While 2013 isn’t going to go down as a year full of classic albums, the depth of “solid albums” is above average.

Much like the 2012 entry:  Here it is, my top ten of ’13, starting with 10 and working up to the top spot.  I’ll also list my favorite and second favorite track from the album, that way you can try to get a glimpse into what sounds I truly like.

 

10.  Tegan & Sara – “Heartthrob”

Tegan and Sara 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“I was so worried that the huge change in sound to a ‘pop album’ would be strange and awkward, but the Quin sisters pulled it off wonderfully.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  How Come You Don’t Want Me

Second Favorite:  Drove Me Wild

 

9.  Frank Turner – “Tape Deck Heart”

Frank Turner 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“While coming off a potentially career-defining album, any follow up could be considered a let-down.  Not so with Tape Deck Heart; while not as deep (life, death, and cultural roots) as “England Keep My Bones”, this LP is still very personal with a solid outing by The Sleeping Souls.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  Plain Sailing Weather

Second Favorite:  Four Simple Words

 

8.  Vampire Weekend – “Modern Vampires of the City”

Vampire Weekend 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“Another artist deciding to change their sound, Vampire Weekend made a very mature and deep album in their 3rd offering since 2008.  The quirky “international” sounds have been placed on the back-burner in favor of thoughtful lyrics and a challenging new sound.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  Ya Hey

Second Favorite:  Everlasting Arms

 

7.  Bosnian Rainbows – “Bosnian Rainbows”

Bosnian Rainbows 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“Though a bit of a let down coming away from their live show before their album dropped, this album plants seeds that eventually take root in your brain; the plant is bountiful and rewarding.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  Turtle Neck

Second Favorite:  Mother, Father, Set Us Free

 

6.  Queens of the Stone Age – “…Like Clockwork”

QOTSA 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“QOTSA are no longer the ‘little band that could’, they are a well polished machine. …Like Clockwork is deeply introspective (Josh Homme’s near-death experience giving the deepest inspiration) and the music is beautiful and haunting.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  If I Had A Tail

Second Favorite:  Keep Your Eyes Peeled

 

5.  Marijuana Deathsquads – “Oh My Sexy Lord”

5 Marijuana_Deathsquads_-_Oh_My_Sexy_Lord

Tony’s Review:

“This album is challenging and definitely not anywhere near the mainstream.  If you are a fan of P.O.S. and want to get into this side-project, this album is no sure bet.  With that being said, if you enjoy some experimental and distorted sounds, your ears will thank you… over and over and over.  This band makes me proud to call Minnesota home.”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  Ewok Sadness

Second Favorite:  Crosstown Crippler: Crosstown Crippler

 

4.  Kanye West – “Yeezus”

Kanye West 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“Please, do not judge an album by an artist’s viewpoint and non-music output. Kanye is a difficult man to understand or even put up with; but he makes great music. The beats are top notch and the lyrics a roller-coaster of emotion and thought (from political to laughable in 2 lines). Kanye is known for pushing the musical envelop and on this album it is no different (think P.O.S. with ego problems and access to platinum-level sales).”

Grade:  B

Favorite Track:  New Slaves

Second Favorite:  Hold My Liquor

 

3.  Kate Nash – “Girl Talk“

Kate Nash 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“While maybe not the most cohesive album, each individual song is superb.  Kate picked up the bass, channeled her inner-punk and made a great pop/punk feminism album.  Though I cannot judge an album on things not pressed to wax (or digitally encoded on thin metal and plastic, or transferred via bytes/bits), her encouragement for young girls to chase their musical dreams is worth giving a shout-out.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Sister

Second Favorite:  Rap For Rejection

 

2.  Lorde – “Pure Heroine”

2 Lorde_Pure_Heroine

Tony’s Review:

“She is 17?!  OK, maybe after listening to the lyrics after learning her age you can see how this is a teenage album, but not in a bad way at all.  These pop songs are perfectly crafted, much in the same way that Lana Del Ray stole my eardrums last year.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Ribs

Second Favorite:  400 Lux

 

1.  The Flaming Lips – “The Terror”

Flaming Lips 300x300

Tony’s Review:

“Being an extremely new fan of this notoriously ambitious band, this album is stripped of gimmicks (gummy skulls, furry deluxe edition, 24 hour song, etc.) as well as a lack of their normal pop-sound.  The results are fantastic and eerie; the lyrics and sounds are haunting in such a beautiful way.”

Grade:  A-

Favorite Track:  You Lust

Second Favorite:  The Terror

(I mentioned in the “half-way” blog in June that You Lust and The Terror need to be played as one long, 20 minute piece, please heed that advice.)

Honorable Mention:

Sigur Rós – “Kveikur” – Grade: B

Marnie Stern – “The Chronicles of Marnia” – Grade: B

Death Grips – “Government Plates” – Grade: B

Gogol Bordello – “Pura Vida Conspiracy” – Grade: B-

Childish Gambino – “Because the Internet” – Grade: B-

ZibraZibra – “Mr. Synthetic” – Grade: B-

Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals” – Grade: B-

The Strokes – “Comedown Machine” – Grade: B-

 

So there it is, my favorite of 2013!  I would once again like to thank these artists, some of which I have been able to see perform this year and give my thanks to personally.  All of the albums listed above are albums are albums which I believe to be above average and strike a chord with me.  I know that this is the time of year where everyone becomes a critic and tries to show off their “musical knowledge”, but it’s no more knowledge than it is their personal opinion (or in major publications’ cases, which artist sells best and can bring in more money).  I hope you enjoy this list and maybe, just maybe, I can turn you on to one of my favorite artists/albums/songs.

PS:  Koo Koo Kanga Roo gets the “band I am most thankful to discover” award for 2013.  Thank you, Mr. Frank Turner, for shining a light on a local band that I had not heard until my fateful drive to Des Moines.  These guys put on one heck of a dance-party/work-out session that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Listen to Unicorns R Real, Friendship Bracelets, and Awesome Rainbows and tell me that you didn’t smile and sing along.

5 thoughts on “Top 10 Albums of 2013

    • Fixed Kanye and QOTSA. Thanks for the heads up, for some reason I either missed those or it reverted to an earlier draft. (It’s now hard to cover up that I used 2012 as my template and just copied and pasted everything.)

    • Larry,
      Still no word on the Chicago trip. Once the Cubs release tickets and the secondary market settles, I’ll know better. I am guessing early April – before Twins home opener, since I noticed that last year the Cubbies had a terrible attendance problem. Let’s hope for more early losing, cold weather, and other anti-crowd measures. I need to get a super-close ticket to the visitor’s dugout if I want one of those sweet 100th balls (best bet).

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Albums of 2014 « Plouffe's New Hairdo

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