2013 – The List (Albums)

This year was pretty amazing musically, probably better than any since 2007. As such, my list of top albums is stretching to 35. There were quite a few other albums I liked, but these are the ones I liked enough that I would feel bad leaving them off a list. I’ll do a separate list of songs in a few days; I find those much more difficult to rank.

I’m slowly adding comments to these, though I’m not sure I’ll add something to every entry.

35. Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals
I’m still waiting for Treats‘s equal. This is fun, but there’s enough lyrical awkwardness here to give plenty of pause. Play it loud, and don’t think about it too hard.
34. Action Bronson – Blue Chips 2
“… in a Porsche and the seats are made of mastodon.” Action Bronson … still ridiculous. Also one of the most consistent (and prolific) creators of memorable one-liners. There’s nothing high-concept about him (yet), but his lowbrow is better than your lowbrow. Guaranteed.
33. Cassie – Rockabyebaby
32. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – UZU
31. Windhand – Soma
In the spirit of 40 Watt Sun and Pallbearer, Windhand have this year’s best doom record. Complete with a half-hour final track, Soma is even perfectly titled. While I doubt the muscle-relaxant is the intoxicant of choice for experiencing the record, I’m sure it soundtracked many stoned hours this year.
30. MIA – Matangi
It’s definitely no Kala or even Arular, but Matangi is a step back in the right direction after MIA’s last outing. It’s definitely a little disappointing that nothing else on it is as good as “Bad Girls” though.
29. Party Supplies – Tough Love
28. The Range – Nonfiction
27. Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
26. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
25. Danny Brown – Old
24. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
23. Mikal Cronin – MCII
22. Marnie Stern – The Chronicles of Marnia
21. Kurt Vile – Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
20. Survival – Survival
It’s not Liturgy, but it does share some of the experimentation with rhythm that I enjoy so much about HHH’s other band. Survival is certainly more accessible, if ultimately less satisfying.
19. Dan Friel – Total Folklore
18. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
This will probably have changed significantly when (if?) it officially gets released, but even in the leaked form it was a really nice development of the style Paul exhibited in “BTSTU” and “Jasmine”.
17. Torres – Torres
16. Forest Swords – Engravings
15. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
14. Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana
13. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
12. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator
11. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
10. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
09. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
08. Haim – Days Are Gone
07. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
06. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
I didn’t hear American Weekend until this year, ie about a month before Cerulean Salt came out. I still think this is the lesser accomplishment, but impressive nonetheless, and it is admittedly much more musically diverse.
05. Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety
04. Disclosure – Settle
03. Deafheaven – Sunbather
There was a lot of discussion around about this being a crossover album, but make no mistake: this is metal. If I were to make a list of my favorite metal tracks this year, I’m pretty sure the top of the list would be every track on here. It’s in the running with Liturgy for my favorite metal album ever.
02. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
01. Kanye West – Yeezus
This is the year of Yeezus. Nothing else came close. You may not be on board with Kanye the character, but Kanye the musician is unimpeachable. As long as he remains at the top of the mountain, he can yell as loud as he wants from up there.

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