I had a hard time putting this together. I don’t think I’ve thoroughly blasted my brain with this much electropop since Goldfrapp released Supernature .Also, there was a lot of good music released this year, but only a few albums that absolutely gripped me. Still, there were definitely some outstanding albums released this year, and one anticlimactic choice for album of the year.
Also, unlike the list of songs of the year I put together, I’m pretty confident these are the best albums released in 2013.
5. My Bloody Valentine- “m b v”
Before “m b v” was released it was assumed the successor to the genre-defining “Loveless” would join “Chinese Democracy” and “Duke Nukem Forever” as long-gestating disappointments. Instead, after more than two decades Kevin Shields, Bilinda Butcher and company delivered an excellent album.
The guitars still sound like power tools and the vocals still have a glass armonica’s ethereal fragility.
4. Chance the Rapper- “Acid Rap”
At 20, Chancelor Bennet is responsible for one of the best releases of the year. Vibrant beats, excellent guest spots, memorable hooks and occasional bouts of intense introspection make “Acid Rap” truly excellent.
3. Disclosure- “Settle”
In a year when EDM and disco influence were everywhere two British brothers mined minimal acid house for all it;s worth. Every song on “Settle” seems like the album’s highlight until you hear the next song. Even with about half of the album featuring guests things never feel crowded.
This is a dance album for rock kids.
2. CHVRCHES- “The Bones of What You Believe”
CHVRCHES finally delivered on the promise of the singles they’ve had floating around online, and the result was better than anyone could expected. A full album of synth-driven pop songs was one the year’s best albums. Everything sounds fresh and dithyrambic. Listening to “The Bones of What You Believe” is one of the most purely enjoyable ways to spend the better part of an hour I could imagine.
1. Kanye West- “Yeezus”
There is so much to love about this album. It’s an album which draws more from the music of Death Grips than anything from Kanye’s own discography. It’s a dark, actively aggressive statement meant to burn off all the goodwill West earned with the impeccable “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”.
The album opener “On Sight” lays down the album’s mission statement of brutality while it subverts a past Daft Punk collaboration and one of Yeezy’s biggest radio hits.
What follows is a visceral gut-punch disguised as music.
2013’s best album concludes with the wonderful throwback jam “Bound 2” which serves to show Kanye West is an artist fully capable of delivering pleasant, moving music, but chose not to. After hearing the seething anger in the previous 9 tracks it’s not surprising West chose to be withholding.
Honorable Mentions: “Reflektor“, “Random Access Memory“, “Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze“, “Old“, “Night time, My Time“, “No Blues“