Here I present my completely biased list of the top 13 albums to grace the charts in 2013.
12. The Neighbourhood, “I Love You.”
I Love You. is one debut album that has seen substantial success this past year. The band melds pop with spoken word lyrics to create a unique and mesmerizing sound. While “Sweater Weather” is the band’s hit track, “Flawless” is my personal favorite with its pairing of a mysterious melody with melancholy lyrics.
11. STRFKR, “Miracle Mile”
I have yet to be disappointed by one of STRFKR’s albums. “Miracle Mile” is another success with an amazing single, “While I’m Alive.” However, my personal favorite is definitely “Malmo.” Or “Beach Monster.” Or maybe “YAYAYA.” Actually, just the whole album.
10. Childish Gambino, “Because the Internet”
Childish Gambino has a true gift for rhyme, but also shows some serious talent for melody in his sophomore effort. “I. crawl” is excellent but “V. 3005” is an impressively laid back love song.
9. Janelle Monae, “The Electric Lady”
If you haven’t heard of Janelle Monae, you should Spotify her immediately because she combines all the best parts of the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s into one sound. “Dance Apocalyptic” is by far my favorite track of the album, but “Primetime [feat. Miguel]” is an excellent study in passion.
8. Phoenix, “Bankrupt!”
While their album “Wolfgang Amadeus” impressed me more, “Entertainment” is a great pop accomplishment and “S.O.S. in Bel Air” captures the wonderful uniqueness of Phoenix’s sound.
7. Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”
The title track, “Reflektor” is a true melodic accomplishment. “Supersymmetry” is also a stand-out with impressive instrumentals and a bittersweet melody that carries you through the song’s 11 minutes.
6. Arctic Monkeys, “AM”
The Arctic Monkeys’ one-upped themselves with “AM.” They kept their sound while adding a slightly darker edge that took them to new heights. The entire album is noteworthy, but “Do I Wanna Know?” is so good, it’s chilling.
5. Daft Punk, “Random Access Memories”
This album was great, and I think most of the world agrees. “Get Lucky” was obviously the biggest hit, but “Lose Yourself to Dance” is also extremely catchy. “Instant Crush” featuring Julian Casablancas is even better after you’ve seen the music video.
4. Tegan and Sara, “Heartthrob”
Heartthrob injected just a little more pop into Tegan and Sara’s sound. “I Was A Fool,” “Drove Me Wild” and “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend” are blessed with completely invigorated pop melodies that get you dancing every time.
3. Devandra Banhart, “Mala”
In my opinion, Mala is Banhart’s best album yet. This musician can create haunting melodies without overtly melancholy undertones, and he utilizes this talent fully in his eighth album. The best tracks are “Golden Girls,” “Daniel,” “Für Hildegard von Bingen,” “Mi Negrita” and “Your Fine Petting Duck.” Another notable track is the rest of the album.
2. Vampire Weekend, “Modern Vampires of the City”
I can’t even talk about this album it’s so good. Notable tracks are “Obvious Bicycle,” “Young Lion,” “Finger Back,” “Ya Hey” and “Diane Young,” which makes you think Elvis came back to life in Ezra Koenig.
1. Lucius, “Wildewoman”
It is so rare to see a debut album as fully accomplished as Wildewoman. Bastille and The Neighbourhood released good debut albums with great singles this year, but Lucius released a debut album that is comprised of only great singles. Every track can stand alone as an excellent musical composition, which is rare in any album, let alone a debut. Lucius will be coming to Lawrence on Friday, Feb. 21 for a free performance, so if you don’t believe me, go and check them out.
Notable tracks are the entire album, but if you need more direction, “Tempest,” “Hey, Doreen,” “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Until We Get There” are a few of my favorites.
Honorable Mentions: Wallpaper, “Ricky Reed Is Real” and The Head and the Heart, “Be Still.”