Phil M: Top Albums of 2013

Baton Rouge, LA

top ten albums

10AlunaGeorge: Body Music

There were a lot of albums that could’ve gone in this spot, but I kept coming back to AlunaGeorge. It’s not the best *album* I’ve heard all year, but it’s super fun to listen to, and it’s got really, REALLY catchy hooks.

Standout Track(s): Outlines, “You Know You LIke It,” “Kaleidoscope Love”

09Marnie Stern: The Chronicles of Marnia

Marnie Stern is a tough listen—she sings like a cartoon character and will NOT stop shredding. This album, though uncomfortable, can be really moving. Wait for it.

Standout Track(s): You Don’t Turn Down, “Nothing is Easy”

08Thundercat: Apocalypse

This album is for driving at night. That’s a really specific genre of album, and this is it.

Standout Track(s): Heartbreaks + Setbacks, “Oh Sheit, It’s X”

07The Knife: Shaking the Habitual

This is one of a number of albums on the list this year that terrify me. I listened to it on my headphones while working in my office a lot this year, and every single time a person came to my door, I jumped. Because this album is scary and totally captivating.

06Neko Case: The Worse Things Get…

This isn’t a surprising album from Neko Case, it’s just the best one since the Foxes one. These songs are in my head a lot.

Standout Track(s): Man, “Night Still Comes,” “Local Girl”

05Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady

I wasn’t a huge fan of JM’s first album—it felt more like a concept than a concept album. But this is something else. The album opens with a Prince duet. She STARTS there. And it holds. This is BIG music.

Standout Track(s): The Electric Lady, “Givin Em What They Love”

04Beyoncé Knowles: Beyoncé

So this is new, and I’ve worked very hard over the past few days to justify including this and placing it this high, but this is a REAL Beyonce album, and it is spectacular. She hasn’t turned in a vocal performance this wild and virtuousic since B’Day, and “Beyonce” makes B’Day sound like a rough draft. I’m putting it at #4 conservatively.

Standout Track(s): Drunk in Love

03Haim: Days Are Gone

Oh man, HAIM. These songs are unstoppable! And Danielle Haim has some of the coolest, weirdest vocal phrasings. This album has LOTS of flawless moments, but none of it feels overworked. And the first three songs are as strong an opening as I can possibly imagine. Best pop album of the year.

Standout Track(s): Falling, “Don’t Save Me,” “Let Me Go”

02Kanye West: Yeezus

It’s inaccessible, it’s catchy, it’s scary, it’s hilarious, it’s misogynist, it’s ironic(?), it’s YEEZUS! I can’t stop listening to this record.

Standout Track(s): On Sight, “Blood on the Leaves,” “Bound 2”

01Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City

The first two minutes of most of these songs are perfectly great, traditional Vampire Weekend songs, many of which sound like two-minute-and-out rave ups or ballads or ideas. None of them are. The crescendos and unexpected turns to which these songs lead are each individually better than anything VW’s ever done. The end of “Ya Hey” or “Finger Back” or the low-end in the last choruses of “Unbelievers.” This is an epic, beautiful album, small and large scale.

Standout Track(s): Ya Hey, “Hannah Hunt,” “Finger Back”

similarity to overall top ten: 33%, 3 matches

top songs

10Valerie June, “Working Woman Blues”

09Laura Marling, “Master Hunter”

08Neko Case, “Local Girl”

07Thundercat, “Heartbreaks + Setbacks”

06HAIM, “Falling”

05Kanye West, “Blood on the Leaves”

04Janelle Monae, “The Electric Lady”

03Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”

02Tegan and Sara, “Closer”

01Vampire Weekend, “Ya Hey”

similar voters suggested albums

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