Miya T: Top Albums of 2013

Philadelphia, PA

Perhaps it’s appropriate that I open my preamble on a curmodgeonly note for Dave’s annual list. For me, 2013 continued 2012’s musical unremarkableness. Except for a few albums that stood out only slightly from the crowd, most of this year was full of deflating sophomore efforts, tiresome and overwrought senior efforts, and albums with 14 tracks that sound exactly the same. I dutifully listened to albums throughout the year and while I found several mildly enjoyable, I felt complelled to nominate almost none of them to the Noise Narcs Top 10. There were, of course, high points to this year in music, particularly Rhye, who played the gender-bending card more artfully than Neko Case in her too on-the-nose “I’m a Man.” Janelle Monáe and Lorde were both delightfully confident in their intelligence and talent.The Roots and Elvis Costello made an album together. And while they didn’t break my top 10, Sigur Rós recovered from their last album, which put me to sleep 2 tracks in.

top ten albums

10Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe

Gets repetitive towards the end of the album, but good enough that I’ll be paying attention when their next one comes out.

Standout Track(s): The Mother We Share

09Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

Good times, but if I had been actively pining for this album for years, I think I’d be disappointed.

Standout Track(s): Lose Yourself to Dance

08Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City

Building on the foundations of “Contra”–I approve.

Standout Track(s): Lose Yourself to Dance

07Disclosure: Settle

Mature beyone their years. In the good way, not the Britney Spears way.

Standout Track(s): Latch

06The Roots and Elvis Costello: Wise Up Ghost

Questlove’s percussion alone is pretty much enough to get an album on my list. Although I didn’t love this album as much as I wanted to, it was more satisfying than much of what came out this year.

Standout Track(s): Wise Up Ghost

05Arcade Fire: Reflektor

The “Studio 54 meets Hatian Voodoo” sound is doing a lot for me, but this album would probably be higher up on my list if the Miley Cyrus-like blitheness about a white band appropriating a “black sound” didn’t leave the unpleasant aftertaste that it does (h/t Phil Maciak’s “Three Ways of Looking at Arcade Fire” on the LARB blog).

Standout Track(s): Afterlife

04Baths: Obsidian

Standout Track(s): No Eyes

03Rhye: Woman

The thinking person’s make out music.

Standout Track(s): The Fall

02Lorde: Pure Heroine

I usually hesitate to give teenagers too much credit, so the fact that I kept going back to this album even after I learned that Lorde is 16 says how much I like her work.

Standout Track(s): Tennis Court, Ribs

01Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady

I wanna scream and dream and throw a love parade. Well, she did.

Standout Track(s): Dance Apocalyptic, Electric Lady, Primetime

honorable mentions

Sigur Rós, “Kveikur”; The Civil Wars, “The Civil Wars”; Eminem, “The Marshall Mathers LP2”; Amanda Shires, “Down Fell the Doves”; When Saints Go Machine, “Infinity Pool”

similarity to overall top ten: 21.83%, 4 matches

top songs

10Eminem, “Headlights”

09Janelle Monáe, “Dance Apocalyptic”

08The Civil Wars, “The One that Got Away”

07Chvrches, “The Mother We Share”

06Lorde, “Tennis Court”

05When Saints Go Machine (feat. Killer Mike), “Love and Respect”

04Rhye, “The Fall”

03Lorde, “Ribs”

02Janelle Monáe, “Electric Lady”

01Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”

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