Obviously, I’m not a professional music critic, so this is limited only to the music that I’ve been able to spend quality time with.
1. Rhye – Woman
The androgynous mystique of the vocals only enhance an already lush and full album. I would have never thought that an indie version of Sade would work so well but it does. Basically, I want to make out with this album.
2. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
Everything that the critics are praising HAIM for, Tegan and Sara did it first on this album. They also did it way more successfully.
3. Lorde – Pure Heroine
While I am not sure that the narrative of Lorde as Kurt Cobain is completely accurate, the combination of her ethereal voice with the expertly produced minimalistic drum and bass is irresistable.
4. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
Third albums in three part concept albums about bisexual androids have never been more funky. I regularly twerk to this album.
5. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Neko continues her streak as every album she’s made since 2006 have been clinics in songwriting.
6. Icona Pop – This is…Icona Pop
Very worthy heirs to the great tradition of Swedish pop music. Perhaps it was due to the wild success of the single “I Love It” as a club anthem, but the rest of this album has been very overlooked.
7. Kanye West – Yeezus
This is a little surprising since this album is not nearly as good as the previous two. But even Kanye’s B-roll is catchier, more interesting, and more compelling than almost anything else out there.
8. Brandy Clark – 12 Stories
Pretty much all the good things about country music before it went full redneck-son-of-the-south around 2002. Like Neko Case’s album, this is a showcase of extremely competent songwriting.
9. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
The critics pretty much nailed it with this one – this album is the complete fulfillment of Daft Punk’s potential as the ones to take electronic music mainstream.
10. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
I’ve had trouble figuring out exactly what I like about this album so much. All I can tell you is that I play the crap out of it when I surf the web.
Came close but no cigar
Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety (It killed me to not put this one in the top 10)
Beyonce – Beyonce (This might have made the list if I was able to spend more time with it)
Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Didn’t come out in 2013 but I started listening to them this year and love these albums
Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine
Vijay Iyer Trio – Historicity (High School Jazz Band Drummer Bob here – this album is a stunning achievement)
Album that I have to admit I liked at least a few songs despite hating their last two albums
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
Albums that the indie kids seemed to like but I didn’t get at all
Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Arcade Fire – Reflektor – I seriously hate this album, but not as much as….
Worst Album of 2013
HAIM – Days are Gone