The best of 2013: The music
In case you were too distracted by what Miley Cyrus’ tongue was smoking or whatever other lame ‘controversy’ was in the headlines that day, 2013 was a pretty great year for music. Unlike movies and TV, I listen to a LOT of music, so I’m far more confident in my selections here. I had a harder time than usual coming up with my Best of the year playlist; my final top ten albums list changed numerous times, and, most incredibly, my artist of the year changed in just the last couple of weeks (and to somebody I had not heard of until recently.) Let’s dive into the top 10 albums to start, in reverse order.
10. No Blues – Los Campesinos: Another great, at times hilarious, album from the pride of Cardiff, Wales.
9. The Messenger – Johnny Marr: A solo record 25 years in the making, and worth the wait for the guitar riff on The Right Thing Right alone.
8. The 20/20 Experience – Justin Timberlake: Unfairly maligned. Even though some of it is an unholy mess, when it works, it’s genius and the closest thing on a grand scale to Stevie Wonder’s amazing 70’s output we’ve seen.
7. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories: No robot rock, but some pretty masterful pop music. Any album that can bring the amazing Nile Rodgers back into the public consciousness AND give us this Frost/Pegg duet is worthy of inclusion here.
6. Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You: Another fantastic album from one of the most reliable artists going. And I’m so smitten with her that I don’t even mind the title.
5. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City: The best of their three albums to date by a big margin, and Diane Young was hands down one of the best songs of the year.
4. Disclosure – Settle: This is a great old school techno/acid house record made by two guys too young to remember old school techno/acid house.
3. The National – Trouble Will Find Me: The most consistently great recording act this side of Neko Case. Another fantastic album.
2. Toro y Moi – Anything in Return: One of the best R and B, chillout records in very long time. Got to give props to a fellow SC native for making such great music.
1. Mikal Cronin – MCII: Loved this record from the minute I bought it and have kept it in heavy rotation all year. Simply a great collection of tight, melodic power pop.
Honorable mentions: Hard to believe there was no room for Superchunk’s I Hate Music, the My Bloody Valentine release, and the really great Atoms for Peace record. Also props to David Bowie for making a better album than a 66-year old should be able to make.
Artist of the Year: I was prepared to make a case for a couple of different folks as artist of the year, and then a seven foot tall sad clown that sounds like a cross between Tom Jones and Morrissey came shuffling into my life a couple of weeks ago, and all of those original thoughts were obliterated. Check out this cover of the already amazing Lorde (another album of the year honorable mention) song, Royals. I mean, seriously, I really didn’t have any choice in the matter. Cheers to you, Puddles Pity Party, artist of this year and any year you choose to sing.
Puddles crooning version of Royals is included in the best of 2013 playlist below, along with 24 other songs that made the grade. I’ve included it here for your listening/subscribing pleasure as always.
What were your favorites that I missed? What did I completely screw up? And how much do you love Puddles?