We Present To You… We Plug Good Music’s Best Albums of 2013
It has been that time of the year again where several music blogs and magazines and entertainment websites all try to highlight their ‘Albums of the Year’ lists and we at We Plug Good Music are no different in that regard. However, where we do differ, is that this is the number one definite list of the Best Albums of 2013. The first part of our list showcases the best albums of 2013 from #50 to #41 and you can check them all out HERE, we continue our countdown from #40 to #31 below.
40. Amel Larrieux – Ice Cream Everyday
We’ve had to wait eight years for Grammy Award nominee Amel Larrieux to bless us with her fifth studio album and while it has been a long wait, Ice Cream Everyday more than makes up for it. This 16-track record has even been touted as better than her groundbreaking debut solo album Infinite Possibilities, in some circles and while we may not go as far as to say that just yet, we will say that Ice Cream Everyday sees Amel Larrieux in the best form she has been in a very long time. The angelic voice, the intricate vocal arrangements, the captivating lyrics and songwriting, the heartwarming themes are all brought together perfectly by progressive and worthy sonic beds courtesy of the album’s sole producer, Amel’s husband Laru Larrieux.
39. Bad Rabbits – American Love
It’s hard to pin down Bad Rabbits to one genre. Describing it in words just sounds a bit odd – R&B meets Funk meets Rock meets Soul. Yes odd isn’t it. But as bizarre as it may sound, it works. Better than just works, it makes you feel inexplicably good with its sultry punk tunes. Bad Rabbits stand apart from the crowd. They effortlessly escape being put into a genre and completely disregard the boundaries. Throwing them out the window, they seem to use anything they want to that works and it works too. Their distinct sound on American Love starts as they mean to go on. It welcomes you in slowly and then crashes down around you, and whether you’re in awe or curious, you’ll stay until the lights go out and the cymbal sizzles into disappointing silence.
38. Thundercat – Apocalypse
Apocalypse, the Flying Lotus co-produced sophomore album from veteran bassist and musician Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat, is a focused, emotive and thoroughly engaging body of work, packed with rich musical milieus, impulsive dynamism and a very heartfelt message running through its forty odd minutes. Serving also as an ode to his late bandmate and friend Austin Peralta, one very recurring theme on Apocalypse is its reflection on life and the loss thereof. Apocalypse is dark and melancholic but also lighthearted, moreover what Apocalypse is, is a definitive coming of age for Thundercat.
37. Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Eight years removed from their last full-length record, The Campfire Headphase, Scottish Electronic music veterans Boards of Canada released Tomorrow’s Harvest in June following a frustratingly cryptic marketing campaign. Fittingly, the album is arguably their most ominously-inclined yet. It evokes the kind of low-budget dystopian setting you’d find in a tragically-dated 70s Sci-fi flick, but these songs still have an epic grandeur about them. In short: it sounds the way I would imagine Orwell’s Airstrip One looks.
36. Tiwa Savage – Once Upon A Time
We have to admit we weren’t expecting big things from Nigerian Pop diva Tiwa Savage. Why we got her album in the first place is beyond us, but we did and we are happy we did. She was definitely underestimated as well as the power of Don Jazzy’s production! Truthfully we weren’t going to listen to Once Upon A Time in its entirety, maybe just pick out the popular singles and leave it at that but after hearing “Shout Out” featuring Iceberg Slim and Sarkodie, we became a little curious about what else she would have on her album. Tiwa Savage doesn’t disappoint and this record is hands down one of our most favourite Afrobeats/AfroPop albums of the year. The best thing about the album is that Tiwa displays her versatility on all of the songs, there is nothing you throw at her that she won’t make into a solid tune. I love how upbeat the whole album is and you can tell she had fun making it.
35. TGT – Three Kings
This hands down is one of the R&B albums of the year! Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank – aka TGT – put in work in creating Three Kings Another album I’m constantly reaching for when I don’t know what I want to listen but I want to hear quality jams. That is just the word to describe this album – QUALITY. They put in time and delivered! The album is grown with every track being a hit in my opinion, these gentlemen came together to put something out there that was worthwhile and the timing could not be better looking at the state of R&B presently. This album definitely gets a GOOD stamp from us.
34. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP II
The Marshall Mathers LP II is one of the most Jekyll and Hyde records we have heard in 2013. When it’s good, Eminem reaches brilliance that only the Detroit native could reach but when the album is bad, he just sounds horribly uninspired. The majority of the album is very enjoyable and some of it is downright brilliant. This is perhaps Eminem’s best album since his return to Rap four years ago. Is it as good as The Marshall Mathers LP? No. Is it a good, fun album to listen to? Yes. Really, that’s all we want from Eminem at this point.
33. PARTYNEXTDOOR – PARTYNEXTDOOR
What you might get if The Weeknd and Drake made a collaborative record, and I mean only the good bits, is this refreshing self-titled debut offering from songwriter, producer and fellow Toronto native PARTYNEXTDOOR. Signed to Drake’s OVO imprint, PARTYNEXTDOOR burst unto 2013 with the Drake-assisted “Over Here” and certainly has not looked back since, releasing his 10-track debut offering shortly after to rave reviews. The ‘PARTYNEXTDOOR’ sound is not groundbreaking or innovative in the least bit but he brings forward a different narrative and interpretation to what is already out there plus he makes it seem all very easy that you almost forget that PARTYNEXTDOOR is only just 19. However the sometimes-juvenile lyrics sprinkled all over the record are there as a reminder, notwithstanding PARTYNEXTDOOR was one of our favourite listening experiences of 2013.
32. Beyonce – Beyoncé
The global icon that is Beyoncé never fails to disappoint with her trademark female empowerment wrapped in that prestigious star-power of hers. Howeveer, in this album there is a sense of calm intensity with simple piano reflections, highlighting Beyonce’s gentle effortless voice, Pop sensibilities and songwriting dexterities. Looking back at her earlier works, one can see a huge difference between her young fiesty “crazy in love” and the softness and unhurried-ness of “XO” and “Mine” featuring Drake. On this album, we see Beyonce cherishing her new found maternal maturity and letting the listener into the intimate bond between mother and daughter in “Blue”; we see her embracing her “feminist” role ever the more slightly in “Flawless”; we see her opening up and shedding here seemingly closed-off exterior in heart-wrenching fashion on “Heaven” – all in all, Beyoncé is enthralling, compelling and you just can’t stay away.
31. The Field – Cupid’s Head
Swedish producer Axel Wilner’s signature brand of techno, which he’s been steadily augmenting since his landmark 2007 debut From Here We Go Sublime (which happens to be one of our favorite electronic albums ever), is all about moving rhythmically along sinuous grooves: building up to them and settling into them and eventually swelling, while remaining clever enough to never quite hit a climax. Axel’s latest offering, Cupid’s Head, sees him focusing his sounds inward, producing a dark, cavernous beast of an album while retaining the texture and scope of his past work and even adopting a sort of stadiumesque aesthetic. It is, without a doubt, his most impressive set since his debut.
Stay tuned for our Top 30 Albums of 2013!