We Present To You… We Plug Good Music’s Best Albums of 2013
The first two instalments of our Best Albums of 2013 list showcases the best albums of 2013 from #50 to #31 and you can check them all out HERE & HERE, we continue our countdown from #30 to #21 below.
30. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
It took Irish band My Bloody Valentine 22 years to follow up one of the greatest Rock records of the 90’s – their seminal sophomore album Loveless – but 2013’s m b v was worth the wait. At first listen, it is nothing short of breathtaking and after a few listens, you simply just have to marvel at the timeless work of art which Kevin Shields and his bandmates have created. This record has taken a long time to complete and it shows, nothing feels out of place, every sound and texture feels like it was placed perfectly exactly where it was intended, where Loveless comes across as natural, m b v is meticulous and very carefully though out it seems. Every song on m b v is a highlight and you hardly get that today, like we said, it was worth the wait.
29. Lorde – Pure Heroine
Talk about mind-blowing; how about Lorde is only 16 years old! If nothing else stands out on Pure Heroine, Lorde’s profound writing abilities and polished lyrics that seem to have a deeper meaning on her songs is hugely impressive – even more so when you consider how old she is. With Lorde penning all the tracks and teaming up with Joel Little on production, Pure Heroine has a congruent feel to it that more than works. The young teen has achieved quite a lot in 2013, receiving rave reviews and gaining global recognition on her music and her 10-track must have debut album includes a bevy of future hits and excellently-penned songs which we wholeheartedly recommend.
28. Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Dense and spacious; euphoric and dystopic; hopeful and hopeless — Immunity is an album that operates on the (non) logic of contradiciton. Yet, as with most things, beneath its oft-bleak veneer and at its very core, Immunity’s heart pulses forward with a rich, warm, humanistic sentiment. Of course, that’s not to say that Jon Hopkins’ sophomore effort makes for a strictly dramatic or even sterile affair: this is totally the kind of techno that you can roll all kinds of fucking face to. Don’t believe me? Just check out album highlight “Open Eye Signal”. Sometimes this album is too big for its breaches, other times it is too quiet for its own good. Whatever the case, Immunity serves as a perfect summary for what electronic music stands for today – Stadium status anthems or intense headphone experiences.
27. Angel – About Time
About Time, the debut album from British R&B singer and songwriter Angel is one of the best UK records of 2013 across all genres and certainly trumps most of the year’s R&B and Hip-Hop releases. About Time is R&B/Pop fusion at its very best with much needed Soul and no other British artist did it as good as Angel in 2013. Sometimes, the songwriting does leave much to be desired but his exquisite vocal delivery and knack for infectious hooks and sweet melodies do more than make up for any shortcomings we might have. Whether it’s on Dance/Pop-heavy “The World” and “Wonderful”, on smooth R&B ballads “Go” and “Rocket Love” or on experimental club jam “More Fire”, Angel’s About Time comes good on all fronts.
26. Stromae – Racine Carree
Racine Carree, the second studio album from Belgian-Rwandan musician Stromae does well to incorporate his trademark 90’s-style Dance music with African and Carribean influences, while also drawing cleverly from Hip-Hop and House music. The music is so good that even though Stromae sings totally in French all through the album, this holds no barrier whatsoever to non-French listeners. That is not to discredit the lyrics which provide much needed context within Racine Carree‘s overall joyful musical backdrops – these songs are packed with compelling and refreshing candor and deal with hard issues such as AIDs, perdition, cancer and abandonment, albeit over up-tempo Dance beats. Yes the music gets you dancing but Stromae ultimately gets us to reflect on our society.
25. Arctic Monkeys – AM
Veteran Sheffield band Arctic Monkeys have released five albums in eight years, apart from their back-to-back debut and sophomore album released in consecutive years, the band has left ample space for each of their following albums to breathe and be fully immersed by listeners. Their fifth studio album AM shows the most proof of how a year off between releases can pay off for artists because Arctic Monkeys have gone and created what might be their best record ever. The velvet coated drawl of Alex Turner pulls the listener straight into a gangster-like movie complete with West Coast 70’s Rock and 90’s G-Funk influences and the rough raw lyrics of the dark underbelly complete with loads of drugs, alcohol and women. Is Arctic Monkeys the best band in Britain right now? Thanks to AM, that argument can be had.
24. Tye Tribbett – Greater Than
We’ve never been the biggest fans of Tye Tribbett before and we’re not too sure about how we stumbled on this album but we are happy that we did. Greater Than is an album that really stuck with us for the most part of this year, the album takes you through a multitude of overwhelming feelings and there always seems to be a track to match any state of mind in which you are in. When we’ve been stuck for something to listen to, we always find ourselves reaching for this album. The production is just amazing and the entire album is all recorded live so the energy on every song is organic and raw. As the songs move the audience and singers, you hear it, you feel it – it’s not just an album, it’s an experience. If Gospel is your thing ( and even if it isn’t), you need to get in on this record.
23. Burial – Rival Dealer
At just three songs long, Burial’s Rival Dealer EP technically shouldn’t be on this list but its genius simply cannot be ignored so we did away with technicality and we’re all better for it. Running for just under 30 minutes, Rival Dealer is leaps and bounds ahead of many albums released in 2013, he opens up his sound, widens his audio palette and leaves his peers in the dust. Stylistically this EP deviates from what some would call the “Burial sound” or “Burial formula”, there’s deep Techno, there is a clear theme, there’s even Synth-Pop – on a Burial record? Who would’ve thought. Burial decided to make a “dance” project, only for us to find out it was a statement against bullying. As Burial put it himself, “I wanted the tunes to be anti-bullying tunes that could maybe help someone to believe in themselves, to not be afraid, and to not give up, and to know that someone out there cares and is looking out for them“.
22. Tim Hecker – Virgins
It wasn’t long ago that I was introduced to Tim Hecker’s sprawling ouevre (my personal favorite album is Ravedeath, 1972), and yet, it feels like I’ve spent a lifetime with his music — maybe that was his intention. Hecker traffics in lush, evocative soundscapes, often driven by an arpeggiating piano, organ, or guitar lead contrasted with a more harsh and dissonant droning bass. If that sounds like a one-dimensional approach, know that with each addition to his discography, Hecker has found a way to introduce a new dimension to the aesthetic, and Virgins is no exception. Having this record’s ethereal sonics wash over me was one of the most transcendent music-related experiences I’ve had this year, bar none.
21. Killer Mike & El-P – Run The Jewels
Ever the prolific pair, Killer Mike and El-P followed up a very successful 2012 by delivering a strictly-for-shits-and-giggles victory lap in Run the Jewels, one of the most entertaining rap releases of the year. Somehow, El-P has stripped down the bass-heavy, sinister sounds of last year’s masterpieces, Mike’s R.A.P. Music and his own Cancer 4 Cure, even further, resulting in some of 2013’s prime examples of the kind of minimalism that Kanye West was probably going for. Clocking in at a mere 33 minutes, Run the Jewels is lean and streamlined as ever, and the duo’s savage chemistry is in exceptionally rare form – to quote El-P himself: “Yo, Mike, they fucked up putting us together, man!”
Our Top 20 Albums of 2013 coming up NEXT!
Stromae’s album was definitely dope. Glad to see it on your list.