Youth & Hysteria Picks: Top 20 Albums Of 2013
December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
2013 proved to be an interesting year for music, as we saw major pop releases fail to catch steam (Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry) while other alternative artists sought out to concur their genre (Charli XCX, Disclosure, Chvrches, AlunaGeorge) and bring us some of the best and freshest music of recent years. Other artists made 2013 the year of the comeback (Justin Timberlake, R. Kelly, Kings of Leon), while some used the new year to continue to release great music (Arctic Monkeys, Beyonce).
With that being said, I officially present my list of the best albums of 2013 – which ranges from my favorite artists to a few new faces!
20. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
19. Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
18. Drake – Nothing Was The Same
17. Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail
16. Haim – Days Are Gone
15. Lorde – Pure Heroine
14. James Blake – Overgrown
13. A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP
12. Major Lazer – Free The Universe
11. Sky Ferreria – Night Time, My Time
View my top 10 albums after the jump!
10. M.I.A. – Matangi
WHY: After the hectic and crazed distortion that was 2010’s Maya, M.I.A. pushed out an album (after many annoying delays) that was streamlined enough to please critics’ ears while still maintaining that funkified, dance music-heavy party vibe with a undercutting political message that we’ve come to love from the British rapper.
9. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name
WHY: It’s hard to believe that MNIMN is Pusha T‘s debut album, as he has proved time and time again how much of a rap prowess he is – thanks to numerous guest features. But this album showcases serious rap flows where he’s one of a few guys boastful enough to still (truthfully) talk about the drug game, backed by equally menacing beats.
8. Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
WHY: Who knew this pint-sized diva from Nickelodeon could blow like that? Ariana Grande brought back that vulnerability and honesty which was missing in R&B over the past few years, which was bolstered by soulful and sticky-sweet vocals that was never too sappy. The hooks are catchy and the rhythms show off hints of ’90s nostalgia – what more could you ask for?
Favorite Tracks: “Honeymoon Avenue,” “Baby I,” “Lovin’ It”
7. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
WHY: I first heard about Classixx after their masterful remix of Lana Del Rey‘s “Blue Velvet” (of course), but their debut album proved they could do more than remix songs. Hanging Gardens is a lush album that sounds like the sun rising on a California beach in the year 1986 – it is light, feel-good, airy and just downright fun.
Favorite Tracks: “Hanging Gardens,” “All You’re Waiting For,” “Holding On”
6. Beyonce – Beyonce
WHY: I’ve only had a few days to let this surprise album marinate (I haven’t even reviewed it yet) but Beyonce‘s fifth record is continuously proving to be a slow killer. Arguably one of her best records, Beyonce reveals different sides of the singer that I’ve been waiting to see: the sexual side, the angry side, the mommy side, etc. The album is raw, unapologetic, truthful and emotive. It’s definitely NOT a typical Beyonce album, which is why it’s so damn great.
Favorite Tracks: “Haunted”, “Drunk In Love”, “Partition”
5. The Weeknd – Kiss Land
WHY: Kiss Land marks The Weeknd‘s first debut effort, and it doesn’t disappoint. Criminally underrated, the cohesive album tells stories of failed loves, jealousy, inner demons, etc – all topics that are rarely spoken about, especially in R&B music. The album was a perfect segue from fan favorite mixtapes, while broadening his sonic spectrum to fit the bigger, more mainstream realm.
4. Disclosure – Settle
WHY: This is hands down the best dance album I’ve heard in years! These British boys smacked EDM in the face with zero apologies, and I thank them for it. Settle mixes much-loved and never tired ’90s house music vibes with intricate melodies and vocals that bring it to the modern world. Vocals from fellow Brits like Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge, Eliza Doolittle and more provide a soulful edge that we’ve come to love from our friends across the pond. The album is incredibly refreshing and gets better with every listen, I can’t get enough!
Favorite Tracks: “F For You,” “You & Me,” “Confess To Me”
3. Arctic Monkeys – AM
WHY: I’ve been a fan of Arctic Monkeys since their explosive debut back in 2005, and my love for these lads and their music continues to grow. Their sound gets stronger with every album, and their latest AM did not fail. It is sultry, moody, humorous and rock n’ roll with a capital R. Alex Turner’s full-bodied vocals and poetic lyrics remain a highlight, and the band as whole is more confident as they become one of the best rock bands of my time.
2. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Part One)
WHY: 2013 marked the ultimate comeback of an artist who took 6 years off to forget about music so he can act in cringe-worthy films. But with the release of The 20/20 Experience in March, all was forgiven with Justin Timberlake. This record defied current pop rules and took an alternate route that was settled deep in Motown roots. JT is so in love, and it shows in every beautifully written and exceptionally produced track (thanks, Timbaland). The album is so good that you almost forget about the atrocity that was 2 of 2.
Favorite Tracks: “Strawberry Bubblegum,” “Don’t Hold The Wall,” “Mirrors”
1. Kanye West – Yeezus
WHY: What other album put people in a tizzy more than Yeezus? Critics lauded it, fans argued about it, and outsiders completely trashed it. Kanye West got people talking, and talking loudly – something that hasn’t happened with a single album in a long time. Apart from the obvious controversy, this album is my number one because how much of a rap album it is NOT. Yeezy took influences from punk, metal, industrial, house, dancehall and more to create a universal record where he just happened to be rapping. Yeezus isn’t an easy listen like say, an ARTPOP or an Unorthodox Jukebox, which is where I find its appeal where many others don’t. I know I’m in the minority by placing this album at number one, but I honestly don’t care.
Favorite Tracks: “I’m In It,” “Blood On The Leaves,” “Black Skinhead”
What was your favorite album of 2013?