Ok…so here it is. My top 20 albums of 2013. It’s been a bit of an odd year for music. There have been some albums that I have absolutely adored and some which I had massive hopes for that totally let me down. Of note is Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks. I know people say it’s a grower, but I’m not sure what Trent Reznor was thinking, I just don’t like it. Anyway, here is my list. I found it almost impossible to decide on the order, although my top 5 are pretty solid. There’s a bit more of a genre mix than I was expecting, but I largely based this on the albums that I had listened to most during the year.
1. The National – Trouble Will Find me
I can’t say much about this album other than it is perfect from start to finish. I wasn’t sure at first because I kept comparing it to High Violet. I’ve now realised that the albums are completely different. This is pretty much a masterpiece though.
2. Touche Amore – Is Survived By
This was a big surprise for me. I’ve always been on the fence with Touche Amore, but they went next level with this one. I think the most important part of the album is the narrative. I like the concept of what will be survived by. The cohesive nature of the lyrics combined with some well thought out writing and perfect production put it straight in my top 5. I really haven’t stopped listening to it either.
3. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
I think when Brennisteinn was released it blew my socks off. I liked the direction they were going in that kind of Smashing Pumpkins ‘Adore’ phase. The album is in fact very close to their traditional sound. This jumped even higher up the list for me after hearing the tracks live. Brilliant.
4. Volcano Choir – Repave
This was originally close to my number one, but it was pushed down by the others. A great album and even more evidence that anything Just Vernon touches turns to gold. I am particular fan of ‘Comrade’ which is probably my song of the year.
5. Baths – Obsidian
This is a much more mature album by Ben. I think it’s probably his best work.
6. Cult of Luna – Vertikal
I didn’t think Cult of Luna could go further with a sound they had already mastered, but this album just proved that they can. The mood throughout the album is indicative of it’s subject area. Probably one of their best albums to date.
7. Deafheaven – Sunbather
This got a lot of hype and seemed to become a bit hip, but that’s ok. Deafheaven have succeeded in presenting a different image of what some might consider ‘black metal’. Right or wrong, you can’t deny the scope of this album and it’s power.
8. Nails – Abandon All Life
The heaviest album I heard all year. Boom.
9. Vildhjarta – Thousands of Evils
Another controversial choice in my top 20. I think it’s a shame that ‘djent’ has become such a loathed genre, or whatever you want to call it. Regardless, this is a highly technical album with some great song writing.
10. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
The only remaining member of OFWGKTA that is writing music worth listening to.
11. Apricot Rail – Quarrels
This is a beautiful post-rock album.
12. El-P and Killer Mike – Run the Jewels
The production on this album is absolutely massive. I much prefer each members solo work but this is still a great hip hop album.
13. Paramore – Self Titled
Is this another controversial one? It’s a shame I consider this a bit of a guilty pleasure, because it is genuinely an unbelievable pop album. I didn’t particularly enjoy the filler tracks but this is still a great album.
14. The 1975 – The 1975
Pop indie at it’s finest. A great debut. I would have liked to have seen more of the moody tracks that they did on their EP’s but I still love this album.
15. Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
Ahhh. Another controversial pick. This isn’t Queens best work, but I still love it. There are some great songs on here but there are too many dips in quality for it to get in the top 10.
16. Lorde – Pure Heroine
She’s going to be massive (more massive than she already is) and at only 16, this album is excellent.
17. City and Colour – The Hurry and the Harm
Just a solid album. Doesn’t particularly push any boundaries but I really enjoyed it throughout the year.
18. Keep Shelly in Athens – At Home
Great Art-pop/dream-pop/whatever pop from Greece.
19. Balance and Composure – The Things We think We’re Missing
Only recently discovered this album but I haven’t stopped listening to it. It might have creeped up higher if I’d had a bit more time with it.
20. Atoms for Peace – Amok
This was a bit of a filler for my top 20.
Let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree etc.