Last week, co-artistic director Aaron Rossini gave us his list of the top 5 films this year for the first in our Best of 2013 blog series.
It’s sometimes easy to forget with all the fervor of the Academy Awards, but the Grammy Awards are next week. So, to prep everyone for a week of celebrating music, he’s a list of my 5 favorite albums of 2013. NOTE: Some of the recommended track links my be NSFW due to language.
1. Volcano Choir – Repave
This is a weird one. This is Justin Vernon of Bon Iver’s side project. A number of years ago they released a super strange experimental album, but this year’s sophomore effort incorporated the weirdness of their first album with Bon Iver’s emotional folk. The result is a perfect album that ebbs and flows dynamically and emotionally. Recommended track: Alaskans.
2. James Blake – Retrograde
This album is such a perfect blend of electronic and organic sounds. He writes ballads hidden beneath dubstep hidden beneath minimalism. Recommended track: Overgrown.
3. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Nothing makes me feel New York City more than The National. This album is best listened to late at night on the subway. Recommended track: I Need My Girl.
4. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
Genre is difficult for me. I suppose you could call this a singer-songwriter album, but then again, it sounds an awful lot like rock or indie or folk to my ears. I think that’s what’s so exciting about Phosphorescent as a whole. It’s the sort of album where I think I know which song is my favorite… and then the next song starts to play. Recommended track: Song for Zula.
5. Kanye West – Yeezus
As I write this, I can almost hear my mother and my girlfriend shaking their heads at me. But for my money this album sounds like Nine Inch Nails delved into hip-hop. Which is fine by me. Recommended track: I Am A God.
BONUS: Childish Gambino – Because The Internet
This is my second favorite hip-hop album this year. It’s riddled with quirky samples, glitchy beats, and interesting song structures. Donald Glover incorporates his humor and cleverness into his strange off-kilter delivery and rhyming schemes. Though there are some tracks that fall a little flat, it’s one of the few hip-hop albums I’ve heard that sounds like an album and is best listened straight through. Recommended track: I, crawl.
BONUS: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
I’ll be up front about this: “Get Lucky” was probably my favorite song of the year. I’m fully on board with pop music moving in the direction of 70′s disco, which seems to be the mission statement of this album. Recommend track (that isn’t ‘Get Luck’): Doin’ It Right.
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