Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 Albums 2013 Edition

Another year, another night of hair pulling trying to put together my best of list.

10. Phoenix- 'Bankrupt!'

It was always going to be difficult to follow up from the amazing Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but I think Phoenix nailed it. More of the same Euro-rock-pop from them, but still a solid album all round.
Standout tracks: Trying To Be Cool, SOS in Bel-Air, Entertainment

9. MSMR- 'Secondhand Rapture'

The dark horse on this list, MSMR started the year off strong with the release of their debut album. Thematically, it's a very apocalyptic album with a lot of the songs covering 'it's the end of the world! Here's what I'm going to do' theme. Laced throughout are some very strong pop songs, so while it didn't exactly set the charts on fire, it was a mainstay for 2013.
Standout tracks: Fantasy, BTSK, Hurricane, Head is Not My Home, Dark Doo Woop.

8. Charli XCX- 'True Romance'

This girl can write a mean hook and her debut album is proof of that. No filler (apart from Cloud Aura with Brooke Candy) plus she's the mastermind behind Icona Pop's 'I Love It'. It's 80s pop without sounding dated. Need I say more?
Standout Tracks: Nuclear Seasons, You, You're The One, Stay Away, Set Me Free.

7. Bastille 'Bad Blood'/'All This Bad Blood'

A grower for sure, but once you're in, you are IN. From the opening of 'Pompeii' (more songs need to have male backing choirs imo) to the frantic-ness of 'Laura Palmer', the album and its re-release with added tracks make for a very enjoyable listen, but give it time. Also check out their mix tapes if you can (free to download), 'Other People's Heartache (parts 1 and 2) for some seriously amazing mashups. The band are obviously heavily influenced by cinema as well as pop music, taking snippets from classic films and building tracks around them. TLC''s 'No Scrubs' + The xx 'Angels' + Hitchcock's 'Psycho'= the brilliant 'No Angels'.
Standout Tracks: Pompeii, Things We Lost In The Fire, Laura Palmer, Bad Blood

6. Little Boots- 'Nocturnes'

Little Boots' long awaited second album did not disappoint at all. Full of shimmering disco and dance tracks, it really does seem to be more of a night album than anything else, so the title is really befitting more than anything else. Slightly more edgier than 'Hands' but no less amazing.
Standout Tracks: Every Night I Say Prayer, All For You, Crescendo, Motorway

5. Kanye West- 'Yeezus'

Jay-Z may be a better lyricist, but Kanye has better beats and pushes the boundaries. West isn't lying when he said Yeezus is 'an album of frustration'- you can clearly hear his angry on the majority of the tracks, not just lyrically but sonically too. It's telling then, that the album ends on what is one of his most romantic songs, 'Bound 2'. Did he just need to get a few things off his chest? We'll have to wait and see.
Standout Tracks; Black Skinhead, Blood On The Leaves, Bound 2, Hold My Liquor

4. Daft Punk- 'Random Access Memories'

Possibly the most hyped up album all year. It worked for me though; all the tracks, bar 'Contact', are fantastic melanges of disco, funk and electronics. What I want next from them is a full length album or even an EP with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. MAKE IT SO.
Standout Tracks: Get Lucky, Lose Yourself To Dance, Giorgio by Moroder, Doin It Right, Instant Crush

3. HAIM- 'Days Are Gone'

Pop, rock and R'n'B perfection. The long awaited debut album was everything we could have wanted from the sisters Haim, except for maybe adding more tracks to make up for the four previously released singles. But still, this is one amazing record- I guarantee you'll have at least one chorus stuck in your head per day.
Standout Tracks: Days Are Gone, If I Could Change Your Mind, Running If You Call My Name, Go Slow, Falling, Forever, The Wire

2. Lorde- 'Pure Heroine'

Oh Lorde. Beautiful. If ever there was an album that summed up a summer in the southern hemisphere from the teen perspective, this is it. It's the story of one girl growing up and rebelling against American Cultural Imperialism. It's got angst, but not too much. Beats, but nothing to make you go crazy on a dancefloor. Just some seriously good songs.
Standout Tracks: 400 Lux, Team, Glory and Gore, Buzzcut Season, A World Alone, Tennis Court

1. Arctic Monkeys- 'AM'

Do not adjust your screens, this is not the Triple J site. Yes, AM was the best album this year. From start to finish, every track is just quality. Not a bad song on here at all. It's also the sexiest album I've heard in my life- every song has the right amount of swagger to pull it off (umm, no pun intended I guess). Not many bands can make such a successful turn around five albums in, but these guys have. Well played, Monkeys!
Standout Tracks: THE ENTIRE ALBUM.

Notable mentions: Goldfrapp- 'Tales Of Us', Franz Ferdinand 'Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions', David Bowie- 'The Next Day', Eskimo Joe- Wastelands

Best Soundtrack: The Great Gatsby

Slightly Underwhelming But Still Enjoyable: Hurts- 'Exile'

I've put the standout tracks in this handy Spotify playlist: enjoy!

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