I warned you guys this is gonna come in many parts. Im not going to post any links to earlier/newer posts because that seems a little obnoxious and my previous post was just a ramble anyway.
This second bit of 2013 in review will cover my favourite albums of 2013 because it seems like a fairly popular topic (and because I do listen to music quite a lot), I’ll do lists of my other favourite stuff of 2013 in the following posts, if I remember to.
Top 11 favourite albums released in 2013:
- The Bones of What You Believe – Chvrches
I’ve been idling on soundcloud a lot in the past year, mainly because I’ve finally got my own personal laptop which means HUGE DISTRACTION FROM SCHOOLWORK, but I found out that playing music on soundcloud/8tracks (NOT YOUTUBE) helps me focus better. Anyway, while idling on soundcloud, I stumbled upon their track “The Mother We Share” from this album and I really liked it (I was obsessed with it for a week or so) and decided to check their album out when it was released.
I can’t really describe what exactly I love about the albums the most, but I guess it’s mainly the vibes that come from their usage of pretty calming electronic sounds (as compared to the hardcore synths i’m used to.)
- Endless Fantasy – Anamanaguchi
You might or might not have heard of these guys before, but you should really check them out. They’re a chiptune band and they did the soundtrack for a Scott Pilgrim game, which is pretty damn cool. Personally, I found out about them through Porter Robinson this year and decided to check out their music after putting it off for quite some time, and realised that I really liked it. It somehow transports me to my ‘happy place’ (try to visualise glitchy pastel unicorns, that’s kinda how it looks like in my head.) And please do check out their music videos for Endless Fantasy and Meow because it’s the weirdest shit you’ll ever see. No, I’m exaggerating, I’ve seen weirder, but this is weird enough to qualify as very weird on my weird meter. The goths in the Meow music video do freak me out a little but I don’t know why I laugh every time Ary’s head fall off. (It’s Ary, right?) I think it’s just a coping mechanism. Moving on…
- Night Time, My Time – Sky Ferreria
I must admit for a long time, with Sky Ferreria, it’s more about her looks than her sound (or at least, for me.) Until I heard her one or two songs from her Ghost EP on 8tracks (thank you 8tracks) and decided that I really liked the vibe of her music.
[I've been throwing around the word "vibe" a lot because I have no idea how else to describe the feeling you get when the music transports you into another place, mentally.] If Endless Fantasy made me feel like I had annoyingly glittery, pastel-coloured, pixellated unicorns prancing around in my head like circus creatures, Night Time, My Time created visions of mermaids – not the silly, Little Mermaid kind that just twirl around underwater singing to fishes, but the kind that entraps a man and drags him into the sea to meet his demise. It makes me wanna sit around in an oversized flannel shirt and doodle little Burton-esque creatures while it’s raining heavily outside.
- Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
Okay, some people really didn’t like the album, they thought it was a huge disappointment, but no they weren’t and I might be a little biased in saying that but I guess it’s justified because…it’s Daft Punk. We’ve waited for new music from them for bout 8 years. Excluding that soundtrack they did for Tron (which is really amazing and still makes me tear up a little). Admittedly, their sound has evolved and matured over the years, but I guess that’s what happens over time, especially since they’re the ones who practically pioneered and influenced the music their contemporaries are making today. I mean, they probably don’t wanna make the same kind of music their younger contemporaries are making now because, it’s like taking your own idea from about a decade ago and rehashing it. Besides, there are some really incredible songs on the album like Instant Crush and Touch.
- ARTPOP – Lady Gaga
I’ve been a fan of Gaga since her first album, it’ll be blasphemy if I don’t put this album on the list.
Fine, the album hasn’t been doing very well on the charts, the singles as well. EDM fans think it’s too pop, pop fans think it’s too EDM. The hipster, artsy crowd thinks she’s trying too hard with the “art”, the mainstream crowd thinks the “art” is absurd. I got sick of the album after a few listens because of the painfully cheesy lyrics in some of her songs, but listening to it after putting it aside for a few weeks was, I guess, a little more enjoyable. You learn to get over the cheesier lines, focus on the production on the album (the production’s amazing, Zedd and Madeon are really good at bridging the gap between pop and EDM.) Also, Gaga’s vocals on the album and on the live performances this ‘era’ is divine. Just LISTEN to her performance with Christina Aguilera on The Voice. I’ve always acknowledged Christina Aguilera as an amazing power vocalist, even though there was a period where I didn’t really like her because of petty fan wars over the supposedly nasty things she said about Gaga, so I’ve never thought that Gaga’s vocals would ever match up to Christina’s but gee, that performance proved me wrong.
[on a side note, I really dislike the term EDM and I was cringing every time I typed that, can someone come up with another term for Electronic Dance Music that doesn't sound like an STD?]
- Days Are Gone – HAIM
Soon after I discovered Chvrches, I found Haim’s music on Soundcloud as well. What I really liked about their music is that it has the familiar pop sounds I’m used to (I have always been and will always be a pop fan) but it also sounds really light and fresh unlike the heavily synthesised pop songs that are plaguing the radios these days. Most of the songs on the album just make me inexplicably happy – it’s that feeling of bliss that just creeps up on you from nowhere and makes you wanna lie in bed all day and daydream. Since I’m a very visual person (if you can’t already tell), this album looks like every other page on Rookiemag.com (my favourite online mag run by Tavi Gevinson)
- Yeezus – Kanye West
I’m gonna put it out there, I really dislike Kanye West. Some of the things he say really annoy the hell out of me, he’s the douchiest douchebag ever, and the fact that he’s married to Kim K just makes me want to hate him even more. But I can’t, because he’s such a genius. Remember when he sold that plain white tee he “designed” at 120USD? Yep, genius. When I read about it, it annoyed me so much but I must admit that the idea is really smart.
(but c’mon, I thought of the idea of a blank album cover first, but no, gaga won’t listen. yeah, because I have no proper means of getting my ideas through to her.)
Okay, the person aside, I’m going to focus on the music on this album. This album’s a little more grimy than I’d like it to be, because I know Kanye’s music – generally – to be more ‘artistic’ than his contemporaries’. (My favourite album of his is My Beautiful Dark and Twisted Fantasies.) But nevertheless, the music still sounds great, his lyrics still make me chuckle (it’s the only time that I appreciate his huuuge ego) and the production still sounds flawless.
- The Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem
Sorry Kanye, Eminem’s my favourite rapper for obvious reasons – I’m a 17 year old teenage girl. His angst fully resonates with me. Besides, his ego isn’t as inflated as Kanye’s, albeit still pretty huge though. While Kanye proclaims that he is a god, Eminem calls himself a rap god. He’s humbler, just a little.
Besides, it’s a little easier to sense the irony in his lyrics when he doesn’t go around every day parading his wealth and obnoxious opinions (that no one asked for) around, which makes listening to his music – I guess – more fun.
- The 20/20 Experience (both the first and second parts) – Justin Timberlake
First of all, it’s Justin Timberlake. [cues fangirl screams]
Secondly, I can’t stand how silky smooth his voice is, it’s almost as smooth as his dance moves. He hasn’t lost it even though he’s grown much older since the first time I heard his music.
There are good songs on both parts, but I personally like Part One more because it has a more jazzy and sensual sound that I especially enjoy because you don’t get to hear much of that now (unless you listen to jazz records, of course, but I’m not THAT into jazz.) But most of the songs on both these albums were really good.
- Paramore – Paramore
I thought I grew out of Paramore last year and didn’t check out the album immediately after its release, but I managed to catch the music video for Still Into You on tv while I was in Paris and really liked it visually (all the pastels, and the ballerinas and balloons!) so I got home and started listening to that, and then the rest of the album, which I then grew to enjoy a lot. Besides, the album now reminds me of that dingy little hotel room my best friend and I shared in Paris, with its tiny French window opening up to a view of the Eiffel Tower so it does hold some sort of sentimental value.
Paramore’s sound has evolved over the years, just as my music tastes have, I don’t exactly enjoy the hardcore rock songs they made as much as I did 5 years ago, but I really like their new sound. Some people say they sound more pop, I think they sound more alternative, but now that Lorde’s been #1 on the Billboard charts for a few weeks, maybe alternative is starting to become the new pop.
There is one song on the album, the single Ain’t It Fun, which I really like because of the sarcasm in the lyrics but it does make me a little scared of the future though. I’m gonna turn 18 in no time. I’ll be shipped off to college soon. And what next. [freaks out] [pulls hair] [calls out for Peter Pan]
- Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Self-titled albums seem to be really popular this year. (Paramore did one, Avril Lavigne did one, I can’t remember the others, if there’s any others)
This album has to be on the list, for sure. I mean, the reaction to the sudden release of her new album on the internet was simply epic. I was stuck at my grandparents’ place that day, with horrifyingly weak wifi I had to leech off from my neighbours by standing OUTSIDE my grandparents’ house, under the scorching sun. But anyway, I was napping for about three hours since there was nothing better for me to do then, and when I woke up to check my twitter timeline, everyone was freaking out over Beyonce’s new album. And of course I was confused, and yelling (virtually) at everyone due to the excitement and the frustration of not being able to listen to any of the album while everyone else was talking about it. (I worked my way out of that eventually by getting my friend to gift me the album and downloading the album on the excruciatingly slow internet.)
Anyway, the album is amazing, I wouldn’t call it flawless (4 was flawless, Beyoncé comes close though) but I really enjoyed it, especially the songs Pretty Hurts and ***Flawless because of the strong feministic messages. I can’t exactly put into words my appreciation for these messages, but Rookie Mag does a really good review of the album here.