2013 has been a big year for music. Here’s a quick year-end review of my top albums of the year (a few hours before it’s due to end!)
The sixth studio album from the most polarising man in hip-hop was leaked a week before scheduled release back in June 2013. I pressed play on ‘On Sight’, a sonic assault produced by Daft Punk, and was thoroughly confused about what was going on. ‘Good Lord, is this what the whole thing is gonna sound like?’ I asked myself. His egotistical screaming on ‘I Am a God’ was jarring but for me, he redeemed himself on the politically-fuelled ‘New Slaves’ and ‘Blood on the Leaves’. Yeezus plays out with ‘Bound 2’, the most recognisable Kanye-sounding track of the album. The first disc rotation left me kind of disappointed, but I’ve eventually come to appreciate the off-kilter production and progressive sonic arrangement.
The Lawrence brothers are one just of the artists that brought sub-genres UK garage and House into the commercial forefront. The album itself kicks off with ‘Intro’ that seamlessly transitions to the motivating stomp ‘When A Fire Starts to Burn’. Disclosure dominated 2013 by striking a balance between pop and dance music with the likes of ‘Latch’, ‘White Noise’ and new single ‘Voices’. However, the standout track for me was ‘Defeated No More’ featuring Ed Mac from Friendly Fires. Everything from the vocals to the synths meant it’s been on repeat since summer. Every track they released in 2013 has not disappointed, and it’s no wonder that it earned a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize.
‘AM’ has once again consolidated the Sheffield quartet’s reputation as one of the greatest bands ever. I’ve always been a distant fan of the Monkeys but this album truly convinced me of their brilliance. ‘AM’ is built with sinister riffs, thrilling drums and topped off with the regional drawls of their frontman Alex Turner. The band has cited hard rock, blues and hip hop as just some of the influences for the fifth album that, like ‘Settle’, was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Music Prize. My favourite tracks have to be ‘Knee Socks’ ,‘I Want It All’ and the ironically-titled ‘No.1 Party Anthem’.
Nothing Was The Same
Another highly anticipated hip hop album that got leaked in 2013. The follow-up to ‘Take Care’ looked promising to me. However, I didn’t take to Drake’s third album like I did to the 2011 release. Where were ‘Girls Love Beyoncé’ and ‘No New Friends’ in the release? Nonetheless, the more I listen to ‘NWTS’, the more I appreciate it and it didn’t feel right leaving it out of my end-of-year album round up. It’s the vocal versatility and incredibly produced beats in tracks like ‘Pound Cake’, ‘Connect’ and ‘Worst Behaviour’ that remind me why I love Drake as an artist in the first place. I’m looking forward to his tour rocking up to Nottingham – seeing an artist perform their latest LP live usually changes my mind for the better.
It’s been a great year musically and I look forward to what new and returning artists have to offer in 2014
Happy New Year!