2013. A year of a lot of things, but we are focussing on the music realm here. Most notably? I got over myself and fell in love with a ton of pop music. I’m not sure if that means I’m maturing or the opposite, but who cares. At the least, I hope some interesting conversation can be generated from what follows.
I love year-end music lists, whether I think their contents are great or awful. Even with the Internet’s tendency now to publish almost everything in list format all year, I still love year-end music lists. And now that the Pitchforks and Faders and Exclaims have all saturated your ears with their lists and the best-of dust has settled, here’s the 2013 musical conclusions from laurelborrowman.com in collaboration with the humble dwelling and home of the affectionately named Club 1075, aka 1075. We are two discerning roommates, BFFs, and music players/performers/critiquers/writers/lovers who are immersed in the music community, and we don’t let a day pass without the aforementioned being the centrifugal force in our lives. In short, we music all the time. We’ve debated and discussed this past year in music and have come up with this list.
While most of these albums came out in 2013, this isn’t a list of 2013’s best albums. Why? Because sometimes an album doesn’t resonate unless the context for it to resonate in is there. I listened to Yeezus twice and to me, it was less than meh, but more importantly probably one of the most polarizing albums of the year. Thank goodness for people still expressing emotions over music! While it didn’t hit home for me this year, but maybe it will in 2023. The conditions in 2013 were perfect for these albums to be perfect, no matter how new or old.
This is a list of albums that were in heavy rotation on our turntable, iPods, car stereo, and computers all year because they fit. Sure, some criteria of an album’s list-rank can be its production value, its place on other year-end lists, the star-studded collaborations, the songwriting prowess, or its ranking on Billboard’s Top 100—or intentional lack thereof of all those things. But here at 1075 we’ve decided that the best indicator of an album’s quality is how many times you listen to it in a specified time frame. It’s about context, people.
And so, here are our top nine albums of 2013, with few details on each intentionally not provided. Listen and decide for yourself. The key with each of these is that the entire album is solid from first to last track, and with each listen something new emerged that made it richer and more interesting. The links take you to highlights from each. They’re listed in no particular order. A few honourable mentions follow.
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk (2013)
Overgrown, James Blake (2013)
The 20/20 Experience – 1 of 2, Justin Timberlake (2013)
Hot Rocks 1964-1971, Rolling Stones (1971)
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2012)
Push the Sky Away, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2013)
Astral Weeks, Van Morrison (1968)
Nothing Was the Same, Drake (2013)
Milky Disco 2: Let’s Go Freak Out, Hatchback (2009)
Long. Live. A$AP., A$AP Rocky (2013)
The Courtneys, The Courtneys (2013)
Local Natives, Hummingbird (2013)
2, Mac DeMarco (2012)
An Awesome Wave, Alt-J (2012)
Mixed Emotions, Tanlines (2012)