Best Albums of 2013

In 2013, I reviewed 57 albums, 34 of which were released this year. Here are my picks for albums of the year, with the usual caveats: I know my experience was far from complete, but I think I do a good job of picking out the things I’ll be interested in. If the list seems weird, it probably has more to do with my taste than with the number of albums I bought. I pick my top 5, with confidence that even if I heard all the popular releases this year, these ones would still likely fit in my top 10. And if I discover the ones I missed later, I’ll include them in my list of the best “old discoveries” of the year.

1

Modern Vampires of the City cover

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City


Incredibly constructed pop music, with layers both in the music and the lyrics. Whether you put this on for some mindless fun or to make yourself thing, it is an excellent choice.

2

Gone Away Backward cover

Robbie Fulks – Gone Away Backward

This may be the best traditional country album of the past decade. But with incisive lyrics responding to the shallow view of country culture peddled by pop country, this is an album for today just as much as it’s for the ages.

3

Tin Star cover

Lindi Ortega – Tin Star

That isn’t to say that country songs have to be deep. Ortega’s are simple and personal, but absolutely stunning.

4

The Next Day cover

David Bowie – The Next Day

Bowie is known for wearing masks, but this is the first time that he seems to be in control of them instead of the other way around. This surprise comeback album is one of his most assured to date.

5 Silence Yourself cover

This emotionally brutal post-punk debut marks The Savages as a band to watch.

Watch this space. I’ll update tomorrow with my favorite pre-2013 albums that I reviewed this year.

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