After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task. Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs. Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix. Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.
From album: Black Panties
Oreos everywhere has been violated… enough said.
From album: Britney Jean
To Britney done told y’all – you better get to work! “Work B**ch” is the best song from a lackadaisical Britney Jean.
From album: Beyoncé
Examine the entire song or even excerpted lyrics and you’ll understand why it graced this list: “Can you lick my skittles / that’s the sweetest in the middle…” Couple that with R. Kelly’s “Cookie” and something is definitely going down in the bedroom…
“For The Rest of My Life”
From album: Blurred Lines
Well, at least Robin Thicke followed up “Blurred Lines” with a lovely ballad with some substance. Still won’t get the skeptics off his back about “Blurred Lines” though, LOL.
From album: Reflektor
Front man Win Butler has a message for you young guys – don’t be so selfish about sex/endeavors when it comes to your girlfriend(s)!
From album: A Love Surreal
The lyrics speak for them self: “Baby, you’re a winning hand / a game change, I’m on the roll.” I want a winning hand… Hehe.
“Here’s To Never Growing Up”
From album: Avril Lavigne
In case you’re wondering, Avril hasn’t grown up any. If anything, she’s prolonged her carefree youth with curse words. Cheers to eternal youth!
“Love and War”
From album: Love and War
Another instance where the lyrics speak for them self: “We stay on the front lines / Yeah but we’re still here after the bomb drops / we go so hard we lose control / the fire starts then we explode / when the smoke clears we dry our tears / only in love and war.”
Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller
From album: Yours Truly
Basically, young Mariah is at work, and she gets the assist from Easy Mac. Did I mention Grande sounds angelic? And ole boy keeps it clean…no ‘birdcalls’.
“Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)”
From album: Reflektor
A tragic story given Eurydice’s death and Orpheus’ infatuation with his late lover (Greek mythology), “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)” finds AF front man Win Butler singing “I know you can see / things that we can’t see / but when I say I love you / your silence covers me…” Ultimately, “Awful Sound” matches the ‘all over the map’ nature of its parent album.
From album: Yeezus
Ever controversial, Kanye West manages to resurrect the horrid past of African-Americans, particularly playing up past shortcomings and present stereotypes (“Y’all throwing contracts at me / y’all know that n***as can’t read…”). Even so, agile and edgy rhymes make “New Slaves” worthwhile.
From album: No Beginning, No End
Jazz and soul music create a beautiful union on the signature cut from José James’ superb album No Beginning, No End.
“Wild For The Night”
A$AP Rocky featuring Skrillex
From album: Long. Live. A$AP
A$AP is partying hard, and he’s bringing an unlikely buddy in Skrillex with him. What more can be said – clubs are bumping!
From album: Watching Movies With The Sound Off
Based on some of Mac Miller’s lyrics, the goose bumps he be giving his girl are serious, cause when he dies he “bet she f**k my hologram…” He’s confident in his, err – he’s confident, we’ll leave it at that!
From album: Three Kings
This song has been my ringtone for minute, really! TGT absolutely slaughter the chorus: “Now I know / it ain’t ever worth your heart / and it ain’t ever worth your tears / and it ain’t ever worth those scars that might not heal / I need, I need, I need (you)…” Hey, us guys sometimes need that masculine R&B perspective, even when it’s sensitive!
“Where Are We Now?”
From album: The Next Day
Sometimes it is simplicity that carries a great deal of weight: “Where are we now, where are we now? The moment you know, you know, you know…” Bowie slays this ballad, no questions asked.
The Flaming Lips
From album: The Terror
Three words: “LUST TO SUCCED!”
From album: One True Vine
“Holy Ghost” – a cover from band Low – finds Staples commanding and soulful atop folksy production work. While she’s reserved, Staples still packs a punch, particularly when her 74-year old voice cracks with expression.
“Don’t Swallow the Cap”
From album: Trouble Will Find Me
The National’s “Don’t Swallow the Cap” shines, despite its pessimism (“…I have faith but don’t believe it / it’s not there enough to leave it…”). Sporting exceptional songwriting as well as a solid arrangement/production, characterized by keyboards, haunting strings, and pummeling drums, “Don’t Swallow the Cap” is arguably the valedictory track from Trouble Will Find Me.
“Take This Dirty Water”
From album: The Diving Board
On brilliant track “Take This Dirty Water”, Elton John combines facets of gospel, blues, and rock. Incredibly soulful and feel-good, “Take This Dirty Water” is easily one of Elton John’s most distinct and best songs in years.
Kanye West featuring Charlie Wilson
From album: Yeezus
“Bound 2” bucked the trend of most of Yeezus; it sounded more like West’s classic material with soulful sample intact.
“Strictly Reserved For You”
From album: Victim of Love
Every bit of Charles’ love – well, it’s “strictly reserved for you.” Aww, the feeling of feeling loved.
From album: ARTPOP
Didn’t you know you’re worth more than a dime bag any day in Lady Gaga’s eyes? “I need you more than dope.”
From album: Black Panties
When it comes to R. Kelly, well, everything seems to revolve around a three-letter word. Here, the salacious 46-year old R&B singer/songwriter is a “sex genius”, supposedly.
Tyler, The Creator
From album: Wolf
As written previously, Tyler, The Creator is the “cowboy on [his] own trip”; he holds his own destiny. Be sure to check out the previously released first part with songs #100-76, as well as upcoming parts #50 – 26, and #25 – 1.
Ranking the very best albums of any year is incredibly difficult; there are always misses. 2013 was filled with some triumphant musical moments, though not all of their parent albums were necessarily ‘worthy’ of being considered the best of the year. Because of various factors, this list has its surprises and like any album reviewed, its triumphs and flaws. One thing’s for sure – the top ten to fifteen albums are pretty close to the cream of the crop from my perspective. Here are the 50 (+1) best albums of 2013!
Modern Vampires of the City
Recommended Spins: “Obvious Bicycle”; “Unbelievers”; “Diane Young”; “Finger Back”; “Worship You”; “Ya Hey”
Seals The Deal: “Obvious Bicycle”
Give credit to Mr. West where credit is due – previously Yeezus probably wouldn’t have landed in the top five, let alone the top two. But as with certain wines and cheeses (Swiss namely), there is an aging process to provide a delicious and satisfying taste. The same could be said of West über-ambitious Yeezus – or something similar that is!
Recommended Spins: “Black Skinhead”; “I Am A God”; “New Slaves”; “Blood on the Leaves”; “Bound 2″ featuring Charlie Wilson
Seals The Deal: “Blood on the Leaves”
The Electric Lady
Don’t put the fork in R&B music just yet – Janelle Monae delivers the year’s most intriguing R&B album that brilliantly encompasses numerous styles and keeps things both classic and progressive. One of a kind, all should bow down to JM.
Recommended Spins: “Give Them What They Love” featuring Prince; “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu; “Primetime” featuring Miguel; “Dance Apocalyptic”; “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes”
Seals The Deal: “Prime Time” featuring Miguel
Random Access Memories
The best, and arguably most exciting electronic album of 2013, is shockingly less futuristic compared to its colleagues, drawing back to old-school pop, disco, and soul. Throwback it is, Random Access Memories is one of the year’s finest albums regardless of genre, and stands a solid shot of winning the Grammy for album of the year.
Recommended Spins: “Give Life Back to Music”; “Giorgio By Moroder”; “Lose Yourself to Dance” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Touch” featuring Paul Williams; “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Fragments of Time”
Seals The Deal: “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams
Love in the Future
John Legend redeems himself big time on his fourth studio album Love in the Future following a somewhat disappointing effort in 2008′s Evolver. While there are some more contemporary ideas here, Love in the Future is more about Legend flexing his soulful muscles, a niche he perfectly fits.
Recommended Spins: “In The Beginning”; “Who Do We Think You Are?” featuring Rick Ross; “Made To Love”; “All of Me”; “Stay The Night”; “Tomorrow”
Seals The Deal: “Who Do We Think We Are?” featuring Rick Ross
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
Blues albums rarely rack up huge accolades on a ‘big stage’, but Get Up! is that incredibly worthy exception. Soulful and consistent through and through, Get Up! Easily ranks highly among the year’s gems.
Recommended Spins: “We Can’t End This Way”; “I Ride At Dawn”; “Get Up”
Seals The Deal: “We Can’t End This Way”
More than just the agnostics, atheists, and secularists will be pleasantly surprised with Black Sabbath’s most important album in years. Why is album 13 so important? It reunites the whole Black Sabbath crew (save for the drummer) for the first time 35 years! Dark and foreboding, yet ‘sinfully’ appealing, 13 is quite the epic heavy-/black-metal album.
Recommended Spins: “End of The Beginning”; “God Is Dead?”; “Zeitgeist”; “Live Forever”; “Dear Father”
Seals The Deal: “God Is Dead?”
Nothing Was The Same
Drake didn’t necessarily ‘step his game up’ on Nothing Was The Same – he just continued to flex his emo-/ alt-rap muscles like the pro that he is. NTWS is filled with gems, all completely different from one another. One thing’s for sure, he may have “Started On The Bottom”, but Drake is on top of the game by all means.
Recommended Spins: “Tuscan Leather”; “Started From The Bottom”; “Wu-Tang Forever”; “From Time”; “Hold On, We’re Going Home”; “305 To My City” featuring Detail
Seals The Deal: “Wu-Tang Forever”
Beyoncé shocked the world with her surprise fifth studio album, Beyoncé. Even so, that’s not the reason ‘Yoncé makes this list. Ultimately, the R&B chanteuse delivers a sharp, risqué fifth effort that separates itself from the rest of her discography and many of the other releases from 2013. Both shocking and alluring, Bey does her thang.
Recommended Spins: “Pretty Hurts”; “Haunted”; “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z; “Blow”; “Rocket”
Seals The Deal: “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z
Few might’ve expected for Arcade Fire to follow-up their album of the year winning effort The Suburbs with an album like Reflektor (I didn’t). However, as all-over-the-place as Reflektor is, there are plenty of moments for alt-rock fans to cheer about. Danceable, conceptual, and ultimately incredibly unique, Reflektor cracks the top ten best of the year, easily.
Recommended Spins: “Reflektor”; “We Exist”; “Here Comes the Night Time”; “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)”; “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”; “Porno”
Seals The Deal: “Reflektor”
As I look over my 2013 playlist from my iPod, I realize I have listened to numerous albums this year. In fact, the amount of music that my ears have consumed and my pen has analyzed is pretty scary…and I still missed lots of albums! SMH! Some were special, some made me cringe, and some fell somewhere in between the two extremes. As difficult as it was, as of October 7, 2013, I have compiled a list housing my favorites, least favorites, and honorable mentions. I’m almost certain I’ve slighted someone and I’m sure there will be continual revisions, but for now, here’s what you should’ve spun, what you should’ve avoided like the plague, and those that were strongly consideration for favorites. Enjoy!
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
Elton John, The Diving Board
My two favorite pop albums couldn’t be more different. One’s a more singer/songwriter and rock-oriented effort (John) while the other balances urban and pop (Timberlake). Two different extremes of the spectrum perhaps, both yield sound rewards.
Michael Bublé, To Be Loved
Bublé possesses one of the best voices in recent times by my estimations.
Electronic / Dance
James Blake, Overgrown
Daft Punk’s effort was the commercial triumph of the two, delivering the ubiquitous, tastefully risqué “Get Lucky”. Blake’s brilliant Overgrown shouldn’t be written off by any means, easily showing a huge amount of growth since his debut James Blake.
David Bowie, The Next Day
So we’ve got a legend who returns after a lengthy hiatus and an underrated band who somehow made their way to the number one spot on the Billboard Albums chart. Awesome. Both albums are among the year’s top regardless of genre.
Black Sabbath, 13
While atheism itself doesn’t personally appeal to me, Black Sabbath’s 13 is nothing short of brilliant, regardless of its numerous lyrical allusions to atheism and skepticism towards any religion.
The Flaming Lips, The Terror
The alternative music category is always stacked with gems, perhaps because this represents the ‘future’ of music with more experimental, less commercialized ideas. Both Vampire Weekend and The Flaming Lips outdo themselves on their respective albums, no questions asked.
John Legend, Love in the Future
R&B may be suffering commercially, but critically, there are still some unquestionable triumphs. Janelle Monáe epitomizes the future of the genre, mixing the best cues from the past and incredible creativity that clear thinks forward. Legend on the other hand is more classic, but as impressive as the results are on Love in the Future, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mavis Staples, One True Vine
Haven’t heard these? Please take the time. Soul at its best in 2013.
Drake, Nothing Was The Same
No Kanye? He has an argument for both being here and not being here. Honestly, choosing a favorite rap effort is a difficult choice this year as I felt the field has been wide open. J. Cole definitely came up while Drake was a consistent and moody as ever. Others could’ve easily landed here as well… the genre has had a good year.
Logic, Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever
He’s got next, period.
The Courtney John Project, Future
Reggae is underrated, but it shouldn’t be at the hands of veteran Cornell Campbell or innovative collective The Courtney John Project. Sure we’re going gaga over Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, and Robin Thicke, but we should also be talking about both these exceptional albums.
I’ll admit, I’ve indeed slept on country some in 2013. Shame on me, I apologize. But, I do think that it is strange that from among the few country albums I partook, my choice for the best was a sequel, just saying. For me, I just couldn’t say that either Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, or The Band Perry had my favorite album… Can’t speak on Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Justin Moore, etc. I’ll do better next year.
Shirley Caesar, Good God
It is a gospel legend… that’s enough said…
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up!
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Made Up Mind
Talk about two underrated albums! Both are sensational and deciding between the two was incredibly difficult. That’s why I “made up my mind” and selected both.
Jaimeo Brown, Transcendence
José James could’ve landed in the R&B category, but we all know that jazz is a huge part of his artistry, right? No Beginning, No End is a terrific album that I hope the Grammy voters don’t shun. Jaimeo Brown offers quite a creative, modern-jazz album that is incredibly eclectic, including elements of Indian music and spirituals.
Make sure you check out part 2 (Least Favorites), coming soon!!!
- Potential Grammy Nominees, Mid September 2013 Edition (brentmusicreviews.com)
- 2013 Chart Trends: 5 Underachievers and 5 Overachievers (brentmusicreviews.com)
- Review: Justin Timberlake, ‘The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2′ (brentmusicreviews.com)
Elton John Doesn’t Miss A Beat on His Latest
Elton John⎪The Diving Board ⎪ Capitol ⎪⎪ US Release Date: September 24, 2013
When I hear the name Elton John, one of the first words that comes to mind is legend (piano too, but we’ll stick with legend for our purposes). Elton John was certainly a gargantuan presence in pop and rock music back in the day. That might be an understatement within itself. Sure, his days of being a commercial fixture are long past, but where many new artists lack musical longevity, John will always remain musically relevant. That’s part of the reason why his first solo album in seven years, The Diving Board, is kind of a big deal. Sure, there is no “Candle in the Wind” or “Philadelphia Freedom” on this oft stripped set, but there are plenty of well written, worthwhile additions to John’s juggernaut-like collection. Hey when Elton and Bernie get together – musically and lyrically – it’s always a good thing.
The Diving Board opens superbly with the stripped “Oceans Away”, which finds John accompanied solely by his piano playing. Sure the number is an understated way to begin a ‘comeback’ of sorts, but don’t let the setting sway you away. “Ocean Away” is prudent, definitely packing more punch than expected. And ode to the previous generation, John urges for the embracement of their consummate wisdom: “I hung with the old folks / in the hope that I’d get wise / I was trying to bridge the gap / between the great divide.” The understated opener is proceeded by the more overt “Oscar Wilde Gets Out”, a fascinating narrative-driven number based upon the 19th century writer. It may not necessarily appeal to all, particularly those unfamiliar with Wilde, but it has some truly notable moments. The prized lyric? “Looking back on the cold bleak winter / looking back on those long dark days / felt like the head of John the Baptist / in the arms of Salome.”
“A Town Called Jubilee” infuses some funkiness into The Diving Board, propelled not only by an initial groove, but also John’s bluesy piano lines. John gets to further flex his pianistic muscles during an instrumental section. But more than John’s keyboard skills shine, so does his voice as well as the backing vocal support he receives during the standout chorus (“Come on little sister get up offa my knee / gonna settle down someday / in a town called Jubilee…”). “The Ballad of Blind Tom” follows the epic number with less ‘hooky’ though still compelling results. If nothing more, John’s piano skills always incite ear-catching moments. This is especially true of the recurrent interludes. “Dream #1” provides an intimate, piano only moment.
After the pianistic moment, “My Quicksand” captivates through its darker, more mysterious vibe. John may not sound incredibly optimistic here (“My quicksand / let me introduce you / to my final stand / I went to Paris once / I thought I had a plan / I woke up with an accent / I wound up in quicksand…”), but the sprinkles of jazz lighten things up during the instrumental interlude. Yeah, maybe he’s morose, but at least it’s impressively conveyed, right? “Can’t Stay Alone Tonight” provides more hope, though the lyrical bridge is still heavy stuff: “Bruised in this cold war of words / we’ve come undone two loose ends alone / possessed by the curse you’ve endured / the spell that I cast couldn’t make you come home.” Well, it’s in a major key with a gospel-country element. Oh and Raphael Saadiq plays bass.
Any track titled “Voyeur” can only have an edge to it. “Voyeur” certainly lives true to its title, as John sings “…the solitary eyes I’ve been looking through / committed to connecting the old ways to the new.” There it is. “Voyeur” would never be a ‘commercial’ single given chordal progression quirks and an unapologetic singer/songwriter feel, but that wouldn’t be the intended approach anyways. “Home Again” appeals more, accentuated by the use of horns, keyboards, and bowed (arco) bass. Strong songwriting and the expected commanding vocal performance by Elton John certainly doesn’t hurt.
As good as “Home Again”, “Take This Dirty Water” steals the show, with Elton John combining facets of gospel, blues, and rock. Incredibly soulful and feel-good, “Take This Dirty Water” just might be the album’s crown jewel. “Dream #2” precedes “The New Fever Waltz”, which is indeed a waltz and doesn’t miss a beat. “Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)” gives “Take This Dirty Water” a run for its money, again calling upon gospel as a chief influence and some more bass accompaniment courtesy of Saadiq. “Dream #3” finally delivers the entirety of the “Dream”, this time finding John receiving an assist from bass and drums. Title track “The Diving Board” closes solidly, if a bit too slow and prolonged. It’s a cut with good intentions, but doesn’t dare supersede stacked numbers like “Oceans Away” or “Take This Dirty Water”.
Ultimately, The Diving Board is an incredibly well done Elton John album. It supersedes nothing from John’s discography, but it neither needs to or really should. John has already shared with us his greatest contributions to music… he has nothing more to prove. The Diving Board is John on autopilot, doing what he does best. They say you can’t teach and old dog new tricks. In John’s case, why would you want or need to?
Favorites: “Oceans Away”; “A Town Called Jubilee”; “Home Again”; “Take This Dirty Water”; “Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)”
- Elton John finds ‘room to breathe’ on ‘The Diving Board’ (latimes.com)
- The Diving Board – Elton John (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)
- Enter to win “The Diving Board” from Elton John! (firedownbelowonline.com)
- Album Review: The Diving Board performed Elton John (notethismusic.wordpress.com)
- Elton John Performs at USC w/ Student Choir & Orchestra (hangout.altsounds.com)
- Elton Johns new album “The Diving Board” (musicbymissy.wordpress.com)
- Review: Elton John, The Diving Board (huffingtonpost.com)
As we are transitioning into the late summer, the album releases become increasingly more ‘blockbuster’ like. Face it, the end of the year is always loaded. We don’t know all of the releases that will materialize yet, but we already have a rich group of new albums we will be spinning beginning in August.
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP
Genre: Pop / Dance
Anticipated U.S. Release date: November 11, 2013
“Let’s have some fun this beat is sick / I wanna take a ride on your disco stick!” Whenever a new Gaga album is released, watch out. Details will come soon enough, but after a two year hiatus (Born This Way, 2011), is the world ready for nu Gaga? (That’s rhetorical). I’ll tell you one thing though, go ahead an sign, seal, and deliver another triumphant number one bow on the album charts.
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience 2, etc.
Anticipated U.S. Release date: N/A
Had we not already gotten our first taste of Justin Timberlake returning in a big way earlier this year, then JT probably would’ve topped this list. 2013 has been the year of Justin Timberlake, and it should continue this fall. We’ve already be introduced to the set’s first single, “Take Back The Night”.
Arcade Fire, N/A
Anticipated U.S. Release date: October 29, 2013
Right now the details are few about Arcade Fire’s follow up to The Suburbs (2010). The Suburbs was a triumph, debuting at number one on the albums chart with 156,000 copies and selling 765,000 copies total. Numbers aside, The Suburbs won the coveted Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2011.
Elton John, The Diving Board
Genre: Pop / Rock
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 24, 2013
This is a BIG Elton John release. The 66 year old veteran is releasing his first solo album in seven years. Ain’t much changed… he co-writes with his homeboy Bennie Taupin and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cher, Closer To The Truth
Genre: Pop / Dance
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 24, 2013
John Mayer, Paradise Valley
Genre: Pop / Rock
Anticipated U.S. Release date: August 20, 2013
Every John Mayer album seems to make a nice dent in the charts. I have no doubt that Paradise Valley will follow suit and likely find itself at the penthouse. That said, wasn’t it surprising that his 2012 effort Born and Raised missed out on the Grammy love he usually gets?
Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 3, 2013
This is Nine Inch Nails’ first album since The Slip from 2008. The Slip was given away for free is memory serves me correctly. If you want to get technical, their last proper album via major label was 2007’s Year Zero, which debuted at number two (187,000) behind Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing.
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 17, 2013
Earth, Wind & Fire, Now, Then & Forever
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 10, 2013
It’s the legendary soul band’s first album in eight years (Illumination, 2005)! Explanation enough!
Panic! At The Disco, Too Weird To Live, To Rare To Die
Anticipated U.S. release date: October 8, 2013
Panic! At The Disco return with their fourth album, led by Janet Jackson alluding poppy single “Miss Jackson”. “Miss Jackson are you nasty?” LOL. Too Weird To Live, To Rare To Die follows up 2011 effort, Vices & Virtues.
Raheem DeVaughn, A Place Called Loveland
Anticipated U.S. Release date: August 20, 2013
The neo-soul hippie returns after a three year hiatus (The Love & War MasterPeace, 2010).
Franz Ferdinand, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
Anticipated U.S. Release date: August 27, 2013
Elvis Costello & The Roots, Wake Up Ghost
Anticipated U.S. Release date: September 17, 2013
I know very little about this album as of yet, but who cares? Elvis Costello AND The Roots? Count me in.
TGT, Three Kings
Anticipated U.S. Release date: August 20, 2013
The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars
Genre: Country / Folk
Anticipated U.S. Release date: August 6, 2013
Sophomore follow-up to the duo’s Grammy-winning Barton Hollow (Folk Album, Country Duo/Performance (“Barton Hollow”)).
Many, many more releases will be announced as the year progresses. Here’s some other notable upcoming releases:
KT Tunstall, Invisible Empire / Crescent Moon (August 6, 2013)
Glen Campbell, See You There (August 13, 2013)
Washed Out, Paracosm (August 13, 2013)
Allen Toussaint, Songbook August 20, 2013)
Jimmy Buffett, Songs From St. Somewhere (August 20, 2013)
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Made Up Mind (August 20, 2013)
Avenged Sevenfold, Hail to the King (August 27, 2013)
Ashanti, BraveHeart (September 3, 2013)
Arctic Monkeys, AM (September 10, 2013)
Gloria Estefan, The Standards (September 10, 2013)
Goldfrapp, Tales of Us (September 10, 2013)
Billy Currington, We Are Tonight (September 17, 2013)
Chris Young, A.M. (September 17, 2013)
Jack Johnson, From Here To Now To You (September 17, 2013)
Johnny Lang, Fight For My Soul (September 17, 2013)
Placebo, Loud Like Love (September 17, 2013)
Sting, The Last Ship (September 24, 2013)
Candice Glover, Music Speaks (TBA)
- James Murphy Says New Arcade Fire Album Is “F****ing Epic” (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- 2013 Album Anticipation Showdown: Our Bodies Are Ready for Justin Timberlake’s ‘The 20/20 Experience, Part II’ (celebuzz.com)
- 2013 Album Anticipation Showdown: Five Reasons Why Beyoncé’s New Record Will Slay (celebuzz.com)
Fall Out Boy ⎪ Save Rock and Roll ⎪ Island ⎪⎪ US Release Date: April 16, 2013
Introduction & Background
It’s been nearly five years since Fall Out Boy’s previous album, Folie á Deux debuted (December 16, 2008). Despite being another solid album by the punk-pop outfit, the effort failed to gain the same footing that 2007’s Infinity On High had from the onset. Even the singles failed to catch as much fire – “I Don’t Care” topped out at no. 21 while “America’s Suitehearts” topped out at an unremarkable no. 78. Perhaps part of the difference was that Infinity On High would build its success based upon the band’s breakout sophomore effort, 2005’s From Under A Cork Tree. Infinity was certified platinum, after debuting at no. 1 (260,000 copies), propelled with hit singles “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” (no. 2) and “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” (no. 11). Folie á Deux would bow averagely at no. 8 (150,000) and only attained gold certification.
After Folie á Deux, the possibility of another Fall Out Boy album seemed extremely bleak. With a ‘hiatus’ that seemed like a definite ‘breakup’, the members of the band did their own thing, including vocalist Patrick Stump’s underperforming 2011 solo effort, Soul Punk (bowed at no. 47 on the Billboard Albums Chart). It’s a shame I was one of the few souls who purchased and jammed to Stump’s solo effort, but I like everyone else was secretly desiring the ‘comeback album’. And it happened! Who isn’t glad that Fall Out Boy “reunited, and it feels so good”? 2013’s long anticipated Save Rock and Roll is consistent, enjoyable, and for longtime fans, the memories of how much they love Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley, and Joe Trohman. At just 42 minutes in duration, the Chicago boys keep things short and sweet over the course of 11 tracks.
No one does advice like me, Brent Faulkner. I thought I’d impart some helpful thoughts to some of today’s top musicians – humorously and in my normal opinionated, liberal fashion.
Ok, this is really for one faux pas. Miranda, girrrrrlllll, you did not need to be rocking that get-up at the Grammys. Nothing wrong with curves – I like curves personally. But, that outfit was not popping.
Work on your overall showmanship, buddy. Learn how to work a big audience and endear yourselves to audiences who may be unfamiliar with your cult-like phenomenon. Doing a controversial number like “Forrest Gump” probably wasn’t the best choice for the Grammys (why not do “Thinkin Bout You”). Furthermore, if you do go ‘bold’ like that cut, make it memorable (and with better pitch).
Kiddo, keep patterning yourself after Justin Timberlake as opposed to Justin Bieber. We don’t need “Another One” - another Bieber that is.
So glad that you haven’t forgotten your roots, my fellow 26-year old friend. That said, “Started From the Bottom” was what my friends and I might’ve called back in the day as um “whack”? Maybe it’s not “whack”, but it’s no “Best I Ever Had” that’s for sure!
Stop getting into trouble. Every argument/mishap that happens shouldn’t involve or center around you. I know you think you are the victim of scrutiny and that everybody is a hater since your Rihanna abuse incident, but you have done nothing but bring the scrutiny upon yourself. You are talented (great voice, dance moves), but you are selling your talent short with your behavior, which showed on sub-par album Fortune. Honestly, I’m not sure that condoms, hedonism, and arrogance are a great mix for any album, no matter what genre.
Grow up. You need to learn that not everybody is going to like or respect you and that not everything centers around you. Contrary to your beliefs and your newly grown ‘confidence’ with your physique, you are not the only artist who sells albums these days. Your self-centeredness is contradicting your hopes to appeal to a wider audience that you attempted on album Believe and is making you come off more annoying. Shirtless instagram photos, failed uStreams, pot smoking, reckless driving aren’t making you a BAMF – change the “B” to an “D”.
Um, enough high profile performances/variations of “Girl On Fire”. I never have to listen to it on my iPod anymore. Also Mrs. Beatz, I think people wish for a quicker tempo for the National Anthem the next time you perform it.
Lots of people smoke marijuana. But Wiz, don’t you think you have taken it too far? Always stoned and all of your music has made references to how much you love weed. Sure, everyone loves a good stoner song – look at Reggae! But, I think you might actually benefit from refraining from the ganja.
Okay, I’m one of your biggest fans. But, you probably should’ve left “The A Team” to Ed Sheeran. Those vocals weren’t poppin’. But you redeemed yourself later. But I still remember that duet you did with the late Luther Vandross on “Anyone Who Had A Heart“… Yuck!
Girl, just keep being you!!! You’re so down to earth, even when you’re aloof of perhaps R&B’s next great artist in Miguel. I quote: “Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together. That was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen.” You just keep on proving why you are one of not only today’s greatest pop stars, but a dynamic vocalist who can sing anything.
Cody Simpson, Austin Mahone, and others…
Just throw in the towel right now- This is Justin Bieber‘s game right now. Everything in the universe, twitterverse, and swaggy-verse centers around the near 19-year old Canadian prince.
Girl, we know that you can sing anything. You’re soulful, gritty, and you keep classicism in R&B vocally. The voice is not the problem – even if some people aren’t a fan of gospel histrionics and an updated amalgamation of Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin. The songs sometimes are the problem, but I’ll hold back on that (I don’t know that “Baby Mama” should’ve been released as a single back when). It’s the presentation!!! When you won American Idol, you needed to get out of your old ways and mature into a refined, cultured star. Instead, you have regressed with a lot of bad headlines (missing shows in The Color Purple, a poorly written social networking message, an affair/pregnancy with a married man, etc.). You are releasing an album this year on RCA right? Girl you need to clean it up and get it together. You know RCA probably doesn’t care what the album does and if it bombs, you are out!
Have you learned nothing from Whitney Houston and Tina Turner? Get away from the “bad boy”. They are called “bad boys” for a reason!
The Black Keys (specifically Patrick Carney)
I’m going to be both complementary and critical. Carney, you had the balls to say that Justin Bieber basically was more money than artist. Kudos. To make it even better, you did it in nonchalant, hipster fashion that only you could do it. Being critical, why didn’t you just shrug it off or say something like “it is what it is?” You became the victim of a teen pop firestorm or rather his most avid followers.
the black keys drummer should be slapped around haha—
Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) February 12, 2013
Tyler, The Creator
I realize you like being ‘shocking’. So do I – I love saying things for shock value. But Mr. Creator, I’m going to need you to eliminate some of the homophobia from your lyrics…some of the excessive language would be worthwhile as well.
OK, you can do whatever you want because you’re Lil Wayne. That said, “Love Me” is a solid song, but aren’t you basically recycling yourself? Basically your saying girls love you and want you – specifically a certain part of you. Haven’t we been their done that? “Lollipop” specifically where you talk about “humping”, “lady lumps”, and “licking”? Just saying…
One Direction (and Justin Bieber)
I realize that tattoos are everywhere these days. But, don’t you guys think you’ve taken the trendy phenomenon overboard? If you think a tattoo is going to make the persona of artists performing songs like “What Makes You Beautiful” or “Boyfriend” more edgy, I think you’re mistaken.
We all realize you that can’t stay in your lane (“Swerve”), you often petition God (“Oh God”), and you love booty (as evidenced by numerous lyrical references and manifested in hit “Dance A$$”). But do you change up that formula any?
Let’s avoid crazy songs like “Stupid Hoe” next album, ‘K? Also, stop trying to get with the Idol guys.
Keep being evoking sexiness. Most men were thrilled that you like your “Kisses Down Low”.
Can we have more entertainment like the Superbowl Halftime show? I think many of us were allured less by the music and more by the visuals…