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)