Retrospective: Best Albums of Twenty Thirteen

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Happy New Year Kids! Face to the future, blah blah, but 2013 was big year for hip-hop. The rap game slipped off its tracks for a while- this decade brought some dark years. Remember 2005 when nobody liked the new hip-hop? Not anyone. Not even the white boys at the mall could get down with the Young Buck. But this year Jay-Z kicked it off, stomping on graves with Magna Carta Holy Grail, which nearly everyone seemed to enjoy, the old man working to claim hip-hop album of the year. (Sorry Drake, that ish was garbagio). Another New York City classic, Pusha T made a notable comeback, with My Name is My Name. I liked that album a lot more than I thought I would, and a whole lot more than that nonsense Kanye put out there this year, so it’s making my list. From Detroit, we got a serious, 2-sided full-tilt heady/party marathon from new(ish) rapper Danny Brown. OLD is his first release on a record label, and it’s definitely worth your time from beginning to end. This first side of the album is tragedy, the second side is party. It’s all good. The production is mostly done by British DJ Paul White and Danny Brown’s personal producer SKYWLKR. Even if you think your too cool to “dip I dip you dip”, you’re going to do it anyway. Heads bobbin. Also, I want to mention that I fully enjoyed The Marshall Mathers LP II. Which means another score for Detroit and hip-hop steals the show this year with 4 of my 8 favorite albums.

For an all-you-need-is you dance party, I give the highest accolades to Haim’s excellent first album Days are Gone and Vampire Weekends third consecutive success, Modern Vampires of the City. Both albums celebrate youth and sidewalks with 1980’s industrial backbeats, steady baselines, and feel good melodies. Since I’m a long time fan of Vampire Weekend, and an always fan of rocking girl bands, it’s no surprise the albums both made my list. Despite my bias, this music is good clean fun.

In another direction Julia Holter’s Loud City Song may have put you to sleep, but you slept great. You woke up new. You dreamed your dreams came true. It’s pretty music, and pretty music is not to be under appreciated. After two consecutive nights on this dreamboat, I’m prepared to put this album on my list. I want to sing like a light-faced lark, but I don’t.  I suspect that Julia may be a little too trapped in her own head, but it’s nice there. I can’t blame her.

The National’s newest, Trouble Will Find Me is luxurious like a butter bath from beginning to end, and has real staying power. Though it’s not radically different from the others, I think it’s probably my favorite of their albums. I’m not prepared to go head to head with any die hard fans on that statement. Prove me wrong, but for now this stays on my most played list. I’ve been walking/sleeping/eating/riding/loving/cooking/dancing/chilling to this album, so I’m saying it snatched the top spot for last year.

We can’t know 2014 will bring, but the new Broken Bells project will be released soon, and Beck is going to give us TWO new albums this year. Any thoughts on what else to look forward to/back on?

in love.

vy.

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~ by Vy on January 1, 2014.

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