Top 10 Albums of 2013
We’ve each chosen our very best album of the year, which makes this just a tiny top 10 list. Admittedly, that means that this is a list of big names, but they’re still worth appreciating, as proven by their musical output this year. It’s worth remembering that Disclosure and Daughter find their debut LPs on this list, though Bowie finds his 26th, and Yo La Tengo their 13th. Still, longevity is worth celebrating, whether it’s through the decades, or merely through this year. It’s not easy to be remembered for twelve months nowadays.
So, celebrate ten of the best with us…
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Twelve tracks. And genius from start to finish. The fifth album from the Arctic Monkeys is undoubtedly their best creation to date. Whilst still very much being the Yorkshire indie-rock band who released Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, back in 2006, their music has grown with them. Alex Turner, front man, has his lyrical imagery splashed across the whole album. “Have you got colour in your cheeks? Do you ever get that fear that you can’t shift the tide that sticks around like something’s in your teeth?” These strong and graphic words, taken from the track ‘Do I Wanna Know?‘, show Turner’s lyrical confidence.
As the band stood up to headline Glastonbury earlier on this year, it became even clearer that we can still expect much more to come from them.
– Maisie Kelly
Nat Barker agrees:
I’m really glad to see Arctic Monkeys come back with another amazing album, with a few great singles. They had something to prove after Suck It and See and they definitely delivered!
Disclosure – Settle
This time last year we squeezed Disclosure’s The Face EP in to our Top Albums of 2012 list, and now look at these chaps.
– Ely Villanueva
David Bowie – The Next Day
Although most of us have heard tales of Bowie’s original heyday from wistful parents, and although this album is explicitly and unapologetically retrospective and nostalgic, every song on The Next Day sounds entirely fresh, a part of 2013 and certainly beyond. The Next Day is the work of a creative mind still twitching and thinking, with electrifying results.
– Sophie Brear
Flume – Flume (Deluxe edition)
Just when I’d very much overplayed the original, we were treated to a fresh load of reworked songs. There’s no one quite like Flume.
– Nancy Saul
Hummingbird – Local Natives
For me, this is an album of the year in the truest sense. I can recall my whole 2013 in relation to this album. Released in January, once heard, there was no un-hearing it nor forgetting it. From their first UK performance of the new material in Leeds, to their show in the John Peel tent at Glastonbury, to their main stage slot at Latitude the next month and then Beacons the month after, to this piece that was written about the album in December, to every single time I have revisited this album for solace or help or comfort or joy – Hummingbird is an inextricable part of the last year.
It isn’t that I want to demonstrate quite how much I’ve followed at the feet of this band, more to point out that if you write an album so candid, so brave and so beautiful, and then work hard to tour the album extensively, and perform it dearly and zealously every time, then it spreads and becomes a part of people’s lives, and a deserving part of any and every inane end of year list that knows its worth.
– Alice Lawrence
Forest Swords – Engravings
Forest Swords is the moniker of producer Matthew Barnes. During the creation of Engravings, he was suffering from hearing problems that made his work sound different with each listen. It is truly incredible that this effect seems to have transferred over to the listener; you’re drawn to something new with each listen in the most atmospheric album of the year.
– Harry Rosehill
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
There are no stand-out singles here, but instead a beautifully immersive and structured album meant to be soaked in, not rushed through. It continues The National’s growth as a band of real value and frontman Matt Berninger’s own status as the best lyricist since Morrissey. He’s a poet, trust me.
– Kyle Picknell
Daughter – If You Leave
Haunting whispers of singer and guitarist Elena Tonra have made this album memorable since its release in March. It has less of their Wild Youth feel, and has more heartbreaking reflection throughout all the tracks, with some pounding percussion that keeps engagement. Lyrics such as ‘I’m a suffocator’ easily reflect the overall feel of If You Leave, as it easily immerses a listener. It’s up to that listener to decide whether this is smothering or an escapist type of immersion, but If You Leave‘s captivating sound is one that anyone can find solace in.
– Georgia Marshall
Yo La Tengo – Fade
Yo la Tengo’s latest album marks an emphatic return, with songs like ‘Ohm’ showing why their music has such longevity.
– Lily Grant
Drake – Nothing Was The Same
Just a really, really good album with cool collaborations. No doubt about that.
– Holly Hunt