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Saturday November 18th 2017

The Best Albums of 2013

Deafheaven - Sunbather

Deafheaven – Sunbather

The best album of 2013. Sunbather is possibly the most accessible metal symphony recorded.  With an expertly designed pink album cover, it visually stands out in a genre known for tasteless dark retreads of horror graphics. With naturally progressing melodies and enough tension to keep listeners engaged, Deafheaven created an album which stands apart from all others from the past year.

My Bloody Valentine - mbv

My Bloody Valentine – mbv

Since their magnum opus Loveless was released in 1991, a follow-up by the Irish shoegazers was repeatedly promised and postponed for over twenty years. This year, they finally delivered, on their own turns: mbv was released independently and without fanfare on a Saturday night in February. It was well worth the wait; the album builds on their past work to bring a new hypnotic experience.

 

James Blake - Overgrown

James Blake – Overgrown

Moving on from his largely experimental debut, Blake retains his British dubstep foundation while masterfully taking on hip hop influences. “I don’t want to be a star / but a stone on the shore,” he sings in falsetto on opening track “Overgrown.” A collaboration with legendary rapper RZA and forays into club music seem to hint at the opposite, though the focus remains the music rather than the composer.

Volcano Choir - Repave

Volcano Choir – Repave

Forsaking their largely instrumental debut album, Justin Vernon’s other band brought a kiss-off, break up album. Repave is too tepid to be livid but with enough rage in the undercurrent to not be ignored, even quoting Charles Bukowski halfway through. “I’ll be alive when all this is over,” Vernon sings towards the end, with the feeling he yearns for the opposite.

Ariana Grande - Yours Truly

Ariana Grande – Yours Truly

Grande has been favorably compared to Mariah Carey for good reason – she is easily the greatest new talent of the year. Her voice reaches notes and dulcet tones other singers her age could only dream of reaching. Drawing on R&B and bubblegum pop, this album is shameless fun.

Into It. Over It. - Intersections

Into It. Over It. – Intersections

As Dan Ozzi of Vice wrote in October 2013, “there’s no emo revival, you just stopped paying attention.” Evan Weiss, better known as Into It. Over It., earned that attention with his sophomore effort, which chronicles getting older, loss, and the heartache when those moments meet.

Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

Dev Hynes’ second album under the Blood Orange moniker brings a slick ‘80s feel of new wave-inspired R&B. Never before has being homeless in New York City sounded so glamorous. Cupid Deluxe manages to infuse fun into blunt honesty. Even with the retro influences, it sounds perfectly at home alongside other alternative contemporaries.

Beyonce - Beyonce

Beyoncé  – BEYONCÉ

Queen Bey unleashed the surprise of the year when she released a full album, complete with music videos for each song, at midnight at the end of a mid-December week. Calling it a “visual album,” Beyoncé exhibits a mature evolution of her music and image while remaining flawless. Bow down, indeed.

Sky Ferreira - My Night, My Time

Sky Ferreira – My Night, My Time

Having been through record label purgatory, Ferreira’s long-awaited debut album demonstrates how patience pays off. My Night, My Time is a pop record at heart with aggressive alt rock production. Other singers her age could only dream to be this unrelentingly cool.

Mazzy Star - Seasons Of Your Day

Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

After a sixteen year hiatus, Mazzy Star pick up where they left off from Among My Swan without skipping a beat. Having helped to define the dream pop subgenre long ago, David Roback and Hope Sandoval make the listener wonder why it ever faded away. This is an excellent afternoon for a lazy Sunday.