The Definitive List Of 2013’s Best Albums
Bands may come and go, but end-of-year lists are a reassuring, unchanging fixture on the musical landscape – and when I say unchanging, I mean unchanging. Buzz bands, token inclusions from marginal genres: the names change, but the categories remain. Ahead of the annual deluge of end-of-year lists, EDWARD SHARP-PAUL has put together the ultimate catch-all albums list to end all albums lists. Did your favourite make the cut?
You’ve read the headline, and you’re probably impatient to see who made the list, but here’s a puffy intro that attempts to provide context for the list that follows. But it’s just a best-of list: there’s no context required, and everyone knows the drill. Here I’ll mention that 2013 was a good year for music, even though it’s like saying that the air was particularly airy last Wednesday: both statements are absolutely true and valid, so let’s not dwell on them.
But music is a contact sport, and much like Highlander, there can be only 10. So with further ado, including a gutless mention of/apology for albums that didn’t make the cut, here’s a list of the year’s best albums, as selected with the assistance of a last-minute Rdio binge last night.
10. Black Metal Band That No One Has Ever Heard Of – Non Sensem In Latinum
In a strong year for a niche genre that literally no-one cares about, Non Sensem In Latinum stood out for the way it offered me an opportunity to shamelessly flaunt my knowledge of Norway’s pagan goat-core scene. Managing to combine infernal Sawdust’s wet-kelp guitars and Bleeding Cyborg’s apocalyptic-funfair worldview, Non Sensem In Latinum is Black Metal Band That No One Has Ever Heard Of’s magnum opus, destined to be talked about by me and another guy on a pagan goat-core forum for years to come.
9. My Former Housemate’s Band – Nepotism Blues
Here I am claiming that Nepotism Blues was the ninth-best album released this year, and yet somehow my praise is restrained, a little forced. I’ve neglected to mention that I’m mates with these guys, and I was bragging that I could get them on this list last time we hung out, but now I feel horribly conflicted about it, and it’s too late to back out. Nepotism Blues is a pretty good album by some guys. Steve, see you at the Workers Club on Monday?
8. Three-Way Hogans – Obscure Indie Album
After the enigmatic Nathaniel Vague dropped out of music to pursue his first love, organic yoghurt production, the future of Three-Way Hogans was in the balance. Then, out of the blue came the masterful Obscure Indie Album. A typically exploratory outing, Vague’s demented bird calls are underpinned by a template of angle grinders and drunken-pebble rhythms. The result is a masterpiece, and if you disagree with me, you’re a Nova-loving troglodyte.
7. Token Pop Crossover Smash – Open Minded
Regardless of what you thought of their music, it was impossible to ignore Token Pop Crossover Smash in 2013. The infectious ‘Breakout Single That They Will Never Surpass’ was the standout, but all the other songs that sounded basically the same were pretty good too. Best of all, their inclusion in this list – one spot below Obscure Indie Album – proves that I’m knowledgeable and open-minded, and if you disagree with me, you’re a joyless snob.
6. Brazen Apple Crew – The Hip-Hop Album All White Critics Agree On
Though I’m the whitest boy alive, I’m going to attempt some genre-appropriate slang and awkwardly describe this album as “dope”. I understood most of the lyrics, and their uplifting soul samples made me forget all about my middle-class guilt for a little while. ‘Play For The College Crowd’, their collaboration with Molly And The Twerk Wub, was a milestone moment in a genre that I clearly don’t understand.
5. Coasting On Their Reputation For Years – Just Doing Enough
Coasting On Their Reputation For Years were my favourite band in my formative years, and here’s a self-deprecating anecdote that proves how much I love them. Because I am completely unable to form an objective opinion on their music, they get a critical free pass, no matter how bloated and flaccid their output is, and despite the fact that Just Doing Enough positively screams “contractual obligations”. Therefore, Just Doing Enough is unquestionably a return to form, their best album since Ok, What’s The Hourly Appetite, Yoshimi?
4. Molly And The Twerk Wub – On-Trend Album That’s De$tined To Age Horribly
Molly And The Twerk Wub’s On-Trend Album That’s De$tined To Age Horribly was the soundtrack of the summer, and with good cause. They didn’t invent MSG, they were just the first to incorporate ghost-jazz elements and combine it seamlessly with dental folk. It was incredibly exciting to hear it all in one place – so exciting that I didn’t even notice the album’s complete lack of substance and gimmicky production, and I probably won’t notice until sometime next year.
3. The Inscrutable Jesters – Didn’t Like It That Much, But All The Other Critics Loved It, So I’d Better Put It In
I was surprised when Pitchfork put this album in their end-of-year list, because I thought it was a steaming hunk of garbage. Being deeply insecure though, I listened to it again and suddenly noticed the album’s hidden depth. With the aid of a thesaurus and Brandon Stosuy’s original review, I can now honestly say that DLITMBATOCLI is a viscous olive tapenade of ever-expanding poly-jazz.
2. Reasonably Credible Band – My Actual Favourite Album Of The Year
On MAFAOTY, Reasonably Credible Band took the stuff I like – hooks, earworms, and catchy tunes – and coated it with a veneer of the stuff that I like people to know I’m into – pretentious lyrics, insufferable bursts of white noise, and floor-tom freakouts. The resulting album doesn’t really work on the dance floor, but that hasn’t stopped me hijacking the Ipod at the last few house parties that I’ve been to. Turns out that yelling “trust me, I’m a critic!” doesn’t really get the people going.
1. Far More Credible Band – Album That I’ll Claim Was My Favourite Album Of The Year
2013 will be forever remembered by the small, insular readership of this site as the year of Far More Credible Band: few albums have been so talked about and remained as unheard this year as ATICWMFAOY – but then again, few albums have been as borderline unlistenable as Far More Credible Band long-awaited sophomore effort. It was a bold move to combine children’s toys, guttural throat-singing and large tracts of gender theory with a gruelling running time, bone-dry conceptual framework, and a conspicuous lack of melody, but I guess it’s paid off. ATICWMFAOY was an Important Album that Flatters my Intelligence, and deserves its status as Objectively The Best Album Of The Year Without A Doubt.