Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Favourite Music of 2013

I intended to write a lot more about my favorite music of 2013, but life has been hectic and as 2014 inches forward I have less of a desire to write about music that is essentially ancient now. So instead of the elaborate write up full of links that I envisioned creating, I leave you with this list accented by some brief explanations. I do need to point out that I won’t use the word “best” to describe this music – this is just the music that I loved, for whatever reason: “just my favourite tunes man!”

NOTE: I’m listening to “The Greatest Hits of the Cars” as I write this. I have no clue what influence Ric Ocasek will have on my words, just something worth pointing out.

My Favorite Albums of 2013:
This was a tight race, with 6 albums I knocked around throughout the year as my favorite, and a whole bunch more that I truly loved. Ultimately it came down to The National’s “Trouble Will Find Me” and Kanye West’s “Yeezus”. TWFM is a slow and deliberate rock record about all things melancholy; it makes me feel slightly depressed yet hopeful in the best way possible. Yeezus is the polar opposite – a buzz saw rap record that challenges everything and is the most daring mainstream record in a long time. I love both records a lot, but ultimately I think I enjoy TWFM more – it’s just easier listening and something I can repeat over and over. I think I’m too content with my life to truly appreciate a record as angry and volatile as Yeezus.
Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” is somehow stunningly brilliant yet a bit of a disappointment. The hype (my own and media generated) was a bit much and it never quite lived up to the “Greatest Album Ever” that I (and other’s) were expecting. Still, it’s a change of pace for an amazing band that feels both strange and familiar. I love Jimmy Eat World and “Damages” is their best album in years, they’re my favorite band and this album will get a lot of love from me in years to come. The real shocker was “Run the Jewels” by El-P and Killer Mike, an absolute beast of a rap album, ten nearly perfect songs without any of the waste that rap music tend to shovel on to otherwise great albums.
The rest of the top 25 is a mix of old favorites with great new albums (Queens of the Stone Age, Matt Good, Sigur Ros, and Kid Cudi) and new bands with amazing sounding albums that blew me away (New Politics, The Neighborhood, Chvrches). I think my musical tastes are pretty diversified and I think this list summarizes it, as you’ve got a range of straightforward rock (National, Jimmy Eat World, Matthew Good) to rap (Kanye West, El-P & Killer Mike, Danny Brown) to “indy-rock” favorites (Vampire Weekend, Los Campesinos!, Portugal. The Man) to mainstream pop acts (Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Tegan and Sara) to comedy rap (The Lonely Island) to comedy rock/punk (Reggie and the Full Effect) and everything else in-between. I enjoy a wide spectrum of music, and I’m always glad to see that my favorite lists isn’t
I would highly recommend every album I’ve listed here, each album may not be to someone’s individual tastes, but there’s a heck of a lot of good music listed below. Go exploring! Find something you like!

1. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
2. Kanye West - Yeezus
3. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
4. Jimmy Eat World - Damages
5. El-P & Killer Mike - Run the Jewels
6. Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork
7. New Politics - A Bad Girl in Harlem
8. Matthew Good - Arrows of Desire
9. Reggie and the Full Effect - No Country for Old Musicians
10. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
11. Los Campesinos! - No Blues
12. The Neighborhood - I Love You
13. Lonely Island - The Wack Album
14. Fitz and the Tantrums - More than Just a Dream
15. Chvrches - Bones Of What You Believe
16. Naked and Famous - In Rolling Waves
17. Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends
18. Grouplove - Spreading Rumours
19. Sigur Ros - Kveikur
20. Danny Brown - Old
21. Paul McCartney - NEW
22. Justin Timberlake - 20-20 Experience (1)
23. Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob
24. Kid Cudi - Indicud
25. Wavves - Afraid of Heights

My Favorite Songs of 2013:
When you list 100 songs it’s really tough to write anything specific without completely ignoring the bulk of the list. My tendency in songs is to go towards singles or poppy music. I can definitely appreciate something that’s too weird/slow/quiet/loud to be a single, but my single song tastes skew towards the instantly catchy.
From the first time I heard “Harlem” by New Politics I hooked – just an insanely catchy song that I still can listen to on repeat after a year of heavy listening. Same goes for I Will Steal You Back, Changing of the Season, and Ways to Go . Afterlife and Inhaler are longer songs and far more about the atmosphere and the feelings they invoke, yet still catchy enough to get stuck in your ears. There’s some mainstream hits like Black Skinhead, Get Lucky, Hold On..., and Closer near the top too, all of which are great/classic hit songs. I have zero interest in writing 100 explanations for why I like a song, just go listen to them – it’s better that way. It’s easy to find most of these songs legally on the internet. A lot of them are singles, so they have videos on YouTube, so if you want to hear some new music, try that – you’ll be able to hear most if not all of these songs listed below.

1.New Politics - Harlem (2:44)
2.Jimmy Eat World - I Will Steal You Back (3:28)
3.Two Door Cinema Club - Changing Of The Seasons (3:42)
4.Arcade Fire - Afterlife (5:59)
5.Grouplove - Ways to Go (3:35)
6.Foals - Inhaler (4:52)
7.Kanye West - Black Skinhead (3:08)
8.The National - Don't Swallow the Cap (4:46)
9.Daft Punk - 08 - Get lucky (6:05)
10.The Neighbourhood - Everybody's Watching Me (Uh Oh) (3:58)
11.Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan) (3:47)
12.Tegan And Sara - Closer (3:29)
13.Los Campesinos! - Avocado, Baby (4:36)
14.Alkaline Trio - I Wanna Be A Warhol (3:07)
15.Matthew Good - Garden Of Knives (5:29)
16.Justin Timberlake - Mirrors (8:05)
17.Portugal. The Man - Modern Jesus (3:14)
18.Bastille - Pompeii (3:34)
19.This Is The Best - USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) (3:00)
20.Avicii - Wake Me Up (4:09)
21.Vampire Weekend - Diane Young (2:40)
22.Reggie And the Full Effect - Who Needs Another Drank? (Feat. Floppy Disk-0) (2:53)
23.Dropkick Murphys - The Boys Are Back (3:20)
24.Arcade Fire - Normal Person (4:25)
25.Empire Of The Sun - Alive (3:24)
26.Nine Inch Nails - Copy of A (5:22)
27.Wavves - That's On Me (3:40)
28.The Naked and Famous - Hearts Like Ours (4:32)
29.Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - If You Didn't See Me (Then You Weren't On The Dancefloor) (4:34)
30.TV on the Radio - Mercy (3:25)
31.El-P & Killer Mike - 01 Run The Jewels (3:30)
32.Lorde - Team (3:13)
33.Queens Of The Stone Age - My God Is The Sun (3:55)
34.Phoenix - Entertainment (3:40)
35.Fitz and The Tantrums - Out of My League (3:29)
36.Kanye West - Hold My Liquor (5:27)
37.Arcade Fire - Reflektor (with David Bowie) (7:35)
38.Queens Of The Stone Age - I Appear Missing (6:00)
39.Down With Webster - One In A Million (3:14)
40.Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know? (4:32)
41.Matthew Good - Via Dolorosa (4:02)
42.AFI - 17 Crimes (2:57)
43.Hawthorne Heights - Spark (3:39)
44.Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (3:25)
45.Frank Turner - Recovery (3:28)
46.CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share (3:11)
47.Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege (3:50)
48.The Naked and Famous - The Mess (4:06)
49.Cold War Kids - Miracle Mile (3:00)
50.Jimmy Eat World - Byebyelove (4:31)
51.The Killers - Shot At The Night (4:02)
52.RAC - Let Go (Feat. Kele & MNDR) (4:39)
53.Kid Cudi - Immortal (5:01)
54.Kanye West - Bound 2 (3:49)
55.The Lonely Island - The Compliments (feat. Too $hort) (2:42)
56.New Politics - Fall Into These Arms (3:44)
57.Jimmy Eat World - No, Never (3:50)
58.Arcade Fire - Here Comes The Night Time (6:12)
59.The National - I Should Live in Salt (4:09)
60.El-P & Killer Mike - 08 Get It (3:00)
61.The Limousines - Love Is A Dog From Hell (4:02)
62.White Lies - There Goes Our Love Again (3:36)
63.New Order - I'll Stay With You (4:24)
64.The 1975 - Chocolate (3:44)
65.Fitz and The Tantrums - Last Raindrop (4:02)
66.The Naked and Famous - Rolling Waves (3:38)
67.Paul McCartney - Queenie Eye (3:48)
68.The Royal Concept - On Our Way (3:14)
69.Glasvegas - Later... When the TV Turns to Static (5:23)
70.Reggie And the Full Effect - Super Croc VS Mega Doosh (3:49)
71.Daft Punk - 05 - Instant crush (5:33)
72.Lorde - Ribs (4:18)
73.The Maine - Forever Halloween (5:26)
74.Danny Brown - 03 - 25 Bucks (feat. Purity Ring) (3:30)
75.Paramore - Now (4:10)
76.Los Campesinos! - Selling Rope (Swan Dive To Estuary) (6:18)
77.The Thermals - Our Love Survives (3:06)
78.The Used - The Ocean Of The Sky (8:15)
79.Matthew Good - Guns Of Carolina (4:42)
80.The Neighbourhood - Afraid (4:11)
81.The National - Graceless (4:36)
82.Vampire Weekend - Unbelievers (3:22)
83.Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up) (3:08)
84.The Joy Formidable - This Ladder Is Ours (5:11)
85.I Can Make A Mess - Tidal Wave (4:22)
86.Atlas Genius - Electric (4:04)
87.New Politics - Goodbye Copenhagen (3:22)
88.The Joy Formidable - Forest Serenade (4:17)
89.Sigur Ros - Isjaki (5:03)
90.Bloc Party - Ratchet (3:18)
91.Blink-182 - Boxing Day (3:59)
92.Tyler, The Creator - Cowboy (3:15)
93.Grouplove - Didn't Have To Go (3:44)
94.Fitz and The Tantrums - The Walker (3:53)
95.Silverstein - A Better Place (3:08)
96.Switchfoot - Love Alone Is Worth the Fight (4:34)
97.The Maine - Love & Drugs (3:30)
98.Relient K - PTL (3:23)
99.The Mowgli's - San Francisco (2:52)
100.Vampire Weekend - Ya Hey (5:12)

Final Note: The Cars had way more awesome songs than I ever realized. Pop rock greatness. /End Communication