the yearly noise

Here’s a list of my 25 favorite albums of 2013, followed by a playlist of songs from those albums. The year was interesting in that while I’m confident about my top ten or fifteen choices, from there all the way down to 50 or 60 or so, it felt as if there was very close competition: a mix of tracks from the next twenty-five albums would also be very impressive to my ears. Even beyond that: all the way down to 75 or so many albums had moments that made me think they had potential to rank higher. (I’ll address those lower-ranking albums in a separate post.)

For now, here’s a list of the top tier of albums in my 2013 (alpha by artist):

  • The Black Watch  The End of When
  • David Bowie The Next Day
  • The Bye Bye Blackbirds We Need the Rain (album cover of the year)
  • Neko Case The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
  • My Bloody Valentine MBV (if someone had said that both Bowie and MBV would release new albums within one month of one another, who would have believed them?)
  • Polvo Siberia
  • John Vanderslice Dagger Beach
  • Wire Change Becomes Us

Second tier:

  • Agony Aunts Big Cinnamon
  • Richard Buckner Surrounded
  • Camper Van Beethoven La Costa Perdida
  • Robyn Hitchcock Love from London
  • Kitchens of Distinction Folly
  • The National Trouble Will Find Me
  • The Sadies Internal Sounds
  • Harper Simon Division Street

And, the third tier:

  • Karl Bartos Off the Record
  • Deerhunter Monomania
  • Dutch Uncles Out of Touch in the Wild
  • The Knife Shaking the Habitual
  • Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer, Different Park
  • Okkervil River The Silver Gymnasium
  • The Orange Peels Sun Moon
  • Parquet Courts Light Up Gold
  • Lee Ranaldo and the Dust Last Night on Earth

Here’s the playlist…titled Triskaidekaphobia because 2013 sucked (outside of music):

  1. Parquet Courts “Master of My Craft”
  2. The Sadies “Another Yesterday Again”
  3. The Bye Bye Blackbirds “Don’t Come Back Now”
  4. The Black Watch “Meg”
  5. Kacey Musgraves “Merry Go ‘Round”
  6. Richard Buckner “Foundation”
  7. Camper Van Beethoven “Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out”
  8. Robyn Hitchcock “Fix You”
  9. Harper Simon “Bonnie Brae”
  10. Neko Case “City Swan”
  11. Lee Ranaldo and the Dust “Lecce, Leaving”
  12. John Vanderslice “Raw Wood”
  13. Okkervil River “Pink Slips”
  14. The National “Sea of Love”
  15. Polvo “Light, Raking”
  16. Agony Aunts “Twenty-Four Mergansers”
  17. The Orange Peels “Your New Heroes”
  18. Dutch Uncles “Godboy”
  19. Wire “Magic Bullet”
  20. Kitchens of Distinction “Japan to Jupiter”
  21. Karl Bartos “Atomium”
  22. Deerhunter “Monomania”
  23. The Knife “Full of Fire”
  24. My Bloody Valentine “Wonder 2”
  25. David Bowie “Where Are We Now?”

When “Where Are We Now?” was released as Bowie’s first new music in nearly a decade, many (including producer Tony Visconti) were careful to note that this was actually an atypical song from the album: it was not primarily quite and reflective. But the combination of overwhelming melancholy with a note of hopefulness at the end so well describes 2013 (and how to deal with it) that there was no other choice for me from this record…and it had to go last, too.

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Filed under 2013, noise

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