As school and Persephone Magazine prepare for holiday break and the year winds down, I wanted throw my hat into the ring of end-of-year list-making and review my favorite songs/albums of the year.
10. Spreading Rumours - Grouplove
I became a huge Grouplove fan thanks to their cover of “Party Hard” on AV Club Undercover. I am really digging their new album. It’s a solidly fun listen. Check out their first single off of it, “Ways to Go”
9. I Hate Music - Superchunk
Superchunk delivers another fun rock record in the form of I Hate Music. Mac’s 12-year-old-kid-sounding vocals still crack me up every time. There is not a bad Superchunk album, and this one proves the rule. I have really been wanting to delve back into the Superchunk catalog. It helps that they are also responsible for one of my favorite record labels, Merge Records. Several of that label’s artists make this list. Here is their video for “Me and You and Jackie Mittoo,” featuring people with their favorite records. Part of it was filmed in the Seattle Everyday Music.
8. Volume 3 - She and Him
Surprisingly, Volume 3 is less depressing than I thought it would be. I figured after Zooey and Ben broke up, they would both write break up albums. While one of the tracks is called “I Could’ve Been Your Girl,” it doesn’t feel like a pot shot at Ben. I must confess that I love break up albums. Tragic Kingdom and Jagged Little Pill both make my all time top 50 albums. Zooey didn’t go that route, and I was a bit shocked. While less upbeat than Volume 2, the album is also not an all-out war on the Death Cab frontman. My favorite track is “London.”
7. Grownass Man - The Shouting Matches
This is Justin Vernon’s first appearance of three on this list. I really like The Shouting Matches. They don’t sound like Bon Iver. I think that is a good thing. Most people probably would disagree. It’s a nice, bluesy rock record. “Gallup, NM” stands out to me as the best track.
6. Repave - Volcano Choir
This is the second Justin Vernon band to make an appearance on this list. I give it a slight edge only because I really loved their first album something fierce. I might even prefer Volcano Choir to Bon Iver. “Comrade” makes me feel uplifted.
5. All Hail West Texas (Reissue) - The Mountain Goats
Since John didn’t actually release an album this year, listing this album is cheating, but every Mountain Goats fan loves it. It includes fan-favorite sing-along, “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.” I mostly wanted this reissue to hear the 7 lost tracks. Some of these lost songs are familiar to fans since they have made live show playlists before. “Waco” is probably the most famous of the lost tracks.
4. Hesitation Marks - Nine Inch Nails.
2013 marked the return of one of my top 5 favorite artists, Trent Reznor’s genius of a band, Nine Inch Nails. Hestitation Marks also makes a return to a more Downward Spiral era sound. It feels like a Nine Inch Nails record. Lindsay Buckingham plays guitar on three songs including, “Copy of A.”
3. Yeezus - Kanye West
Yeah, I know y’all can’t believe I put my Lord and Saviour so low. I loved Yeezus, but it is not Kanye’s best album, nor the best album of the year. I considered putting it lower after some of the creepy videos Kanye released. The weird CGI “Black Skinhead” interactive crap is just plain weird in the uncanny valley weird sense. Oh, Kanye. You know who loved that song? Noel Gallagher. Quoted from Rolling Stone, “Particularly that track – it’s fucking out there, do you know what I mean? It’s got a great low-fi, punk vibe to it.” If you can recall, I made similar statements earlier in the year. Justin Vernon appeared on this album, and that’s how he makes three appearances on this list.
2. Reflektor - The Arcade Fire
Now here is an album that Noel Gallagher hated without even listening to it. Apparently double albums are so 1970s. They may be, but this album is a 1970s throwback. It is danceable and fun. It is probably my second favorite Arcade Fire album. It is hard to separate songs because they go so well together, but I had to include the one mentioning Orpheus. “It’s Never Over (Oh, Orpheus).”
1. Modern Vampires of The City - Vampire Weekend
The Best album of 2013 belongs to one of my favorite bands, Vampire Weekend. It is a perfect album. I hardly ever skip any songs on the album. In fact, once I start, I usually finish listening to the whole thing. The midpoint of the album is the linchpin. “Hannah Hunt” is a fantastic song.
So there is my list. I need to listen to more David Bowie and Janelle Monáe. They both seem to have made many people’s end-of-year lists.