Top 10 for ’13

Dec 24, 2013 No Comments by

It’s that time of the year, and so when the Village Voice invited me to contribute to its annual Pazz & Jop poll, I decided I would. Once I made this decision, however, I began to feel that I hadn’t heard enough new music to make informed choices. That prompted a couple weeks of Spotify power listening (yeah, I know, rough life), from which I emerged with these lists. I gotta say, for whatever it’s worth, that even after checking out around 50 additional albums that are being generally regarded as among 2013’s best, the makeup of the initial list I put together just after Thanksgiving hardly changed. All the same, there were several genres (jazz, classical, “world,” and so on) that I didn’t pay much attention to this year, so I’m confident that, as always, I’ve missed way more good stuff than I’ve heard.


1. Everything Everything: Arc (RCA)

2. Pete Galub: Candy Tears (Dove & Pigeon)

3. Queens of the Stone Age: …Like Clockwork (Matador)

4. Atoms for Peace: Amok (XL)

5. Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady (Atlantic)

6. David Bowie: The Next Day (Columbia)

7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Specter at the Feast (Vagrant)

8. Midlake: Antiphon (ATO)

9. Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia)

10. Arcade Fire: Reflektor (Merge)


Most of these tracks come from albums that are nearly as good as the ones listed above. My top pick has been the center of much kerfuffle over the past few months. I saw the other day that Rolling Stone‘s year-end list puts it at number 50, a revisionist-history move I find annoying. To me, it was without a doubt the song of the year. RS‘ candidate for that honor, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” just isn’t as catchy, despite its ace Nile Rodgers guitar part.

1. Robin Thicke: “Blurred Lines” (Interscope)

2. Sky Ferreira: “You’re Not the One” (Capitol)

3. Vampire Weekend: “Diane Young” (XL)

4. Rhye: “Open” (Republic)

5. Mavis Staples: “Can You Get to That” (Anti)

6. Laura Marling: “Master Hunter” (Ribbon Music)

7. Goldfrapp: “Annabel” (Mute)

8. Jim James: “State of the Art – A.E.I.O.U.” (ATO)

9. Blood Orange: “You’re Not Good Enough” (Domino)

10. Palma Violets: “Step Up for the Cool Cats” (Rough Trade)


Chris Thile: Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch)—arranged for solo mandolin and utterly brilliant

Arctic Monkeys: AM (Domino)

Richard Thompson: Electric (New West)

Linda Thompson: Won’t Be Long Now (Topic)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito (Interscope)

Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (Anti)

Wire: Change Becomes Us (Pink Flag)

Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon (Columbia)

These New Puritans: Field of Reeds (Infectious)

Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar)


Happy holidays to all!

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