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Top Albums of 2013

2013… another year gone by and many, many albums released by many, many bands. Once again, hard to just limit it to 10, but that’s what a Top 10 list is all about, right?

So now I give you… my top 10 list of albums of 2013. Another post will follow with those that didn’t quite make my Top 10 list.

  1. Black Sabbath “13″
    13
    The kings of heavy metal returned with a thundering and dark album of all new songs with original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne – their first since 1978. About the only dark mark on this album was the absence of Bill Ward, which only made this 3/4 of a reunion. Aside from that, the songs are well produced, heavy and the vocals from Ozzy are really good. Tony and Geezer make their guitars work wonders.
  2. Grouplove “Spreading Rumours”
    Spreading Rumors
    Hard to top the debut album, which came out two years ago. And this sophomore effort came close. Songs like “Ways To Go” and “Shark Attack” have that catchy sound and beat this modern band captured on their list of other hits, which sound really great to this fan.
  3. Arcade Fire “Reflektor”
    Reflektor
    Took me a while to get used to the first two Arcade Fire albums. “The Suburbs” cemented it’s way into my life and it became obvious that their 4th album here would do the same. With a track like “We Exist” and the more recent single “Afterlife”, this Canadian band works on all cylinders, adding beats, sounds and quirks to make this double album worth every listen.
  4. The Airborne Toxic Event “Such Hot Blood”
    Such Hot Blood
    Three albums later, this Los Angeles band lead by lead singer Mikel Jollett, pushes forward. Favorites like “Timeless” and “The Storm” have that same grand sound that I fell in love with on their first two albums. And given that I’m a fan of their live concerts, this band can’t do wrong.
  5. OMD “English Electric”
    English Electric
    Skip past the odd little tracks of filler to get to grand scale songs like “Metroland” and “Night CafĂ©” which take this long time fan of OMD into a most excellent trip into their new songs. These work equally well live, as Dave2 and I experienced.
  6. Depeche Mode “Delta Machine”
    Delta Machine
    Easily my favorite band of all time. So when they come out with a new album, I get excited. Initially reviewed here, it didn’t seem like one of their strongest albums. But once I got up to 40 or so listens through, it did grow on me [except for "The Child Inside" which I still despise]. “Soothe My Soul” is still my favorite and has found it’s way to my default playlist on all of my iDevices.
  7. Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”
    Hesitation Marks
    Always the fan of just about everything Trent has done – from “Pretty Hate Machine” to this latest album, with mostly all new players [Robin Finck returned on lead guitar]. “Copy Of A” is one of the best tracks on this album and never disappoints with repeated listens… including it being picked to open each of the live shows the band did this year. “In Two” was another favorite track that had that perfect balance of old and new NIN sound.
  8. Killswitch Engage “Disarm The Descent”
    Disarm The Descent
    My favorite metalcore band. I became a fan during the Howard Jones era, which produced three great albums with him as lead singer. He left the band due to health concerns and original lead singer Jesse Leach made his return after being out of the band for 10 years. Talk about shaking this fan’s confidence. But Jesse pulled it off and they made an incredible album that I ended up playing over 60 times since it came out. True Killswitch hooks are found on tracks “The New Awakening” and “A Tribute To The Fallen” and they never get old. If it weren’t for two other albums, this one had a shot at taking the Number 1 spot on my list this year.
  9. PIXIES “EP1″
    EP1
    New Pixies music? Wow. Who knew? Obviously a lot of the fans didn’t as there wasn’t much in the way of previews for this set of all 4 new studio tracks that broke from it’s classic loud-quiet-loud format contained in their original music from the late 80′s to early 90′s. Also changed is the original lineup, with Kim Deal gone. What the fuck, Black Francis?? But after many listens, songs like “Another Toe” and “Indie Cindy” are pretty great. Add to this another new track that preceded this EP – “Bagboy” – which had fans wondering if Kim Deal made one last contribution [she didn't]. New music works very well for this long time fan.
  10. Which brings us to my top pick for 2013….

  11. Pearl Jam “Lightning Bolt”
    Lightning Bolt
    For a band that’s been around more than 22 years and a musical style that’s long since been popular, Pearl Jam sure has beaten the odds. A few lackluster songs here and there over the last decade, but for the most part, still pretty strong. This new album, released in October, grew into something big. Much bigger than I was expecting.

    Eddie Vedder is a vocal powerhouse and hasn’t lost it with his singing chops. Highs, lows, screams. It’s all here. Mike McCready and Stone Goassard bring their perfected guitar work to songs like the punk anthem “Mind Your Manners” and the breakout ballad “Sirens.” This album earned it’s spot at the top of my list, not just being a Pearl Jam album, but it’s a mix of 12 great songs that play well together.

Ending

Let me hear your feedback on my list this year. Top 10 likes/dislikes? Omissions? Speak it all below in the comments.

Top Albums – Previous Years

  • Top Albums for 2012
  • Top Albums for 2011
  • Top Albums for 2010
  • Top Albums for 2009
  • I didn’t do a Top Albums list for 2008
  • Creative Commons License
    Top Albums of 2013 by Banal Leakage, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    4 Comments

    1. kapgar says:

      I need to check out OMD and Killswitch. I haven’t heard either. DM just narrowly missed the cut. I really enjoyed that album.

      1. martymankins says:

        I highly suggest OMD. From their earlier sound like “Electricity” to their newest album, they really are a great band to listen to.

        The DM album did grow on me more after I reviewed it.

    2. Only just got into Arcade Fire myself. The Reflektor album has been on heavy rotation for the past week at our house. Already one of my favorite albums of the past 12 months.

      Hesitation Marks also up there for album of the year. Loved the NIN live experience this year, Copy Of A my song of 2013 for sure.

      And here’s where I have to disagree _slightly_ with you. Depeche Mode are also my favorite band of all time, seen them many times live. But I didn’t like Delta Machine at all. It’s just not the Depeche Mode I know. With the exception of Ultra and Playing The Angel, the post Alan Wilder albums have been largely disappointing. At least to me ;-)

      1. martymankins says:

        Awesome to hear about Reflektor. And we both agree on Copy Of A.

        As I mentioned, Delta Machine took to me more… not completely, though. Compared to past DM albums, it’s weak in a few areas. I was really hoping for an Alan Wilder return here. Could have made a difference on the album.

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