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.
- Black Sabbath “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.
- Grouplove “Spreading Rumours”
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.
- Arcade Fire “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.
- The Airborne Toxic Event “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.
- OMD “English Electric”
Skip past the odd little tracks of filler to get to grand scale songs like “Metroland” and “Night Café” 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.
- Depeche Mode “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.
- Nine Inch Nails “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.
- Killswitch Engage “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.
- PIXIES “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.
- Pearl Jam “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.
Which brings us to my top pick for 2013….
Let me hear your feedback on my list this year. Top 10 likes/dislikes? Omissions? Speak it all below in the comments.
I need to check out OMD and Killswitch. I haven’t heard either. DM just narrowly missed the cut. I really enjoyed that album.