Best albums of 2013

2013 is over, and there were some great records made. Let’s take a look at the best of the best.

Best albums of 2013

 The year 2013 has been a decidedly good year for music, according to many critics around the music industry. In this piece, the best albums of this year will be revealed.

 

First quarter

 

Long. Live. A$AP (A$AP Rocky)

Long. Live. A$AP, budding rap star A$AP Rocky’s first debut album, was the first album this year to make an impact. It was an album that showed shades of Rocky’s past mixtape (LiveLoveA$AP) while adding a new twist of musical influence as opposed to to just laying down rhymes. He had high-profile features on the album, with artists to the likes of ScHoolboy Q, Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. If you’re going to listen to one song off the album, the best is a posse cut with Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar and more called “1Train”.

 

The 20/20 Experience (Justin Timberlake)

In probably the most surprising album of the year, entertainment mogul Justin Timberlake released his most introspective album of his storied career in The 20/20 Experience. The album, filled with psychedelic tracks such as intro “Pusher Love Girl” and seven-minute epic “Blue Ocean Floor”. He also recorded his usual, fair share of hits such as “Suit & Tie” with Jay Z and “Mirrors”. It was the most artistically influenced album of Timberlake’s career and also probably his best.

Second quarter

 

Modern Vampires of the City (Vampire Weekend)

This album, Vampire Weekend’s third studio release, has been widely regarded as the best indie rock album of the year. The album leads off with probably the best two tracks on the whole album, “Obvious Bicycle” and “Unbelievers”, and then continues on to the upbeat “Diane Young” but mellows back out with “Hannah Hunt”. This album has already surpassed the fame of Vampire Weekend’s first two albums, Vampire Weekend and Contra, and it has only been out for four and a half months. The African-influenced drums added to the Indie pop vibe makes for one of the best albums of the year.

 

Trouble Will Find Me (The National)

These Indie Rock legends delivered on their new album once again, after hits in 2007’s Boxer and 2010’s High Violet. In an album about sadness and inevitable failure, The National made a melodic piece of indie rock. With epic background music and a little bit of a stadium pop twist, Trouble Will Find Me has to be one of the best albums of this calendar year.

Third quarter

 

Born Sinner (J Cole)

To say rapper J Cole rebounded from his debut album Sideline Story with this album is an understatement. Sideline Story’s colossal failure was met with Born Sinner’s epic success, in which we get a light shed onto us as Cole’s ego goes down while his music gets better. There are a lot of filler songs on this album, but there are some gems in “LAnd of the Snakes,” “Power Trip” featuring Miguel, “Trouble,” “She Knows,” “Crooked Smile,” and “Let Nas Down”. It was a bold statement for J Cole, as he released the album on the same day as Kanye West’s Yeezus. Both albums were released on June 18th.

Yeezus (Kanye West)

In one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, Kanye West released an egotistically-charged, techno production-influenced 40-minute album. We get a look at Kanye West’s ever-growing self-confidence in tracks like “Black Skinhead,” “I Am A God,” and “I’m In It”. However, there’s also a look into his struggles with slower, sloppy tracks such as “Hold my Liquor” and “Blood on the Leaves,” which samples Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruits”. It would not be outlandish to call this the album of the year.

Fourth quarter

 

Nothing Was the Same (Drake)

If Yeezus wasn’t the most anticipated album of the year, sensitive rap crooner Drake’s Nothing Was the Same most definitely was. And it lived up to its expectations. In a mix of sensitivity and self-confidence, the distorted, slow beats carried Drake through the album. From the hookless “Tuscan Leather” to the reminiscent “Started from the Bottom,” from the most Drake song ever “Wu-Tang Forever” to  neo-first wave “Worst Behavior,” from all-sung “Hold On We’re Going Home” to sensitive “The Language,” one could make a case for this Drake album to be named the best of 2013, and it might not even be close.