Best 20 Albums of 2013

greatest, favorite, best, albums of 2013

As Austin noted in our introduction to our favorite songs of 2013 list yesterday, it is much more difficult to list a years worth of favorites than one might think. 2013 was quite an interesting year in music. Many big names (or at least big expectations) left a disappointing taste in fans’ mouths (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Strokes, Jay-Z, etc.). This left the door wide open for smaller, and sometimes even unheard artists to really pave the way to a brighter future, and in some cases, all-out overnight stardom (Lorde, Savages, CHVRCHES, etc). This also left a lot of room for controversy. Who is worth the listen, and who is just going through the motions while filling our ear buds with noise? Well the controversy was not absent in making this list. With all three of us at LxL listing out our top 20 albums separately and then combining them into a normalized list, there was bound to be some peoples favorites left off. Mean things were said, blood was spilled, and opinions hotly thwarted. Nonetheless, the list must go on. Here is what we considered to be our favorite albums of 2013:

20. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
alunageorge body music album-cover art
Last year, Alunageorge’s “Your Drums, Your Love” ranked in at #20 on our favorite songs of 2012. This year, the soulful pop R&B duo returned with a full LP to support the single, as well as a grip of other ripe-for-the-shaggin’ type of tunes. The duo now garnered another #20 slot, but this time on our albums list with Body Music.
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2013: The Year Dance Music Became King

2013: The Year Dance Became King

It’s been a steady shift over the past few years, but I believe 2013 was finally the year dance music (more specifically of the electronic persuasion) took the throne from hip hop as the most dominant genre in music today. There were multiple signifiers to me throughout the year that this shift has finally occurred, and below I will lay out the four biggest signs the robots have finally taken over.
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Kanye West Review Royale: Yeezus

Kanye West

Yeezus

Kanye West Yeezus album cover art

Beyond comparing oneself to God, Kanye’s latest shows Kanye has more than a little bit in common with John Lennon. Both are undoubtedly musical visionaries, even if it’s annoying to hear Kanye call himself one: it’s true.  Both have an ongoing controversial relationship with the media, think quite highly of themselves, are very idealistic yet live very contradictory lifestyles: John being all about peace and love but being the most combative of all the Beatles, and Kanye talking about believing and following God in the same breath as his prideful, greedy, and misogynistic comments. This contradictory lifestyle is part of what makes Kanye so appealing though: we all to some degree live contradictory lifestyles, Kanye is just bold enough to wear it on his sleeve. Yeezus is Kanye’s Plastic Ono Band: a 21st century primal scream album stripped down to its simplest rawest form, with Kanye bearing his soul on relationships and race. While with John this lead to some very heartbreakingly honest and gut-wrenching moments, Kanye errs a little too often on the side of senselessness, even if the music is brilliantly groundbreaking.
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Kanye West “New Slaves” Building Premiere Review

Kanye West "New Slaves" Building Premiere Review

For those who didn’t hear, this past weekend was a big one for Mr. Kardashian aka Kanye West. The divisive rapper announced the release of his sixth album Yeezus June 18th, played two new songs on Saturday Night Live, and most interestingly, debuted his first single “New Slaves” Friday night on buildings across the globe, everywhere from Berlin to Miami to Sydney, totaling 66 different screenings.

My wife and I just so happened to be downtown with a friend when we saw the buzz start to circulate online about the video premieres, and we looked online and found there was one coming in an hour that was only a mile from us. We had nothing better going on, so we headed on down to Six Points in Wicker Park to see what all the hub bub was about. Over the half hour leading up to the event, probably over 500 people circulated on 6 street corners, which is pretty insane in itself. It’s a testament to the power of Twitter (where Kanye announced the screenings) and to people’s yearnings for an experience.
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